THE VOICE (…not talking about a TV show!)

December 26th, 2012

While customarily lifiting up my voice to the Lord this morning, it was impressed strongly upon my heart the multi-faceted voice that every believer has! These are just some that came to me. I’m sure there are more! Be sure to utilize and vocalize the voice that He has put in you!
Isaiah 58:1 “…lift up your voice like a trumpet…”

In Christ, I am THE VOICE:
OF THE DELIVERED Ps 18:2, 54:7
OF THE HEALED! Ps 103:3, Is 53:5
OF TRIUMPH! Ps. 47:1
OF TRUTH! Prov. 8:7, Eph 4:15
OF PRAYER! Ps. 130:2, 55:17
OF GLADNESS! Jer. 33:11
OF THE BRIDE! Jer 33:11
OF ONE OF MANY THAT SAY…”Praise the Lord of Hosts; for the Lord is good; for His mercy endures forever!” Jer 33:11

He’s the God of ‘much more’!

March 20th, 2012

We’ve all heard the phrase “give him an inch and he’ll take a mile” which is usually used as a derogatory statement pointing out how someone takes advantage of something. But I was thinking about how God is somewhat like this – NOT of course in the sense of taking advantage of us but in the sense that He always does extremely abundantly ABOVE all that we ask or think… (Eph 3:20).
An awesome case in point is the entire chapter of Romans 5. I like to refer to this as the “much more” chapter, as that phrase is repeated five different times throughout the chapter’s 21 verses: (capital emphasis mine)
Vs. 8-9 “ But God commanded His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, MUCH MORE then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
Vs. 10 “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son MUCH MORE being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
Vs. 15 “But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, MUCH MORE the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded unto many”
Vs. 17 “For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; MUCH MORE they which received abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”
Vs. 20 “Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did MUCH MORE abound.”
Let’s go back to verse 17, but this time in the Amplified Bible, to really drive this point home! “But God’s free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man]. For if many died through one man’s falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God’s grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to for [the benefit of] many.”
Wow! You might want to go back and read that over again, and again and again and again! His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man. You’ve got to see that God didn’t just ‘even up the score’ but He gave us a HUGE advantage, He did MUCH MORE!
It’s vital for you to know that grace and sin are not ‘equal opposites’. Grace FAR outweighs the effects, the consequences of sin in our lives! God didn’t just see fit to ‘save’ us but to ‘save us to the UTTERMOST’ – entirely, completely, forever. He doesn’t just want to ‘change’ us, it’s His intent to TRANSFORM us!
May we never allow our small thinking, our ignorant mindsets, to LIMIT the Holy One of Israel in our lives!

The Speaking Church

January 16th, 2011

This is a recap of the exhortation I gave at the end of the meeting on January 16, 2011. It was not recorded, so I’ll summarize it here.

AnnaMarie used the analogy of going through customs at an airport and having to declare certain items that you have in your possession.  I could see a line of Christians passing by Satan and declaring to him what we have in God – salvation, eternal life, everlasting love, hope, a future, and on and on and on. And Satan can only say “Go ahead, what you have I cannot confiscate or even touch!”

Also, when she spoke of God watching over His Word, I envisioned Him anxiously listening for someone, a son or daughter, to speak His Word on the earth. He turns His ear to it and declares “That’s My Word that I hear!” Then, without hesitation, He draws from His infinite resources to accomplish that Word. For it for His sake that He moves on our behalf – showing Himself to be the only true God.

True Valentine

February 13th, 2008

This is a poem that was penned by my daughter, Carmyn. This poem helped confirm the Word of the Lord in another young girl who was searching for God. May His Word be spread that it may help many who are seaching.

