Tag Archives: faith

Christian Leadership Development #7

Essential Skill #5

The Art of Delegation

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          As the ministry grows the necessity of delegation grows as well. The need for delegation arises when we reach our natural and spiritual limitations. When a ministry becomes more complex, a point is reached where the leader is no longer able to cope with every aspect of the ministry on their own, realizing that neither time nor their own efforts are adequate to meet the needs of the people they are leading. Before this point is reached a plan for delegation should already be in place.

          The inability or unwillingness to delegate to others can stall ministry growth and produce burnout in the senior leaders. This is a common mistake that small ministries make and many times it is the reason they stay small.

          A great analogy for delegation is, “the ability to score without touching the ball.” Learning to accomplish things through others involves the skill of delegation and it is an imperative part of effective leadership.

Self-Awareness

self awareness

          The Art of Delegation begins with self-awareness and an honest assessment of our own limitations. Identifying the areas where we are weak will help us target the right people with the right graces and abilities to compliment the ministry. No one likes to admit they have areas of weakness, but the reality is we all have them.

          An honest self-assessment can be difficult and usually requires the input and feedback of other leaders and peers. If you are married, your spouse can be a huge asset in this department. The point is, don’t just trust your own point of view because your perspective can often be filled with blind spots. We all have blind spots and we need others to help us see from a broader point of view. The need for delegation is often a blind spot with many leaders.

          In Exodus 18 we see a powerful example of the need to delegate. When Moses was leading the children of Israel he came to a point where Jethro, his father-in-law, had to point out his need to delegate responsibilities. Moses was sincere, but the need to delegate was his blind spot.

Exodus 18:13-23  And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. 14 So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?”

15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws.”

17 So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. 18 Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. 19 Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. 20 And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. 21 Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.”

blind spot

          Bearing the burden of ministry yourself is never God’s plan. As individuals we are not capable, even with God’s help, to fulfill all He has called us to do. We are called to community and relationships. Every part of the body has a role to play, a function and purpose that will help edify the body as a whole.

          Every leader must come to the realization that he needs to surround himself with solid relationships that he can share the load of ministry with. This is the only way to fulfill God’s plan.

          There is a powerful truth in Ephesians 4 that will help us understand this.

Ephesians 4:16 – From whom (Christ) the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Notice in this passage that supply comes from the joints in the body, not the parts of the body.

          A joint is where two parts meet together, like your elbow or knee. It is the RELATIONSHIP between the parts.

          A healthy joint causes both parts to be more effective, more mobile, and increases the ability and strength of both connected parts. It is no coincidence that Jesus used this analogy. If you have ever had an injured joint like an ankle, knee, elbow, or wrist, you know how debilitating and restricting it can be.

          It is the relationships between the parts that bring the needed supply for ministry growth. If relationships are healthy, every part in place effectively working and doing its share, growth and edification in love is the result.

          This is why it is so important to be deliberate and intentional about who you delegate to. Maintaining a healthy relationship with those to whom you delegate is essential for success.

effective-delegation

Some Guidelines for delegation:

  • Delegate early.  

Make an effort to delegate responsibilities early to avoid unnecessary pressure. This avoids undo stress on the leader and sets up the person you are delegating to for success. Waiting until things get to the point of neglect is poor stewardship and makes it difficult on everyone involved.

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” ~ John C. Maxwell ~

  • Select the right person.

Ensure that the person has the character to represent the ministry and the time to take on the responsibility. Before sending them out to tackle the new responsibility, make sure the person has all the training and resources needed to succeed.

“Delegate to people who are better than you and let them do the work. Look for people who will aim for excellence and not settle for anything less than the remarkable.” 

  • Set clear goals and expectations.

Be clear and specific on what is expected. Give information on what, why, when, who and where, but leave the “how” to them. Don’t be too concerned about how it gets done, but that it gets done right and on time. Confirm and verify goals and expectations on a regular basis and get updates on progress. This gives you an opportunity to give needed feedback and encouragement.

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” ~ George S. Patton ~

  • Delegate authority with responsibility.

Giving people the authority to make certain decisions, use their own creativity, and even recruit others to help accomplish the task allows the person to take ownership of the responsibility and shows that you value their opinions and trust their judgement. This helps maintain a healthy relationship and grooms them for leadership.

It is frustrating to be given a task and no authority to make decisions on how it gets done. Micro-managing every task you delegate will run people off and prevent you from building a strong leadership team. The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling while they do it.

