Tag Archives: purpose

Don’t Get Lost In Salvation Translation

RejuvenateCan we bring some clarity to salvation? I know that most of us have believed that Christ’s death by the cross did us a favor. We are given the opportunity to enjoy in the benefits of what took place on the cross, but our “salvation from eternal condemnation” was a byproduct of the supreme purpose of God’s approach. I can assure you this, God didn’t go to the cross to make you feel better about your situation now and in the future.

Understand that the actions of this universe go well beyond you and I. Wait…you mean the world hasn’t revolved around us? Contrary to popular opinion, God’s plans outweigh and outlive us; we just get the great opportunity to be included in them. It would suck to not be, right?

Salvation didn’t do you a favor by keeping you out of eternal destruction and “safe.” Salvation brought you back into the presence of God and cleaned you for purpose. You were never designed to be separate and function outside of the presence of God. While hell and the lake of fire create pains that are far beyond imagination in the physical sense, the greatest pain is what is experienced by the eternal separation from the central Source of your life and the absence of the purpose of your life. Understanding that, do not take your salvation for granted, as though God did you a favor. It’s simply much more! You are able to experience and thrive in the presence of the Most High!

Let’s go a little further. God is true to Himself. He cannot lie. He cannot fail. He is immutable, therefore He never changes. If He never changes, His purpose never changes. The intent of His thoughts must be carried to completion. From the scope of His plans for the earth, you and I were created to be the agents that carry out that plan. Because God will not fail, His purpose will not fail. Therefore because God is true to Himself and the plans of His heart, that purpose will never change regardless of circumstances, problems and people. God lives outside of the realm of our circumstances and sin, therefore He cannot be moved by them, nor consumed by them, even though we may be.

Because of our ability to be shaken by our environment and our foolishness to make decisions outside of the will of God that usher us into a sin lifestyle and, yet, still being the agents of God’s never-changing purpose on earth, He had to be true to Himself and provide a way for His purpose to be fulfilled. Therefore salvation became the necessary way to keep God’s plans on track. God sent His Son to buyback those that He ordained to carry out His plans. God didn’t do us a favor, God did Himself one!

Understanding these principles should not discourage you or lessen your perspective of God’s love for you, that is unless you still struggle with a pride issue. On the contrary, it should allow you to reflect on how small we really are, but that we have the awesome opportunity to play such an inspiring and invaluable role in moving God’s plans forward. You get to play a key role in the purposes of God. The plans and ideas that He formulated long before you were even an earthly thought. You literally play a role in shaping the universe!

Don’t minimize God to being the one that did you a favor. Be in awe of how massive and majestic He is and that He desired to have you next to Him, close, as a partner to carry out His eternal plans.

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The Bad Thing About Learning

Challenge YourselfThe bad thing about learning is that you have to get over yourself. Stay with me. Successful people, great leaders, are constantly looking to learn. Everybody has some capacity to learn more, but the thing that separates people is their willingness to learn.
Most people see learning as the pursuit to gain more information; reading books, watching people, listening to speakers, going to conferences, getting higher degrees, etc.. I believe, while that’s true, that it’s not the whole truth. The basis of going to new levels of learning is getting past your own self.

Those that are unwilling to expose themselves to people to learn from or opportunities to learn with, have determined that the ideas they presently have and the information they currently possess are absolute. They’re unwilling to change or be challenged because it would put them in a place of having to internally admit that their thought isn’t the only thought and their way isn’t the only way. Yet to become all that we’ve been purposed to become, we must challenge that philosophy. God’s word clearly teaches us that His thoughts are above our thoughts and His ways are above our ways and in order to gain more revelation from God, we must be willing to accept that we don’t even come close to knowing all that there is to know and we desire to absorb so much more from Him.

Learners are willing to confront and challenge themselves and their ideas; what they know or believe, while it may not necessarily be wrong, it just might not necessarily be the best. And we all like to think our ideas are the best. Learning requires us to be honest about ourselves; it requires us to humble ourselves, to accept that we just don’t know it all. And while that can be a tough pill to swallow, with the right perspective it can also be exciting.

Greater knowledge, gives greater responsibility, but it also gives more power. When you realize that we have an endless God, with infinite knowledge, who can connect us with infinite people and infinite opportunities, you begin to realize the magnitude of your possibilities. You can do whatever you put in your heart to do, you can learn all that you want to learn…but it requires you to clear one big hurdle; you must get over yourself.

