Monday, July 18, 2016

The Missionary Call and Challenge

God has called each one of us to be involved in world missions.  This is his greatest desire to reach the world with the message of the gospel that will restore the broken relationship between mankind and God. 
The mission of Coca Cola is to put a can of coke into the hand of every person on the planet.  They have been very successful in accomplishing their mission.  Our mission is to reach every person and progress is being made yet there remains a large number of people unreached.
The Joshua Project has been working for many years to compile statistics on the status of world evangelization.  The world population is about 7 billion people and their statistics show:
10% are true followers of Christ
20 % are nominal believers
40% have heard the gospel but have not responded
30% have never heard, no exposure to the Gospel.
God needs each one of us to be involved in going to the mission field or supporting those who are sent through our finances, prayers and communication.
The greatest concentration of unreached people is in the 10/40 window.  This areas has high concentration of Muslims as well as other religions.
The nation with the greatest number of the 6700 unreached people groups is India (2034) followed by China (456).  80% of the population of India are Hindu and Nepal is mainly Buddhist.  Both countries have less than 5 % of the population who are Christians.
In the USA less than one cent of every dollar that is given to the church is used to reach the unreached people groups.
God’s heart is to reach the every ethnic group and he will use whatever means available to get the good news to them. Only 1 of 10 cross cultural missionaries is working among the unreached people groups.  The greatest need has the fewest missionaries
As a church the need of the day is to train and send missionaries to the unreached people.  According to Fred Markert from YWAM’s frontier missions work there is only 1 missionary for every 1 million Muslims. 
God will find a way to reach the unreached people.  Ralph Winter a missiologist has identified 4 ways God reaches people through us.
1.       We go voluntarily to them in obedience to the Great Commission
2.       We go involuntarily such as when the Israelites were taken captive. Jonah was the reluctant prophet. Young slave girl who told Naaman about the prophet Elijah.     2Ki_5:1-6  Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.   Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman's wife.  So Naaman went in and told his lord, "Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel." And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, "When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy."
 IIt is important for children to witness the power of God and hear the testimonies of their parents of how God has demonstrated his power in their lives. One generation must pass on to another the history of God's work among them.
Psa_78:4  We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
Psa_78:6  that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,
3.       People come voluntarily: immigrants, Queen of Sheba, 1Ki_10:1  Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions. 1Ki 10:9  Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness."
4.       People come involuntarily.  Sent by governing authorities to live in another country or area.

God is reaching the Muslim world by revealing himself through visions and dreams to the Muslims but messengers are still needed to bring the gospel message and make disciples.  Public proclamation of the gospel is forbidden in most of the Muslim controlled countries and the most effective way of spreading the gospel is through relationships that begin with people of peace who are willing to open their homes to missionaries who want to develop relationships with them. 
David Garrison in his book “A wind in the House of Islam” documents Movements of Muslims to Christ.
AD 600-1800      No known movements
AD 1800-1980    2 movements
AD 1980-2000    11 Movements (Iran, Algeria, Bulgaria, Albania, West Africa, Bangladesh, Central Asia)
2000-2013           69 Movements (across the globe)
Definition of a movement: at least 1,000 baptized believers or 100 new church starts, over a 2 decade period.
We are living in exciting days as we see God move in nations to declare his glory.  His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom that knows no end.  His government will increase and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. 
Isa_9:7  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Hab 2:14  For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
We get to be part of this harvest of souls who are waiting for someone to come and share the gospel with them.  Jesus looked upon the lost nation of Israel and saw them as sheep without a shepherd.  When he saw them in their lost condition he was moved with compassion.
Mat 9:35  And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.
Mat 9:36  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Mat 9:37  Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;
Mat 9:38  therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."

We have to have open eyes that see people as Jesus sees them.  We cannot ignore them, wait for someone else to go to them.
Jesus had compassion on them and we also must have an open heart to understand their condition and the lostness of their situation.
Jesus prayed for workers to be sent and we must also have open hands to do the work he has called us to do.  We must be willing to be the answer to the prayer of workers being sent out into the harvest field.
Who will go?  Who will send them?
What part will you play in reaching the unreached people?

