Chirstian life Tag

8-1-10

As I posted early this week I came across Thomas Watson’s Exposition of the Beatitudes and I post his writing on a pure heart. I wanted to post his writing on hunger and thirst for righteousness, thought it was equally good.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

A duty implied: ‘Blessed are those who hunger’. Spiritual hunger is a blessed hunger. (more…)

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Last week was a much welcomed and needed chain of events for me. My friend Lloyd from Canada whom I have not seen since last November came to town for a worship conference. He brought his two sons whom I have not seen in 10 years, since they left Kansas City and went back home to Canada, and 4 other friends of theirs.

It was great to see his boys and catch up with them as well as hang out with Lloyd, he is a great man of God, we helped plant two churches here in KC. This is what our time together was like.

On Wednesday we had dinner together at a Chinese restaurant, had a amazing Chinese girl wait on us whom came to find out was a believer, we had not only great conversation among our selves but with her to.

After dinner we attended the night of worship at the conference lead by Chris Tomlin, so Wednesday was a full night of fellowship, food and worship. We had church, international church, six Canadians, one American and one Girl from China.

Friday we had lunch at Oklahoma Joe’s, voted best Bar-B-Que in the country this year. Had a great time of fellowship and food. Then we went to IHOP and had a time of worship with Misty Edwards leading worship, one of the most passionate lovers of God around.

After 2+ hours of worship we went to the mall, where Lloyd ran into Herbert a guy he did ministry with in Africa 3 years ago, who has been involved at IHOP (House of prayer) and he and his wife to be are leaving at year end to plant a church in Columbia. After a great time of fellowship with them, leaning about Herbert his wife to be what God has been doing with them and where He is taking them. We went to some old friend I have not seen in a couple of years from my old church plant. We all had a home made spaghetti dinner. Two guys from China joined us that are staying with them, so it was very international, Americans, Canadians, Chinese setting down to eat Italian food. We had church again, all day church that is. Then we went out for ice cream and a movie. Then sadly my friends had to head back.

But what a time of deep fellowship in Christ, every day should be like that, good friends, good food, great worship and Christ in the middle of it all. That’s church. I miss those days when that was the norm for me. I want my life to be like that again, that to be a normal day in my life. All day church.

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I feel the need to splash the cold, but refreshing water of gospel truth in my face every morning for now on.

Why? The gospel reminds me not only of my right standing before God, but also that I brought nothing to the table with respect to my standing with God. The gospel is not something we leave at the front door to pursue Christianity without, as most do. I believe the abandoned of the gospel was at the heart of what Paul was referring to when he got upset with the Galliano. When he said that they began in the Spirit but deemed it necessary to carry out their life in Christ absent of the very thing that gave them life, the gospel (Galliano 3:3). They apparently thought, as do many Christians do today that the gospel was for the unsaved to hear to be saved but not needed to facilitate growth in or maintain their walk with Christ.

Without the foundation of the gospel, sanctification can become just a process of sin management, which is what it is for most Christians today. The gospel has been replaced with programs and how to strategies to keep their “sin managed”. It places a focus on me, my sins, my ability and my strength to live out Christianity. My self and other to define who I am. Versus focusing on Christ, His work, His power, and who I am in Christ. Paul indicates in Romans 7:7-14, that highlighting the sin to avoid will only make one gravitate towards it, this is why we must focus on the gospel and Christ.

The gospel ensures dependence on the work of the Spirit, since it is He who enables the believer to walk according to the gospel. The Spirit bears testimony to Christ and facilitates obedience to the gospel. We are able to accomplish this work because of the indwelt Spirit and His gifting not of anything, means of our own doings.

The gospel is the foundation of our Christian being. Spiritual maturity requires the gospel on an on-going basis. Growth and true fellowship cannot happen without it. So the next time we think the gospel is just for beginners, or that it is a message for only the lost, lets think again.

Therefore I chose to do as I stated above, to splash the cold, but refreshing water of gospel truth in my face every morning. To renew my mind every morning with the gospel, to wash away the filth of this world and the lies the enemy bombards me with daily to erode away the truth of the gospel and my position before God in Yeshua, my messiah, and Lord.