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Fishing and Frustrated

Abandoned BoatA short time back I got a phone call from a friend that owns his own business. He had taken on a job that required an extra hand, so he called me to see if I’d be interested in helping him for a few days. I, of course, agreed and made the appropriate plans to be with him on his job site. He’s very knowledgeable and skilled in his craft, whereas I, on the other hand, was there simply to offer whatever assistance he needed. 
Over the next few days, while I worked to the best of my ability, I often found myself frustrated and empty, even though I worked hard and got paid. I would listen to some of his instructions and would still not get things exactly how they needed to be; I’d watch how to use a certain tool, and still have trouble making it work when I got the opportunity. While he’d breeze through a task, the same one would take what seemed like forever to complete. For a person like me that wants things to be done right and excellent, those few days were filled with aggravation, frustration and fatigue. 
And then God reminded me, “relax, your frustration comes because this isn’t what you were built to do.”
This is the life of so many and I have no doubt, it’s why so many work hard, make good money and live completely tired, frustrated and incomplete.
In Luke 5, Jesus was taking a stroll by the lake, teaching, with throngs of people following almost too close for comfort. On His way around the shore line, He passed some fishermen, who at the end of a days work had left their boats stranded and were making their way to clean their nets, minus one tired and frustrated fisherman who was still left in his boat, pondering a day of despair and unfulfillment. Jesus, putting a little distance between Himself and the load of people following, stepped over into this fisherman’s boat, sat down to rest His feet and continued teaching to those on the shoreline that were eager to listen. 
As He finished teaching, He turned and addressed the boat owner, some guy named Simon, who in spite of this great teaching and the presence of the One that was in the boat with him, was still caught up in the despair of his day. Simon said, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing..”  What Jesus did next, is just what Jesus does next when you encounter Him. He changed his life and charged his purpose.
Jesus graciously, allowed him to see that the frustration and lack of fulfillment that he was experiencing, wasn’t from having the wrong tools or equipment or even a desire to succeed, but simply that he was spending his life attempting to succeed in a job, trying to make ends meet, that he was never built to succeed in. (That oblivious chase gets tiring.)
This is the picture of humanity. Working the same routine that I worked for several days, trying to succeed at a job that your personal gifts and abilities were never meant for. God never intended for you to be a slave to a dollar or an accepted routine. He never intended for you to pursue life with so much gas in your tank for success but never any impact. 
My grandfather worked over 50 years as a carpenter; which was a very rigorous and laborious profession. There were times in the summers that I would help him out when I got a little older and I remember him always telling me, “work smart, not hard.” The smartest work you can do, is to listen to the Master and discover that dream, that purpose that He’s built you for, and then work hard to develop it. Don’t be so caught up in the despair of today’s labor and the dream of a paycheck, that you can’t hear God talking to you from inside of the boat, because you’re already plotting on how to pursue tomorrow. It would have been a shame for Simon to be so focused on the day’s failure and the dread of tomorrow that he never heard Jesus telling him he wasn’t even supposed to be on the lake!
Because a frustrated fisherman, listened to the Master, obeyed with an act faith and cared to pursue his purpose, we find something different just a short time later in Acts 2.  A broken, unfulfilled fisherman who spent his days of hard work and caught nothing became an empowered voice of impact, who with his first message had a “catch” of three thousand lives. 
How will you respond to that teacher in your boat?
When all this is said and done, you want to be as Paul was; your life poured out as a drink offering. Not because you’re empty from trying to keep up in a race you weren’t supposed to run, but because you’ve given away every gift of purpose that was in you. 
Put down the net and get out of the boat. Don’t wait any longer. Pursue what’s in you, not what’s around you.
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Are You Taking The Bribe?

Hook of BriberyAs resurrection morning has passed and life afterward carries on, I want to bring your attention to the same scenario, a couple of thousand years ago.

As Jesus was taken from the cross and laid in the borrowed tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, a guard was placed at the burial site to ensure that none of the followers of Christ would attempt to steal His body, hide it and create an elaborate scheme claiming Christ’s resurrection. Turns out, the guards were useless in their attempt to safeguard the tomb, because the resurrection was an “inside” job. The guards were forced to witness prophesy being fulfilled and were rendered helpless of power to change the inevitable. The Bible actually says they “shook with fear and became like dead men.” Their only option was to return to the high-ranking religious officials, now get this, carrying the TRUTH of what happened at the tomb, after all they had just witnessed it for themselves. Matthew says it like this, “some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.”

What happened next was just plain dirty politics, guided by the hand of the enemy. Matthew writes, ‘When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” So they took the money and did as they were instructed;” By definition, what took place with these high-ranking officials negatively influencing the guards through money for their own gain, is called a bribe.

