From Religion to Relationship :)

From religion to relationship. Yes, yes, yes…

This was the journey of Saul of Tarsus to become the Apostle Paul. It took a paradigm shift, a transformation of mind to heart. Jesus got his attention, blinded him for days and then gave him new eyes to see! Jesus showed him that it wasn’t about rules, but about relationship!

I read this recently…

“If you believe the wrong thing, it will take away the power of the right thing. For example, if you’re legalistic and think that you have to earn your way to God, the importance of grace diminishes. I think of how before Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, Saul the persecutor operated in pure legalism. When the scales fell off his eyes, his religious mindset was not just broken, but God created a new nature in him. In this new nature, Saul turned Paul was not only freed from the religious pressure nagging him in his inner thoughts, but also his mind was renewed.” (Shawn Bolz, God Secrets.)

Legalism prevents us from intimately knowing the Father in the greatest relationship we could ever have.

Legalism also keeps us from loving others, and stuck in just knowing about others and easily slipping into judgement.

Does learning the truth about others always set one free? Maybe not. I can think of learning a few things that did not bring me peace.

BUT, seeing God’s Truth about others is another thing…

Seeing how God loves someone stuck in legalism/religion, whatever… (and instead seeing HIS Truth available to them), helps to set me free to love them as God loves them, and pray for them.

I’m still learning this.

Yes… there IS the call to wipe the dust off our feet when our gift of peace is not received… When peaceful relationship is not welcomed, keep walking… Freedom is elsewhere. Submitting to religion (or someone’s legalism) is not freedom. I don’t want to be Saul of Tarsus or friends with that guy! I want to journey with Paul and see God do mighty things!! God’s kingdom is about freedom!

Ask God:

Where am I trapped in my thinking?

What do you want to set me free from?

Who do you want to set me free from?

(Friendship is related to the word ‘freedom’. If you are trapped, constantly torn apart, that is not a friendship, that is abusive. One of the hardest things to do is walk away from someone you love who has continued to abuse you, manipulate you, control you… Tough love is no longer enabling someone’s pattern of abuse, legalism, religion, etc. Loving them is showing them that behaviour is not okay.)

God, what promise do you have for me?

What gift do you have for me?

Enjoy a 2-way relationship with Father God who made a way through His son Jesus.

Read and Meditate on His Word.
Ask Him questions.
Listen and Write.
Pray it all back to Him!

Christianity is not a religion (earning our way to God’s love), it’s a relationship (He is love and extends His love to us through His son Jesus who opened the doorway).

 

31 Days of Prayer for the Church in Canada

Hey, Canada! 🙂

Are you ready for God to move in and through you to share His love in your family, your city, your country of Canada?

Join your fellow Canadians in a hunger and thirst for God to move across our land.

Help yourself below to the… 31 Days of Prayer Guide for the Church in Canada

Recognize God’s Power in the Church:
We, the church, are called and equipped to be the fullness of Christ
who fills everything in every way! (Ephesians 1:18-25)

31 Days of Prayer for the Church in Canada

 

How do we approach truth?

truth vs lieJust read this today and my heart leapt…!

Jesus calls himself “the truth” (John 14:6), and the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:7; 16:13). Any time we are not living from Jesus’ perspective, the foundation of truth, we are in some way connected to the father of lies, the devil. When we experience negative or painful consequences as a result of choosing to talk in truth, we may be tempted to quit. This is exactly the point where our faith in God’s truth gets tested. To choose to speak the truth in love, even when there is great cost to us, confirms our trust in God’s ways, rather than our own ways.

Are you willing to risk being truthful in love above anything that you fear or anything that you desire? God is truth. Are you willing to put God, His truth and His ways above anything that you fear or want? Are you willing to go beyond your fears and desires and expose whatever needs to be exposed for you to be truly known?

Remember: Truth without love is harsh and destructive; love without truth lacks substance. It must be truth with love.

I say… Yes, yes, yes, yes! Avoiding the truth only leads to bondage. Jesus, who is the Truth, invites us into freedom when we walk in His Spirit who is Love.

Source and learn more from…

Barry and Lori Byrne
Nothing Hidden Ministries
http://nothinghidden.com

Do you live in fear or in expectation?

nathan-dumlao-287713I recently was blessed by these words sent to me in an email story…

Expectation positions us to see miracles, big and small. It sharpens our vision and focuses our attention towards God. It liberates us from apprehension that blinds us to the majesty before us.

Instead of being shackled by fearing the worst, we’re free to recognize and receive what God is delighted to give.

What are your current expectations of God?

And how does He want to expand them? 😀 

Graham Cooke, Shawn Bolz and Jonathan and Melissa Helser are doing an entire 3 day event this coming weekend on how to create a lifestyle of EXPECTATION in God! The event is sold out but you can click here to join the Livestream!

And beyond the event? Enjoy some brilliant perspectives…

What is the true job of a pastor?

The other day I had a delightful call with a young leader who brought up the topic of how a Pastor’s role appears to have terribly wandered today. I did a little digging on what others are saying…

“Most books on church growth and leadership today argue that if pastors continue to do what pastors have done for so many years, they will fail.”