51ma-qyg1lL“The Kingdom Life” edited by Alan Andrews with several authors contributing to it, explores the practical theology of spiritual formation. The book brakes down  spiritual formation into two parts, process and theological. The books begins with the seven process elements and three theological elements.

The book does not go into great detail on all the steps for spiritual formation, and I would have liked for it to have more steps/examples than those given. I for one like to have more that the destination given to to, I like a good road map to get to the destination.

Several parts do overlap, but over all it is a good overview of discipleship and spiritual formation. A good recommended for a new Christian as well as for mature Christian to keep your mind refreshed and on keep on track with your spiritual formation.

Your life will truly be changed as you apply the truths of this book to your life. Put into practice what it says, it is a worthy read that you will benefit from no matter where you are in your walk with Christ. Here is a quote from page 119 that I like.

The spiritual heart can be strengthened, it’s passions made greater. Can we imagine that by engaging God in the way He recommends in Scripture, we can have a passionate spiritual heart that directs our transformation? That it would keep the internal and external in balance? That would bring congruency to all of life? It is crucial to understand that one does not arrive at such a state by wishing and hoping.”

That is what the book is about, knowing, applying, doing.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Not only does everything in our lives that is inconsistent with the Kingdom of God start to die the moment we encounter Him, but the superior, supernatural reality of His Kingdom starts to come alive in us. It is not possible to encounter One so overwhelming and maintain the status quo.

Those who respond to the invitation find little else to live for. Those who say no spend their lives looking for an adequate replacement. And there is none to be found, anywhere. – Pastor Bill Johnson

Love this statement by Pastor Bill Johnson, just to bad this truth is not being taught from every pulpit in America. All but the last two sentences of this quote should be found true of everyone who claims they are saved, a Christian.

060810How things have changed over the last 30 years, I was thinking as I was doing my evening bible study that how 20 years ago you could go to the tape library, book store of just about any church and could find the pastors teaching on any verse of the bible. The reason was most pastors taught through the bible, usually verse by verse.

Having spent 10 years at Calvary Chapel, I had heard teaching on every verse in the bible about two and a half times. I could go to the church book store and for $2.00 get teaching of any chapter of any book of the bible and take it home and hear teaching on it. Today I dare you to even find a church who’s pastor teaches the entire bible verse by verse. You will not find a CD with teaching on every verse of the bible for you to pick up, and that is a tragedy.

Today people are not being taught the word of God, they have no knowledge of God’s word, the Apostle Paul stated “for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Act 20:27). Meaning he left out nothing of God’s word. But pastors today are shrinking from declaring the “whole counsel of God” that is all of scripture, all of the word of God.

The only places I know one can get, find verse by verse teaching for sure, find a library of CD covering every verse of the bible, that is every verse read and taught on is at Calvary Chapel, my old church, as well as most of the other Calvary Chapel’s. Pastors like Mark Driscoll and John Macarthur cover just about every verse of a book.  People say that that bible teaching is widely available to anyone in the US, but that is not true, we have a lot of teaching about the word of God, but not actual teaching of the word of God. We have a lot of teaching that tickles the ears, but not verse by verse teaching.

This must change, we need to fill the pulpit with men who can and do teach as the Apostle Paul stated “the whole counsel of God.” that is every word of scriptures, teach verse by verse through the bible leaving out nothing.

I have asked myself the question many times the last year… “What is the normal Christian reality or “Kingdom reality” that we are to be living?” I do not mean what is the popular belief today, not what is being taught from most pulpits, in most books today, but what scripture says is, that is what God says is. I keep wondering why do I read of one kingdom reality in scriptures, but see most living another reality around me. I mean if you pick up the NT read it and define what the normal life for a Christian. Then I asked myself the question, “Am I living in this reality? Are most believers living in this reality compared to that?