Love with Shoes on….Darrell Champlin
He opened the field of Surinam, South America to us. It had been abandoned as a waste of time, men, and money. We found out why when we arrived there in May of 1965. They’d been under the absolute control of demon empowered witch doctors. I’m talking about real power. I’m talking about a witch doctor that could go out here on this street and call lightning and thunder down out of a clear blue sky that would shake this building to the very rafters, and the sulfur smell would singe your nostrils. I’m talking about witch doctors who will send little boys up thorn trees with thousands of steel strong, needle-sharp thorns in rings, just about four inches apart, sticking straight up. They would send the boy up over those and down through those picking fruit. Not a single wound. Not a drop of blood. Under that power this people had lived for two hundred without a soul being saved.
They persecuted us, as they had three couples, driving them all out in less than a year, the last couple lasting five months. You see, there were no roads between those villages. No trails, even. You had to reach them, and still today you must reach them by boat. You’re talking about a climate where we have, in our living room when we sit down to lunch, an average temperature of 94 degrees. Humidity sits at about 70, or 75%. That’s inside the house. In the shade it’s 110. In the open sun . . . I don’t know because we haven’t found a thermometer that will stay in the sun without breaking. They made us sit in our boats and wait till they jolly well pleased to let us come ashore in any one of the villages. They burned us and parboiled us and roasted us until my nose and my mouth were covered with great blisters again and again. The scars are still there. Sadistic people, you say.
No. It was my blessed Lord Jesus asking one of His servants, “Do you love Me? How do you love Me?”
Then miraculously souls began to be saved. A witch doctor was saved. The whole fabric of their demon possessed government was being shaken by a power that they could not imagine. A power they had never experienced. In panic they ratcheted up their persecution until at last, all else failing, they brought out their trump card. They brought Apotu, the fire dancing witch doctor. They invited me to come and watch.
Louise stayed home to pray. I walked over the jungle trail to the village. There a great crowd of people, 400 or more up in the trees or on the ground crowded around a blazing fire over here and a heap of broken beer bottle glass there. I looked around. There behind them I could see the witch doctor clad only in a loin cloth, bare headed and footed, communing with his demon spirits and washing with his herb water. Then he came out to the beat of drums modeled after those brought from Africa many years ago. He began to dance around and around that broken beer bottle glass. He leaped on it, danced on it, rolled in it, and he wasn’t cut. The people began to shout “The demon is on him! The demon is on him!” They knew the source of the power. He left that heap of glass and went into the fire. There he stood in it, playing in it, picking up the blazing brands -- in a knee high fire – running them over his face and through his hair. Back into the glass, back into the fire. Now he has the people in the palm of his hand, and he said, “Now if you will follow me. I’ll give you this power.”
It dawned on me why he’d come. He’d come to break the power of the gospel by demonstrating the power of Satan. My heart broke. “Oh God! Here are babes in Christ. Here are those who are counting the cost of losing their families if they trust Jesus as their Savior, of being ostracized from their nation if they follow the Lord Jesus. They’re being tempted to follow the devil again. Oh God, what can I do to stop them?”
My Lord Jesus simply asked me, “Do you love Me?”
“Yes Lord.”
“Then you just do the dance he has just done to show them that I have power.”
“Yes, Lord.”
They got a couple of candidates and took them off to the side. They heaped the glass again, built the fire blazing again. They didn’t notice that I was able to slip through the crowd. Before they knew what I was about to do I pulled off my shoes and socks and jumped on that glass. I have to admit, beloved, that I jumped rather gingerly, but I found God was protecting me. I stomped in it, it could not cut me. You don’t have to be charismatic to believe that. You just have to know that you serve Jehovah Sabaoth, General of the hosts of the universe.
People began to shout “The demon is on the missionary!” They didn’t understand yet. I tell you I didn’t feel the glass, but beloved, when I went into that fire, it was hot! I was a good Baptist boy, and I never learned to dance, but I did some kind of dance on that fire. Stomped in it, jumped up and down in it, and by God’s grace a few minutes later it was out. I looked down and could see those red hot coals glowing there like little Christmas tree lights between my toes. You can imagine the effect on the people. I turned to them and said, “Now listen. God’s not in the business of fire dances. You have the Bible, His Word. You have His messenger. You have the gospel. If you did not believe and receive the Lord Jesus He could have sent you to hell, and it would have been just. But God had mercy on you tonight to show you His power. Now you can follow this man Apotu, and he’ll give you this demonic power, but it will carry you to hell. If you follow my Lord Jesus He’ll forgive your sins, and he’ll take you to heaven. Make your choice.”
They made it just like that. The drummers got up and left their drums. “Fire dance is over,” they said. The crowd began to break up and go back into the village. The witch doctor and leadership of the village were furious! I’ve been stoned a couple times, but I thought that night, “They are going kill me!” Swarming around, clenching their fists, gnashing their teeth. A couple of our young Christians, just saved, came to help protect me and we had a hot time for about 30 minutes. Finally they let me go. I went over that little trail that they’d just allowed us to cut through the jungle. Back over that swampy place to our house. My feet were hot. I got down and looked at them, but couldn’t see anything wrong. I prayed, “Oh God, if I wake in the morning burned and blistered You have suffered an awful defeat. Lord, you must help me. Your people, Lord. Your glory, Lord. Your mission, Lord.” I went to bed. About six-o-clock in the morning I woke up and looked at my feet. They were perfect. Praise the Lord!

No sooner was I out of bed than there came a knock at the door. But they don’t knock like that. They call out “Kokoko?” I went to the door. It’s people from the village.
“Missionary, how are your feet?”
“Well, you just take a look.” I said. “They’re just fine.”
A couple of our young men, just starting in training to serve, came to me and said, “Missionary, if that’s the kind of God we serve you show us the way and we’ll walk in it.” Today, beloved, they preach in 40 towns and villages across an area half the size of the state of Michigan. They’re walking.

The missionary call and challenge is for each one of us.  We must do our part to support through prayer and finances or be sent to the unreached harvest field.  Pray that the Lord of the Harvest will speak to you what your role should be to fulfill the desire of God's heart to reach all nations and declare his glory.

Monday, September 21, 2015

3 Fires in the life of Peter

All of our lives are marked by certain events at specific places that define who we are and what  values we  will uphold.  Peter's life was marked by three specific events that all involved a  fire.  They defined who he was, what he would do with his life and how he would accomplish the ministry God had given to him.
The first fire was the Fire of Failure.  We all have failures that we regret in our lives and for Peter it happened when Jesus was on trial.  He was in the courtyard as was John but Peter was not as near to Jesus as was John.  He was warming himself by the fire when he was identified as one who had been with Jesus the Nazarene.  Peter vehemently denied he had any association with Jesus.  Peter was more concerned at this moment about self preservation than dedication to Jesus through his identification with him.  He feared that his life would possibly be taken and fear drove his reaction of complete denial of Jesus.  Earlier that evening Peter had been with Jesus and had stated that he would be willing to die for him but when the true test of his character was on trial he failed to live up to his word.  Jesus had forewarned him about this incident happening but Peter did not believe it was possible. When the rooster crowed as Jesus predicted Peter saw himself for who he was and wept over his cowardice and betrayal of Jesus.  Peter's failure at the fire would stay with him his entire life. It was a memory that he never wanted yet was there to remind him of his pride that led to his fall.  It was not the end of Peter's association with Jesus.  He rebounded and was more than eager to be one of the first to run to see the empty tomb.  Though he failed in his time of testing, he sought after Jesus and encountered him.  We all have our fires of failure when we give into the pressures of the world and do not live up to our promises.  We cannot point the finger at Peter and not feel the same toward ourselves as we also have denied Jesus through our failures.  Failure does not have to define our lives, we can recover and receive forgiveness.
The second fire was the Fire of Restoration.  Peter and several of the disciples returned to the fishing business after the resurrection of Jesus.  They were confused about what they should do and it was not like Jesus was with them 24 hours a day as in the past.  Their return to fishing did not produce any success until Jesus showed up and told them to cast their nets on the side of the boat.  They experienced a miraculous catch of fish and Peter quickly identified that it was Jesus who had given them the advice.  He could not wait to see him and got out of the boat before anyone else.  Jesus was waiting for them on the shore by a fire he had prepared to cook fish and have some bread with it.  Jesus spoke to Peter by the fire to test his heart devotion to him.  He asked him three times if he loved him and each time Peter acknowledged that he did.  Jesus was testing his heart to determine if he would be motivated by love to carry out the ministry of feeding his sheep, caring for his sheep and feeding his lambs.  Jesus had not given up on Peter and the ministry that he would have. He wanted to make sure that Peter had the dedication and proper motivation to entrust future ministry.  Love has to be the motivation for everything we do in ministry.  Love for Jesus and love for the people he has called us to serve.  Without love we accomplish nothing of value in the Kingdom of God.  Peter did love Jesus and his life of ministry was a testimony of the greatness of his love for him.
The third fire was experienced on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the 120 that had gathered in the upper room. The impartation of the Holy Spirit changed Peter.  He was a changed man who boldly stood before the multitude of people to proclaim the Message of the  gospel. Peter was launched into a supernatural ministry of revelation of the Word, discernment of the motivation of the heart, healings, angelic visitations and raising a dead person back to life. Peter had a great anointing of the Holy Spirit such that even his shadow touching the sick brought healing. He received visions from God to direct his ministry. He was miraculously delivered from prison. He spoke with wisdom that even the learned religious leaders were amazed. Peter never denied the Lord after receiving the Holy Spirit. He carried out the ministry Jesus had given to him and died a martyrs death.
Peter is an example to all of the power of God to transform our lives. The fire of our failure does not have to define our future , God can overcome our failures and restore our lives to give us the ministry that he has chosen. The fire of the Holy Spirit is available to us today, the supernatural ministry Peter experienced is for all believers. We can expect God to transform our lives and empower us to fulfill the supernatural ministry he wants to do through us.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Love of a Father

