Embracing Enlargement, Part 2

Let us not forget that God is limitless. In His ability to see the bigger picture we have to rely on what He sees and says for our future in Him.

I believe in order to see what He sees that we need a larger revelation of who God is.

In our own lives has God become too small?

If we believe that God needs to become bigger than we have to realize that we cannot be self-sufficient! We cannot even be self-conscious if God is to become bigger in our lives!

We can become so familiar with our circumstances, finances and or situations that we can develop a self-sufficient lifestyle!

If God is to become bigger than we cannot be self-reliant.

Someone said, “if God be your partner, make your plans large”.

We didn’t chose to be located geographically where we are. Acts 17:26 says that God has determined the time and place where we should live. If that is the truth, and I believe it is because the word of God says it is, then God has planned where we live for you and I to carry out His plan.

If God placed us here than we have to say, “God I am partnering with you to carry out Your plan”.

His plan is always larger than our own plan!

We read in 1 Chronicles 4:9 – 10 that Jabez caught a revelation of God’s plan. Not that his name be changed but that he be blessed and his territory would be enlarged.

I know there is a lot of preaching about being blessed in regards to this text, however, this isn’t about consumerism or me being blessed. I believe it has a lot to do with God enlarging our territory, personally and jointly as the church.

I believe God wants to work in us and with us so we can go from where we are and have God work through us.

The kingdom is about:

IMPACT

INFLUENCE

INCREASE

God wants to “INCREASE” our…

1)”CAPACITY”…

He is continually enlarging us for our future!!

…Upwards &onwards!!

2)”CLEANLINESS”

…SIN

…FORGIVENESS …walking in It & walking it out!!

…MOTIVES

Why we do what we do?

…DISTRACTIONS

We have to learn to live with distractions without becoming distracted!!

Proverbs 16:2-3..

All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

3)”CLARITY” – Vision

Vision gives us..

• PURPOSE

• PASSION

• PRIORITY (road map)

• PRODUCTIVE

Vision brings

…hope/healing/future!!

Proverbs 29:18..Where there is no vision the people perish

NIV…Where there is no revelation the people cast of restraint

MSG…When people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves but when they attend to what He REVEALS they are most blessed

WITHOUT vision..

…Individuals will perish.

…Communities will perish.

…Churches will perish.

…Societies will perish.

…Lost souls will perish.

…The sick & the elderly will perish.

…The incarcerated will perish.

…We as a people will surely perish.

John Maxwell defines vision in a 3-fold manner;

The ABILTY to…

…SEE—“AWARENESS”

…BELIEVE—“ATTITUDE”

…DO—“ACTION”

* – We Need Vision to Lead Us into Divine Purpose.

…Pray for His vision.

…Pursue His vision.

…Ponder His vision.

* – We Need Vision to Empower Our Inward Man.

The logos & the rhema word.

The logos is the revealed word of God.

The rhema is the spoken word of God.

The rhema word is the Holy Spirit quickening the logos & transferring it into our hearts.

The lifeline of vision is God’s word.

…Search the scripture,Sift through the scriptures.Share the scriptures.

* – We Need Vision to Keep Us Connected to Each Other.

Vision will place the church on one accord.

* – We Need Vision as a Trampoline for Change.

Vision will catapult us beyond the blockades of life.

…Evaluate our present condition.

…Enforce the need for change.

…Energize our efforts.

* – We Need to Know What Our Vision Encompasses.

We must have a vision of God’s liberating power alive in our church.

Don’t let DETAILS determine/DESTROY dream!!

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Embracing Enlargement, Part 1

As I read Scripture I am convinced more and more that God wants to enlarge us. God wants us to see Him more as who He is than what the culture demands we see. He wants us to see Him more than what our churches portray. We are here to serve the purposes of God.

The enemy would rather we look at our circumstances and believe that where we are and what we have is enough; that we have reached our limit! He would have us believe for the little things and to become distracted by them so we miss out on the bigness of God.

God has no limits; He is limitless. We are the ones that can limit Him based on what we believe rather than what He has said. What God has said and is saying is that we are to be enlarged!

Enlargement can be painful. As we are stretched and pulled beyond our comfort levels, it can hurt. However, God’s goal is to bring us to maturity. So, as we embrace enlargement we embrace the maturity process.

Too often we want to fight that process, mainly because what we see is not what He sees. He is God in Heaven, with a heavenly perspective that allows Him to see the bigger picture.

