Public Relations 101: the spiritual battle

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As we look at Luke 20:1-8, we see Jesus rocking it out at public relations as He always did. It’s Passion week at this point. Jesus has already made His triumphal entry at the end of Chapter 19. The air is thick with praise. The universe seemed ready to burst any minute with praise and worship over King Jesus.

Ever felt that way in worship? Like you’re just going to explode right on the spot with worship and you’ve just got to get it out? Jesus said if the people stopped their worship, the very stones would cry out! He is worthy and He will be praised, but, a rock isn’t going to have to take my place at worship. I love Him, and my praise will be done by me, amen and thank you very much. Lord Jesus, may I never miss and opportunity to tell You just how beautiful You are…

As He approached and saw the city of Jerusalem, He wept for her. I know something of the deep sadness that comes over you when you see someone who just can’t see what’s there as they reject what GOD has for their life; choosing a destructive way of life instead. Heartbreaking. I want everyone to know my Jesus and how it feels to be close to Him. It’s breathtaking.

Jesus went right to work. He was there for a reason, and He stayed on the planned path. First things first. He cleaned house. Ever felt like that? I know I have come home and seen a hot mess going on and had enough and I “cleaned house” like a banche….saying, I.have.had.enough.of.this. This party is o v e r. Jesus went into the temple and saw these people desecrating it by using it to make a profit. He threw them out! He is not playing around with this glory stuff. It’s Daddy’s house, and His glory. Done and done.

Lord, I pray there has never been (and never will be) a time that I have perverted your call on my life by profiting from it. I never want to be thrown out from Your presence. There are so many ways to do that. Ever seen GOD do something powerful and took the credit? Ever wanted to make a name for yourself, all in the name of working for The Lord? Ever tried to manipulate things so that someone sees you do what you did for The Lord and His people? And get mad when you think someone is doing a better job than you, or getting more attention than you…..all in the name of “serving The Lord”? Ever tried to manipulate a situation to make your life easier….on that committee?

Ever been led by fear that someone is trying to take your place and begin trying to discredit them?

That’s what the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders (a.k.a. the Sanhedrin) were trying to do. Jesus caught them sleeping on the job by allowing those things to take place in the temple. They were embarrassed and angry. They wanted to destroy Him. So, they did what any good committee would do: they marched themselves in and disrupted things. They made a scene. You know they were puffed up thinking they had Him right where they wanted Him because of the way they busted right in on that crowd and questioned His authority to throw the merchants out of the temple. They didn’t really care about the answer, they just wanted to arrogantly debate. Ever known someone like that…..who doesn’t really care one way or the other, they just want to fight?

As He often did, Jesus turned the attention back on them. Finding themselves in a no-win situation, they said they didn’t know the answer. Having caught His opponents in a trap made by their own hands, Jesus also refused to answer their question. What a genius!

What is our response to criticism and opposition? Do we anticipate it as the Bible says we should? Do we act as Jesus did? He remained calm and always addressed what was at the heart of the opposition instead of the behavior itself. He remained on the task of completing the mission here on earth.

When we are truly following Jesus, people will question our motives, attack our character, and ridicule the authority we have been given by GOD to serve Him and change lives here on earth. We need to do what Jesus did. We need to mimic Him through our patience, professing the Word of GOD, and stay committed to the task GOD gave us. We don’t need to get caught up and distracted by the emotions. I mean, that’s the real plan anyway….to get us distracted from what GOD has for us. It’s all a spiritual battle. All of it.


Let’s all just stay on task. Let’s live, lead, and love like Jesus, ok?

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The Need To Impress

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Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in The Lord is kept safe. Proverbs 29.25

The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in GOD protects you from that.

Fear. Fear. Fear. The opposite of peace.

Fear can torment, dilute your impact, and snatch your ministry.

Instead, Focus on Pleasing GOD and the fear of others’ judgement will disappear. Attempting to impress others will stop. It’s trap! We aren’t performing here. This isn’t a competition. This is real life. A real eternity is at stake.

Focus your attention on sweet Jesus. You can trust Him. Take the energy you’ve been using to impress others and pour it into trusting Him…..the One that will never leave you, or forsake you.. This is how we stay connected to Him and are made keenly aware of His presence. Begin today in baby steps to take GOD at His word and before you know it those giant leaps of faith will come in victory. And, that fear of others’ opinions will be no more.