Valentine’s Day with nothing to share
At home by myself, does anyone care?
Then I hear the voice of my Heavenly Father
Speaking to me His precious daughter
Don’t go looking for love in someone who can’t give it
Now THIS is your life and I want you to live it
Live it for Me and I’ll give you a gift
More precious than anything, will you take the risk?
For a love everlasting is there if you take it
The price that was needed, I already paid it

I’ll Never Be the Same

February 12th, 2008

I’ll never be the same again

Proverbs 4:18 says, “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”

In our fellowship we pray that the Lord meet us every time we meet together. He is invited! In fact, we meet because of Him. Our belief is that every encounter with God, whether individual or corporate, we can walk away a different person. Each encounter will make us different because God desires to change us from earthly to heavenly, from carnal to spiritual, from temporal to eternal, and, of course, from glory to glory – His glory. These changes come by revelations that change our thinking as the world thinks to “Having the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16). They also come by deliverances where we have been bound by the “Fowler’s snare” and/or “Sin which …besets us, so that we may run the race” (Hebrews 12:1). We walk away washed, forgiven of all our iniquity.

Moses was an example of carrying the glory of God in Exodus 34:29. The encounter between God and Moses made Moses’ face illuminate to the point that Aaron and the Israelites were afraid to approach him. But Moses had something to say, a message from God.

The disciples had a recognizable countenance about them in Acts 4:13, “…That they had been with Jesus.” Later on in Acts 5 we read the story of Annaias and Sapphira and the power that God showed the church with signs and wonders that “Great fear came upon all the church” (Acts 5:11).

There is an ever increasing need for light in this world, but there is also an inexhaustible power supply to make us the “Light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14)

How do we tap into this power supply? II Corinthians 5:21 says we are made the righteousness of God in Him. While Moses’ shine of glory faded, we can be transformed through righteousness as in II Corinthians 3:7-18, to reflect that “…Ever increasing glory by the Lord’s Spirit.” (ISV)

I refer back to Proverbs 4:18 in the Message Bible that says, “The ways of right – living people glow with light; the longer they live, the brighter they shine.” The more we encounter God, the more we are changed into His image. The more we are changed into His image, the more we reflect and carry His glory.

King David knew how to get back to the Lord’s righteousness in Psalm 51:6-18.

“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:
And in the hidden parts thou shall make me to
Know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I
Shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter
Than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness;
That the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine
Iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, oh God;
And renew a right spirit within me. Cast me
Not away from thy presence; and take not thy
Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the
Joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy
Free spirit. Then I will teach transgressors
Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted
Unto thee….For thou desirest not sacrifice
Else I would give it: thou delightest not
In burnt offering. The sacrifices of God
Are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite
Heart, oh God, thou wilt not despise. Do
Good in thy good pleasure unto Zion:
build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
Then thou shalt be pleased with the sacrifices
Of righteousness, …”

Let us encounter God with this type of humility and walk away forever changed reflecting His ever increasing, illuminating glory.

His Ways

January 16th, 2008

At the end of each calendar year I find myself looking back over the previous twelve months with a lot of thanksgiving. Instances of God’s grace, His favor, His help, His faithfulness, etc., are rehearsed in my mind. But along with that there’s something else that takes place and that is I also go back over specific things and I take “inventory” of my life in regards to how (or how not) I have obeyed the voice of the Lord.

2 Cor. 13;5 (Amp) says “Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you?

I need to examine myself, take stock, make an assessment, give an account, and see what I come up with. The Message Bible says, regarding this same verse, “Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.” That last part is so important! If you fail the test, do something about it!

There’s a big difference between seeing where I have missed the mark and just kind of shrugging my shoulders and saying “Oh well” and apathetically continuing on in my disobedience, OR seeing it, repenting of it and doing whatever it takes to line myself up with the course God has mapped out for me and revealed to me through His Word and Spirit!!

My prayer and deep desire for our body is that in the year that lies ahead we will see a very significant increase in how the ‘ways’ of God are esteemed and treasured and guarded in our hearts and proclaimed and lifted up as the standard among us. The way of God for us as His bond servants; the way of God for those of us who are husbands and fathers; the way of God for those of us who are wives and mothers; the way of God for those of us who are young adults, teenagers, and young children; the way of God in how we handle relationships; how we handle our money; how we handle a crisis; how we handle His people, and how we handle unbelievers. God’s way, not our way.