As I look at Scripture I am convinced that God’s plan for our lives demands we embrace enlargement.

In Ephesians 3: 20 – 21, Paul brings us back to the bigness of God:

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen

I know some of you, like me, dream big and ask big! I am often amazed by some of you who are creative and the imaginations you have. However, this portion of Scripture, Paul is saying, “to Him who is able to do MORE than what we imagine”! God wants to do more!! This isn’t hyper-faith! It is God wanting to take the shackles off of our thinking and Him wanting us to live above the spiritual poverty line!!

I don’t ever want to restrict God to what I am comfortable with! We have something bigger and better to walk into in this season.

Here are some ideas on how we can begin to embrace enlargement:

Ephesians 1:15-23

Thanksgiving and Prayer

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people,

16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of WISDOM and REVELATION, so that YOU may KNOW HIM better.

*”PERSON” of CHRIST

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that YOU may KNOW the HOPE to which he has CALLED you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

*”PURPOSE” (call)

19 and HIS incomparably great POWER FOR US who BELIEVE. That POWER is the SAME as the mighty strength

20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

*”POWER”

22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed HIM to be HEAD over EVERYTHING FOR the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

*”POSITION”

Ephesians 3:14-21

A Prayer for the Ephesians

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father,

15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,

18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 NOW TO HIM WHO IS ABLE TO DO IMMEASURABLY MORE THAN ALL WE ASK OR IMAGINE, ACCORDING TO HIS POWER THAT IS AT WORK WITHIN US,

21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

We have to be about God’s …

“PURPOSES”

“PRIORITIES”

What’s important to Him

“POWER”

Focusing on the bigness of Him

“PERSPECTIVE”

What does He see???

Healthy Church, Part 3

This is the last part on the ingredients that make a healthy church.  As we look to building and being healthy churches we must understand that when we abandon doctrine & truth & we deny the authority of Scriptures, we don’t get a liberal Christianity; we get a whole new religion.  A religion that is perverted by man & that ultimately attacks the preeminence of Christ and the authority of the very Godhead!

The Word of God must be foundational for our lives and serve as the grid through which we see everything else.

We need to settle in a biblical model before a cultural model.

These are the last ingredients of a healthy church…

7)”PRINCIPLES”- is Centered on God’s Word”

We live in a world that is…

#-“DECEPTIVE”… People need to hear the truth

Ps 119:43; Eph 1:13-14; 2 Tim 2:5

#-“DEMANDING”…Word of grace

Acts 20:32 …the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

#-“DEFILED”…Word of Righteousness

HEB 5:13; 2 Tim 3:16;Rm 8:24

#-“DIVISIVE”…Word of Reconciliation 2 COR 5:19

8)”PRIESTHOOD” – A Meaningful Membership”

Someone has quoted that The Church today is OVER-PROGRAMMED and UNDER-DISCIPLED!!!

Acts 2:42 – 47

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

They carried responsibility together

Let our vision be..All of Gods heart,through all of the gifts,ministering to all of the needs,through all of Gods people

9)”PRAYER” – is a “Priority”

Prayer is NOT a law or a duty; it is a necessity if we are aware we are in a battle!!

Someone has said about prayer that there are 4 things let us ever keep in mind:

God hears prayer,

God heeds prayer,

God answers prayer, and

God delivers by prayer.”

PRIVATE & PUBLIC!!

Acts 12 … but the church was earnestly praying!

In most of the church today, prayer has become the “UGLY STEPCHILD”.

Too many don’t place as high a priority on prayer as they place on other things.

Churches are …

…BETTER ORGANIZED..

…MORE PROSPEROUS & ..

…BETTER EDUCATED than they have ever been…

Yet, at the same time, the church seems WEAKER than she has been.

The reason?

Christians simply do not pray as they should!

As someone has well stated..With all our modern advances, a little “KNEEOLOGY” would do a lot more good than a lot of “THEOLOGY”!

10) “PIONEERING”

Impact-Increase-Influence

Psalms 84:5-7

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,

whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,

they make it a place of springs;

the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

7 They go from strength to strength,

till each appears before God in Zion.

A “Healthy” church is one that GROWS…

# – “STRONGER” thru REVELATION

# – “WARMER” thru FELLOWSHIP

# – “DEEPER” thru DISCIPLESHIP

# – “BROADER” thru MINISTRY

# – “LARGER” thru EVANGELISM

# – “BIGGER” thru VISION

# – “FURTHER” thru MISSION

REMEMBER…

#- There is NO CORRELATION between the SIZE and STRENGTH of a church.