“When you delegate tasks, you create followers. When you delegate authority, you create leaders.” ~ Craig Groeschel ~  Founder of Life Church

  •  Evaluate and recognize performance. 

Evaluate results more than methods. Celebrate the wins and give credit where credit is due. Analyze the cause of any insufficient performance but don’t be too quick to take a project back. Rather, continue to work with the person and ensure they understand the project to be their responsibility. Give advice on ways to improve and be willing to be a resource yourself. This sends a message that you believe in them and that you want them to succeed. This approach inspires people and ensures dependability.

“No Leader will build a great ministry that wants to do it all themselves or take all the credit.” ~ Andrew Carnegie ~

          Delegation is one of the most essential requirements for a successful ministry. It is the key to fulfilling God’s vision with excellence and provides an opportunity for others to de­velop their skills and abilities, gaining enough competence to fill higher positions in case of need.

          Every person we lead has amazing, God given gifts and talents. Delegation is a great way for people to function and develop in their gifts. This promotes growth in the individual and brings healthy challenges that stretch their faith and empowers them for Kingdom use.

“The greatest leaders are those who empower others.”

Question: What are two reasons that delegation is important?

Question: Why is self-awareness important when delegating responsibilities?

Question: What are two areas you are weak in?

Question: Can you name three guidelines for delegation?

Question: What was Moses “blind spot” in Exodus 18?

JC

Christian Leadership Development #6

Essential Skill #4

Communicating Grace

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            Once we have given our due diligence to skillful listening we enter the arena of communicating grace.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Grace is one of the most important words in the Bible and can be easily defined as,

“The divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life.”

            Grace is God’s influence, not necessarily ours. Keeping in mind that God’s influence, should be palpable in our speech will keep us humble, gentle, and conscious of what is being imparted in our conversations.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

            The word corrupt in the previous passage simply means, “Worthless and of no value.” If our words are not ministering grace to the hearer it shouldn’t be coming out of our mouths. We should constantly be judging our words before we speak, asking ourselves, “Is this going to edify, help, and bless? Am I truly speaking from the Lord’s perspective, or just mine? Is my tone right, are my motives pure?

grace05            As leaders, we must understand that God uses us as a mouthpiece to speak to others. God does not take this lightly and neither should we. The Bible is replete with scriptures about the power and significance of words and the effect they have on our lives. What we say and how we say it can literally be ministering death or life into a person’s life or situation.

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

            This reinforces the importance of being a skilled listener, but even more so, the importance of our own intimate relationship with God. Our spiritual condition has a profound effect on our ability to communicate the heart of God.

Love is the license to speak truth

            An area I see young leaders often miss it is in their delivery of truth. Truth is received in the manner it is delivered. The Word of God is truth. It is also a sword, a double edged one at that. Truth should never be delivered with the intention of “straightening someone out,” or “correcting someone.” Let me explain:

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

            This is the most misused misinterpreted and misunderstood scripture in the New Testament to justify the Bible bashing, finger pointing, and judgmental approach to correcting people in the name of God. Actually it is a self-centered, self-righteous assault on people that comes from not understanding their identity in Christ and opens one up to the influence of religious spirits.

            Notice that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God.” God is love according to 1 John 4:8. So we can conclude that if the delivery of truth isn’t inspired by Love it is NOT profitable for doctrine, it will NOT reprove, it will NOT correct, it will NOT instruct, it will NOT complete, and it will NOT equip. It just cuts, and it cuts deep. Love is the license to speak truth. If we don’t have genuine love and compassion in our hearts toward the ones we are speaking to, we have lost our license to speak on God’s behalf.

nausia.03            Let’s say you love a perfectly cooked ribeye steak. It may be your favorite food in the world, but if I serve it to you wrapped in a dirty diaper you aren’t going to eat it. It’s the same with delivering truth. The word of God is so powerful it can change a life but it must be palatable, seasoned with salt, full of grace, and delivered in sincere love for it to be received.

            If we are not imparting God’s grace, communicating God’s heart, and being a vessel of God’s love, we should remain silent. If we can’t correct that on the spot we may need to stop and reschedule a time to finish the conversation giving us time to pray or seek council from another leader. Don’t be pressured into speaking when you know your heart isn’t right.

            There is a simple rule that will keep us from a myriad of problems if we apply it.

silence speaks

“When we speak, be sure it’s an improvement on silence.”