If you’ve noticed your impact and ministry being diluted, begin now to let your faith be bigger than your fear.

The Need To Impress

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Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in The Lord is kept safe. Proverbs 29.25

The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in GOD protects you from that.

Fear. Fear. Fear. The opposite of peace.

Fear can torment, dilute your impact, and snatch your ministry.

Instead, Focus on Pleasing GOD and the fear of others’ judgement will disappear. Attempting to impress others will stop. It’s trap! We aren’t performing here. This isn’t a competition. This is real life. A real eternity is at stake.

Focus your attention on sweet Jesus. You can trust Him. Take the energy you’ve been using to impress others and pour it into trusting Him…..the One that will never leave you, or forsake you.. This is how we stay connected to Him and are made keenly aware of His presence. Begin today in baby steps to take GOD at His word and before you know it those giant leaps of faith will come in victory. And, that fear of others’ opinions will be no more.

If you’ve noticed your impact and ministry being diluted, begin now to let your faith be bigger than your fear.

Identity Crisis

I saw this a while back and saved it. I do that a lot when I run across things on the World Wide Web. The problem is, often times, I can’t remember where I get them.

I wanted to share it here with you to bless you and help you all to remember your identity in Christ. The true and powerful identity we have after we accept Him as Lord and Savior.

This, my friends, is who you are in Christ. There is no identity crisis here! Name it and proclaim it!! Don’t forget it. Brothers and Sisters, don’t you dare believe anything less than who your Creator says you are!

Thank You Jesus!!

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Now, join me in a Jesus jig! Praise You, Lord! There’s no way we can read a list like that and not worship and glorify Your name! Hallelujah!

What Are You Afraid Of?

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Seems that the theme message GOD is giving His people today is to be fearless. Serve Him fearlessly. Don’t let fear stop you, let it motivate you. Sometimes the thing you fear is the very thing GOD is calling you to do.

God does not give us the spirit of fear:

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you……..For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:6, 7 NLT).

Fear is irrational. Fear steals your power. You do not think clearly when operating out of fear.

It is said that those who fear the darkness have no idea what light can do

I love this insert and action point by Adrian Rodgers:

What Are You Afraid Of?

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

In Matthew 25, we read the parable of the talents. When the master who had distributed the talents came to see the stewardship of those talents, one man had taken his talent and hidden it in the ground.

You may have a buried talent, but you’ve been covered up by the sinister minister of fear, who keeps you from achieving your dreams. You say, “But what if I fail?” You can be so afraid of making a mistake that your entire life will be a mistake. The fear of failure keeps so many from competing that they never even get in the race. They just lose by default!

ACTION POINT:
Sir Walter Scott was called a “dunce” by his teachers. Napoleon Bonaparte was next to last in his military class. Walt Disney was fired as a cartoonist because the newspaper said he couldn’t draw! It’s not bad to fail. We all will fail. But may God deliver you from the spirit of failure, which is a spirit of fear.

The thing GOD has called you to do is His. It’s His glory. His workings. His Kingdom. His. Not ours. He will equip you.

Feeling unqualified for what you know for sure He’s calling you to do? Great! His power works great in weakness (2 Cor 12:9). You are fearing failure because you’re working like it depends on you. Now, how about working like it depends on God? Remember GOD doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

Listen, He will not call you to watch you fail because that would tell the world that He….the very God you’re working for…. is a failure. He’s not. And, neither are you. Have you messed up? We all have when we don’t walk in His wisdom. Ask His forgiveness, learn from it, and move on.

Everyone is dealing with something. It’s what they do with it that makes the difference in people

Feeling paralyzed by fear? Do it anyway. Do it afraid if you have to, just do it. There are so many leaders who have failed at something and been told lies about how worthless they are. Instead of letting that stop them, they allowed it to motivate them. You will regret it if you don’t. Regret causes bitterness, and we all know how ugly bitterness is.

Walk in His power. It’s all available and waiting for you. Fan those flames! Remember, the very thing you fear is often the very thing GOD is calling you to do.

Who Is This God, Anyway?

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Yesterday we talked about being fearless. Immediately God took me to His Word and to a place in my heart asking Who is this God that you would serve Him fearlessly in this crazy life and in seemingly impossible circumstances? And, why??