Neither BIG nor SMALL is better.

…HEALTHY is BETTER.

…STRONG is BETTER.

# – NEVER confuse PROMINENCE with SIGNIFICANCE!!

# – We are GOING to HAVE to CONTINUE to take HUGE steps of FAITH to see the DREAM God has PLACED INSIDE of us BECOME a REALITY…

# – We are GOING to have to be WAY more PASSIONATE about WHAT we are FOR rather than WHAT we are AGAINST…

# – We are GOING to have to CHOOSE whether or not we want to PLEASE INSIDERS or REACH OUTSIDERS…we CANNOT do both…

# – We are going to be TEMPTED to COPY the SUCCESS we SEE in other CHURCHES

Stay true to what He has called you to be and do?

Ask yourself ..

– What kind of church will take to reach the people you are called to reach?

– What kind of leadership will it take to lead a church that will reach those people?

– Are you that church?

– Are you that kind of leader ?

Healthy Church Part 2

In continuing on with the ingredients that make a healthy church, I want to emphasize that we have biblical qualities that allow us to evaluate the church as a whole as well as our personal lives. Paul outlines these qualities in Romans 12: 1-8. He shows us that we must honestly evaluate who we are when he tells us to think of yourself with sober judgment.

He points out that we need to have faithful cooperation, as we are one body of many parts, working together for the common goal of advancing the kingdom of God through the life of the local church.

He also tells us that we need to have individual participation utilizing our different gifts to operate within the measure of faith and grace given to each of us.

As a reminder, it is far more important what we get saved into than what we get saved out of!!! Our spiritual home, or local church, will make or break us. We have to settle in our hearts whether we will seek to be a successful church or a healthy church.

A healthy church will always seek to “make” us as we draw closer and closer to who He is and further away from what we desire.

Below are more “INGREDIENTS” of a HEALTHY Church…

4)”PARTICIPATING” – in Missions”

The first 5 books of the New Testament give us some of OUR “BIBLICAL BASIS” for the GREAT COMMISSION…

#- Matt 28:18-20 speaks of the “DEPTH” of the Great Commission.

#- Mark 16:15 speaks of the “BREADTH” of the Great Commission…

#- Luke 24:46-47 speaks of the “SURETY” of the Great Commission…

#- John 20:21 speaks of the “MODEL” of the Great Commission…

#- Acts 1:8 speaks of the “EXTENT” of the Great Commission…

5)”PROACTIVE” – in Evangelism

Luke 19:10 Jesus came to “SEEK” & “SAVE” the lost

THE Church has MANY RESPONSIBILITIES but only ONE MISSION…EVANGELIZATION of ALL people!!!

If we are NOT fishing…it’s questionable HOW CLOSE we are FOLLOWING, because Jesus said FOLLOW me and I Will MAKE you fishers of men!!

6)”PROPER” Conversion-

Aims at True Conversion”

“GRACE” that…

A)”SAVES” (justification)

Romans 3:20
“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law… ”

Titus 3:5…
“Not by WORKS of righteousness which WE have DONE, but according to HIS MERCY HE
SAVED us . . .”

May I remind you that SALVATION is NOT you HOLDING OUT, it’s GOD HOLDING on!

B)”SANCTIFIES” (process of sanctification)

C)”SERVES”

Titus 2:11-14
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self- controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

#- Grace “SAVES” us v11

#- Grace “SCHOOLS” us v12

#- Grace “SEPARATES” us v13-14

Healthy Church Part 1

This is a very exciting season globally!!

We need base churches that exist for the benefit of others!!

We need healthy churches that intend to build with “HEART” and “INTENTION”!!

As a parent, I would like my children to be successful. I certainly want them to serve God more than anyone or anything. I’m trusting that my children would serve God all the days of their life.

I want to point out that more than success, more then making money I pray and hope to God that my children stay healthy because a healthy child is a growing child.

In the same way God wants his church to be healthy. Jesus is building a church that needs to be healthy. There is such emphasis on growth and while I believe in growth, if we focus on health then we will grow with the right fruit, rather than just going after growth and not worrying about what kind of fruit is being reproduced.