These men, who not only knew, but witnessed the truth, were bribed into trading the truth for deception, and living with it. This reeks of satan; lies, money, deception. Just as these men, post-resurrection, were bribed into giving up what they knew to be right and true, the enemy does the same to you with each day. I challenge you to be discerning, hold on to the truth and don’t take the bribe!

Two ways in which we are daily challenged with a bribe:

  1. You know God. You know what’s right, just and true; His word is clear. You have a testimony. You have witnessed what God has done in your life and the lives of those around you, but culture doesn’t want to hear that. So you’re bribed by culture, you’re bribed by media, you’re bribed by your environment; you’re pleasures and the lust of your flesh dangle opportunity in front of you; corporate and economic success throw in their cash; bad attitudes and selfishness make a play, all to keep you silent about the truth. They don’t want you talking about the God you know is real, the God you know is alive. Although you know the truth, you’ve experienced the truth, you’ll accept a bribe to not take a stand for what’s right, the precepts of God.
  2. You have promises of a plan from God for your life. You have incredible gifts, talents, abilities or at least the potential of these things, in order to fulfill the God-given dreams and plans for your life. You know what’s right. You know the truth about what God’s told you and led you to become, but it’s easier to take a bribe and quit. It’s easier to accept a bribe to stay put and give up, rather than pay the price to fulfill the dream. So many are taking bribes everyday, that keep them from pursuing their best life now, the life that God intended you to live; the purpose God intended for you to fulfill. You’ll accept a bribe of doubt, guilt; Bribes of laziness, bribes in the form of settling,  a bribe that tells you that you’re too old or too young, a bribe that looks like ‘quit’ because it’s too hard. You’ll take a bribe to escape the trials of becoming something, even though there’s a truth in you that’s real and seeded by God.

Stop taking the bribes and live for what you know is true! I challenge you to reflect on self. Allow the Holy Spirit to examine you and expose to you the bribes that you’ve been accepting that are keeping you from standing for what’s right and/or investing in yourself to become all that God has called you out to become. Do not settle for a little upfront money to believe a lie that will keep you from Kingdom success. The resurrection brought life. Don’t take a bribe to remain in the company of the dead.

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Uncommon Connections

“So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. 2And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.” 3So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.” 4Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. 5And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.” 6(But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.)” – Joshua 2:1-6
God has a crazy way of doing things. You never know the pockets of people and places that He hides the keys to your destiny. In our common way of living we tend to hang on to the people we like and agree with and discard the ones that live adversely to us and hold different attitudes and opinions than what we possess. Sometimes we call those people, enemies.
The problem is that God doesn’t see people as enemies, the way we do, therefore the people and situations He chooses to use are hand-picked by an unbiased selection. When we make the decision to see others a little more through His perspective, it opens up another dimension of possibilities for our own lives. More keys to unlock doors of purpose become available.
Rahab, a prostitute, who not only was an enemy to Israel as a Gentile woman, whose people stood in the way of their dreams, but her lifestyle was, also,  adverse to that of the Israelites, was the central figure in providing God’s people with a vital connection to their destiny. She held a key to their promised land.
If you have a dream that’s anything worth dreaming about; an uncommon dream, you’re going to have to begin to realize that your key connections to those dreams becoming reality, can often come from uncommon places.
Don’t count anyone out. Love your enemies. Never burn bridges. Value connections. The people you put off, many times, may be the people you can never replace. Lost keys to doors of dreams. Pray for wisdom, discernment, clarity to see through the mess of people that you would and have generally discarded and take advantage of every connection that God provides you.
Wake up tomorrow with a new perspective and a renewed focus to find those hidden keys of opportunity that have been disguised as enemies.
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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

What I’m about to post will challenge some people, especially those tied to a system, a program or a tradition. I want to challenge you to do something simple, yet necessary; reevaluate your house of worship and it’s leader/s. We will often spend hours and days evaluating purchases, insurance providers, business decisions, doctors offices, etc etc, but it’s never even crossed our minds to evaluate our church body with the same diligence and with the expectation that if it’s not matching the biblical charge of a church, we make a change. Why? You have a right and a responsibility to ensure that your church body and it’s leaders are operating, not as you desire, but by the direction of God.

I want to peek at a passage of scripture that’s used quite frequently by the avid churchgoer and pulpiteer, alike, when referencing the command to attend church.  Hebrews 10:25 says, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves, as is the manner of some.” It is, of course, saying that we have a responsiblity, as believers and followers of Christ the head, to not forsake the gathering of the church which is called the body.  This verse, while very true, has been used in countless tactics of manipulation to coerse the non-believer or non-attender into getting in church. This passage makes something very clear in it’s meaning; we need each other. But what do we need each other for? This is where I believe your evaluation needs to come in.