Immediately He took me to Matthew 6:9; The Lord’s prayer. Specifically the first line: Our Father in heaven.

Who is your Daddy?

Because of Jesus, we come to God as our Father. A child, sitting on our Daddy’s knee chatting….and listening to His wisdom. Trusting in His care over us. We come to Him not as a fearful people to a tyrant lording over us. No, He’s kind. He’s gentle, yet sure and just. He’s your Daddy!

Some of you may have never had that feeling of being a Daddy’s girl. Never sat on your Daddy’s knee and felt that love, care, protection, strength, provision and wisdom. I’m sorry. I truly and deeply am. I know you have an idea or dream of who you wanted your Daddy to be, wished your Daddy to be.

I have some notes on Daddy. Notes on who He’s been to me, will always be to me, and most certainly wants to be for you. This list never ends, and is added to regularly. I’ll never be able to stop describing Him as He meets my every need, my every longing as I go through this life. Some of this list is from teaching notes, and all of it is true.

You are secure and taken care of because of Who you belong to. This is your Daddy. Follow Him fearlessly. Allow me to introduce you:

Your Daddy is…

the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End

Keeper of creation and Creator of all

Architect of the universe, Manager of all time

He always was, always is, always will be unmoved, unchanged, undefeated, and never undone

He was bruised, but brought healing

He was pierced, but eased pain

He was persecuted but brought freedom

He was dead and brings life

He has risen to bring power and was raised to bring peace. 

The world can’t understand Him, armies can’t defeat Him, schools can’t explain Him, and leaders can’t ignore Him.

Herod couldn’t kill Him, Nero couldn’t crush Him

He is Life, He is Love, He is Longevity, and He is the Lord

He is goodness and kindness and faithfulness and He is God

He is holy and righteous and powerful and pure

His ways are right, His Word eternal, His will unchanging, and His mind is consumed with US

He’s our Savior, our God, our peace, our comfort, our Lord, and He rules our lives

His bond is love, His yoke is easy, His burden is light, and His goal for us is abundant life

He’s the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the Ancient of Days, Ruler of rulers, the Leader of all leaders

His goal is a relationship with you and He will never leave you, never forsake you, never mislead you, never forget you, never overlook you, and never cancel your appointment in His appointment book

When you fall, He will life you up

When you fail, He will forgive you

When you’re weak, He is strong

When you’re lost, He is your way

When you’re afraid, He is your courage

When you stumble, He will steady you

When you’re hurt, He’s going to heal you

When you’re broken, He will mend you

When you’re blind, He will lead you

When you’re hungry, He will feed you

When you face trials, He’s with you

When you face persecution, He shields you

When you face problems, He will comfort you

When you face loss, He will provide for you

When you face death, He will carry you Home to meet Him

He is everything for everybody everywhere every time and in every way. 

He is your God, and THAT is Who you belong to

You see, with a Daddy like this, we can face anything, anytime fearlessly because we can trust Him. We. Can. Trust. Him. You are His creation. He’s invested and consumed with you. He can’t stop thinking of you, and doesn’t want to. He is the Supreme Ruler. Nothing can defeat Him. He’s your Protector. He never fails. He is madly in love with you. Madly. Crazy. Head over heals. Stalker type love….only not creepy. He is unstoppable and never gives up on you. Never. He is your Provider. When He calls you to a thing, He will carry you through it. He will equip you. He is powerful and majestic.

He’s your Daddy

 

You can do all things through Him who is your strength. In His strength, you are fearless.

 

 

Satisfied

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It’s going on 6:30am and I’ve been sitting for over an hour and half holding a sweet sick child as she struggles with a cold. She’s finally sleeping. Due to her severe neglect she has a lot of sensory processing disorder issues and developmental delays that GOD is healing. Amen! This causes some confusing feelings in her especially when she doesn’t feel well. She and I are very close and when anything goes on, happy or sad, she wants Mama! She and I spend a lot of time together. She trusts me. We have a kind of “short hand” between us. I know what she needs faster than anyone just by a look, or a sigh. I can read her quicker than she can read herself. I know her. I’ve spent a lot of time studying and listening to her. My voice brings her confidence when she is confused by the messages her little world is sending her. Just the sight if me makes her relax. She often says, “I need you, Mama.”