We don’t see many books written today around healthy church but many more about church growth, how to multiply your meeting and how to build successfully. While I honestly want those things, I can’t always see that in scripture. Therefore we have to go back to the Bible to see what it is God is looking for and what He wants us to go off after?

Often, what is success in God’s eyes is not always success in the world’s eyes. I want the church that I have the privilege of leading to multiply and grow out in the years to come and be thousands, not so that we look good but that we can be multiplied, bringing impact and life wherever we go. Our churches are a gathering of individuals that all have a role to play in the health of our local church.

Instead of asking what makes a great church or a successful church, we should be asking what makes a healthy church? That is a very different question.

A church may be great in the eyes of the world but not be healthy at all. People might be wowed, even the church world could be wowed by what a church looks like but that doesn’t mean it is healthy.

The inward appearance, not he outward appearance is what matters to God. You can look at a person today and they may look healthy but inside is what determines their health.

I am not pointing fingers at any church but with open eyes we should want to be not just perceived as healthy but we want to truly be healthy.

Greatness or success touches the matters of the outside while health touches the unseen realities of the heart.

Colossians 1:13-14..
For he has rescued us FROM the dominion of darkness and brought us INTO the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 IN whom we HAVE redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

It’s MORE important what you get saved INTO than what you get saved OUT of!!

“INGREDIENTS” of a HEALTHY Church…

1)”PRIORITY”- is Christ”

Colossians 1:15-18

The most REVEALING thing about the CHURCH is FOUND in OUR “IDEAS” about JESUS…

Our Most important message is what we SAY or DONT say about Him!! The SCRIPTURES are totally OCCUPIED with CHRIST…

Old Testament speaks of the ANTICIPATION of Jesus. The Gospels reveal the INCARNATION of Jesus. Acts is the PROCLAMATION of Jesus. The Epistles give the EXPLANATION of Jesus. Revelation tells the CONSUMMATION of Jesus

When Jesus is the priority we/our:

#- People are “FOCUSED” on Him..

#- Present our “FUTURE” in Him…

#- Promote “FREEDOM” through Him…

#- Prioritize “FAITHFULNESS” to Him…

#- Pursue “FRUITFULNESS” for Him…

If it’s not ALL about Jesus then it’s Not About Jesus At ALL!!

2)”PRESENCE” is evident “IN”& “THROUGH” us!

Exodus 33:12-19…

#- Your “PASSION” for God, secures His presence.

#- Your “PRIORITIES” will determine God’s presence in your life.

The PRESENCE of the Lord comes to those who make Him their TOP PRIORITY.

#- Your “PURSUIT” of God’s presence is a PERSONAL journey.

3)”PURPOSE”- is Gospel FOCUSED”

Romans 1:16-17

We are in DANGER of having CONFIDENCE IN our “RELEVANCE” RATHER than IN the GOSPEL!!!

The Gospel needs to be…

#- “TOLD” to the world!!

#- “TAUGHT” to the church!!

Phil 1:27…conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel..

The Gospel…

#- Connects us to “PRESENT” age

#- “PASSION” for everyday life

#- “PRESENTS” forgiveness

#- “POWERFUL” opens n transforms lives

#- “PARTNERSHIPS ”

#- “PARTICIPATE” with God
Ephesians 2:10…not saved by works but for works..

#- “PERSON” of Christ
Relationship not religion!

Kingdom Life

Isn’t it so wonderful be a part of something bigger than ourselves? We are a part of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is incredibly important. The Bible speaks a lot about the kingdom. Jesus preached more about the kingdom than anything else. The kingdom is our message and the whole kingdom revolves around the King, Jesus Christ. I want to give attention to a kingdom-focused church. I understand that there are some who are angry at the church. There are people who have said they love the kingdom but not the church. However, you cannot separate the Head from His body. You cannot separate the church from Jesus.

Colossians 1:13 – 14 speaks of us being rescued from the dominion of darkness and being brought into this kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. We’ve been saved into something and brought into something that is far greater than what we came out of. We have been rescued from the dominion of darkness but God saved us into His kingdom where Jesus Christ rules and reigns.

While the church is very important, it’s about the kingdom not about the church. I believe that the church is the expression of kingdom life. The church is NOT the center “OF” God’s plan.

Jesus is the center of the plan of God.

The church, however, is central “TO” God’s plan. So, when we preach Jesus as the King of Kings we understand that He is the head of the church. He is in all things and all things belong to Him. We also understand that Jesus is what the world is looking for. However, the church is central to seeing the fulfillment of what God intended through our lives.

