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I am old enough now to sense my time in this temporal world coming to a close. I may have 20 (or 30) more years left to produce the fruits of righteousness – to make a significant impact for the kingdom of God. That is half (or less) of the time I have already been here… and there is so much more I want to walk in for my Lord, my Father’s glory, and my future usefulness in eternity. I do not have a particular expectation; although, I will confess a strong desire for experience of the greater than life all believers have been promised (John 14:12).

I am grateful that my current work does not require good knees and shoulders; I am just a pen. More than anything, I find solace knowing He has numbered my days and has a plan to glorify Himself with this vessel, instrument, and weapon. I am concerned that I may have disqualified myself from some great exploit – and may continue to do so. I truly do not want to leave anything on the road (as cyclists say). God help me!!

The closer I get to the end, the more important choices become – not just the ones I am forced to make, but those that I may be avoiding. To know what to do and to not do it is as much a sin as doing something that you know you should not. Furthermore, I suspect my carnal mind has a way of distracting me, not only from what I know to do, but from seeking to know what I should. It concerns me that this latter distraction is akin to not having “the love of the truth” that saves (2Thessalonians 2:9-11).

In my study of the carnal mind, I discovered that its development has been much helped by the environment in which I have been raised. From my formative years, I have been inculcated into the American mindset and dependence on its systems. It is important to recognize that much of what we think as Americans has been adopted by the church here as christianly thinking, without much thinking at all.

Objective consideration should at least give one pause, if not fear, regarding the eternal ramifications of an Americanized gospel. For example, how are Christian’s supposed to think about wealth? Should it not get more of our attention – particularly since we are the wealthiest nation in the world? Read the rest of this entry »

I recently read a small book that has given me hope for evangelism and discipleship in America. The book – God Guides, by Mary Geegh – chronicles her experiences as a missionary to India from 1924 to 1962. While on the mission field, she learned how to have the power of the Holy Spirit in her daily life and in her evangelistic outreach to Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and fellow Christians.

A visiting missionary told her, “The first step is to ‘wait’… ‘be still’… ‘listen’. Then be definite about your sins – daily; with notebook and pencil write down the thing the Holy Spirit speaks to your mind; determine to obey. Then share with others who come to you for help how the power of Christ changes you.”

Mary disciplined herself to this practice, and applied it to every problem she faced. She taught others the same way: to hear from the God Who Speaks. I will leave it to you to get the book and read her stories and the many lessons she learned. My purpose here is to share an epiphany and the hope it has given me for the church in America. I suspect this applies more broadly, and would love to hear from my international readers about this subject.

Mary Geegh’s approach to evangelism was based on a very simple statement made by Jesus during one of His more profound and mysterious messages (perhaps this is why it has been overlooked).

It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.  John 6:45

I feel the need to encourage you to resist the temptation to dismiss what you are about to read. You may do so for two reasons: it may seem too simple to be important, and/or it may not fit your doctrine or mindset for ministry. There is no danger in giving serious consideration to something that makes us uncomfortable. I too had to press through my initial reservations. If Jesus had not said it Himself, I would have difficulty accepting that:

People hear and learn from the Father before they come to Jesus!

Some may say, “Of course, the Father (or Holy Spirit) must draw them.” This is true; Jesus speaks of it in the previous verse. However, what many have failed to understand (myself included) is the method of that drawing; it is not some mysterious tugging at our heart.

The Father draws the unsaved by speaking to them, and teaching them!!

Individuals with a dead spirit and a heart of stone, without the Holy Spirit within them, and who worship other gods, hear and are taught by the Father… as a preliminary step to them coming to Jesus Christ. This is not a strange interpretation of the verse. The verse would have to be strangely interpreted to say anything else.

Please note: I am not suggesting a replacement for belief in Jesus, repentance, and baptism. The matter at hand is God’s method for drawing people to the Savior and our responsibility to that part of the salvation process. Is this not Biblical prescription? Why is it not being taught and practiced? What are we missing? Read the rest of this entry »

My experience in pursuing God has shown me that the farther down the difficult path we run, and the deeper we search out the mysteries of the kingdom, the more we discover things we do not have which He has either promised His children or He expects of us. This includes hearing, direction, discipline, fruit, gifts, faith, and understanding – just to name a few.

