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Sometimes we use the word “reality” to mean the truth about something. I am trying to work from a bigger context here, so bear with me.

For a reason I trust is good, God has led me into an exploration of metaphysics. I have become increasingly interested in why we think the way we think, what we are really thinking about, and how that thinking occurs. From a spiritual perspective this relates to a favorite Bible passage.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Conformity and transformation are matters of the mind. To “repent” is to change one’s mind (from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). Therefore, repentance is a change of mind that leads to the repurposing of our heart and the resultant change in our behavior. Repentance begins in the mind.

God has determined that renewing our minds is key to our being made in 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

So, here I am… encouraging you to consider your mind.

BEWARE!! Your mind will resist the exercise. The carnal mind has been operating unnoticed (i.e., subconsciously) for years. It does not want to be exposed. Do not underestimate its persuasiveness!

In order to avoid a total freak-out rejection, I am offering an introductory low-threat and practical application. I trust God will introduce you to other considerations in the near future. In the meantime, don’t forget: The carnal mind must be overcome. Read the rest of this entry »

This series of articles is for those who sense that God is transitioning them into a new season – a season of more. Positioning ourselves before God is the prerequisite step in our knowing His purpose and plans for the coming season. It is also the place where He prepares us for our new assignment.

It is no coincidence that God has made prayer man’s most powerful weapon in the battle for the kingdom. This is the place where God is most intimate in revealing His plans and encouraging His children. As we battle with Him through prayer, He establishes His relationship with us. There is no more important thing we can do in our preparation for the next season.

Prayer (deēsis): Need, indigence, want, privation, extreme poverty; a seeking, asking, entreating, entreaty to God or to man. From deomai: to want, lack; to desire, long for; to ask, beg; the thing asked for; to pray, make supplications. Outline of Biblical Usage, BlueLetterBible.org

There are three things to notice about the definition of prayer. First, it is more about need than want. Second, that need is out of an extreme sense of poverty (i.e., it is humble). Third, prayer includes seeking and desiring – its relational aspects.

Changing the Way We Pray

Our common ideas regarding prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself. It is the only way we can get in touch with the truth and the reality of God Himself. To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature. My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers

Prayer is difficult because our enemies do not want us communicating with God. Satan is a powerful being. An opposing power is needed – God’s power. Is it possible that our prayer life lacks God’s power because we do not pray in the way God has designed? Have we chosen our own way in prayer?

In his book, The PAPA Prayer, Larry Crabb discusses how many in the church turn to God in prayer as if He were Santa Claus sitting behind a vending machine. If we just put in the right change (our time) and push the right buttons (our requests), He will give us what we want. As Crabb laments, this approach has drawn us far from God’s intention in our prayer time with Him: To establish and nurture an intimate relationship. Read the rest of this entry »

Reach OutThe independent spirit we celebrate so vigorously in this country has isolated us from each other – with devastating consequences. Our culture has lost the power of community. This attack on our civilization touches all areas of life.

The power of economics has driven owners and management teams to employ various methods for correcting the problem (e.g., team building workshops, peer review, open workspaces). Still, there is something missing. In the workplace, teamwork is lauded and promoted, but true community is rarely achieved.

After work, we drive into our gated communities, pull into our garages… and shut the door. Our neighbor is someone we don’t know that lives next door.

In our families, immediate generations often live geographically distant from one another. Family reunions have become an oddity. In the home, parents and children live in private rooms, and in their electronics (even at the same table). The enemy is using the divide- and-conquer strategy quite well.

How do we fight back? Read the rest of this entry »

I have two matters to bring to your attention in this edition. First, as I mentioned in the 2016 Mission Report, God is using me to write another book: The Lost Foundations. To help keep myself on track, I am presenting each foundation on a bi-weekly basis, via an online video conference.