When we preach the church as the kingdom, we disillusion and disappoint people. It becomes all about the church and all about the pastor. We begin living his vision and his dream and become misunderstood and misguided because our faith is in people rather than in Jesus, the Unchanging One.

I still believe that the church is in the kingdom and the kingdom is in the church but the church is not the kingdom.

When Jesus spoke in Matthew 16 about this incredible church, He said, “I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail”. He also said that He is giving us keys, not “TO” the kingdom but “OF” the kingdom.

In other words, He said I am entrusting you, as the local church, to administrate something of my kingdom here on earth. Isn’t that mind blowing that God has entrusted us not just with relationships and vision, which is important, but has entrusted His people, the church, to advance His kingdom here on earth?

I believe that we as the church today need a “kingdom” shaped view of the church and not a “church” shaped view of the kingdom.

The church, across much of the world today seems “DISORIENTATED” I’m not pointing fingers. I’m saying lets fix it! There is confusion and lack of focus. It is as though we are involved in every program, problem and policy rather then what God has intended for the church. There is also a “DISTORTED” view of Jesus in the church.

As long as we live with that distorted view of Jesus, we will never walk in the fullness of His kingdom here on earth.

Our culture determines what Jesus looks like. We allow the views of our culture to limit who Jesus really is. So, when we live with a diminished view of Jesus, we will never extend or advance the kingdom of God. We need to preach the Jesus of the bible, not the Jesus of our culture. I believe one of the biggest hindrances to the “kingdom” culture can often be the “church” culture.

I am all for the church. The church is the vehicle that God has chosen to advance His kingdom. However, it’s not the church that is all about the church but the church that is all about the kingdom.

The world is too strong for a disoriented church. Let’s be part of the solution, which is not getting rid of the church but getting the church focused back on what God intended.

The church today seems “DISTRACTED” and I believe it is because we haven’t understood our mission.

The church is “DIVIDED” over what we want instead of being focused on what He wants.

The church is “DISINTERESTED” because it has become about the church rather than the kingdom.

The church is “DISILLUSIONED” because people have put their faith in leaders instead of Christ.

The church has DIMINISHED its DESTINY because it has become inward focused rather than prophetic about taking territory.

Ultimately, the kingdom we’ve been left with to impact, influence and increase for the name and fame of Jesus has been replaced with the desire to make people happy. We love people and while we are pastoral, wanting to see people made whole, we want to keep people moving in what God has by focusing on the bigger picture, His kingdom.

What are some things we can learn from JESUS when it comes to Kingdom advancing? The first 8 verses of the book of Acts shows us what we should be giving our lives to as the church.

Acts 1:1-8:

1)”PARTICIPATE”…(V.1)
…Jesus began to DO & TEACH…
2)”PROVE” …(V.3)
…Gave many convincing proofs that He was ALIVE…
3)”PREACH…(V.3)
…A period of 40 days He spoke about the Kingdom…
4)”POWER”…(V.8)
…You WILL receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes on you…
5)”PURPOSE”…(V.8)
…You’ll “BE” MY witnesses…

Here are some things that stand out to me when thinking about the differences between church and kingdom culture:

CHURCH                                                  Vs.                                        KINGDOM

Growth                                                                                                   Impact
Get                                                                                                          Give
Restrict                                                                                                   Release
Gift/personality                                                                                     Jesus
Introspective                                                                                         Kingdom focus
Method                                                                                                   Result
Business                                                                                                 Life
Hope                                                                                                       Assurance
Striving                                                                                                    Living
Gimmicks                                                                                                Truth
Goal orientated                                                                                     Christ orientated
Show                                                                                                       Reality
Happy                                                                                                      Joyful
Superstar                                                                                                King
Friends                                                                                                    Family
Shakable                                                                                                 Unshakable
Make happen                                                                                         Let happen
Defensive                                                                                                Secure (offense)
Small                                                                                                        Large
Do                                                                                                            Done
Us                                                                                                            Him
We look good                                                                                        His name great
Branding                                                                                                Glorifying
Gift                                                                                                          Gifts
Event                                                                                                       Lifestyle
Serve man                                                                                              Serve God
Preference                                                                                              All embracing
Personality                                                                                              Power
Pressure                                                                                                  Presence
Look out                                                                                                  Look up
Excellence                                                                                               Authentic
Fill buildings                                                                                            Fill the earth
Control                                                                                                     Order
Man centered                                                                                          Christ centered
Will end                                                                                                    Unending
Implodes                                                                                                  Empowers
Gather                                                                                                      Go
Stay                                                                                                           Send
Leaders of church                                                                                   Church leaders of world
Please HER                                                                                               Please HIM