God has a way for us to receive and be faithful in all He has offered and commanded. He is working in us to will and do to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). His Son is making us and the Holy Spirit is transforming us through the renewing of our minds (Mark 1:17, Romans 12:2). It is by grace, through faith, that we are saved – to walk in the Father’s good work (Ephesians 2:8-10).

There is truly very little that we, the sons and daughters of God, bring to the table. We are not sufficient for such things. Knowing this, God has made provision. So, why is it so hard?

Most of us have a favorite and ready answer (e.g., “dying to self is hard”; or “our enemies are fighting us tooth-and-nail”). A dozen or more responses would be correct, but that’s not the direction we are trying to go with this. Here we hope to offer three spiritually practical steps every Christian can take to join the Godhead in the good work They are doing to save, sanctify, and transform us.

So, how do we lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus laid hold of us (Philippians 3:12))? How do we become faithful stewards of the mysteries of God (1Corinthians 4:1)? How do we partake of the greater-than life (John 14:12)?

The following steps are God’s way for the deeper Christian life: Read the rest of this entry »

The following includes excerpts from a recently released eBook, An Enemy Lies Within, which is available at each of the major distributors (Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.).

The title of this article is the subtitle of The Christian Mind, a fascinating book written by Harry Blamires in 1963. Beginning with the statement, “There is no longer a Christian mind”, this student of C. S. Lewis and contemporary of A. W. Tozer, argues that the church and its members have surrendered to secular thinking (even in regards to Christian subjects). He goes on to describe “the marks of a Christian mind”. I offer them here for your edification and encouragement.

As you consider these foundations of christianly thought, you may want to test yourself and your platoons. How much of your thinking is contextualized and guided by a Christian mindset? Calculate a percentage; give yourself a grade.

According to Blamire, the Christian mind is marked by:

  • Supernatural orientation: The Christian mind sees human life and human history held in the hands of God. It makes decisions in the context of eternity. It considers physical life as the smaller subset of Creation. It recognizes the existence of Heaven and Hell.
  • Awareness of evil: It is conscious of the universe as a battlefield between good and evil. It is aware and sensitive to the power and spread of evil upon the human race, beginning with mankind’s rebellion in the Garden. It recognizes that the world, and the powers of it, are in the grip of evil – an evil that manifests in three enemies: Satan and his hordes, the world and its systems, and the flesh with its carnal mindset.
  • Conception of truth: It recognizes the truth as: Absolute and uncompromisable; supernaturally grounded, not developed in nature; objective, not subjective; revealed, not constructed; discovered by inquiry, not determined by majority vote; and authoritative, not a matter of personal choice.
  • Acceptance of authority: It rejects rebellion – in all its forms – to willingly bow before the Sovereign God. It considers authority as estimable and something to pursue over one’s self, family, and friends. It understands the image and reality of loving authority – our Father in Heaven. It accepts surrender as the door to relationship with God, and giving preference for relationship with the brethren.
  • Concern for the person: It considers the human person as the only being created in the image of God. It appreciates the value God placed on the person – in Him becoming one. It values people above machines, and is wary of the life those machines provide for, and force upon, society. It embraces love for one another – and the same for enemies – as Christian distinctives. It rejects the classification of people based on temporal criteria, while recognizing that the weak are to receive particular attention.
  • Sacramental perspective: It recognizes the omnipresence of God in all of life, and the desire of God to make life joyful and rewarding. It looks for God and His influence in nature – and particularly in the creatures of His image. It appreciates the desires and longings and the hopes and dreams that have been deposited by God in every person.

Read the rest of this entry »

The following includes excerpts from a recently released eBook, An Enemy Lies Within, which is available from each of the major distributors (Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, etc.).

For with the heart one believes unto righteousness… Romans 10:10

The heart of man desires – perhaps more than anything else – to be filled with faith. Consequently, the Christian heart is hungry for the (rhema; spoken) word of God.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

Jesus explained to His disciples that our ability to hear and understand God’s voice was proof of our belonging to Him.