            Following this rule does a few things,

  • It slows down the conversation and keeps us mindful of the power and purpose of our words.
  • It diffuses conflict that arises from elevated emotions.
  • It teaches us the value and power of silence.
  • It gives us greater control over ourselves and the entire situation.
  • It allows us time to hear from our heart what the Holy Spirit is saying in the situation.

            Personally, I believe this is what was happening in John 8:1-11 when Jesus was writing in the sand with His finger while everyone pressed Him for an answer to judge the woman caught in adultery. I think Jesus was simply giving His heart time to tell His mouth what to say.

            Not being willing to speak until He heard from the Father is a lesson that every leader should take to heart. There are few worse feelings than knowing we have hurt one of God’s children with our words.

            As leaders, we think before we speak, selecting words that nurture and build up rather than tear down and destroy. When faced with hostility we speak gently so as to diffuse anger and emotions rather than feed them. When faced with uncertainty, we are slow to speak, letting silence speak to the person and God speak us.

“Godly communication isn’t merely a skill, it is a discipline.”

Question: What is the definition of grace as it pertains to communication?

Question: What defines a “corrupt” word as stated in Ephesians 4:29?

Question: What are 3 things to keep in mind before we speak?

Question: Before we speak, what should our words be an improvement on?

Question: What license must you have before you can speak on God’s behalf?

The Discipline of Watching

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Understanding Watchfulness

         What did Jesus mean when He said “Watch and Pray?”

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

          Just what are we watching for?

         I remember going to a store one day and remaining in the car while my friends went in to do some shopping. In the car next to me was this little dog sitting in the driver’s seat staring intently at the door of the store. This little dog would not take his eyes off that door. Every time the automatic doors would slide open the little dog’s ears would perk up. He would stand with his front paws on the steering wheel panting, wide eyed and tail wagging expectantly. Time and time again people would come out of the door that was not his master and the dog would return to his intense watchful position, not disappointed, but with an obvious understanding that one of these times it will be his master, he had only to wait patiently.

watch3.png         As I watched this dog the Lord showed me through this simple illustration that this is what He is talking about when He said “watch.” Eventually the little dog’s master did exit the door. His excitement and enthusiasm came unhinged! I could hear his happy little whines and yelps as he watched his master walk strait to the car. His love and appreciation for his owner was unquestionable.

         They could not have been apart for more than 30 minutes, yet the dog greeted his owner like he had been missing him for a month. To this dog, his master was the most precious person on the planet, and could not bear to be apart from him for any length of time. It was so obvious this dog loved his master with everything that was in him.

         What would it be like if we saw our Heavenly Father this way? What difference would it make in our lives? How would it affect our relationship with Him? What would it do to our perception of life? How would it affect our joy? Our peace? Our faith?

         After seeing this little dog I am convinced that we often take the Lord for granted. That we don’t really relate to Him like He is the creator of the universe, the master of ALL. Our hearts are divided, our minds are distracted and we allow other things matter more than what should matter most.

         The Bible says to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all our needs will be met. (Matt 6:33) Yet we continue to approach God with our laundry list of needs and wants like He wasn’t serious when He said that.

         The gospel of Jesus Christ is about living a life with a very narrow, focused perspective. To maintain that perspective we must be imitators of Jesus. Jesus said this:

John 5:19-20 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.

         Jesus ONLY did what He saw. Jesus was able to do what He did because He constantly practiced watching the Father. He truly did “seek first the Kingdom of God.” Could this be a big reason that we don’t see the level of supernatural life that we read about in the book of Acts?

         The discipline of watching moves us from being a child/servant to a mature son. It is only the mature sons that can receive an inheritance. (Gal 4:1-2)

         The discipline of watching creates an awareness of God that puts all of life in proper perspective. The more we keep our attention and focus on Him, the clearer we become on who He really is and who we really are to Him.

         The discipline of watching produces an integrity of heart that makes resisting temptation easy.

         The discipline of watching keeps you prepared to face anything that life would dish out to you.

         The discipline of watching produces humility and He gives His grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5James 4:6-7)

         The discipline of watching may be the most important part of prayer. When we practice watching, we know what to pray for and how to pray. We know what to do and how to do it. We position ourselves to be a trusted vessel that the Father can use to flow through.