I am blessed.

As I studied and reflected this week on Psalm 63 and the deep satisfaction GOD brings into our lives….His love, mercy, faithfulness and provision moved me. As soon as David woke he was aware of his need, his deep thirst for GOD. Even more so than the need for a drink. David was in the wilderness and knew thirst.

Because he had spent time with GOD in his life before the wilderness came, he knew GOD. Really knew Him. Our GOD is faithful. He knew GOD could quench his thirst, satisfy his hunger, fulfill his every longing. And, when GOD satisfies it isn’t with a quick snack. No, it’s a satisfaction from rich, solid foods that fills you up full and gets you through this thing. GOD knows David better than David knows David; knows what he needs better than he does. He holds David steady no matter how shaky the ground feels beneath his feet. One glance in the eyes of Daddy relaxes David. David has strength and confidence in a mighty, loving GOD Who is passionate about him. Who pursues HIM. Who is consumed with HIS love for him.

GOD is that crazy about each one of us. As I sit here holding a sleeping child and know how deeply I love her. How much I gladly do for her. How I am passionate about the love I have for her; how much I want to fulfill every need, every hurt, every longing that she has, I am blessed and confident. Confident in knowing my GOD can and will do all of that and so much more than I can think of or imagine for each of us.

HE is here in each of our lives sweet sisters! THIS is our Daddy! HIS love is perfect and pure. HE knows us better than we know ourselves. And, HE is there. Right there in front of you. Behind you. Beside you. Rest in HIM. Drink HIM in. Dine with HIM. HIS love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on you.

Blessings and love to you all xoxo.

In His Peace,
Christy

*I’ve been away from you dear friends and I’ve missed you. I’ve been away writing. I’ve written over one hundred daily devotionals that I will begin to share with you here soon. GOD is GOOD!

I’ve also been busy helping and organizing our growing ministry. GOD has truly blessed and we know HE will bring more to us. Things have also been very busy at home. We have children moving into full time ministry across the world from us, and traveling around busy with ministry here, and training up our newly adopted little one in the way she should go so that when she too is older, she won’t depart from it (Proverbs 22:6) . When you give your kids to GOD HE says ok, and we submit!

A Shot of Adrenaline

Do you see what this means–all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on?

It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running–and never quit!

No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it.

Because He never lost sight of where He was headed–that exhilarating finish in and with God–He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever.

And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.

When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through.

That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! 

Hebrews 12:1-3, The Message.

Come Home, Runaway

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“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:17-24 NIV)

I deeply love this parable. The father seeing his son come from a long way off indicates that he habitually looked for his return, scanning the distant road daily hoping to see him. The father put feet to his feelings by RUNNING out to meet his son. The father displayed compassion, love (threw his arms around his neck and kissed him), celebration, joyful restoration of status for his son (a robe of distinction, a signet ring of family authority, sandals worn by a son in contrast to a barefoot slave). The father initiated restoration of fellowship before the son could articulate his confession because he knew what was in his heart.

Everything the younger son had hoped to find in the far country, he discovered back home: clothes, jewelry, friends, joyful celebration, love, and assurance for the future.

The difference: instead of saying, ‘Father, give me!’ (as he did before he left) he said, ‘Father, make me!’ He was willing to be a servant!

God’s compassion for a wandering sinner returning home far outweighs any sin we have committed. His love for us is deep, and His grace and mercy are long. God is not waiting for his shamed child to slink home, nor is He standing on His dignity when He comes, but RUNNING out to gather us, shamed and ragged and muddied as we are, to His welcoming arms. The name “Father” will at once fade the color of sin and heighten the splendid glory of forgiveness.

In Phillip Yancey’s book “What’s so Amazing about Grace,” Yancy retells the story of the Prodigal Son from a modern day view point. It is a powerful story and it’s definitely worth sharing. Here’s the story …

THE RUNAWAY

A young girl grows up on a cherry orchard just above Traverse City, Michigan. Her parents, a bit old-fashioned, tend to overreact to her nose ring, the music she listens to, and the length of her skirts. They ground her a few times, and she seethes inside. “I hate you!” she screams at her father when he knocks on the door of her room after an argument, and that night she acts on a plan she has mentally rehearsed scores of times. She runs away.