Too many churches today operate with leadership models started in world models and adapted to the church. This is dangerous. Why?

These business models allow people to put pastors on pedestals.

These models puts the needs of the church first and forget outside the church.
The goal becomes building the church’s own kingdom rather than the kingdom of God. (Megachurch mania.) It’s the…, ‘If we build it, they will come’ mentality. And yet, we are called to go

But, pride leads to destruction…

Proverbs 18:12 (CEV)
12 Pride leads to destruction;
humility leads to honor.

And, selfish ambitions destroys a church…

James 3:16 (GW)
Wherever there is jealousy and rivalry, there is disorder and every kind of evil.

Instead, the role of the pastor should be based on a biblical model…


So, what does the Bible actually call a Pastor to do?

1. Pray first.

“Jesus lived a life of prayer. He started every day in communion with the heavenly Father. He ended every day in close relationship with His Father. At times, He even spent the whole night in communion with His Father. Jesus actually was in touch with His heavenly Father all the time.”

2. Do life out of a deep abiding relationship with Jesus.

“Over and over, the Scriptures show us that Jesus placed the highest priority of His life on spending time alone with the Father. His life reveals an intense passion for the presence of God. His heart longed and hungered to touch the heart of God.”

3. Preach the Word that is living and active, for heart transformation!

“We must study the Bible, not for curiosity, but for a new heart.”

4. Be in relationship with others. Do life with people. Don’t just lead meetings.

“Christ’s method builds relationships and meets needs.” Jesus didn’t die and rise again for us to be in meetings.

5. Then teach others how to do the same. (Emphasis on relationships.)

When Jesus began His public ministry, He called and empowered people to be His disciples— who would champion His world changing cause. As Robert Coleman says in The Master Plan of Evangelism, “His concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow. . . . People were to be His method of winning the world to God.”

6. And live a life of sacrifice.

Time, resources, and life unto death… willing to get in the muck. I recall this list…

12apostles

God calls us to live the life Jesus lived. Pastoral ministry is not about us, but about Him—about knowing and serving Him.”

Read the full excellent article here: The Biblical Role of the Pastor

Related: Epidemic: Another Pastor Burned Out and Quit Last Sunday

Intentional Meals Together?

“Cook at home and enjoy family meals.”
I read these words recently in the newly updated food guide…

feast.togetherThanks to a young friend recently visiting from Germany, who inspired us, I have been encouraged to ALSO include EVERY family member in the making of suppers, no matter the initial headaches, and turn them into a s..l..o..w.. going culinary social event from start to finish.

Food prep, feast, clean up…

I realize that though our Canadian family is one of the few (it seems) who aren’t running off to a million events after downing a quick fast food supper meal, I realized we still were not eating slow enough… like Europeans seem to do…

feasttogether

These folks across the ocean seemingly take 2-3 ours of everything together – food prep together, eat together, drink together, visit together… and often then games together.

I like this.
Intentional togetherness feasting.

I’m thinking too of the early house churches where the communion dinner was a full intimate meal and not like now in many places with little cups and little wafers done assembly line like and quickly with no interaction with others.

So, I’ve been re-inspired to swim upstream in my culture…

Make meals together.
Eat together.
Linger together.
Celebrate together.
Play together.
Bonus delight: invite a friend or two, or a family or two on the whole process! Adopt others into your family for dinner.

Forget the too many cooks in the kitchen theory.
(Yikes, did I just say that?)
Let’s make it work.

I wonder too…
Could we have less anxiety and depression in our country if we did this more…?
Less isolation…?

(Wow, all that prompted from the newly updated food guide…)

 

Inspired by:
8 ways Canada’s new food guide will change how you feed your kids…
https://www.todaysparent.com/family/family-health/new-canadas-food-guide-is-awesome/

We Can Hear from God

We Can Hear From God (Listening Prayer)

listen

Is it possible to come to God like an inquisitive child?
– Mark 10:13-16 – Jesus encouraged the children to come to Him.
– Matt 18:1-5 – Be like little children… (inquisitive, trusting…)
– Gal 4:6-7 – We call God our Father because Jesus lives in us. We are His child.

listeningDoes God answer our questions?
– Jer 29:12-13 – when we seek Him with all our hearts, He will listen.
– 2 Chron 7:14 – when we humble ourselves and repent from sin, He will listen.

Can we trust that we are hearing from God?
– John 10:1-5 – God’s people will hear His voice.

Steps in Hearing from God
1. Start with the Word of God. Read a passage such as one listed above.
2. Invite the Holy Spirit to open your heart and your mind to His voice.
3. Ask God questions, expecting that He wants to give you answers.
4. Test the answer. Then accept or reject the answer after careful testing.

To analyze an answer from God:
1. Is it Biblical? (We need to know His Word.) Think of a verse. Look for one.
(Memorize God’s Word. Put it in your mind to get rid of the negative.)
2. Does the Holy Spirit give you peace?
3. Do other believers agree that it is from God? Ask a mentor/friend.
4. If you accept it, will it bring fruit (Gal 5:22,23) in your life? How?