JC

Submission and Authority

submission1

Rom. 13:1-7 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

1 Peter 2:13-17 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme. 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

          We must settle in our hearts that all governing authority comes from God, in whatever form. Not just our spiritual authority that we see in church leadership, (pastors, associate pastors, ministry department leaders, etc.) but the natural governing authorities as well. (Local government, state government, the president, law enforcement, commanding officers, bosses, teachers, parents, landlords, etc.)

          All of these people are appointed and anointed to fulfil a certain role in the lives of people. Not just Christians, but all people. Whether we agree with that authority or not, it doesn’t change the fact that God put them there for a specific purpose, to fulfil a specific role, and we are to honor that person as God’s representative. His delegated authority. Yes, even the ones that you didn’t vote for, and the ones you think are evil.

Titus 3:1-2 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.

          In the last 60-70 years we have lost so much concerning honor and respect for authority that in our society today, people have no problem speaking evil about the President, parents, teachers, law enforcement, or anyone else that they don’t agree with. It is pathetic, dishonorable, and shows the absolute depravity of our generation.

          It is amazing to me how many “Christians” believe that they have rights. The right to automatic respected, the right to speak any way, about anyone they choose. The fact is, you can be right in your position and sacrifice your righteousness. Being right and being righteous are not always the same.

          If you truly give your life to Christ, you lay down your personal rights. It’s no longer about you, it’s about God and others. It’s about Love that never seeks its own benefit or agenda. Being born again means that you were purchased, paid for, redeemed.

          If you buy a house and pay for it in full, you have the right to move in and do what you wish with the house. God the Father purchased you with the precious blood of Christ so that He could come and live in. He sent the Holy Spirit to clean up the house and prepare it for His habitation.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

          Obedience to God’s authority is what enables you to host the presence of God. Look at what Jesus said to His disciples just before the crucifixion.

John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

John 14:23  Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

FAITH WORKS BY LOVE!

submission3.png          You can’t be completely submitted to Christ and refuse to submit to authority. They go hand in hand. To be submitted to one you must be submitted to the other. If you don’t submit to one, you are not submitted to the other. They are the same.

          If we don’t come to this realization we will live a powerless, frustrated Christian life. The measure of Christ’s authority expressed in our life is in direct proportion to the authority we understand and are submitted to. If we are not under authority, we will have no authority.

          Submission to authority is not submission to a person. It is submission to God. It is an act of love and honor for God and His appointed/delegated authority, as well as the anointing upon that person. It is an act of faith that shows your trust in God’s way of doing things.

1 Peter 2:18-19 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.

          Many Christians believe that they are submitted to authority and yet they speak negatively about their President, other government officials, law enforcement, their boss, their pastors or leaders, and think its ok. It is not! When you speak against authority, you speak against God Himself! You actually subvert your own authority when you speak against those over you.

          You may say, “I didn’t vote for that person so I don’t recognize their authority.” That just means that you don’t understand submission, you don’t understand authority, and you don’t understand who you are, and who’s you are.

          Until you disagree with authority you don’t have the opportunity to practice submission. Submission can only occur when you don’t see things the same way your authority sees them. Disagreement is when submission is tested.

          To believe is to obey. Obedience is the act of faith. Disobedience is the act unbelief. Until you submit to authority, you will never have true spiritual authority. That means authority over sickness, devils, poverty, oppression, the elements, nature. Jesus had authority because He was in perfect submission. Even unto death!

          God has called us not only to receive life through faith, but also to maintain His authority through obedience. God’s plan for us in the church is for us to submit to His authority and to all the authorities He has established. This covers our home, our government, our school, the church, and so forth. He does not want to specifically mark out whom we should submit to. As long as we have met God’s authority in the Lord, we should learn to submit to authority.

          Jesus established God’s Kingdom through submission. Whatever the Lord did onsubmission2 earth was entirely based on submission. He did nothing that opposed God’s authority. Everything was in submission and perfect cooperation with the authority of God. In this way the Lord set up the Kingdom of God and executed His authority. The church today must also allow God’s authority to have its way and manifest His kingdom through our submission.

          There is no authority that is not of God. To resist authority is to resist God. God will not overlook this. Those who oppose will bring judgment on themselves according to Romans 13:2.

          Faith in God is made evident by honoring His position as creator, His authority as our Lord, and by obedience to His word. When these conditions are met, the power of God becomes readily available, and easily accessible.

Honor releases the power that authority contains!

Authority creates boundaries and establishes identity.

Our submission defines our Authority

Submitting to authority empowers us to thrive.

Willing obedience to the King expands and increases the Kingdom within.