When that scripture has been mentioned, never have I heard anyone finish what the scripture says or even quote the verse before, when commanding people to not forget to attend church. The continuation of verse 24 says, “but exhorting one another;” The word exhort means to strongly encourage or urge to do something.  Verse 24 says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” This brings me to a very brief but distinct point and challenge.

The body of believers that you are assembling with and the leader/s that you are assembling under are important; attending church regularly is important, but that assembly is necessary to encourage you and challenge you to become something more in Christ, on your way to pursuing God’s vision for you as a Kingdom citizen.  Take this quick litmus test:

  • Does your pastor and the circle of people you are closely connected to in your church, urge and excite you to become more than you are?
  • Is it a place that your gifts are being discovered and stirred?
  • Do they refuse to allow you to sit, comfortably, in a church service each week without falling prey to mediocrity and just being a part of the crowd?
  • Are your leaders and church partners a regular source of joy and encouragement, stirring up love and support as you grow and develop?
  • Are you challenged to become more because of the body you’re connected to?

My suggestion is that you reevaluate; make yourself answer these questions and be honest with the results. Dissension, division, pain, aggravation and insecurity unfortunately, find their way in many of our churches and leaders, and if we’re not careful we’ll subtly find ourselves dying in their influence because we remain connected out of our loyalty or comfortability, but God has an incredible plan for you and wants to connect you with the right people that can shape you to achieve these dreams. If you’re not being encouraged and challenged to grow, maybe it’s time to rethink what you’re connected to!

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When God Speaks

When God speaks to us, He speaks to our “real” person, not the person others see or how we see ourselves. He’s talking to that Kingdom man or woman inside of you; the original intent of our being. That’s why when God speaks, tells you to do something or drops dreams and vision into your spirit, and it seems foreign, crazy or impossible to you, you’re trying to process in the natural what you first need to grasp in the Kingdom.

When you transition your thinking to Kingdom first, you’ll be a large part of making things happen “on earth as it is in heaven.”

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I’m Not In The Army Of The Lord!

Lol, I just threw you a curve ball didn’t I? As a matter of fact, some of you are probably ready to war against me now; and this is the problem with our religious upbringing. 

It’s no wonder why we struggle to grasp Kingdom concepts and understand the authority that we possess in the Kingdom; we’ve been conditioned since we were kids (in the church at least) with some pretty horrendous, “sounds right but not Bible” teaching.  I remembered a Sunday school song today…sing it with me…

                I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery

                I may never fly over the enemy, but I’m in the Lord’s army, YES SIR!

                I’m in the Lord’s army, yes sir! I’m in the Lord’s army, yes sir!……yada yada yada

Do you have any idea how Kingdom-ly wrong this song is? It sounds good and it’s catchy for the kids, but why not teach them the truth?

Truth is, in a kingdom the citizens do not fight in the army, but enjoy the privileges of the protection of the army. The Bible clearly identifies the angels as the military component of the Kingdom of heaven, yet we teach others that there’s still something to fight for.  We don’t fight our battles, we are to enjoy the protection of the angels and the victory afforded to us by Jesus Christ.

Have you ever considered that this is why you’re still in your struggle, because you’ve involved yourself in a fight that wasn’t yours? Your job is to pursue and fulfill purpose and it’s impossible for this to happen if you’re constantly at war!

The Bible often refers to a band of angels as a “host.” When you understand the meaning of this word, you see that it means “an army.”  In Luke 2:13, when the Messiah has been sent to earth to reestablish Kingdom principles, even the armies of heaven pause from war long enough to give praise and honor. “Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.’

Isn’t it interesting that as Kingdom authority was being restored to mankind, the host (armies) of Heaven were proclaiming peace on earth to those that were in the adopted lineage of God? A reassuring statement that, as long as you are connected to the King and a citizen of the Kingdom, there’s not a battle that you will need to fight, we fight the Kingdom battles; we speak peace over you…enjoy the protection that is a benefit to our citizens!

I know I’ve wrecked your whole doctrine to this point, but in order for you to maximize who you are built to be and what you are appointed to walk in, you need to begin to understand the truths of the King! Instead of sweating and dealing with stress, worry, fear and anxiousness of battle, next time pray and thank God for the protection and benefits of the Kingdom and grant He and the host (army) of Heaven access to get involved in your situation.  You stay out of it, stay confident and pursue what you were built to do!

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