The recordings of those meetings can be found on our YouTube channel , and on the inLight Consulting resource site. The website also has a handout for each of the lessons. The newest lesson – number eleven in the series – is on “The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit”. I believe this is one of the best lessons I have been used to teach. I strongly encourage you to watch it.

Second, there is the matter of storytelling. I plan to post a couple of articles on the subject in the next couple of weeks: A related Workplace Ministry Tip; and an encouragement regarding the power of storytelling in our overcoming the division that exists in both the world and church. Be on the lookout for those. In the meantime, here is the crux of the matter:

Sharing stories is the way civilized people have been bonding for millennium. It continues today as a way of life in cultures more relational than America. When we invite someone to share their story, we are saying that we care.

We are also inviting God to create something. That something is relationship – The Father’s response to Jesus’ prayer for our unity (John 17:21-23). Furthermore, hearing someone else’s story creates an opportunity to share our own – to be ambassadors of reconciliation.

The Holy Spirit has stirred a desire in my heart for the story of others. I must say, this is a challenge for me. Some might call me a “loner” – perhaps a nice way of saying impersonal, even self-centered. I am “in process”.

The prospects of this discovery are exciting. I hope and pray that you will join me in tearing down the walls that separate us from one another.

Humbly yours and forever His,

  • The matter of disqualification can be both contentious and revelatory. This article attempts to leverage the latter as a means (and hope) of mitigating the former.
  • Essential to the matter of disqualification is the recognition that salvation is a process; and faith is a function of the heart.
  • In spiritual matters, separating complex things into their component parts, as a method for understanding the whole, simply does not work as we would like. It is impossible to understand the principles of grace, faith and works apart from one another.
  • Our faith does not save us any more than our works. Only God’s grace can do that. Effectual faith – also a gift of God; perfected by the grace of works – appropriates the grace that saves.
  • Eventually, judgment will come. Those caught with their talent buried in the ground, their branch without fruit, or any other of the disqualifying conditions, will be rejected.
  • “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Jesus Christ (Luke 13:24)

Introduction

A Storm is ComingAs a follow-up to The Peril of Disqualification, I would like to address a couple of objections that have been raised about our being disqualified from our salvation. In part three, I will flesh out a few of the more significant disqualifying conditions.

Recognizing salvation as a process is an essential context for understanding what follows. Therefore, I encourage you to take a moment and read the foundation article on that subject. You will discover that which comes to those that endure to the end (Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13).

A second essential matter is the vessel and instrument, so to speak, of faith in a born again person. It is with the heart that man believes (Mark 11:23; Romans 10:10). Most in the church would agree that belief is more than mental assent to the truth of Scripture.

However, I fear many have been emotionally charmed by the notion of salvation – even wondering at the beauty of it – without appropriating its birth in their heart. A helpful analogy is that of the man that admires the painting of a wondrous landscape, without ever traveling to experience its grandeur in person. Read the rest of this entry »

A Storm is Coming

I am convinced that most every sane person would want to know that they are – if only potentially – in peril. Therefore, I am offering the following for your consideration.

I encourage you to judge this seriously; not just, “Do I believe it?” but, “What am I to do with it?”

I am afraid that many will dismiss this altogether: that “believers” are in peril of disqualification. It is much easier to accept the notion that God would not allow such a thing. However, that is not what the Scriptures tell us.

Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. Romans 11:22

It is difficult to consider both the goodness and severity of God, when His severity has not been adequately explained. Church leaders are hesitant to teach the severity of God when the guy down the street has a more palatable message.

The problem, of course, is the truth doesn’t change with the lack of its teaching. There are conditions that will result in our being cut off; or, as Paul warns the Corinthians, “disqualified”.

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. 1Corinthians 9:27

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 2Corinthians 13:5

Paul took the steps necessary to ensure he would not become disqualified; and he encouraged the same for those under his care. That is my heart for all that will read this article – that you would prayerfully consider the referenced passages. Allow the Holy Spirit to teach, and possibly convict, you. Read the rest of this entry »

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