 1 John 3.1  See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Jn 3:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
John’s Revelation
John had a revelation of God and of himself that will revolutionize our thinking if we allow it to become our understanding as well.
John viewed God as a loving Father who generously gave his love to his children.  We as God’s children are the objects of his love.  True love has to be given to another person.  God created us because he wanted to share the love that existed in the Trinity with people he would create that could also be loved and give love. 
God did not create us to control us, force us to do his will, use us for his own purposes to accomplish what he wanted to do.  He created us for his pleasure, the pleasure of giving his love to us and calling us his children.
 When we respond to his love and return our love to him we bring glory and honor to him.  When a parent sees their child respond in a loving way to another person it brings joy to their heart.  The child is doing what the parent wants them to do without telling them to do it. What the parent has modeled and taught their child is now in the child and they are responding in a loving way to others.
God is love, it is his nature to love, to give of himself unselfishly, sacrificially and without expecting love to be returned.  It brings him joy when love is returned but he does not demonstrate his love for the purpose of receiving love.  If that were the case it would be a form of manipulation . God does not force people to love him just as he will not force people to go to heaven.  His love is so perfect that he can love all of mankind and not withhold his love in spite of it being rejected.  As our Creator, he created us to be loved by him and that will not change.  His love will always be demonstrated toward us even in our worst fallen state of rebellion against him. 

John saw the love of God being given to us that we would be called the “children of God.”  He saw himself in a Father-son relationship.  He was God’s child, God’s love child.  A child conceived in love and nurtured in love throughout his life.  John’s identity was found in his relationship to his father.  He was the son of his father.  Orphaned children struggle with finding their identity because they do not know their father.  The father image is so important in establishing our identity.  I remember growing up and being asked what my last name was followed by who is your father as there were other people with the same last name.  Once they knew who my father was then other things were automatically associated to me, good or bad.  Our identity is established through our heavenly Father who is perfect in all his ways. He is flawless and is the perfection of every good character trait that exists.  When we call him our Father we are also being identified with him in the way people understand what God as a Father is like. As his child, I am like him or have the capacity to be like him.  I have his DNA because I am made in his likeness and image. 

Altered Image
Through the fall of man this image has been severely damaged and altered to the point of being in a state of depravity.  Our fallen condition makes us unacceptable to God. God knew that man would fail and fall into this state. He knew man would make the choice to make his own decisions rather than submit to the authority of God as his Creator.  He knew that man would choose knowledge over obedience.  In spite of the consequences of the decision which God clearly stated would be death, man chose to not obey God. Fallen man was now branded and driven out of paradise.  The unholy could no longer be in a place of perfection.  Man in his fallen state could never enter into a place of perfection where God dwells.
Restored Image
God had a solution before the problem came into existence and that was his plan to send Jesus to the world to be its Savior and restore man in his relationship with him.  Jesus as the perfect sacrifice would give his life in payment for the penalty of sin which was death.  God in his great love for man created a plan for his restoration. Through Christ we can now become a new creation in which the image of God is restored.
Man’s decision
Man is now faced with another decision to accept what God has provided for the reestablishing of our relationship with him or man can try to do what he thinks will make him acceptable to God.  The response of many people is to follow a set of rules or do good works so that God will accept them. 
A story is told of two brothers who were very wicked men.  When one of the brothers died he talked to a pastor to conduct the funeral for his brother.  He told the pastor he would pay him a large sum of money if during the eulogy he would refer to his brother as a saint.  The pastor agreed to do it. During the message he said of the deceased brother, “this man was evil, he was a liar, a cheater, an adulterer and a murderer but compared to his brother he was a saint.” Man wants God to accept him based on his good works but the problem is that man is not qualified to determine what is good.  Also the motivation of the heart is what God judges and often the motivation of doing what man thinks is good is influenced by selfishness and pride.
Fallen man wants God to accept him on his terms not God’s.  This is another form of manipulation, “If I do good works, God will have to accept me”.  Others invent rituals and ceremonies that they think will appease God and receive his favor and approval.  This can involve human sacrifices or self-inflicted pain that seeks to satisfy a need to purify oneself from the evil deeds they have committed. None of these man made solutions will ever be acceptable to God.  God as our Creator has set the terms for our reconciliation with him.   
When John declared, “Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us…” he was thinking of the greatness of God’s love for us that has provided a way for us to be restored in our relationship with him.  We were created by God’s love and we are redeemed because of his love and nothing will ever be able to separate us from his love. 
Adopted Children
We are now his children because we have been reconciled to him.  We are his adopted children which does not mean we are second class kids.  In the Roman world many slaves were adopted into the families of their owners.  They were given the exact same privileges as a natural born child, there was no difference but there was one privilege that they had.  An adopted child could never be rejected as a family member whereas a natural born child could be thrown out of the family.  We see this even today in the Jewish and Muslim culture when they become Christians or marry outside of their faith.  The Jews have a funeral service and the Muslims completely cut off the child from the family and strip away any inheritance they may have received.  As adopted sons and daughters in God’s family we will never be rejected by our Father.  We are in his family and no one can take us out of it.
As God’s children we are heirs or joint heirs with Jesus.  We have an inheritance that we will be given when our life on earth is over. But more than the future blessings that await us are the daily benefits we receive as children of God.  He is our loving Father who provides for our needs, protects us, guides our decisions, comforts us in our times of grief and loss, encourages us and constantly demonstrates his love for us.
Rejected by the World
John also recognized that we as God’s children are not accepted by the world.
 ” The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 
The world does not know God as their Father and as a consequence they do not recognize his children.  Without the true knowledge of who God is, man can never recognize the children of God because they are like him.  As God’s children we are different than the world.  We have values that are different and we are seeing those values being tested and rejected by the world. One example was demonstrated in the news recently.  It is difficult to accept what the world values as courageous when they give an award to a man who went through sex change procedures so he could become a woman.  He is lauded for his courage to become something he was not created to be.  I can think of many other people who were more deserving of an award for courage.  His decision to become a woman has no biblical basis and is in defiance of God’s original design of male and female.  The acceptance of homosexual marriages and now the acceptance of transgenders is being forced upon the Christian community.  Our values as Christians seeking to uphold the values of the Word of God are being rejected and penalized.  We are being forced to condone behaviors that are not acceptable to God.  But when the world does not know God as a loving Father who is perfect they can do whatever is pleasing in their own eyes. It is no longer an issue of morality but of what brings man pleasure.  This has created a slippery slope that will have no end because the pleasures and desires of fallen man will lead him further into depravity.  We are heading to the same state of mankind before the flood.
5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.
The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ge 6:5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
As God’s children we will not be recognized or respected by the masses that are following after their own pleasures and have rejected the moral statutes God has given for the preservation of society.  God’s love for mankind established boundaries and morals that are for the good of mankind.  These were laws of love that God gave because of his love for mankind and his knowledge of what evil will do to a culture. 
God’s Counterculture
We are God’s counterculture in the world today.  We are his children who will reflect his character, his values, his priorities and his love for a fallen world.  We are to live as children of the light and not walk in the darkness of the world.  We are in the world but not of it.  Our identity is in our relationship to our Father who is perfect and just in all his ways.  We are to love as he loves but love does not mean we have to accept and approve of the ways of the world. To do so would be to deny our true identity and the values that God has given us as our Father.  We have to evaluate what the world is promoting as an anti-Christ spirit.  The spirit of the world is in complete defiance and opposition to the rule of God.  If we give in to the world we are also rejecting what God has ordained and declared to be Truth. The world evaluates the Bible by their experiences but we must evaluate our experiences by the Bible. We cannot live for the approval of the world.  We must live for the approval of our Father, it is his approval that really matters and has eternal consequences.