Accept the Answer?:

Thank God
Believe God
Act on it – God wants me to….
I will tell ____ to hold me accountable.

Reject the Answer?:

Ask God where it came from
Ask God what He wants you to do about it
Analyze the answer

“Be still and know that I am God.” – Ps 46:10a

Now use one of the worksheets below!

Hearing from God. Full teaching notes

Listening Worksheet – Qs to ask God – for Adults

Listening Worksheet for Kids – I love using this with my boys!

Here’s my post on my first experience using this back in 2011…

Discipleship Things We’ve Forgotten

people-praying-together
“Success is not the pastor or the staff executing all the ministry; it’s them equipping the saints to do the work of ministry.”

“If you seek to build a church, you rarely produce disciples…If you seek to make disciples, you always get the church.”

“Pray about God giving you 3-5 men you can invest your life in for the next 12 months, and challenge them at the end of 12 months to replicate the process. And you watch what God does.”

“Jesus restricted 90 percent of his time to 12 men. And out of the 12, he restricted a large portion of his time to three: James, John, and Peter.”

Listen or read the interview notes here:

http://churchleaders.com/podcast/302734-robby-gallaty-jewish-jesus-discipleship-things-weve-forgotten.html

Mind Blown: Amazing Disciplemaking Story

A new missionary friend I met at a coffee shop birthday party the other day, sent me this disciplemaking story that made me weep with delight! She sent…

Hey, check this out!

A guy who was orphaned, drug addict, met Jesus, and grew in being discipled and started a discipleship making MOVEMENT. thousands of groups are all over the world… reaching to 8 generations of disciples!

Reminded me of our conversation the other day about, “What is church?”

(Listen to the full audio interview of Lee Wood and enjoy PDF outline…)
http://moredisciples.com/2016/12/24-wwdjd/

 

Listen to it yourself for the full impact of this incredible story…!
but here are some of my notes…
I’m going to listen to it over and over myself!

Poor deeply into the few!! (Don’t go for the numbers.)
We can suck at it.
But, God redeems and multiplies!!

Coach and train others!

You take care of the depth.
God takes care of the width!

Pray one hour or more before stepping out! (YES!!!)
The disciples asked Jesus…
“Teach us to pray!” They didn’t ask him to teach them to preach.

John 14:21

“Anyone who has my commands and obeys them, loves me. My Father will love the one who loves me. I too will love them. And I will show myself to them.”

He manifests in us.
If you want to see the magic, you just got to do the stuff…
Obey Him. Abide in Him!

It’s His pleasure to give us His kingdom.
We’re praying for His kingdom.
He’s our King.

There is joy in suffering and hardship together.
It’s not processing systems. It’s organic.
People are drawn to Him in us as we suffer together.

In the West, it’s a bad church model.
When we talk about this fast growing movement, people look at you like you’re crazy. Most of us in the West are products of a bad model.

What is the difference between a rockstar and a DJ?
A Rockstar wants the fame, the DJ wants everybody to dance.

He wants us to be faithful, and He takes care of the fruit.

Don’t measure yourselves among yourselves.
Don’t compare yourself to each other.

Abide in Him.
Do not seek to produce fruit.
He is the One who gives the increase.

We don’t see much fruit in the traditional Western church because we have short relational ties. We’re too busy. We have consumeristic and materialistic mindsets. If we die to ourselves daily, we will bear much fruit.

Go.
Tell.
Train trainers.

Do not become weary.
Keep doing what you’re doing.
You’ll get better at it.

We are the family of God…
He redeems!
He uses us.

God is faithful!

Lee’s mentor trained him how to multiply and Lee has trained others.

Here’s access to the training at:

Zumeproject.com

My Process of Healing

victory

“Watching is a vital part of praying. God wants us to seek out the holes in the walls of nations, churches, and individual lives. Just as David and Joshua found out why God’s blessing had dried up, it is our job as prophetic intercessors today to find these gaps and fill them with prayer.” – Murray Dueck

I was standing in the gap…
with the gap becoming wider and wider …
and watching some who once prayed with me, lose their way…

“…Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning. But every time he lowered his hands, the Amalekites began to win.” – Exodus 17:10b-11

…and, eventually my body said, ‘enough is enough’ and crashed…

BUT…

The process of healing and renewing my strength…

…(with bits of my story) has been the following so far… 🙂

1. Blessing Prayers and Breaking Curses

2. Heart Wound Healing Prayers

3. Inner Healing Prayers 

4. Bonus: Something I’ve learned about my gifting while resting…My Spiritual Sensitivity and Burden Bearing

Thought: One advantage of chronic fatigue and chronic pain in recovery from ministry fatigue? I feel the Lord’s presence more strongly. I can tell when the Holy Spirit has given me more of His strength. Because I’ve got nothing. It’s like a jet propulsion or something.

Less of me, more of him! 🙂 Sweet Jesus, thank you!