The chaos we have experienced this year – and will continue to experience for the foreseeable future – has been an incredible drag on personal and corporate productivity. How does one manage their time and the time of others in the midst of such uncertainty?

As strange as it may sound, grieving offers a strategic advantage to the Christian leader who will go there and subsequently help their spheres of influence do the same. God is calling us to more – to a higher level of glory (and kingdom productivity). To get there, we must grieve.

Chaos can be confusing and distracting, drawing us away from God’s purpose in our lives. It can become overwhelming and discouraging, threatening to destroy our destiny as kingdom citizens. In other words, we become unproductive.

On the other hand, chaos can be used by God to clarify and concentrate our focus, while empowering and encouraging us for kingdom assignments – the good works God prepared for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). Furthermore, God intends for chaos to draw us closer to Himself and transform us into the image of His Son’s glory.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2Corinthians 3:18

Consider the ugly, leaf-bound, and leaf-eating caterpillar who metamorphoos into a beautiful, free-flying, and nectar-eating butterfly (the Greek for transform is metamorphoo). Dying to his old way and form, the caterpillar becomes a glorious new form of God’s creation. Read the rest of this entry »

One does not need prophetic gifts to recognize that the chaos and storms of 2020 will continue for the foreseeable future. The 2020s will likely be the most chaotic time most of us (at least in America) will experience in our lifetime.

Translating this into “kingdom-speak”: This decade will be the most opportunistic and pivotal time the God-assigned ambassadors to the United States of America have seen in almost 100 years.

There is no better time to be a disciple maker than in the midst of chaos and storms. If our houses remain standing, many who have lost theirs will be coming to us for refuge, encouragement, and understanding.

With this great opportunity in mind, I dare say we all could use a bit of inspection and restoration. Therefore, as we close out this incredibly chaotic year, I offer you three considerations:

Perspective: We are seated with Christ in heavenly places, with access to Heaven’s perspective (Ephesians 2:6). God offers His peace and purpose in the chaos and storms.

Furthermore, strong houses are built from an eternal perspective; they are built to last, not to survive for a year or two. Patchwork and paint-overs won’t cut it. We must secure and strengthen our house through the spiritual disciplines God has provided.

Position: God providentially positions us geographically, relationally, and with particular responsibilities. Consideration for the impact zone of these dimensions is critical. Our influence will be greatest (for God’s glory) with people in our closest spheres.

We must avoid and reject the temptation to give unbalanced attention to people and situations on our periphery (e.g., political wrangling in Washington, D.C. and riots on the other side of the country). Read the rest of this entry »

One of the easiest ways to search out the matters of truth that God has hidden in the Scriptures is to harmonize multiple accounts of the sayings of Jesus. We discover such an example in the accounts of “The Model Prayer”. In Luke’s gospel, we find:

Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1

Notice that the disciple did not ask Jesus “how to pray”. As you might expect, “how” is a very common word in the Bible. In fact, it appears 550 times in the New King James Version. So why is it absent here?

I am convinced, and I hope you will consider, that the disciple was asking for more than instruction in prayer. I believe he recognized that Jesus’ way of prayer was so far removed from their own that what they had been calling prayer might as well have been called “apple”.

Jesus’ way of prayer was about life and relationship. It availed much. It was full of humility and trust. Matthew records His thoughts on the contrasting prayers of men.

And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. Matthew 6:7-8

The prayers of men are about men, and what men want. The prayers of Jesus were (and are) about the Father, and what the Father wants. In this saying, Jesus reveals that learning to pray, at its core, is more about finding the right position before the Father than about what we have to say.

“The Model Prayer” is a model of prayer for our positioning before our Father in heaven. We must come into the Father’s presence through the model He has given us. Without this positioning, all that we have to say are the vain repetitions of man. Read the rest of this entry »

Chaos can be confusing and distracting, drawing us away from God’s purpose in our lives. Chaos can become overwhelming and discouraging, threatening to destroy our destiny as kingdom citizens. On the other hand…

Chaos can be used by God to clarify and concentrate our focus, while empowering and encouraging us for kingdom assignments – the good works God created for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). God intends for chaos to draw us closer and transform us into the image of His Son’s glory.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2Corinthians 3:18

Consider the ugly, leaf-bound, and leaf-eating caterpillar who metamorphoos into a beautiful, free-flying, and nectar-eating butterfly (the Greek for transform is metamorphoo). Dying to his old way and form, the caterpillar becomes a glorious new form of God’s creation.