Opposition to ANY authority is opposition to God.

Understanding authority, and functioning within authority enables great faith in God’s authority.

Submission to authority is simply coming into agreement with the authority above us.

All of man’s problems are due to living outside the realm of God’s authority.

Only those who submit to authority will have great faith.

When we disregard, despise, speak against, or deny authority, we sacrifice and subvert our own authority.

If the matter of authority is not settled, all other matters will remain unsettled.

The One above us is now INSIDE us because we declared belief in Christ. If we now refuse to submit to the authority inside us it is the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

The Fight for Your Identity

good tree, bad tree

What kind of tree am I anyway?

Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.

          This is an amazing formula for faith, and a great example of the faith principle in Romans 4 of “calling things that are not as though they were.”

Romans 4:17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;

          The quotation in Romans 4:17 refers to Genesis 17:5. God spoke this over Abram when He was 99 years old and childless. At the same time God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and changed Sarai’s name to Sarah. In changing the names, God forced them to say the same thing about themselves that He had just said about them. Abraham means, (“Father of a multitude,” Sarah means, “Mother of nations.”) In the name change, God was showing Abraham and all who would follow after him, the principle of faith that God Himself operates by. He speaks things into existence.

          Let’s apply this to the good and bad tree.

          If you see a tree that has apples and avocados growing on it, what would you call it? An apple tree? An avocado tree? A hybrid? Would you just make up a name? The truth is, you wouldn’t know what to call it.

         The Bible says in Isaiah 61:3 that we are “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.”

          When we look at ourselves and behold the fruit of our lives, we see our mistakes, our bad habits, our inconsistencies, our failures, our secret sins, and we think “I must be a bad tree.” But then we look closer and say, “Wait a minute, not all the fruit in my life is bad. I help people, I am faithful to my church family, I serve in different areas in the ministry, I love people, I am generous with my time and resources, so not all the fruit in my life is bad. I am confused! What kind of tree am I?”

          We see the good and bad fruit in our lives and gravitate towards walking by sight and living by feelings. The Bible says that we are NOT to live our lives this way.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

          We cannot allow our physical senses to dictate our identity. We must set ourselves in agreement with what God has spoken about us and not be moved by our feelings and our fallen experience. What we see, feel and experience must never be a consideration in light of what God has said about us. Abraham, the father of faith, has set the example for us.

Romans 4:19-22 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

          Abraham refused to consider the weakness in his flesh, but was fully convinced that what God said about him, God would bring to pass.

          So the question is: What has God said about us?

Romans 5:17  For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Colossians 1:21-22 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.

          God says that He has made us righteous, holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight. Although we may not look like that in our sight we must not consider what we see and believe what He said about us is true.

          How we refer to ourselves, the words we say about ourselves should align in agreement with what God says about us. When we begin to speak what God says about us, the grace of God is released in our lives to transform us into what He has spoken. When we align our words with His words, the fruit of what He said will start growing in our life. This is how we make our tree good. This is how we fight the good fight of faith. This is what produces transformation in our life.

          The Old Testament is full of stories about natural battles. We must look at those physical battles and learn how to apply them spiritually to our lives. For the most part, we see two ways that God calls his people to battle.

  1. He gives His people specific instruction on what, when and how to conquer the enemy. When Gods people follow the instruction, He is with them in battle and the victory comes easy.
  2. He tells His people to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. He fights the battle for us and the victory is ours.

         When fighting to be free from our sin nature, to live righteous and holy, we tend to try and do this by our own works. We struggle against our sin, our bad habits, wrong thinking and destructive cycles of failure and disappointment. This type of behavior will only produce a sin consciousness that insures failure. The Old Testament has already proved that no one can become righteous by works.

          Submitting to the authority of the Holy Spirit on the inside of us places us in a powerful position to be transformed and overcome the sin nature. We must call ourselves righteous and holy, believing that He is at work in us to bring that to pass. We follow Abraham’s example and call things that are not manifest as though they were.

           Confess that you are righteous, confess that you are holy. Thank God for freeing you from sin and transforming you into His image. And if you stumble and fall, run to God and say “I am sorry Father that is not me! That is certainly not You in me! I thank You for the Spirit of grace that is transforming me and shaping me into Your image, removing that junk from my life and molding me into everything You have created me to be. Thank You for fathering me! Thank you for loving me, for believing in me, for being patient with me. Thank you for completing the work that you began in me. Where would I be if You didn’t father me.”   

 hold fast         This is a good example of biblical confession. This type of confession sets you in agreement with His work and His plan for your life. This will produce the fruit of righteousness and holiness in your life.