Proverbs 14;12 and 16;25 both say the same thing: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end of it is the ways of death. “ It seems right, seems good, seems okay, sounds logical, feasible,it’s how Mom and Dad always did it, and how Uncle Joe does it, and all the kids at school do it, and Oprah says… You get the picture. The only time I can find in the Scriptures where it is safe to go with “it seems good to me” is if, and this is a BIG if, it is preceded by this: “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” as is found in Acts 15;28. If the thing in question lines up with and bears witness to the heart of God, the nature of God, the word of God, the ways of God, the principles of God, etc., then you can pretty much take it as the will of God and proceed! If it doesn’t pass that test, then you shun it, discard it, and turn away from it no matter what everyone else is saying or doing.

When the ways of God become something that you highly regard and esteem above all else, it will serve and prove to keep you in the will of God. His ways, treasured as something near and dear to your heart – the crucial factor at work in your life that will cause you to continue to seek the Lord. It’s what will cause you to choose life and not death; blessing and not cursing. It’s what will cause Him and His precious ways to be witnessed by others when they see how you live. After all, what they really will be seeing is Him living through you and isn’t that the crux of Christianity? My bold proclamation is to be that I’ve been crucified with Christ – I’m dead, my life is not my own, but some how, some way, as contradictory as this sounds – yet I stand before you living and breathing… dead but still alive! The catch being that the life I NOW live, is being lived out by the faith of the Son of God, Who loves me and gave Himself for me (Gal. 2:20)

In Philippians 2:12 the Apostle Paul urges the believers to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. He is not, of course, referring to us somehow being able to achieve our own righteousness and right-standing in the eyes of God, which is only accomplished by the blood of Jesus Christ. Instead he is referring to, now that we are that new creation in Christ, continue to follow hard, pursue, and walk out our christianity. For our “conduct to be worthy of the Gospel of Christ”; to “walk worthy of the Lord fully pleasing Him”. The mistake I see many of us make is we take Paul’s exhortation to “work out your own salvation” and then stop right there. We leave out the “with fear and trembling” part! There’s a circumstance or situation in our life that we need to “work out” but we attempt to do it totally on our own – not seeking and inquiring of the Lord and HIS way but our own way, or the world’s way, or the easiest way, or in keeping with our particular opinion or philosophy, etc, etc. There’s no fear or trembling in that! There’s no praying, seeking, inquiring, or maybe even fasting. There’s no searching the Scriptures, or seeking godly counsel. There’s no dying to ourselves and groaning from within saying “nevertheless, not my will, but Your will.”

I encourage, as well as challenge you, that this year of 2008 be one where you set out with all your heart, mind and strength to seek out, esteem, choose, obey, prize and hold especially dear the way of the Lord in all things and in every thing.

“Make me know Your ways, O Jehovah; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth, and teach me; for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day long.” PSALM 25: 4, 5


November 13th, 2007

Submitted by Jim Hoag

Why did Jesus use the term “ekklesia” in Matthew 16:18 to describe His church? Why did He and Paul make so much of it? I mean it’s not a Christian term; they didn’t invent it. But it seems like they picked it up for its uniqueness and took hold of it and said, “That’ll work to describe what the followers of Jesus will be like”. And from there, Paul takes it and develops it and adds to it. But what was the “raw material” of that word with which they began? Well, “ekklesia” describes a gathering of citizens in an ancient Greek city-state; a “called out assembly”, a particular body of faithful people. As we know, in its simplest form, it has to do with a gathering of those summoned and called out of one sphere or group to form another entity or group.

Back in the first century, it was used more often than not as a reference to a particular meeting. In Jesus’ and Paul’s day, whenever a village grew largeenough, they’d wall it in with brush to keep the cattle and livestock from wandering off and the people safe. The entrance to the village through the brush fence was called the “city gate” and the elders of the city gathered there to meet everyday.They did so in order to help solve village problems; domestic, civil, and practical, bringing wisdom, help, and counsel. The gathering of those elders was called the“ekklesia”.

What did this gathering of elders do in the village? They made a tremendous contribution to that society. If you could go back in time to one of those villages and you stole away those elders, the people of the village would weep and lament over that loss. Why? They would feel the loss of their input, their practical help, their wisdom, love and the sense of their presence. They knew they were a better village than they ever could’ve been without them because of their assistance, their reliability, and their accessibility.