She has visited Detroit only once before, on a bus trip with her church youth group to watch the Tigers play. Because newspapers in Traverse City report in lurid detail the gangs, drugs, and violence in downtown Detroit, she concludes that is probably the last place her parents will look for her. California, maybe, or Florida, but not Detroit.

Her second day there she meets a man who drives the biggest car she’s ever seen. He offers her a ride, buys her lunch, arranges a place for her to stay. He gives her some pills that make her feel better than she’s ever felt before. She was right all along, she decides: Her parents were keeping her from all the fun.

The good life continues for a month, two months, a year. The man with the big car—she calls him “Boss”–teaches her a few things that men like. Since she’s underage, men pay a premium for her. She lives in a penthouse and orders room service whenever she wants. Occasionally she thinks about the folks back home, but their lives now seem so boring that she can hardly believe she grew up there. She has a brief scare when she sees her picture printed on the back of a milk carton with the headline, “Have you seen this child?” But by now she has blond hair, and with all the makeup and body-piercing jewelry she wears, nobody would mistake her for a child. Besides, most of her friends are runaways, and nobody squeals in Detroit.

After a year, the first sallow signs of illness appear, and it amazes her how fast the boss turns mean. “These days, we can’t mess around,” he growls, and before she knows it she’s out on the street without a penny to her name. She still turns a couple of tricks a night, but they don’t pay much, and all the money goes to support her drug habit. When winter blows in she finds herself sleeping on metal grates outside the big department stores. “Sleeping” is the wrong word—a teenage girl at night in downtown Detroit can never relax her guard. Dark bands circle her eyes. Her cough worsens.

One night, as she lies awake listening for footsteps, all of a sudden everything about her life looks different. She no longer feels like a woman of the world. She feels like a little girl, lost in a cold and frightening city. She begins to whimper. Her pockets are empty and she’s hungry. She needs a fix. She pulls her legs tight underneath her and shivers under the newspapers she’s piled atop her coat. Something jolts a synapse of memory and a single image fills her mind: of May in Traverse City, when a million cherry trees bloom at once, with her golden retriever dashing through the rows and rows of blossomy trees in chase of a tennis ball.

God, why did I leave? she says to herself, and pain stabs at her heart. My dog back home eats better than I do now. She’s sobbing, and she knows in a flash that more than anything else in the world she wants to go home.

Three straight phone calls, three straight connections with the answering machine. She hangs up without leaving a message the first two times, but the third time she says, “Dad, Mom, it’s me. I was wondering about maybe coming home. I’m catching a bus up your way, and it’ll get there about midnight tomorrow. If you’re not there, well, I guess I’ll just stay on the bus until it hits Canada.”

It takes about seven hours for a bus to make all the stops between Detroit and Traverse City, and during that time she realizes the flaws in her plan. What if her parents are out of town and miss the message? Shouldn’t she have waited another day or so until she could talk to them? Even if they are home, they probably wrote her off as dead long ago. She should have given them some time to overcome the shock.

Her thoughts bounce back and forth between those worries and the speech she is preparing for her father. “Dad, I’m sorry. I know I was wrong. It’s not your fault, it’s all mine. Dad, can you forgive me?” She says the words over and over, her throat tightening even as she rehearses them. She hasn’t apologized to anyone in years.

The bus has been driving with lights on since Bay City. Tiny snowflakes hit the road, and the asphalt steams. She’s forgotten how dark it gets at night out here. A deer darts across the road and the bus swerves. Every so often, a billboard. A sign posting the mileage to Traverse City. Oh, God.

When the bus finally rolls into the station, its air brakes hissing in protest, the driver announces in a crackly voice over the microphone, “Fifteen minutes, folks. That’s all we have here.” Fifteen minutes to decide her life. She checks herself in a compact mirror, smooths her hair, and licks the lipstick off her teeth. She looks at the tobacco stains on her fingertips and wonders if her parents will notice. If they’re there.

She walks into the terminal not knowing what to expect, and not one of the thousand scenes that have played out in her mind prepare her for what she sees. There, in the concrete-walls-and-plastic-chairs bus terminal in Traverse City, Michigan, stands a group of 40 family members—brothers and sisters and great-aunts and uncles and cousins and a grandmother and great-grandmother to boot. They are all wearing ridiculous-looking party hats and blowing noisemakers, and taped across the entire wall of the terminal is a computer-generated banner that reads “Welcome home!”