Similarly, God will use the chaos of this decade to dramatically transform the individuals, families, and fellowships who keep their eyes focused on the Lord and their minds set on things above. The Holy Spirit waits for God’s people to submit to His transforming – metamorphoo’ing – work.

Recognizing that transformation comes by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2), we offer here a tool which will help every Christian think rightly about the chaos God allows and creates.

Before we begin, it is important to set our minds on using this tool prayerfully. Think of it as a conversation starter and a framework for capturing what you hear. DO NOT reason your way through it.

Process Locator Tool

God has a way for everything, including the way He maximizes chaos in our lives. Recognizing that He uses chaos to transform us into the image of the glory of His Son, we look to His process for our transformation – found in Psalm 37:1-7.

The key here is finding one’s place in the process (and the place of those you are leading), so you can begin to ask the right questions (and help others to do the same). Take your time; let the Holy Spirit guide you. Read the rest of this entry »

The Lord had a word for me. I hope you don’t mind me sharing it. I think it might help someone else.

People are naturally analytical, some more than others. We are taught, throughout our formative years, to analyze everything. Those with higher analytical ability tend to get further on in life… in the natural.

When it comes to the supernatural, analysis can be a terrible distraction. Thinking can get in the way of believing, and some of us simply think too much.

For example: It is not necessary to accurately delineate, diagram, and describe the parts of a Christian identified in Scripture (e.g., heart, mind, soul, and strength). In fact, like many mysteries in God’s kingdom, it may be impossible. The Scientific Method is not fit for supernatural investigations and outcomes. Read the rest of this entry »

Recently, we wrote about Suffering’s Role in Overcoming Our Flesh – how God uses suffering to drive a wedge between our spirit man and our flesh. You may recall that suffering exposes the character of our flesh (whiny, self-centered, blame-shifting, etc.) while at the same time encouraging us, as born-of-God spirit beings, to turn to God for comfort, endurance, and direction.

In the same way, the chaos we will continue to face through much of the 2020s is intended by God to drive a wedge between our spirit man and the world. The individuals, families, and fellowships who choose God’s way through the chaos will enjoy His grace and glory. Sadly, others will allow the chaos to further conform them to the world.

So, how do we join God in the process and help others do the same? The answer can be found in a few familiar passages.

Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:3-4

Separation from our flesh and the world begins with trust in the LORD – for His grace and faithfulness in the process (Step 1). It will help to know that “the land” is His kingdom, and “delight” means to be soft (i.e., surrendered to His molding hands). The LORD owns the process and knows best how to apply it to His people.

Furthermore, the LORD puts His desire for separation into our hearts. These heart ties draw us into His presence and love, and sustain us when separation from our flesh and the world becomes difficult and painful. The Holy Spirit patiently waits for us to invite Him to stir up the desire of our heart for separation unto the LORD (Step 2). Read the rest of this entry »

…we have known that of God we are, and the whole world in the evil doth lie… 1John 5:19 (YLT)

There are two kingdoms and many nations. The nations of this world lie under the power of the evil one. Notice this is not the literal reading of 1John 5:19, as translated and quoted by many. There is another enemy involved: “the evil”, which is our rebellious and carnal mind. Nevertheless, the dominion of Satan over this world and its nations is convincingly conveyed elsewhere.

And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.” Luke 4:6

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience… Ephesians 2:1-2

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 2Corinthians 4:3-4

The United States of America (and every other nation) lies under the power of Satan. It may claim to be “One Nation Under God”, but claims do not make themselves true. This claim can only be true in as much as America is submitted to the reign of God Almighty. Functioning as a democratic republic, where the rights of individuals is paramount, is a difficult to impossible place to start. Read the rest of this entry »

It seems like a good time to republish this article. I pray God will use it to renew your mind regarding America and the church.

Let me begin by saying that I am not proposing an answer to this question. I honestly want to know what Christians mean when they ask me to pray for America. What do they mean when they pray for America?