When we have the true revelation of God as our father it clarifies our identity as his children whom he dearly loves.  We are in him and he is in us.  The world needs to see the Father in the light of the Truth that God has revealed to us.  There are millions of people today who do not know their true identity because they have never met their true Father or have been given a wrong example of what he is like.  We as his children have the opportunity to show the world what God our Father is truly like.  We will not always be accepted by the world but we will always be loved and accepted by our Father and that is more important.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Discipleship in the Early Church

After the ascension of Jesus the disciples followed the directive of Jesus to go to Jerusalem and wait.  The disciples had received the new birth being born from above. When we are “born again” or “born from above” this is a supernatural event.  It is the beginning of the supernatural life God wants us to live.  Without this happening we are merely human beings left with a mind that is in a fallen state of being to make decisions about our lives and the lives of other people that we influence.  We are trapped with a mindset that is severely limited compared to having the mind of Christ.  We are born again with a new nature, a nature that is like God  a supernatural state of being.  I think we often do not understand what God has done for us and what we are capable of doing through the new nature we have received.

For 10 days they waited, praying, seeking the scriptures to bring greater understanding of what Jesus had taught them and revealed to them about the prophecies regarding the Messiah.  It must have been a time of great anticipation as they waited for the Holy Spirit to be given to them. The disciples who were with him when he was baptized had the experience of watching the Holy Spirit descend upon him as a dove.  They had to be wondering what kind of experience they were going to have.  When the Spirit was given it came in power and it was evident to everyone the sound of a rushing mighty wind and the appearance of tongues of fire.  Maybe it was tornado or hurricane like but whatever it was there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that this was from God.  The physical manifestations were seen and recorded to testify of the fulfillment of the promise God had given to them.

The Holy Spirit came in power and those who were baptized in him began to speak in tongues.  The people who heard them noted that they were speaking in their language.  The question some may ask regarding this is did the disciples speak in another language or did they speak in a heavenly language that God gave the people the interpretation of it so it was as though they were hearing someone speak in their language?

However it happened the important aspect is that it was promised to them, was needed by them and was given to them to be witnesses.  Without the Holy Spirit the work of the ministry could not be carried out the way God wanted it to be done.  Receiving the Holy Spirit is a supernatural event, it cannot be contrived by human effort. 

 Their lives were radically changed after receiving the Holy Spirit.  They were transformed from being scared for their lives, thinking that the scribes and Pharisees were out to kill them to being bold and courageous witnesses for the Lord. Peter was one who experienced the supernatural power to witness as he stood before all the people and preached a message that brought many to believe in Jesus as the Messiah.  The church experienced exponential growth in a short period of time because of the power of the witness of the Holy Spirit filled people. 

It was important for the new believers to unite and we see that there were certain practices that began immediately to disciple them.  The principles established then are just as valid today for all believers and they need to be part of our lives as we seek to become strong disciples of Christ.

Acts 2: 42-47

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

There were 4 things they incorporated into their lives to become strong disciples of Christ.

1.     They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching. 

This was the first thing mentioned about the early church and it indicates its importance.  The word “devoted” is a strong word that can also mean dedicated or consecrated. It was not a wishy washy commitment they were making to receive teaching from the Apostles.  William Barclay translates it as, “They persevered in listening to the apostle’s teaching.”

They were actively pursuing knowledge of God through the teachings of the apostles.  They had much to learn as this was a new revelation to thousands of new believers.  The knowledge the apostles had gained through their three years of being with Jesus now found expression in the teachings they were able to give to the new believers.

Doctrine to some is almost a dirty word.  They think of it as boring and they want the practical messages that make them feel good or are ways to make their lives better.   Doctrine is important because it defines and clarifies what we believe to be truth.  We have to know what we believe and why we believe it so we can effectively communicate it to others who are new to the faith or are in error in what they believe.

