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).

 

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

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

What should women do?

womenbuildup“Just imagine what would happen to this church if all the women left.”

The looks on the men’s faces turned from indifference to shock and horror. They realized that the vast majority of the ‘hands on’ ministering was happening because of women. The women were faithful and valuable to building God’s kingdom!

Jesus has tons of things to say about women in his ministry. Just look at: Luke 8:1-3 to see their significance for Jesus’ ministry. And these were even women once considered castaways…

Jesus traveled around from one town and village to another. He announced the good news of God’s kingdom. His 12 disciples were with him. So were some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses. One was Mary Magdalene. Seven demons had come out of her. Another was Joanna, the wife of Chuza. He was the manager of Herod’s household. Susanna and many others were there also. These women were helping to support Jesus and the 12 disciples with their own money.

(Luke 8:1-3)

I love this quote from Dr Scot McKnight…

When we ask the question of women in ministry, the debate almost immediately gravitates to traditional “women in ministry” texts. But I’d like us to ask another question — one both more biblical and more answerable:

Do women DO in your church what Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Priscilla, Junia, and Phoebe did?

Do they do what Mary did?

Do they do what Jesus encouraged women to do?

Here’s a deeper look at what these women did…
(and which the Bible honours.)

Miriam was a prophet who offered what has to be considered one of the most potent interpretations of what God did at the Exodus (Exodus 15:20-21).

Deborah was judge of Israel (Judges 4-5).

Huldah also served as a prophet (2 Kings 22:14).

Priscilla was a teacher of the gospel, a “co-worker” of Paul —this is a virtual title for a distinct group of apostolic ministers of the gospel —and a leader of the church (Acts 18:18-19, 26; Rom. 16:3-5; 1 Cor. 16:19; 2 Tim. 4:19).

Junia, and this is now a consensus among scholars, was an “apostle” (Rom.16:7). We might try to minimize the word “apostle” to “missionary,” but we do so only out of prejudice.

Phoebe is called a “deacon” (not “deaconess”) and an epistatis, which might mean “benefactor” or “president” (Rom. 16:1-2).

(Excerpted from an article written by Dr Scot McKnight, a Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University (Chicago, Illinois) called: “Women Ministering” on www. cbeinternational.org)

So… what can women do when their hearts are surrendered to God?

According to the Word, they prophecy, judge/lead, teach the Gospel, minister, lead the church, become apostolic, building God’s kingdom and not their own.

The most beautiful thing is not what women do with their own talent, but by the power of the Holy Spirit…

bringing light
…to a dark world.

This is what God calls and empowers women to do!

Healing Prayer For Harmful Memories

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Have you ever seen something that brought you distress or even traumatized you? Do you have any harmful images you’ve internalized that periodically come back to upset you?

What do you do with these harmful memories and images?

Read: Healing Prayer for Harmful Images (Soul Shepherding)

 

Prayers: Healing Heart Wounds

How can you receive healing in your heart wounds?
If this can be helpful for others, I’m sharing the goods! 🙂

This below is some material that was given to me after I was prayed over by others for 3 hours to break word curses spoken over me that perhaps accumulated over 10 years of being a pastor…

(For part one, see From Curses to Blessing that will open up in a new window.)

Then… this was the 2nd part that I have continued with to find healing and to pray for others…

(These are material I have found for free online…)

1.) Assessment: These below list negative emotions/thoughts/strongholds that could be present in your life (whether in people around you in your environment or in you yourself)…
Discerning a heart wound which needs healing
Heart Issues that could need healing
What is in My Heart? worksheet

2. The basic process that will take intentional prayer focus and time.
7 prayers – Strands

3.) A sample of how to do it…
Prayers That Heal the Heart – 7 Step Model

 

4.) How to pray over others to break these things (after praying for yourself).
7 Prayers That Heal the Heart.intercessors
(This is especially healing to pray over anyone who has caused the wounding in you.)

More info:
To read the full book, purchase on Amazon:

Prayers That Heal The Heart

You can also find videos and audios to assist…
For more info: http://www.cwgministries.org 

When Men are Silent

IMG_5832
What happens when men keep silent…?

(I wrote a post recently… When We Silence Women …but let us also highlight the value of men’s voices…) 

We need to hear both voices of men and women, not spoken in fleshly anger, but in bold Spirit-led risk-taking obedience… Dr Larry Crabb reminds us of the value of men’s voices…
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I always wondered why Eve put up a fight with the serpent, but not Adam…? …and this was before the Fall. Whatever the reason, it is a perfect example of why we need both men and women to speak truth and defend it together…for the sake of the world! We need each other. Remember, God created Adam and the world was not yet complete. It goes both ways vice versa.

My prayer…

I’m praying for our men to hear God’s voice clearly above all other voices… Praying for more of the Holy Spirit to give them courage to live out their calling… Praying against overwhelm and confusion, against shame and paralysis. Praying instead for their unique Holy Spirit anointing so that they may enjoy a victorious walk with Jesus!

“Men are uniquely called to remember what God has said and to speak accordingly, to move into dangerous uncertainty with a confidence and wisdom that comes from listening to God.”

Enjoy the book by Dr Larry Crabb: Men of Courage: God’s Call to Move Beyond the Silence of Adam