You may be wondering why this is difficult for me. I suspect it has to do with the definition of terms. I suspect America does not mean the same thing to everyone. Furthermore, I suspect – if you are one of the “pray for America” folks – the following will not sit well with you.

Please don’t dismiss me. I am just looking for answers.

Did you know that America was the number one producer of pornography in the world; and the number one benefactor of the sex slave trade? America also leads the world in the number of incarcerated individuals; a strong indication that America is number one in the practice of lawlessness.

It may sound like I have answered my own question: America needs prayer because America is in grave danger of going the way of many kingdoms before her. And we can’t have that; right? We love America.

Honestly, if that was all there was, I wouldn’t be asking the question. Here’s another: Why do we love America so much that we would pray for her – and be offended when others question why?

This is the crux of my struggle. How much do we love America? Has America become the idol of the church? Read the rest of this entry »

This article is NOT about American political parties and their platforms; it will not suggest how a Christian should vote. The purpose of this article is to encourage Christians to consider, personally and in community, how a citizen of God’s kingdom should be thinking about the election.

The short answer is “not like the world”. The vast majority of those reading this article know they have been called to a different perspective; we have the mind of Christ and are seated with Him in heavenly places. We hope you will consider this as a timely reminder and a tool to help others think like kingdom citizens.

The following includes a number of questions intended to facilitate group discussion. Some answers have been provided, but you and your spheres of influence will likely have your own (and most of those will be correct). Including God in the conversation will facilitate the hearing of faith for everyone involved.

Let’s start with some kingdom perspective. First, all Christians are citizens of two nations or kingdoms: An earthly nation (e.g., the United States of America) and the kingdom of God. Those who are not Christians are only citizens of America. They do not understand the kingdom of God.

  1. Christians have a relationship with both nations. As citizens of America we are responsible to be good citizens and, in turn, we receive certain rights and privileges. The relationship is described as a democratic republic.
  2. As citizens of the kingdom of God, we are bondservants of the King. We have no rights beyond those given to us by the King, but we do have many incredible privileges. What are some of those? Birthright (1John 3:9, Romans 8:16), kingdom knowledge (Matthew 13:11), perspective (Ephesians 2:4-6), and defense against our spiritual enemies (Ephesians 6:10-20) – just to name a few.
  3. Furthermore, as kingdom of God citizens, we have been given certain authority to act on the King’s behalf in the nation of America. What are some of those roles? Royal priesthood, ambassadors, and agents of reconciliation (2Corinthians 5:18-20).
  4. Still, we are sojourners (1Peter 2:9-12). This world is not our home.
Second, God relates and responds differently to His kingdom people than He does to America and its citizens.

Read the rest of this entry »

“Revival is God’s people doing God’s work, God’s way.” Vance Havner (2008)

“The Sermon on the Mount is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is having His way with us.” Oswald Chambers (1995)

I recently learned an important lesson about doing things God’s way. When a local Sunday School class invited us to lead a study of the Sermon on the Mount (SOTM), I suggested a twenty-six-week series. The class leadership countered with twelve weeks or less and only thirty minutes of teaching each week!

How do you cover fifty-plus sayings of Jesus in such a limited timeframe? Concerned twelve weeks would not allow for anything more than a compromised exploration of the most important sermon ever preached and that generalizing the Sermon would not adequately encourage the doing necessary to produce strong houses (Matthew 7:24-25), I pressed for more time. The leaders stood firm.

Much to my surprise, the syllabus we developed together turned out to be God’s way for the study. He used what I would call an overly simplified approach to reveal several foundations of His kingdom and its good news. Honestly, I am amazed at the revelation and encouragement I received from the study.

In the process, I also learned that deep technical dives into Scripture are not always the best method for teaching, and that God orchestrates teaching opportunities with more consideration for the audience’s needs than the teacher’s abilities and preference.

Lastly, I was once again reminded that God has a way for everything; finding and following His ways always leads to exciting adventures and discoveries.

It should come as no surprise that Jesus has much to say about doing things God’s way: the only way He did everything (John 5:19, 30; John 12:49-50; and John 14:24). In this article, we will explore two of God’s ways for doing the sayings of Jesus. But first… Read the rest of this entry »

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