A mark of a true disciple is a hunger to study the Word, be taught the Word and live according to the Word.  When we lose our hunger for the Word we are in a bad spiritual state.  Your being here tonight is an indication of spiritual hunger.  You could be in many other places doing many other things but you are here by choice to meet with the Lord.  There should be a hunger in all of our hearts for the Word, it is the Bread of Life that sustains us in our daily walk with the Lord.  It is like water that cleanses us from wrong thinking and actions that are revealed to us as we read the Word.  It is like a fire that burns within us and compels us to share it with others.  It is like a hammer that breaks bondages by revealing truth to us.  It brings us comfort in time of distress and encourages us to attempt great things for God. It is our guide to help us make right decisions.  It is our weapon against the temptations of the devil and is one of our primary defenses against his lies .  It is our source of wisdom and knowledge of God’s character and nature.  It reveals who He is and who we are. 

I pray the desire to learn will never be quenched in our lives. Reading the word is critical to our spiritual growth and the Holy Spirit is with us to teach us. One of the ways that Muslim converts are discipled is by simply having them read the word and then ask what is God asking me to do as a result of what I have read. The goal is to have them understand on their own and not depend on someone else to tell them what the scriptures mean and how they should respond. They are taught to obey what they are learning from the word. What they have discovered by using this approach is that the people are making the changes they need on their own and they are witnessing to the nonbelievers in obedience to the great commission. Loren Cunningham is on a mission to get a Bible into the hands of everyone by the year 2035. He has stated that in areas where people have been evangelized  through open air campaigns or their facsimile only 5 % of the people stay faithful to their commitment to the Lord. But in areas where public campaigns have occurred and the converts are given a Bible they are seeing a 200% growth rate! Why? Because the converts are obeying the word and sharing the gospel with the lost.

There should always be a hunger to be taught but also the application of the word and obedience to what the Holy Spirit is teaching us.

2.     The second mark of the New disciples is they had fellowship with each other. We are social beings, gregarious people who need each other. As believers we can be treated as strangers after we come to Christ and the Holy Spirit begins to make changes in us that may not be understood or accepted by people. We can feel alienated from others and that is why we need to connect with other believers. Being a part of a community of believers is the way we can grow spiritually as we learn to submit and receive instructions from one another.

Evangelism has been done in many countries by extracting converts from their families and communities. This has created tensions in the family among certain people groups. What has worked successfully among Muslim groups and tribal groups is to keep the believer with the family and allow them to live out their faith within the family. As family members come to faith the family stays together and the fellowship they now share in Christ binds them together. The New believers connect with believers outside of their immediate family as well and help each other grow in their faith.

People who are hermits and live alone often develop mental and social problems. God said it was not good for man to be alone and he created Eve to be Adam's companion. We need each other and being a part of a fellowship group where healthy relationships are formed will keep us on track and not get weird. Being accountable to others can only occur when we are in close fellowship with each other. If you are not a part of a fellowship group I encourage you to find one or start one.

3.     The third aspect of discipleship was meeting to “break bread” which is to share meals. Jesus met and ministered to many people by sharing a meal with them. There is something almost magical that happens when we share a meal with others. It is a casual time for everyone except someone like Martha who was overly concerned about the presentation than the opportunity to enjoy being with Jesus.

One of my most memorable shared meals experience was when I was in Jerusalem many years ago. We attended a church service in a church that had been burned down by arsonists. All the wood was charred and only a little bit of the structure remained. The fellowship we experienced came from true believers who were willing to follow Jesus at any cost. After the service we were invited to the home of the man who was the gardener where the tomb of Jesus was located. He did not have much food to offer, a canned ham or spam and boiled potatoes was our meal. But the time we shared with him will forever be etched in my mind. A humble man serving a humble meal in a humble home filled with the love of Christ.

Sharing a meal involves service to each other, giving of resources, hospitality and investing of your time in another person.  All of these produce a spiritual benefit for the people involved. 

Breaking of bread can also signify sharing of the Lord’s supper which is also a very important aspect of being in relationship with one another. It reminds us of the unity we have in Christ as his body but also his sacrifice for us that has made possible the relationship we have with him and with each other.  The early church shared communion on a regular basis and it is still an important memorial that we should keep regularly today.


4.     Prayer was the final element mentioned.  

More than 30 times in the book of Acts we find either individuals or groups of believers who are on their knees before God. They are praising and worshiping Him and interceding for others. We also find them praying for their own needs. So Acts is not only the Acts of the Holy Spirit, it is also Acts of prayer as well.

The church was birthed in prayer as the 120 met in Jerusalem waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Act 1:14  All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.


The early church faced opposition from the beginning and it helped them establish prayer as a regular part of their meetings each day.  They also went to the temple at the hour of prayer that had been established in their faith.  Prayer had been a major part of their lives and it continued to be a priority for the early church.

The early church made it a priority and they had some incredible prayer meetings.  They prayed because they saw their need and their prayers brought results.

Peter and John were threatened by the religious leaders and were told to be silent.  When they were released they went back to the body of believers who immediately went to prayer.


Act 4:29  And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness,

Act 4:30  while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

Act 4:31  And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

As the church grew in numbers so did the needs of the people.  It reached a point where meeting physical needs became a hindrance to the preaching and prayer that was needed.

Act 6:4  But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."

A solution was found and the leadership was able to focus on what they were called to do: prayer and the ministry of the word.


When Peter was placed in prison the church gathered to pray and God miraculously delivered him.

Act 12:5  So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.


Barnabas and Paul were commissioned as missionaries as a result of the church in Antioch seeking God in prayer, fasting and worship.

Act 13:1  Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Act 13:2  While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."

Act 13:3  Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.


There are more examples of the church on its knees and the great things that happened as a result of their unified prayers.


 Personal prayer is the norm for most people but corporate prayer is not practiced in many believers’ lives to the same degree.  There is a need for both in the life of the believer. 

When we can come into agreement and pray together the enemy trembles and God responds.  Prayer is one of our most powerful spiritual weapons of warfare.  If we do not pray we should not question why things are not changing. 

The churches that are being raised up among the Muslim areas spend exended time in prayer daily as a body of believers.  They are in critical situations where their very lives are on the line each day.  They understand the need for prayer but also the power of prayer as they see lives changed as a result of their prayers.  Often we don’t pray until we are in a crisis situation and are desperate for God’s intervention. 