My answer to this question is, No. I believe that for to long we have allowed ourselves to live to far from living in true Kingdom reality. Christians, have taken themselves so far from living in Kingdom reality in order to embrace the American (Christian) Dream instead. What do I mean? I mean that the so-called impossible, miracles, healing, deliverance, preaching the gospel, making disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit and all His powers and gifting’s, etc. Act 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you“, John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do“. How many live in that reality day to day? Seek to live that way?

With the recent outpouring of the Spirit happening at IHOPU and other places I pray it will open eyes to God’s original plan, life for His people, what is to be normal. So many scoff at those whom the Holy Spirit and His gifts are being poured out on in power, at those who are living as the scriptures say we are to, doing what Jesus said we will do when the Spirit comes upon us. While defending a lifestyle not seen anywhere in scripture for a follower of Christ.

I feel as though this is the time for us to re-define what is “normal” Christianity; and lining up with God’s definition of normal. That we read the scriptures and say that is “normal”, the way my life is to look, the way I am to live, read Acts and say that is the way my life is to be, that’s normal Christianity and I want it.

C. H. Spurgeon, Charles Finney, Smith Wigglesworth, Leonard Ravenhill, George Whitefield, D L Moody, William Carey, George Mueller, John Hyde and Edward Payson.

What do all these men have in common besides God doing some of His greatest works through them, leading revivals, changing nations, and that they all where gifted with power from on high to do great and supernatural works.

In studying their lives I found three things they all had in common, Prayer, Fasting and the Word of God. I found that all of these men prayed for hours a day, they fasted regularly, they all both studied the scriptures daily and preached the word of God. And I found that all of them say those things where the secret to the power of God in their lives, prayer, fasting and the word where at the core of ther life with God. And if you study all the great men of the bible like Elijah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Jesus’ Himself of course, you will find those same three things in their lives also.

I do not mean casual prayer, I mean hours a day of agonizing, passionate prayer, a prayer life measured in hours a day not minutes. Prayer that went form sundown to sun up without ceasing was the norm.

Edward Payson: He was nicknamed “Praying Payson.” It has been said that the wooden floor at his bedside was worn by his knees from his often prevailing.

Leonard Ravenhill: “No man is greater than his prayer life.” and “Pastors who do not spend two hours a day in prayer are not worth a dime a dozen – degrees or no degrees.”

Smith Wigglesworth: Never went more than 15 minutes without reading the word.

George Mueller: “I live in the spirit of prayer; I pray as I walk, when I lie down and when I rise.”

What I found was they spent almost as much time on their face before God praying as they did upright before men it seems. They all studied the scriptures day and night, tell the word of God was flowing through there veins, filling their every thought and conversations with others. And they fasted weekly, and for as long as 40 days on a regular bases, prayer, being in the presence of God was their food. Studying the word of God was their substance.

I think the example set before us by these men is one for all of us to follow, put into practice in our lives.

I do not believe for one minute that it is a coincidence that every great man of God, everyone who has lead a great work of God was a great man of prayer. Men who labored in prayer daily for hours at a time, I believe that is the kind of person God uses. It is only out of daily face to face encounter with God that God’s power and presences flows, the person whom God does His greatest work through.

I for one chouse to follower their lead, and what I believe God wanted me to learn from the last few weeks. So I have made the commitment to become a man of prayer just as all of those I listed above where, to spend no less than two hours a day in deep, prevailing prayer, to be an intercessory, to pray without ceasing.

This is about God changing the way I pray, the how, why and how much daily. This is a whole another level of prayer, way of praying, deeper, more passionate, more spirit centered, more others centered. God is teaching me how to pray all over again, His way. I want to pray as the men I listed prayed, have their prayer life, pray like Jesus prayed. To be contented in another post….

Read the Acts of the Apostles and all you read about is prayer, prayer, prayer. When they had prayed the place was shaken, lives where changed, the power of God was manifested, souls where saved, people healed, the world was turned upside down and the kingdom of Heaven was brought to earth, that is what I want my prayer life to be like.

Acts 6:4, “give yourself continually, persistently to prayer and the Word of God.”