          In the battle for our identity we are supposed to follow the example of our father Abraham and set ourselves in agreement with His word, letting the Spirit of grace shape us and mold us into His image. We are not to consider the weakness of our flesh, but stand strong in faith, trusting that God is able to bring His word to pass in our lives.

So hold fast to the confession of who you are in Him and trust that He will complete the work that he began in your life.

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Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Sacrificing Your Authority In Prayer

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          I learned a very valuable lesson about authority in prayer and I would like to share it with you.

          During a prayer meeting at our church a faithful member of the prayer team came forward with a typed out prayer for our president that she said the Lord gave her the day before. She was allowed to read the prayer and we agreed with her. It was a very moving, scripture based prayer that was loving, considerate, compassionate and powerful. It immediately got the nod of approval of all in the room. It was a prayer that inspired confidence and faith in all who prayed it. This lady had obviously heard from the Lord.

          As those in the group were commenting about how powerful it was, the Lord spoke to me directly and said, “Why didn’t you pray for your previous president in this manner?” I immediately knew what the Lord was talking about. I remembered the many times we lifted this former leader up in “prayer” and I was reminded of some of the opinionated requests, the tone, the attitude, and the complete disregard for this man as an individual. We weren’t praying out of love for our president, or even love for our country. We were praying against him, not out of love, but out of selfishness and self righteousness. Our motives were wrong, our heart was wrong.

          I shared what the Lord had showed me and the entire prayer group received it and we all repented before God.

imagesKTTXQM40          When praying for yourself, or others, its important to consider your motives for praying. This may seem overly simple, however there are some areas in our thinking and believing that can be ever so slightly off kilter, and therefore making our prayers ineffective.

Luke 18:9-14  Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

          This is a powerful example of sacrificing authority because of selfish pride. The Pharisee presented himself as better than “other men.”  Notice in verse 11 that “he prayed thus with himself”. In other words God is not even listening, he is praying to sound spiritual and be heard by others.

          Although this sounds terrible, it gets much worse!

James 3:14-16 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.

imagesQ0UZ0FDP          When we pray from a place of bitterness, envy, and selfishness we become a landing strip for every evil work. We actually invite demonic activity into our life and have absolutely no effect on what we are praying for.

          Lets look at the rest of this passage in James to see where our heart needs to be when we pray.

James 3:17-18 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

imagesQPX51M5D          Prayer that is made from a place of love, mercy and compassion is a prayer that is heard and answered by God. Prayer made from a place of selfishness is not heard by God, but is an invitation to demonic influence.

          Pray for people, never pray “against” people. Praying against a person is an invitation to confusion, demons, and every evil work. It is earthly wisdom learned from the fall of man and perpetuates the enemy’s agenda.

          If  we check our hearts and motives before we approach God with prayer and make sure we are praying from a healthy place of love for the person, we can be confident that our prayers are effective.

JC

Where does the Supply Of The Spirit come from? (you may be surprised)

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The supply of the Spirit is largely governed by the relationships with other Christians in our local assembly. 

Ephesians 4:16 talks about the body being knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working of every part.

           Take note that it is the joint that brings the supply, not the body part. Think about a joint in a physical body. The joint is the relationship between the parts. The place where two or more body parts meet. When the joint is healthy, and the adjoining parts are healthy (doing their part) it dramatically increases the overall abilities of every part. 

          When Christians give themselves completely to the betterment of  the other parts. It enables the Holy Spirit to come alongside and make you exceedingly more than the sum of all the parts.

Colossians 2:18-19  Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

          The level of supply, nourishment and unity experienced through horizontal relationships, is a reflection of our vertical relationship. If we don’t have a healthy growing relationship with our Father, we won’t have healthy relationships with others. It is imperative we spend time with our Father, beholding Him so we can be more like Him.

are2          We are instructed in the Bible how to behave toward others so that spiritual empowerment would be available to all parties. We know from scripture that natural things must come before spiritual things.

1 Corinthians 15:46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 

Spiritual supply comes from natural behavior.

          Imagine all the body parts are sharing their strengths and abilities with all the adjoining parts, bringing their supply if you will. There is something in that exchange that honors God and invites the Holy Spirit’s involvement.