The Power of the Lord’s Prayer

These are difficult days that we are living in and it we would be crazy to think everything is fine and we can just carry on with life and hope everything is going to workout. We know that there are things happening globally that have ramifications for us here in our nation.  We know there are things happening in our nation right now that have ramifications for us as God’s people. In no way should we be in fear, but we need to be aware. I’m loving the emphasis on what God is doing around the world!  The bigness of God, His provision and how He has a way and He has a plan and His way will always stand.  This kingdom life is vital. It’s not something we do and only get involved in on Sunday.  It’s something we are involved in all the time.  We are a part of a kingdom that cannot be shaken. We are a part of a kingdom that is forcefully advancing, even if at times when we cannot see it we need to be aware of it:  that God’s kingdom is forcefully advancing. God is in full control.  I know at times it is difficult to believe that but I want to tell you you have to believe that if you’re a believer because that’s what the Bible says.  God is not caught off guard with what’s happening around the world.  I don’t want to get into politics but I am wanting to stir the church. There is persecution and we need to stand up for our brothers and sisters.  We need to be aware that persecution on them is persecution on us.  We are the church!  Those are our brothers and sisters.  It’s not just their problem, it’s what the church today is facing around the world.  We have to understand what we are a part of.  His church!  Not just attending on a Sunday.  We are God’s people.  We’ve understood what God has done and nobody and nothing should be able to sway us from what it is that we believe.  I read a quote by A.W. Tozer recently.  He said this, “A scared world needs a fearless church”.  I think the world is scared.  I want to tell you, the church needs to become fearless!  I believe a church without a kingdom vision eventually become selfish and self-serving.  We become consumed with ourselves.  God wants to keep us about something bigger.  A part of the bigger call, part of what He’s doing around the world and to understand His rule and his reign. I believe there is so much misunderstanding around the kingdom.  What is the kingdom? The rule and reign is the kingdom of God.  People ask what does it look like?  I believe wherever God rules and wherever God is reigning, that’s His kingdom.  When we pray for sick people and they get healed, that’s the kingdom of God. When people are converted to Christianity and saved, the rule and reign of Christ comes in their life.  When marriages are restored, that’s the kingdom. When there is victory through Christ, that’s the kingdom come.  The danger of what I’m sharing is that everybody “knows this”.  This is probably the most quoted text but as I’ve been praying for us as God’s people I’m convinced that if we take this prayer that Jesus taught us to pray and we prayed it, not as a duty or some religious practice but take it literally for the words and the heart behind it and prayed it daily, our lives would never be the same again.  The people around us would be impacted in a way they’ve never been impacted, the nation would change and nations would change because of what Jesus taught us in how to pray.  If we take this risky prayer and we pray it every single day, not just out of routine, but think about it and meditate on this prayer we would gain the knowledge of power and understanding and revelation of the kingdom.  We would become a part of what he is doing and it would force us to respond and ask God to use me for bigger things than just getting through the day.

Matthew 6:9 – 15:  “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

You can tell a lot about people by what they pray, not by what they say.  I know a lot of people say a lot of good things when they are in public but what about when they are in private?  But when you pray you are speaking to Almighty God and what you speak to Him is truly what’s in your heart and He knows your heart.  It is no longer “Your issue or Your problem, God.  You deal with it and we will stay the course”.  Jesus taught us what to pray.  He said this is how you should pray and what you should pray.  Things would change in our lives, around our cities and around our nation and the nations of the world.  Friends, I am hoping you will commit with me to be praying this prayer every single day.

Here are some points to muse over for the Lord’s Prayer!

• • “RELATIONSHIP” • •
“Our Father in heaven”

• • “REVERENCE” • •
“Hallowed be your name”

• • “REQUEST” • •
“Your kingdom come”

• • “RESPONSIBILITY” • •
“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

• • “RELIANCE” • •
“Give us TODAY our daily bread.”

• • “REPENTANCE” • •
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”
• • “RESIST” • •
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”
• • “RELEASE” • •
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you”