Out of the crowd of well-wishers breaks her dad. She looks through tears and begins the memorized speech, “Dad, I’m sorry. I know … “

He interrupts her. “Hush, child. We’ve got no time for that. No time for apologies. You’ll be late for the party. A banquet’s waiting for you at home.”

And so it is with God’s amazing grace. But what’s so amazing about it, anyway?

Ask people what they must do to get to return to God and most reply, “Be good.” Jesus’ stories contradict that answer.

All we must do is cry, “Help!” God welcomes home anyone who will have Him and, in fact, has made the first move already.

That’s what’s so amazing about grace.

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Because They Are, We Go

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Because she is someone’s daughter, someone’s mother, someone’s sister, we go. Because he is someone’s son, someone’s father, someone’s brother, we go. Because they are precious in His sight, we go. Because He died to give them life, we go. Because He died for us, we go. Because the abortion rate is now higher than the birth rate, we go. Because the abuse and severe neglect is something no one should take, we go.

He wraps Himself around every detail our lives. All we have to do is stand in the palm of His hand. Because they mean everything to Him. I mean everything. He wraps Himself around us. He holds us together in His hands. Soak that in. They need to know that He hasn’t forgotten them. How can they know if we don’t tell them? (Romans 10:14)

When I see the blank stares and empty eyes that say they’ve never known love, I am compelled. God breaks my heart for what breaks His. And. I. Must. Act! I cannot sit on my rear end in my air conditioned home, free to go to church whenever I want, or eat what I want, have a glass of water whenever I want anymore! I must be the change I want to see. I must invest in people who are the change I want to see. I must invest in people willing to give up everything they know to go and be His hands and feet.

When I look into the face of my own adopted daughter, I am compelled. I am compelled into thoughts of all the sad things that have happened to her. I am compelled into thoughts of all those people God used to intervene for her. All those hands that were there to care for her. All He did to bring her to me. And, I weep. And, I go. And, I do. I must be the change I want to see. No more waiting for someone else to do something. No more saying no to investing in someone who goes where I can’t. He gives to me so that I can give. He gives it to me so that He can give it through me.

There is a non-profit named Bella Ministries who are the hands and feet of Christ to hurting people everywhere. Their hearts are broken for the things that break His and they are doing something about it! I work for this non-profit and am thrilled to say so! We are part of an organization called A.C.T. Intl and have 260 missionaries with over 200 ministry departments going to over 20 nations! That’s what I call inspired! THAT’S what I’m talking about! They serve. They teach. They build. They lead worship (15 worship sets this month alone!). They do all sorts of media. They staff for churches. They love. They just DO! They are trail blazers and serious about making a real difference in the lives of others for GOD’s glory.

My daughter is a missionary for this organization and is leaving everything known behind and giving her life for a year in Taiwan to care for orphans, love on at-risk women and children, care for children of missionaries. As you know, it takes revenue to operate. I was recently told that if everyone who follows/reads this blog gives $5 this month, and then $5 next month…her goal for the YEAR would be COMPLETELY MET. How’s that for simple? In our 21st Century it is easier than ever to give. A simple click changes lives. You can change a life with a click of your mouse. Crazy that we don’t do it more.

And, because this organization is on FIRE, they are not stopping with this year. No, they will go. And do. And be. And love. This year, and next, and the next. They are glocal, which means they go here in the USA and they go “unto the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). They will not stop and they need you to partner with them. Please consider partnering with them to help as they strap on the boots we call the Great Commission, deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow Him. Every donation is tax-deductible and you will receive a receipt for your donation. You can be a partner and give monthly, or a one time donation by clicking this link: here or by clicking on the blue “Donate Now” button on the right sidebar.

or by mail:
Bella Ministries
PO Box 1649
Brentwood, TN 37024
615-852-8213

I’m not asking you to do anything that I am not doing myself. I invest in this non-profit ministry with my money and my time.