          When the parts share in the work of ministry, something supernatural occurs in the relationships between the parts, inviting the Holy Spirit to provide what is needed for growth and edification. Sounds a lot like Grace doesn’t it?

          Think about an knee joint. If the joint is healthy it helps the entire body walk, run, carry heavy loads, etc. But if that joint is hurt or strained, it hinders the mobility, progress, and overall function of the rest of the body. Relationships in our Church are the very same way.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

This passage describes the Christian’s model for existence: LOVE! A life free of selfish behavior toward others. All Human behavior is either an act of love, or a cry of need for love.(selfishness)

Spiritual supply comes from natural behavior. So….. behave

Great Prayer Quotes

pray“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” – Max Lucado

“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” – Corrie ten Boom

“If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ.” C. H. Spurgeon

 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” – Martin Luther

“True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” – Charles Spurgeon

“Prayer is simply talking to God like a friend and should be the easiest thing we do each day.” – Joyce Meyer

 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV)

“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” – Mother Teresa

“To get the nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees.” – Billy Graham

“Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.” – E.M. Bounds

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

“The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history.” Andrew Murray

“The fewer the word the better the prayer.” – Martin Luther

 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. – Matthew 6:7 (NKJV)

 

The Gift of Righteousness

  giftof right        How do we become righteous, holy and blameless in His sight? The simple answer is “by faith,” but what does that look like? How do I exercise faith to become what God says about me?

        Salvation, grace, righteousness. These are all gifts. Not something we deserve, not something we work towards. These are gifts, they cannot be earned, they must be received.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

        We don’t seem to have a problem believing that Christ has made us all these thing positionally, we have a hard time believing that we ARE these things ACTUALLY.

        God said He made us righteous. This is not just a declaration of our position in the Kingdom of God and our right standing with the King, but also a promise to become righteous in thought and deed. We tend to follow Abram and try to help God out by trying to do good, behave better, sin less, etc. and in doing so, we become so aware of sin and conscious of our own shortcomings and our ability fail, that we walk around with a sin consciousness and actually war against the grace of God that is meant to change us.

We must believe that God has made us righteous, not just in theory, not just positionally, but actually righteous in behavior and thought, even in the face recent, or even ongoing sin.

        By believing this, we are actually laying ourselves down on the great Potter’s wheel so that grace can mold us and shape us into that very image. This is not a denial of sin, nor does it accommodate sin.

 Romans 5:17  For if by the one man’s  offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

        God’s word contains the creative power within itself to become a reality if we will set ourselves in agreement with it. This takes the stewardship of our thoughts and words, speaking only faith and refusing to speak words of doubt and unbelief.

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        Any concept of grace that makes us feel more comfortable sinning is not biblical grace. God’s grace never encourages us to live in sin; nor does it make room for us to stay the same, on the contrary, it empowers us to change so we can say no to sin and yes to truth.

 

Faith To Become What Jesus Paid For

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          What are you using your faith for? To receive a blessing, or obtain your healing? To lead your family to Christ? To build a business? To get out of debt, or prosper financially? These things are all well and good but they must not be the main focus and predominant use of your faith.

          Falling into the trap of believing for “stuff” is a common occurrence in the body of Christ. We get so caught up in applying faith principles to all areas of our life that we forget, the primary role of faith is to be used in our relationship with our creator. More specifically, we should be exercising our faith to become what He paid for us to be.

We should be exercising our faith to become what He paid for us to be.”

          The primary use of the phrases, “the faith, or the gospel,” in the New Testament always refers to your imputed righteousness, and the good news that you are now free from the curse of the Law and free from sin.

           “The Gospel,” refers to the good news that Peace has been made between God and man. We can now come before God without guilt, condemnation, or shame.

          “The Faith,” refers to our belief that we are righteous sons, regardless of our past or present performance. When we present ourselves to God as holy by faith , it produces the fruit righteousness and holiness in our lives with the help of Holy Spirit. It opens us up to divine influence (grace) that causes transformation. It places us on the potters wheel so He can shape us into what He paid for.

           The Church has reduced “The Gospel,” to meaning, “good news that we don’t have to be sick or poor any more,” and “The Faith,” has been redefined as a method of getting our barns and vats full.

Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.

          Not understanding what “The Gospel” is, and believing that faith is a vehicle to get the things we need from God, is a subtle deception of the enemy to keep us focused on who we were, and not on becoming what He paid for us to be.

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Don’t get too busy dwelling on who you were

and miss believing to become what He paid for.

 

 

JC