Now, in Paul’s understanding, the called out followers of Jesus would be a gift to their “village” (their culture, city, community, spheres of influence) of which they were a part, just as those elders or “ekklesia” were to their community. This new ekklesia would also bring wisdom, speak life, add discernment, and bring HELP (Acts 16:9) .They too would be accessible and live out God’s love and God’s life in the midst of the “village’. They’d be visible-manifesting the character and nature of God through acts of compassion full of honesty and integrity, hope and encouragement and practical and spiritual help; they would be salt and light. Take away the influence of that ekklesia of Christ from one of those villages or towns, and those people would grieve, not only for the loss of people that demonstrated unconditional love, kindness, and respect, but because they would not know how to be as decent, kind and as good a village themselves without the influence of that “ekklesia”.

I believe through this that God might be asking us, His ekklesia, “If your church, or you as an individual, were taken away from your town, community, or city, would anybody notice? Would they grieve? Would they say, ‘we would not have known God or what true unselfishness was like; we would not have known genuine love or how families and marriages ought to function if it were not for these called out, sent ones– this ekklesia of God.’” Jesus said about us, His church, that, “You are the light of the WORLD. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light so shine BEFORE MEN that they may SEE your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven”. Most churches have become so inwardly focused that those on the outside don’t have a clue as to why they exist or have any desire to relate to them because they have little or no relevance to their lives. The church is seen through the eyes of most unbelievers as an uncaring, narrow-minded, judgmental group which they want no part of. But the day is at hand when if the ekklesia (the church) was takenout of a community, that the community would grieve over that loss. There is a great shift underway.The Holy Spirit was sent to empower and propel the ekklesia into culture as the blessing of God. (Acts 1:8). The redemptive mission of Jesus Christ is being restored to His ekklesia at the city gates to “a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out”. (Mt.16:18b, Message Bible).

New Terminology

October 3rd, 2007

Submitted by Jim Hoag

The DNA of many churches produces a rhythm and life of its own; in other words, fixed patterns, grids, ideas, traditions, and mindsets about “church life”. One of those mindsets about how to do ministry is the attractional/extractional approach. What I mean by this is a church culture that tries to attract people to “come to us” rather than an emphasis to “go to them”. With the extractional approach, people are extracted from their world and brought to our church-world to get their needs met. This instead of us also going into their world and doing life with them where they are. “Attractional” has the idea of, “If you build it, they will come”. In other words, if we become and if we do all the right things as a church, they will come to us. But what we want to impart is a sending impulse rather than only an attracting and extracting impulse. We want to create a culture of “go“, not only “come” – a church culture whose DNA causes a facing outward, moving into the city as salt and light. So instead of only “extracting”, we EXTEND AND EXPAND out. This is a call for a GENUINE shift from the attractional/extractional approach alone, to an approach that faces outward; from seating to sending. It is no longer only about deep community and spiritual maturity; it’s also about going forth and impacting the lost and disenfranchised – to “heal the broken-hearted and proclaim liberty to the captives”. They are God’s future, so “Go ye therefore…”.

OK, now we move from being exclusively attractional/extractional to being missional/incarnational as well.  By “missional” I mean “sent out” and by “incarnational” I mean embodying the life of Jesus in context with the culture just as He Himself did 2000 years ago. Each member of the body has to see themselves as being uniquely and specifically sent into culture; and see their sending as a calling not as a religious task. A calling to missions recognizes that God has saved us and called us to send us.  Jesus said, “The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few”. The remedy for this is when the church no longer sees itself as having a function of missions (sending), but sees that it exists for missions. The members of the body (not just the leaders) are the front line and are most important because they are the church’s core missionaries. This means re-framing the church’s primary purpose almost entirely on missional (sending) grounds to break the inward focus both individually and corporately. Much of the church has been “marinated” in dualism looking at the church building and church activities as “sacred” and the rest of life as “secular”. No, it’s about bringing people the Kingdom by bringing the Kingdom to the people. We have to see that as soon as we meet an unbeliever relationally we have begun leading them to Jesus. Missional forces lying dormant in all of us are waiting to be awakened and unlocked as the Spirit reveals to our hearts the need for this radical understanding and remedy. The idea is a rewiring or renewing of the mind so as not to think church, but to think mission. The shift is on from “come” to “go“. The church is now gathered to be sent out. A “missional church” is a sending church, mobilizing all of its people to be sent into the community. This is not some “technique” or church growth “strategy”; it is the time and season that God has uniquely arranged and purposed for this. This is how God Himself engaged the world in Christ. John 1:14 says, “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” He was one of us. He met us personally. It is this redemptive mission that we seek to recover for our generation. And though missional activity can be risky,learning occurs when we need to draw on the Lord because the situation demands it. Here is where discipleship moves from theory to reality.