And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ Luke 8:10

However, having ears to hear does not guarantee hearing. Sixteen times in the New Testament, Jesus encouraged His listeners with:

He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Matthew 11:15

It is the heartfelt desire of everyone involved – Father, Son, and children – to know, hear and understand God’s voice. So, why are so few hearing and understanding? Why are so many disappointed and frustrated regarding their ability to know it is God’s voice? Should it really be this difficult?

How do we respond to Jesus’ command to let ourselves hear? Consider the following three simple and easy keys for our knowing, hearing, and understanding the word of God.

Hearing – even for those blessed with ears to hear – is not a passive exercise. As with any conversation, the hearer must give attention to the one speaking (Mark 4:24). Perhaps we do not hear more from God because we fail in this area. Who would continue speaking to someone that is obviously disinterested or unaffected by what is being said?

Key #1: Become an active listener during quiet times of prayer.

Hearing God’s voice has been compared to listening to the radio, as if God is continually talking to us, waiting for us to “tune in”. The comparison is preposterous; an insult to the Living God. He is far too relational to communicate in this way. He waits for us to turn a listening ear and attentive mind to His words of faith.

Consequently, the carnal mind seeks to distract, discourage, and discredit. It distracts us with a thousand other thoughts, discourages us when we fail to hear, and discredits God for seemingly ignoring our pleas for attention and asking impossible things of us. The carnal mind seeks to convince us that investment in hearing from our Creator is a waste of time and energy.

Key #2: Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2Corinthians 10:5).

If God speaks to you and you are not obedient, then you have sinned against Him, and 1John 1:9 is your only recourse. It does not matter that you did not hear, or you were distracted, or you did not understand. God does not speak to be ignored or misunderstood. Excuse-making, deflection, and blame-shifting are tactics of our carnal mind in its war against God and His children.

Key #3: Take responsibility for your obedience to God.

If you are feeling uneasy about hearing and understanding, receive that feeling as loving conviction to pay more attention, and/or clean your ears of whatever is messing with the message, and/or spend more time listening for clarification. If you seek Him with your whole heart, you will find Him. God truly loves speaking with His children.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

A recent article posted on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter claimed that God is for us and should not be feared. I am sure the author means well, but his perspective is quite misleading and humanistic. Let me explain.

God is for Himself!!

When the nation of Israel was about to attack Jericho, Joshua had this encounter with the Angel of the LORD:

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”

So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Joshua 5:13-14

The Commander of the army of the LORD was neither for Israel nor for their enemies. He was for the LORD; and He was determined to make sure that Israel was for the LORD, as well.

Bringing this forward to the New Covenant, the redemption prophecy in Ezekiel 36 states that God’s salvation of His people is for His name sake.

Therefore say to the house of Israel, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.'” Ezekiel 36:22

Furthermore, we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Jesus commanded that we fear the LORD.

And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! Luke 12:4-5

Clearly, Jesus was not talking about awe and reverence here. And He was talking to His friends (i.e., the enemies of God). Speaking of which, we best fear becoming like them. Read the rest of this entry »

There are some passages that we would rather not think too much about. In most cases, failure to think invites disaster.

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears. Hebrews 12:14-17

Pursue means to “seek after eagerly, to earnestly endeavor to acquire”. One translation reads “make every effort”; another, “strive”. This latter view reminds me of Jesus’ astounding revelation in Luke 13:

And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Luke 13:22-24

Striving for peace with all people is hard enough; it rings of “love your enemies (Matthew 5:44).” But this matter of holiness is the matter we struggle to embrace. Does this passage really mean that holiness is to be pursued? By whom?

What if our pursuit fails? Will we truly miss out on seeing the Lord? Is that a sweet-by-and-by thing, or something that also affects our relationship with Him now?

How do we respond to the warning that follows? What does it mean to fall short of the grace of God? How does something become defiled if it has not already been cleansed?

Esau was a profane person who sold His birthright. He despised the promised blessing of his father, and God hated him for it (Romans 9:13). What does this mean for a born-again believer?

Can we sell our birthright? What does it mean to be rejected by our Father (see Matthew 7:21-23)? What does it mean to find “no place for repentance (see Hebrews 6:4-6)?”

These are serious and sobering questions that every Christian should be asking themselves.