The miraculous growth of the church in Korea is a direct result of the prayer focus of the church.  They continue to meet daily for prayer and have designated prayer mountains where individuals and groups can spend time in prayer.  Korea has become the third largest sending nation of missionaries as a result of their dedication to prayer and obedience to the Lord.


Prayer meetings are often the least attended service of many churches and corporately very little time is spent in prayer in most churches.  May God burn in our hearts a desire for corporate prayer in the church so that the work of God can go forward in his miraculous power. Jesus told his disciples to pray that the Lord of the Harvest (Holy Spirit) would send laborers into the harvest.  We must pray individually and corporately for the workers to be released.


The early church had remarkable growth, remarkable miracles, remarkable boldness, and remarkable courage which came as a result of their corporate prayers.  We can expect the same things to happen as we make the same commitment to prayer that they did.


Here in Guatemala there is a city, Almolonga that experienced an incredible transformation that came as a result of corporate prayer.  Their city was a disaster filled with drunkenness, prostitution and abuse.  The jails were overflowing.  As the believers began to unite in prayer God began to move in miraculous ways to bring repentance. One of the key pastors was threatened one day and a pistol was placed in his mouth.  When the trigger was pulled nothing happened and the would be assassin knew he was dealing with something beyond his understanding.  God also blessed their land giving them crops that were much larger than normal.  Part of the increase came as a result of the work ethic that changed but part was also God’s blessing on the land.  The community down the road from them did not see the fruitfulness that Almolonga experienced.

Corporate prayer brings results.


 The early church produced strong disciples because of their emphasis on teaching the Word, fellowship that developed close relationships, sharing meals that demonstrated servanthood and genuine care for each other and corporate prayer that produced incredible results.

These four aspects of making disciples are needed today as we face a world that is becoming more antagonistic to the gospel and moving deeper into depravity.  We need strong disciples who will be able to stand against the forces of darkness to boldly proclaim the gospel and believe God to do great and mighty things through their prayers offered in faith.


The results in the early church discipleship program were:

Supernatural ministry

Unity among the believers




These things are what we can also expect to happen as we dedicate ourselves to becoming disciples of Christ.


Monday, July 13, 2015

The Journey of Faith

The generation of Israelites who left Egypt never entered the Promised Land because of their unbelief.  When their final test of faith was given to them they failed miserably and insulted God accusing him of being a liar and deceiver who was setting them up to fail.  Their concept of God was warped and they were not worthy of entering in the Promised Land.  They did not have what it would take to possess the Land.  They were now destined to live out the remainder of their lives, 40 years wandering in the desert until the entire generation except Caleb and Joshua died.  God was still faithful to meet their needs during the entire wilderness experience but they missed out on what God had intended for them.  It as a sad ending of lives that had tremendous potential.  I cannot imagine what it was like for them to live with the regret of their failure for all those years.  Lives wasted because of rebellion and unbelief.  

I think of people today in the same situation.  Living lives of unbelief and never experiencing all the goodness that God has planned for them.  One of my acquaintances in my home town died a week ago.  We were in Boy Scouts together for several years so I knew him a little bit.  His death was sudden and sadly his body lay in his apartment for 3 days before he was found. I read his obituary and like many people there was no mention of his relationship with God, service in the church or any ministry he was involved in.  His pleasures in life were hanging out at the Eagle’s Club, playing darts and watching car races.  I could not help but think of what he missed by not serving God.  He had his physical needs met but the most important part of his life, his relationship with God was not something that was noted by his family in his obituary.  Like the Israelites he never entered into all the goodness that God had planned for him.  Perhaps by choice or ignorance yet the result was the same.

God’s promises to Israel would be fulfilled by a new generation led by Joshua.  They would see the fulfillment of the promises god had made to their ancestors. Faith would be required as well as obedience in order for them to possess the land. 
Only two Spies were sent in to check out the land.  40 years had passed and the population of the inhabitants had increased greatly.  From outward appearance it would seem that conquering the land was going to be even more of a challenge. The cities must have been even more fortified as the people knew about the miraculous deliverance of the Israelites.  The spies found refuge in the house of Rehab the prostitute as their mission had been discovered by the leaders of the city of Jericho.  

 Rehab had a healthy fear of these men and whom they represented.  She told the men:
Jos 2:9  and said to the men, "I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you.
Jos 2:10  For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction.
Jos 2:11  And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.
When the spies returned they gave an inspiring vote of confidence that God was going to give them the land.
Jos 2:24  And they said to Joshua, "Truly the LORD has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us."
The doom and gloom report of the previous generation had been upgraded to two thumbs up.  There was a completely different attitude among the people. But there would still be challenges to face and overcome.

They like their fathers faced their first obstacle, crossing over the raging Jordan River. Instead of becoming fearful and complaining this generation responded in faith and obedience. God was going to perform a miracle that would bolster their faith in him and take away the fears they may have had.  When the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant set their feet in the raging river the waters separated as they did at the Red Sea and formed dry ground for the people to pass.  The ark represented his presence and his covenant.  He would go before the people and his covenant promises would not be unfulfilled.  The Israelites knew beyond a shadow of doubt that God was leading them and he would give them victory. 

God is always faithful to keep his covenant promises with us.  He will never fail us, what he promises he will fulfill.  We can move forward with confidence in fulfilling God’s calling on our lives.  He goes before us to prepare the way.  We serve a supernatural God who cannot and will not be stopped from fulfilling his purposes as we respond in obedience to him.  He wants us to believe in him and expect him to do the miraculous in our lives and through our lives.  

As we follow in obedience to him we will inevitably come into circumstances and trials that will require a miracle.  This is the normal Christian life, expecting the miraculous to happen.  God will come through when we call upon him, he will show up and show himself strong on our behalf.  God reveals himself to unbelievers in miraculous ways who call upon him, how much more will he do for those who truly believe in him and call upon him? 

 I was listening to the testimony of Chris Velotten from Bethel church. He did not grow up in a Christian home and his father left the home when he was very young.  His grandfather was his greatest influence in his life and he was an atheist.  Life was hard for the family and in desperation Chris called out to God to prove he was real by healing his mom from the skin condition she had.  He promised that if he did he would serve him the rest of his life.  He then heard the audible voice of Jesus who identified himself and said he would fulfill his desire. The next morning Chris saw the miraculous.  His mother the night before was completely covered with psoriasis from her head to her feet.  When she awoke in the morning she was completely healed and Chris knew that Jesus was real. 
The Israelites experienced the realness of God when they saw the miraculous happen before their eyes.  God will do what is necessary to bring us to a point of faith and trust in him.  We will need to have this faith in him for the entire journey of our life.  God had much more in store for his people and they had to walk by faith and obedience to receive everything he had promised.