Lastly, we move on from missional/incarnational to being contextual/cultural; that is being contextually relevant in culture. This includes contextualizing the life and message of Jesus within a specific cultural/generational context. Paul gives us an explanation of this in I Corinthians 9:20-23, “And unto the Jews, I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,), that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be a partaker thereof with you”. Paul is saying that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to culture must be abandoned. Paul was not anti-culture (which would have alienated him from culture), but he was uncompromised (yet relevant) in culture. We go forth into culture not bringing “church”, but Christ. (Read Matthew 9:10-13 to see who Jesus was engaging in culture!) Like the first century church, it is the Word becoming flesh in the cultural context we live in. Rather than an ongoing emphasis on church-life apart from our cultural context, we are called to reach out to culture in a relevant way. Missionaries who go across the seas to radically different cultures have long realized the need for the gospel to speak in a way relevant to the people being approached.

By definition, then, the attractional, missional, contextual church is always looking outward, always going, always thinking inclusion (not exclusion), and faithful to the Word of God by the leading of the Spirit.


October 3rd, 2007

Submitted by Jim Hoag

“ethos” (pronounced eethos) “the distinguishing mark, character or disposition of a community, the fundamental character or spirit of a culture”.

The Lord seems to be working toward creating a mission-centered “ethos” within His church. What does that mean? It means that the Lord is attempting to create a church culture whose natural tendency and whose distinguishing mark is that it moves OUT. Mission is the spark, the catalyzing force that makes sense of everything the church was intended to be.

There are essential differences between a church community whose “ethos” or fundamental characteristic is movement out and a community facing in. For instance, the church facing in guards its boundaries; the church facing out extends them. John 20:19-23 says, “Then on that same first day of the week, when it was evening, though the disciples were behind closed doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace to you! ‘ So saying, He showed them His hands and His side. And when the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Just as the Father has sent Me forth, so I am sending you.’ And having said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit!'” The disciples were facing in , “behind closed doors”. But Jesus showed up and called them to face out and go forth. Those doors probably flew open. No longer would there be a “quiet in the land”. The Lord came to embed “missional DNA” into their foundation. Jesus said in Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” God sent His Spirit, and He did so in a way that is unique to sending. (Acts 13:4)

In that moment 2000 years ago “behind closed doors”, the Lord established His directive for the church until He returns. He instantly created an apostolic environment, a new community “ethos”, when He said, “Just as the Father has sent Me forth, so I am sending you.” Suddenly there was an emerging missional culture where there had been none before. He was sending forth His disciples into a society completely oblivious to the gospel. Much of the church (whether advertently or inadvertently) has become increasingly non-missional. And much of the difficulty the church has experienced may be directly linked to the loss of a missional ethos. For a long time it has been church defining mission, but I believe a fundamental realignment is at hand characterized by mission defining church. And thus it is no wonder we are hearing the Lord speak through Scriptures like John 17:18 where Jesus said about His disciples, “(Father) In the same way that You gave Me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world.”(Message Bible) Could this be because our culture today is nearly as blind to the gospel and its need for Jesus Christ as it was in the first century? At any rate, the Lord gave His followers the task of continuing the mission that was given to Him by His Father. And the DNA code or life-force that pulsated through those first New Testament disciples is being awakened within us. It is going to be awesome to witness the evolution of this new community that finds its reference point in its missional (sending) emphasis.And it’ll be interesting to see if in 2008 this won’t be a primary emphasis of the Lord and infuses all areas of church life including discipleship, praise and worship, the Word preached, and the structure of services.