0306202304“When we pray up it brings heaven down. Without prayer the supernatural can not invade the natural, but with prayer the kingdom of heaven can invade and change the kingdom of man.” God proved this last night in our gathering, the Kingdom of Heaven invaded last night.

I had a awesome night of warship and prayer last night, gathering for over 5 hours with the body. Had a incredible encounter with God, face to face with Him, His glory, His love, His forgiveness. I came away changed by the encounter with God. Woke up sing songs and praising God. Last night I experienced ‘when we pray up, heaven comes down’.  (Jaeson Ma learned the same thing yesterday, must have been God’s theme for the day.)

God did amazing work in me last night, chains where broken, I was freed of things in my past, and thoughts that kept me a prisoner of my past. The Holy Spirit was on me is such a powerfully way. I have been changed, made a new person from this day forward I pray. I woke up singing & dancing before the Lord covered in His love & presence, singing “Who the Son has set free is free indeed, Halleluiah, Halleluiah!”

It is in the time spent in the presence of God, in prayer and fasting that we meet God face to face, that we truly get changed, grow in are likeness of Christ. A persons level of likeness of Christ, spirituality, transformation will not rise above the level of prayer life we have. Both the amount of time and the depth of our prayers, time waiting on, listening to God vs talking. Hours of deep prayer a day, result in a deep abiding relationship with God, and a life transformed into the likeness of Christ, a life formed by the will of God.

missional-livingI have read so many blogs about being Missional, heard so many people at conferences that talk about being missional. But yet the vast majority of them are not living Missionally.  Too many who are not living Missionally criticize those who are. And too many talk about it, tell others to live Missionally while not living it themselves. And that is so wrong, people should be leading, teaching by example, if you are not doing it then you need to get busy and live that way if you want to talk about it.

In light of that, this is what I now ask people who say they are living Missionally, who write and speak about living Missionally. Because I ask these very questions of myself.

How may people did you share the gospel of Jesus with today? This week?
How many came to the LORD while you shared the Gospel with them today? This week?
How may people did you baptized this week? (it should match the question above)
Who are you currently discipling? (you meet with daily long term as did Jesus)

The above is the great “mission” given to every follower of Christ in Mat 28:19, Mark 16:15 and in Act’s 1:8.

All of these are Jesus’ marching orders to His followers, the mark of a follower of Christ, at the core of Jesus mission for us. It is imposable to be on Jesus’ mission unless you are doing these things, this was/is His mission on earth.

Next I ask:

Are you feeding the hungry? Did you today? This week? How did you personally do it?
Are you clothing the naked? Did you today? this week? How did you personally do it?
Are you giving drink the they thirsty? Did you today? this week? How did you personally do it?
Are you visiting, lay hands on and pray for the sick? Did you today? this week?
Are you taking in strangers? Did you today? this week?
Are you visiting those imprisoned? Did you today? this week?
Are you setting any captives free? Did you today? this week? How did you?

This is what Jesus said if you do not do the things above: Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Mat 25:31-46 Jesus did all these things daily during His life,  so He is saying if you are saved, you too will do them, continue His mission.

I believe all of those are the basic requirements to live Missionally (and according to Jesus the actions of someone whom is saved), living on mission is to be living on the mission of Jesus. So unless we are doing them and doing them daily,  we are not on His mission,  living Missionally according to Jesus. Yes there is more to living on mission, Missionally, but these are the core, must be doing things.

In summery, I believe the only way we can claim to live on mission, to be living Missionally is if our life is fulfilling Mat 28:19, Mark 15:16 Acts 1:8 and Mat 25: 31-43. So I will ask you the same questions I ask myself, how did you live those out today? This week?

So before you write a book, blog about, speak at a conference or tweet about being missional, I will ask you to answer the above questions first. Before you tell others to or how to, or criticize those who are living it out.

As for myself this is how I chose to live on mission, to live Missioanlly, by imitating the life of Jesus, being obedient to His commands (like the ones above), to continue His mission with my life as I see in scripture.