Know that through this ministry your generosity will result in great thanksgiving to God (2 Cor. 9:11b)

My Choice: My love Supremely (or how to mess up crap)

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In Luke 14:25-35, Jesus is saying that if we do not love Him supremely, more than our family and more than our own lives, we cannot be His disciple. There is no half-way measure. Not all believers bear the Cross. It is possible by living a nominal Christian life. This is called the lukewarm Christian life.

But, if we determine to be all out for Christ we must live the type of life that Christ lived when He was here on earth–a life of self-renunciation, reproach, persecution, temptation, in opposition of others, humiliation.

He wants us to understand that this living and leading like Jesus isn’t for wimps. We need to count the cost. To take up our cross daily is to expect painful situations everyday because of our allegiance to Christ.

I can certainly choose to live a nominal, lukewarm Christian life and avoid all that…..but, it would cost me so much more.

I would miss the miracles, the power, the blessings of seeing God move first-hand. I would miss this deep love affair that sweeps me off my feet. I would miss the dance and gazing into eyes of my Savior; that skin to skin closeness that leaves me speechless.

Who wants to miss that? Not me. Nothing I suffer here on earth could ever be more than what He did for me. Before I knew Him….when He was a stranger to me….He suffered and died for me. Most of us would give our lives for our spouses, or our children because we know and love them but not for a stranger that didn’t even know our names. We get goosebumps when a stranger in the car in front of us buys our coffee for us (I’m not knocking that show of kindness. I think it’s great). BUT this Jesus DIED for me BEFORE I EVEN KNEW HIS NAME. THAT deserves my life. My love supremely. My worship. Everything. No. Holding. Back.

Please allow me to speak bluntly with you:
I have heard many people say, “I feel like crap” or, “I look like crap”. I’ve probably said it myself. In Luke 14:34-35, Jesus is talking about the lukewarm Christian being useless and even messing up crap. Wow. If we stepped in crap, He would have to tell us to move out because we would be messing it up. How bad is THAT?! That is funny, but it’s not funny.

How about making Him throw up?? Take a look at Rev 3:14-22. I don’t want Him to vomit me out of His mouth! He urges us to cleanse, repent, shake off, open our eyes, to be committed. This. Is. Your. Call. Listen! He is standing at the door knocking. Hear His voice and open that door and dine with Him. Besides, the victor will get to sit with Jesus at the dinner table! I get excited about having the opportunity to sit and talk with brilliant people, but THIS! Whew, glory!

You’ve been feeling empty and seeking out your purpose. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).

When we give up everything to follow Christ, guess what we find? We find everything right there in Christ. Just like salt, we have a useful purpose. We are here for more than to breath oxygen, and collect treasures of this world. I know money is important and that living life here takes money. Breathing oxygen is important to life, but we are here for more reasons than to breath. We have a purpose to live out, and that purpose is to follow Christ. Christian, its time to live a purpose driven life that lives and leads your family like Jesus. Step out from the crowd, be committed, repent and let’s do this. Together.

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Go All In {Bible Study: Living and Leading Like Jesus}

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Read Luke 10:25-37

Focus: Luke 10: 27, 37

27) He answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 37) The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus tole him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:27,37)

The ‘expert in the law’ was testing Jesus. He was quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. I had to giggle a little about Him quoting scripture to JESUS. Ha! He had no idea that he was talking to the Word made flesh and quoting the Word to the “Word”! Ha! The purpose of the law is not to save from sin, but to produce knowledge of sin…the function of the law is to show man what a guilty sinner we are. Jesus was trying to make a point with this man about following the letter of the law versus following the heart and Spirit of the law, but he didn’t get it. We know this by the way he says, ‘the one’ instead of saying the Samaritan. He knew the answer in his head but not in his heart.

Love God and Love people. That’s it.

Makes sense to me that these verses are in this order…. Love God with all of you and love His people. The closer we grow in our walk with God the more we can understand His love and be filled with love for others. All the more reason to be sure I am spending time with Him every day. Jesus is telling us to live as He lived and love as He loves. And, that is loving God supremely with the TOTAL person…go ALL in.…allowing nothing to come between us and God….and then go and love His people like THAT.

The question started out: Who is my neighbor? but it ended by posing the question: To whom do you prove yourself a neighbor? My neighbor is anyone of any race, creed or social background. The real test of love is action, not just profession. Loving God with all of me and see people as He sees them. ALL are worthy.