The miraculous crossing of the Jordan confirmed to the people God’s presence and power to fulfill his promise.  But now there needed to be the consecration of the people to the Lord and this was done immediately after crossing the Jordan.
The Israelites had to confirm their allegiance to God by going through the rite of circumcision.  This was the outward sign of their identification and dedication to the Lord, it set them apart as God’s chosen people.  God had made a covenant with them and they had to confirm the covenant with him as well.  Before they began the conquest of the Promised Land there was a need for the covenant to be confirmed for the sake of the people.  It was a way of showing their commitment to God to fulfill the covenant he had made with them.  They had to be “all in”.  We are called and set apart to serve the Lord.  Our hearts need to be circumcised, set apart from the world and the flesh to serve God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. When we make the commitment to follow the Lord there can be no turning back.  God keeps his covenant with us and expects the same from us.

It is a grievous thing to see people who once followed the Lord who now live as though he did not exist.  They have turned away from him, forsaking the covenant made with him to follow after other gods.  How the heart of God must be broken over the broken covenants people have made with him.  He remains faithful and will welcome them back because his love never ends.  Yet the travesty is the life that has been wasted pursing the things that will not bring happiness and are things that are destructive to their personal lives as well as their relationship with God.  

After the circumcision was completed the next event that prepared them for the conquest was the celebration of the Passover.  This was a reminder of the miraculous deliverance of the people from Egypt.  They were never to forget where they had been and what they had been delivered from after 400 years of captivity.  God had brought them out to bring them in to the Promised Land.  There was no turning back, no more thought of going back to Egypt like their fathers had requested.  The Passover was another event that God used to bolster their faith and remind them of what he had done for them so they would believe that he would continue to lead them.
It was a new day for the Israelites.  There was no need to eat manna as they had for all the years in the desert.  The Manna Diet was over!!! They could now enjoy the food of the Promised Land.  They began to enjoy the goodness of the Lord and his provision for them.  As we journey in faith God provides what we need but also gives us the desires of our heart.  He is not a stingy God who wants to keep us poor and humble.  He wants us to enjoy the good things he provides for us. 
Jos 5:11  And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain.
Jos 5:12  And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year. 

They were now experiencing the abundance God wanted them to enjoy and there was more to come!  It had to have been a great encouragement to the people to be able to enjoy what they had been missing for all those years in the desert.  I think this had a tremendous effect on the people and motivated them to continue with moving forward with the Lord to possess the land.

All of these preliminary events were God’s way of preparing the people to take possession of the land.  He encouraged the people by the report of the two spies that the inhabitants feared what God would do based on what he had done.  He miraculously made a way across the raging Jordan demonstrating that his presence would go before them and he would fulfill his covenant promise.  The covenant was confirmed by the circumcision of the men, a sign to all that they belonged to God, they were his special chosen people.  The Passover celebration was another faith building experience as a reminder of what God had done for them to bring them out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.  The people began to enjoy the goodness of the Lord by eating the food of the new land.  All of these things were done to prepare them for the first battle of Jericho.

Joshua, the appointed leader also needed to be prepared for possessing the land.  Prior to the battle, he  had an encounter with the captain of the Lord of Hosts army.  He was required to take off his sandals as an act of acknowledging that the ground he was on was holy, it belonged to the Lord.  It was a similar experience that Moses had when he met God at the burning bush.  The Promised Land belonged to God, it was his special land where his people would dwell and he would live among them.  It was a reminder to Joshua to keep him aware of the holiness of God and that the land and the people were dedicated to him.

Israel was now prepared as was Joshua.  Jericho was the first city they would conquer and God was going to demonstrate his power to both the Israelites and people of Jericho. The battle strategy was not like any other strategy used before.  The people of Jericho knew that their end was coming.  For six days the priests and the armed guards blew the trumpets constantly as they marched around the city.  You have to wonder what was going through the minds of the people in the city.  I imagine their anxiety level increased each day and the talk of the town was centered on what was going to happen.  They must have been unable to sleep constantly thinking about when the invasion would happen.  On the seventh day they marched 7 times around the city blowing the trumpets and when given the command they all shouted and the walls of the city that were high and thick fell into the ground giving the Israelites direct access to the city.  God gave the enemy into their hands and they were defeated.  The people had to be pretty tired after 7 trips around the city but God gave them the strength to overcome and when the battle.  

Israel was learning to follow God’s instruction in spite of what they may have thought was a very strange way to go to battle.  Their faith was being built up to prepare them for the many battles that were yet to be fought.
In our journey of faith with the Lord we will go through a similar process that the Israelites experienced.  

God has a special call on each one of our lives, he has saved us and delivered us from many different forms of captivity in our lives.  Through Christ we have been forgiven and rescued from the power of evil.
God has so much more for us to experience with him.  We are saved to serve him and fulfill his purposes for our lives. The Israelites had a divine purpose that involved possessing the Promised Land. It would become the place of the birth of the Messiah God had promised to the entire world.  Their calling was to conquer the land and possess it.  It was a holy land because God had greater plans that culminated in the birth, death and resurrection of the Savior of the world in the Promised Land. 
Possessing the land was accomplished through a process that involved the miraculous crossing of the Jordan River.  God’s calling on our lives will always require faith to follow him and trust in his promises and the covenant he has made with us.
The next step was the consecration to the covenant God had made with them.  The circumcision of the men was their mark of separation and identification as the people of God.  In our walk of faith we too will have a time of identifying ourselves with the covenant God has made with us and will be called upon to make a commitment to be forever linked to him.

The next step of the journey was a time of remembrance by celebrating the Passover. Remembering where they had been as a nation and what God had done to bring them to the place he had destined for them. The Passover was symbolic of the death of Christ and the power of his blood to forgive us and spare us from eternal separation from God.  In our walk of faith we must always remember the work of the cross that brought our forgiveness and has made possible eternal life. 
The final step of faith was facing the enemy and following God’s plan for victory.  It was a unique and strange battle plan but it was designed to test their faith in God’s wisdom and guidance to lead them to victory.  It was a miraculous victory and the fulfillment of his promise to the people.  The supernatural life was going to be their lifestyle because they had to depend upon God’s intervention, his guidance, his wisdom and power to overcome all the enemies they would face as they possessed the Promised Land. This first battle was just the beginning of what God was going to do through them to conquer the land.  