Let me close with this: What does “one morsel of food” look like for a son and daughter of God? What might our carnal mind deceive us into believing is more important than our birthright? As leaders, how do we help others avoid this tragedy?

God bless you with wisdom and courage to resist the temptations of our enemies.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. Romans 8:5-7

The carnal mind is, by its very nature, self-seeking and rebellious; it can be nothing else. This is the source of its enmity with God. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the desire to reason like God was forever linked to our fallen state.

This does not end when we are born again. We are given a new heart and spirit, but the mind remains carnal. Turning to our carnal mind – something most have been trained to do since kindergarten – invites the rebellion and sin of our carnal flesh.

Consequently, our carnal mind must be exposed and overcome. This is accomplished by the renewing of our mind – an iterative and ongoing process that depends on our submission to, and active participation with, the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:2; 2Corinthians 3:18).

Our reckoning (logizomai) the truth of God’s word serves as a catalyst for the renewing of our mind. Together, reckoning and renewing are important steps in our becoming obedient to the faith (Romans 1:5; 16:26). Read the rest of this entry »

For those who prefer a summary:

2018 was extremely fulfilling and productive for the advancement of God’s kingdom. It could not have been so without your investment in inLight Consulting.

For those that appreciate a little more, the following should give you an idea of the good work God has done in response to your prayers for, and support of, inLight Consulting.

As you know, we are only vessels, instruments, and weapons. The Father is giving us the desire of our heart – to help Christian leaders find joyful, Spirit-filled ministry – in increasingly dynamic ways. We are simply walking in the good work He has prepared for His glory.

  1. We purposefully encouraged, edified, and equipped Christian leaders to become disciple makers and transformation agents. We continue to see those whom we have been discipling making disciples of others – a great joy we hope you share as a partner in the work.
  2. Our writing (I am just the pen) has primarily focused on changing the way Christians think. We have published 40+ articles this year; many of them shared in several online and print outlets. This focus on the mind has culminated in a new book, An Enemy Lies Within, which will be published on January 31st.
  3. With the gracious help of our webmaster, Doug McGukin, we restructured and enhanced the inLightConsulting.com website to focus on the three desires God has for this ministry: Workplace Transformation, Building Strong Foundations, and Equipping for Greater Works.
  4. We advanced two semesters closer to a Business Degree in Not-for-Profit Leadership. In the process, God has used the education in very precise ways for the startup of another ministry.
  5. As president and treasurer, I have been blessed to work with other strong Christian leaders in the formation of 2:2 Collective, Inc. Our stated purpose is “to serve the Body of Christ, foster unity, and be a catalyst for spiritual growth and vitality.” The opportunities for making disciples and transforming spheres of influence is boundless.
  6. Our family has been blessed in several ways: Beth and I, now married for 38 years, continue to grow in our faith together; our daughter married the man God has been preparing for her; and, our son continues to mature into the man God will use mightily. I have been able to spend more time with my parents this year; one of my greatest joys has been watching my dad disciple a church fellowship as their Lay Leader.

As the instrument, I look back on 2018 and marvel at what God has accomplished through this ministry. It is a testimony to His patience and persistence, and His intention to use the foolish, weak, and lowly “that no flesh should glory in His presence.”

Your part – whatever part you played – warrants a “well done, good and faithful servant.” And we will continue together to make disciples and transform our spheres of influence, for the glory of God and His Son, our Savior and King.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

When two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name, He has promised to be with them (Matthew 18:20). My general attitude towards this verse has been that He is there for us – to give us revelation, or bless us in some other way. This realization has left me ashamed (and probably not as much as I should be).

Jesus Christ is Lord!

He is the Lord!

Jesus joins our meeting for Himself and His Father in Heaven. I have dishonored Him in this regard, in practice and in my writing. I confess my sin and pray He will forgive me and deliver me from this horrid unrighteousness. I repent and pray for grace to never think, speak, or write this way again.

It is baffling and disconcerting that I have missed such an obvious truth. For those that have wondered why I am so suspicious of the way I think, you now have some idea. I hate my carnal mind now more than ever.

I appreciate God turning this evil to His good purposes. I praise God for His patience and persistence with me.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

BTW: The Lord used an article by A. W. Tozer to help me see through this deception. You can find it here.

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