 

God wants us to understand that people are always more important than our schedules, our things, our money, and our time. Helping people means personal sacrifice, but that’s how we show God’s love to them. And we let God love them through us!

 

I love the picture of Christ here: The Samaritans were despised by the Jews because of their mixed Gentile blood. It was a despised and hated Samaritan that stopped to care for the Jew. Jesus came to this world, despised, rejected, and hated….for us. He saw us in our desperate need, had compassion on us. There is nothing….no debt of ours….that He leaves unpaid by the sacrifice…..payment for my soul….for all eternity. His blood paid my sin debt. Woo!!!! THANK YOU JESUS!!! (also note that this is a picture of how Jesus extended His hand of love to His own people….the Jews….in spite of how they reject and despise Him)

 

No Unemployment Lines Here {Living and Leading Like Jesus Study}

So glad to see you back here with us for week two: Luke Chapter 10 of our Bible Study, Living and Leading Like Jesus! Come on in with us!

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{Read: Luke 10: 1-7}

2) He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3) Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. (Luke 10:2-3)

 

In the beginning of Chapter 10 we see Jesus sending them ahead of Him to prepare the people for the coming Messiah. You and I are also sent out ahead to proclaim the coming of the Messiah.

Christian service has no unemployment!

The workers are few because of lack of participation of believers in the Gospel mission. It’s time for believers to take their stand out among their fellow believers and bring the Gospel of the coming Messiah! He sends us all ahead to the people with whom He wants to dwell.. Jesus is coming, and we are commanded to GO AND TELL! What prepared them for this mission is that they had been equipped with Jesus’ power and vision to reach people.  It is important to dedicate our skill to God’s Kingdom, and WE too must be equipped with His power and have clear vision of what He wants us to do….and that comes by asking.

Jesus’ first instructions were to pray for a gathering of believers in Jesus out from among the mass of unbelievers. He wanted full participation of believers. Begin by prayer and mobilizing people to pray. Mission is based on prayer. How much time will you devote to praying for God for missionaries? Missions are for humble people not for self-assured. Sound like you?

He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. We must stop believing the lie that we aren’t qualified. It’s true that in our own strength we aren’t qualified. His qualifications surpass any situation. He is highly qualified for whatever may come. A little police officer holding a badge up and saying, “Stop in the name of the law!” would have most of us freeze in our tracks. Not because of the officer’s stature, but because of who he represents and who qualifies him in his position (our laws). There is absolutely nothing that surpasses Jesus’ qualifications. These are the same qualifications we are sent with. How could we hold back?? Will you join God on a mission? Your mission field is right now. Right where you are. Take this lesson as your call to live and lead like Jesus on the mission field wherever you are.  Go! Now!

 

Missions is not a program in the church, it’s the purpose of the Church. It’ s a way of life right where we are. 

 

Don’t just go to church. BE the church. 

 

{Also note a cross reference in verse 3b to Matthew 10:16 to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves, meaning to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil…and to Matthew 7:15, Wolves: false prophets, people who have not been sent by God but who claim they have. Be vigilant to these false prophets}

 This stirs such a passion within me for His people. For the workers in that we here in this office are passionate about Encouraging, Equipping, and Empowering people to be all that God created them to be. For the harvest in telling the Good News of our coming Messiah!

 

Digging In: We are all laborers in the field- no matter where we are. What does your personal mission field look like? Who are you reaching out to?

 

Promises, Promises

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I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set your foot, you will be on land I have given you’ Joshua 1:3 NLT


Joshua and the people of Israel had promises to go, measure out, and claim. This was a literal ground unoccupied for them. God’s grace had a plan to bless and prosper them. All they needed to do was walk it out in faith.

Friend, there are divine, new and precious promises waiting for you to claim. We serve a God who is alive and actively working and pursuing you. He’s absolutely crazy about you and wants to give you so much more of Himself. His love isn’t a selfish love, but a love that wants to give and give and give and give. And give. To you.

Step out and claim your ground in Christ. There is a magnificent territory to march through the length, and breadth of and lay hold of. There is a land of promises opened up to you, child of God. It is God’s will that we “measure it off” by the feet of obedient faith and claim it as our own! Take possession of the promises of God in the name of Christ!

All the promises of God are yes, in Christ Jesus