It is the same in our lives.  God has to be the one leading us, guiding us, providing the wisdom we need and the strategies to defeat the enemy.  He wants to lead us supernaturally to accomplish the work he has given us.  It requires faith on our part and obedience to what he instructs us to do.  He will be faithful and will do the miraculous to bring us to victory.

We need to have a faith that expects the miraculous, expects God to lead us supernaturally by his Holy Spirit to instruct us and empower us to do what he has called us to do.  His expectation of us is that we will hear his voice, obey what he has asked us to do, expect him to guide us, empower us and intervene to make the impossible possible as we place our faith in him. 
Are we living a supernaturally lifestyle of faith, obedience and expectation of God’s intervention in our daily lives?  Or are we living with a subsistence or substandard level of faith, just getting by, just getting through the day and not seeing or expecting anything miraculous to happen?  I believe God has so much more than we currently are experiencing. 

 He performed the miraculous for the Israelites,
He demonstrated in the life of Jesus his awesome love for people and power over all the works of the devil by healing sickness, disease, casting out demons and demonstrating power over the forces of nature. 
The early church walked in the miraculous because the gospel message was confirmed through signs, wonders and miracles.  The power of the Holy Spirit saturated their lives and flowed out of them to bring healing and deliverance to the people in need. 
This was not a special dispensation of the Spirit for a limited time.  It was and is for us today. God wants us to live in his realm of the supernatural.  He wants to use us to carry out his work through the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.  

John Lake was a man whom God used in miraculous ways.  His life story is one of God’s supernatural intervention and guidance.  He saw incredible demonstrations of the power of God in his life.  He gave three keys to living the supernatural life.
1.      Feeding on the Word of God.  There must be a hunger in our soul for the Word of God.  It is our lifeline with God.  When we neglect the study of the Word our walk with the Lord loses its intimacy.  It builds our faith, instructs us in God’s ways, it is spirit and life to us.  Derek Prince who walked with God for many years stated that we can measure our love for God by our love for the Word of God and the amount of time we spend in the Word of God.  Many spend hours each day in Facebook but we need to spend more time with our face in the Book, God’s word. Joshua was instructed by the Lord to remember the laws, keep them constantly on his mind so that he would walk in obedience to them. 
Jos 1:8  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

After the disaster of the first battle against Ai, it was discovered that Aachen violated the instructions to not take anything from the city of Jericho.  God dealt severely with him and the second attack on the city of Ai was successful.  After this victory, Joshua made a point of reading the entire law to the people to remind them of what was expected of them and what the positive and negative consequences would be if they obeyed or disobeyed. 

Jos 8:34  And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law.
Jos 8:35  There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them.

We have to be people of the Book if we want to walk in obedience and experience the supernatural work of God in our lives and ministries.  Ministers who fall away from their calling or lack power in their ministries can be traced to their neglect of the Word of God. 

2.     Constantly confessing publicly of what you are and what Jesus is to you.  Confession of your faith in Christ, of what Christ is to you, of his completeness, and his redemption.   Confessing what God has done through Christ in your life.  We have to know who we are in Christ, all that Christ has made possible for us.  The life he lived is the model for our lives.  He has made possible the same supernatural life he lived.  He said we would do even greater things than he did.  Our confession has to be public, God wants us to share what he has done for us to those who have not heard or those who are struggling with the challenges of life.  We are his messengers that he has chosen to work through.  The reality of what God has done for us establishes our faith and confirms our faith in him.  This is why it is so important to share your testimony, share the gospel, and share the Word of God with others on a regular basis.  Soul Patrol is one avenue to intentionally put yourself in a place to share what God has done for you and who you are in Christ with those who do not know him or have a wrong concept of him.  Don’t shrink back from sharing what God has done in your life, take advantage of every opportunity you are given to testify of the goodness of God.  Last Saturday night on Soul Patrol a young lady was sitting and listening intently to the gospel presentation but she did not go forward at the invitation.  I sat down by her and engaged her in a conversation and shared with her how God was real to me and what he has done for me.  She believed in God but was not actively living for him. It was an opportunity that I did not want to pass on and I believe God spoke to her heart as a result.
The first word of the great commission is “GO” which means a change of location which can be a simple as walking across the room or sitting beside someone to engage them in a conversation about the Lord and his love for them.
I encourage you to be intentional in reaching out to people.  The easiest thing is to do nothing but the most rewarding thing is to share your testimony and the gospel message with someone.

3.     Communion with God.  Being connected to God throughout the day.  Seeking him, speaking to him, listening to his voice, enjoying his presence, setting aside time to be saturated and filled with the Holy Spirit.  We have to have NOW experiences with God.  We cannot live on the experiences of yesterday or of others, God wants to give each of us personal experiences daily with him that we can share with others. We cannot allow anything to break our communion with God.  When our connection with him is broken his power cannot get through to us and we are ineffective in our ministry. Our flesh has to be put to death every day so we can walk in the Spirit. Paul stated that many have a form of godliness but have now power.  They look like Christians and call themselves Christian but they really are not connected with God or are walking in communion with him.  We can become passive in our relationship with God or we can choose to be passionate in our pursuit of him each day and our communion with him.  Those who walk in communion are open and available to let God pour his power through them to see the miraculous in their lives.

If we are doing these three things we are in a state of preparation and readiness for the Holy Spirit to move powerfully through us.  We can live each day with the expectation and anticipation of the supernatural life of God flowing to us and through us.
God has called each one of us to a special ministry and he wants us to continue to move forward to possess all that he has for us.  He has prepared the way to bring us where he wants us and he desires to move supernaturally in our lives to possess all that is ours in Christ.  We can become passive or passionate in our walk with him.  We can feed on his Word and continue to grow in our faith and obedience or we can neglect the Word and watch our spiritual lives become powerless. We can be sharing what he has and is doing in our lives with others or we can remain silent. 
Your destiny with God has everything to do with how you live out your life of faith.  You can move forward with God with his supernatural power working through you to possess all he has for you or settle for a stagnant life that has lost its connection with Him.  What will you choose for your life?