This new kind of church environment will have a transforming effect on those who are connected to it, directly or indirectly. The “ethos” of a church community is not to be underestimated. Acts 2:42-47, Acts 4:31-34, and Acts 5:13-14 describes the effect a mission-centered, self-devoted church culture can have on a people and a city. For instance, Acts 2:47 says they were, “Constantly praising God and being in favor and goodwill with all the people; and the Lord kept adding (to their number) daily those who were being saved (from spiritual death)”. Why isn’t this favor and influence as common today? One reason may be that the gap is widening and the alienation increasing between today’s culture and the church at large. Those first century believers went to the people, embodying and proclaiming the gospel, caring for them in the context of their need. He sends help from His sanctuary.”(Psalms 20:2) They moved out from behind closed doors, embodying and proclaiming the gospel contextually. As a result they were a counter-culture IN culture without being anti-culture! This may well be one of the church’s essential learning experiences in 2008. (I was thinking it might be fruitful some time to re-visit the book of Acts through missional lens. In the book of Acts, we can see the sending ethos lived out.)

The church that embraces this call will not only be a spiritual focal point of the community it resides in, but a sending base into that community and points beyond. This is essentially the extension of the gospel Paul is describing in II Corinthians 10;15-16 when he says, “What we’re hoping for is that as your lives grow in faith, you’ll play a part within our expanding work. And we’ll all still be within the limits God sets as we proclaim the message in lands lying beyond you.” As we have said, the goal is no longer just to sustain and strengthen the local body. It is also about going forth, connecting to unbelievers and making sense of the gospel in ways relevant to them. This instead of only being concerned with getting them to church. We bring Christ and the church to them. It’s awesome to see everything stripped down again to its simplicity. And I believe a boldness in going forth will directly affect the clarity and speed at which the future unfolds.

Because of our God-given aversion to “dead works”, it’s nice to know there will be no chance that our mission will be comprised of empty, vague, “evangelistic activity”. No. What we are talking about here is the result of God’s initiative. It is rooted and grounded in God’s timing for His church in this hour and will unfold with increasing clarity. There are huge changes taking place all around us; the growing secularization of culture, the needs of the next generation, changing world views, relativism, the epidemic of religion, and a diminishing regard for the church. People are struggling for definition – an entire culture is in flux. There has been a great shift. This is why it’s so important for a truly sent people to serve and plug into the culture contextually – bringing them Christ. Lost people need to realize that the God they feel they do not know or who they believe does not care has in fact been at work in their lives in many different ways. And I believe the Lord has gone ahead of us; that He is already present and active in the culture that He will be sending us to engage. This can give us great confidence. Therefore we not only bring Christ to the people, but we go forth and discern what He is already doing with those people and get in on it. Psalms 11:9 says, “He has sent redemption to His people” and if we are partnering with God as Christ’s ambassadors, He will make His appeal as it were through us.

As this profound sense of being sent becomes the center of our focus, church “ethos” in 2008 will undergo radical change.

On Eagles Wings

May 3rd, 2007

  This may seem like a somewhat trivial little thing but it ended up speaking volumes to my heart:

Yesterday morning I was at our gym and this one young mom comes in every morning to work out and has her 2 year old little girl with her. Her little girl is such a doll and I look forward to seeing her each day.

I needed to walk over and mail something at the Post Office so I asked the mom if her little girl could walk with me. She said sure. So we set off, me holding her tiny little hand. It seemed like it took us about 10 minutes to go that one block because she has to take such tiny steps (and she was wearing flip-flops! too cute). We got there, mailed the letter and then I decided I wanted us to get back faster so I PICKED HER UP AND CARRIED HER.

The Lord brought this back to me this morning while in prayer as an example of what He does with us, with our limitations, our “weaknesses”. He could walk there right beside us, holding our hand, letting US set the pace, but then there’ll come a time when He’ll just lift us up, and we’ll be carried as if on eagles wings and be caught up in HIS momentum to get to the destination He has for us!