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You may recall the images from Iraq during the onset of Desert Storm. Having done their reconnaissance, American forces were bombing Bagdad, seemingly without mercy. The military commentator explained that we were trying to kill Saddam Hussein – which was unlikely – and/or destroy his command and communication centers. In other words, we were trying to separate the snake’s head and its body.

As it turns out, this is the strategy of every offensive force, in every war. Separate the commanders from the troops and you create a decided advantage for yourself and your allies. Consequently, threatened nations go to great length to protect their communication centers.

Regrettably, our enemies have made significant progress is cutting off the Western church from its High Command. Communication centers have been destroyed. Little effort is being made to rebuild and retrench. Consequently, we are separated from God and each other. Our efforts are disorganized, even divisive.

While it would be easy to blame the devil, those of us in leadership know better. In many respects, we are our own worst enemy. We have allowed the world to distract us and our carnal minds to deceive us into thinking we can get by with our own strategies, plans and programs.

Reestablishing communication is where we must start. Sacrifices will have to be made, but they will be worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears. God has all the grace we need to turn the tide in this war.

As hard a time as we seem to be having with prayer, prayer is not hard. The Father is standing by waiting on our attention. He loves speaking with His children.

Much has been said about the decline of prayer in the Western Church. We have simply lost site of the importance of personal and corporate communion with God. This is so obvious, it hardly seems worth the time and effort to say it again. Just how much encouragement is enough?

Fortunately, God has not given up on us. He is aware of our weaknesses in this area. We are not the first generation of church leaders who have needed an attitude (re)adjustment about prayer.

Now, I’m no expert on prayer; but I know some people who are. I don’t know them in-person personally; in fact, quite a few of them are dead. I know them personally through the books they have written on prayer. You can learn a lot about a person through their attitude towards prayer. After all, prayer is their heart tie with God; a connection to the center of their being.

I learned from a dear friend and mentor that giving away books is a great way to disciple someone. This is particularly true with subjects like prayer. Better to let the authors speak than try to speak for them.

So, what I would like to do here is introduce three of my favorite books on prayer. I will include some thoughts and encouragement in the way they will help you and those in your spheres of influence renew your minds regarding the importance of personal and corporate prayer. Read the rest of this entry »

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The images of war in the Old Testament are a foreshadowing of the battles that Christians face in the new. My favorite warriors are the mighty men that served under King David. Here are a few of their exploits (from 2Samuel 23:8-12, 18-23):

  • Adino killed eight hundred men at one time.
  • Eleazar was one of four that defied the Philistines when the men of Israel had retreated. He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand stuck to the sword. The people returned after him only to plunder.
  • Shammah killed a troop (300) of Philistines in a lentil field. So the LORD brought about a great victory.
  • Abishai lifted his spear against three hundred men and killed them.
  • Benaiah killed two lion-like heroes of Moab, went down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day, and killed an Egyptian, a spectacular man.

These men knew that the LORD was with them; that their feats were beyond human ability. David knew it, too. He had no worries when it came to His army.

When the call to war was given, his mighty men waded into the battle, full of faith and courage. By just being in the presence of David’s mighty men, the remainder of David’s army (including green recruits) learned both how to fight and how to have faith in their God.

The same must be true for us today! God is raising up mighty men and women, in the Workplace, to fight for His Kingdom. Sadly, many of them have forgotten (or have not been told) who they are.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. James 1:23-24

As their brothers and sisters in Christ, each one of us have a blessed privilege and responsibility to remind Workplace Leaders of their kingdom identity. God has given them positions of influence and authority for great kingdom exploits – much like David’s mighty warriors.

These were the chiefs of David’s mighty warriors—they, together with all Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the Lord had promised… 1Chronicles 11:10

The men and women God has raised up in the Workplace are there to give the king strong support to extend His reign over the whole land.

Consider this: Who are the Workplace Leaders in your spheres of influence? How can you be the King’s instrument – to remind them that they are His mighty men and women? NOTE: You don’t have to be a boss or pastor to be a reminder; and an encourager. Let me know how I can help you (start by sharing this article with them).

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

In Part One, we explored the importance of Jesus’ resurrection and our participation with Him in it. We discovered that, without His resurrection, our faith is futile (1Corinthians 15:16-17). Why? Because it is by His life, not His death, that we shall be saved (Romans 5:10).

Furthermore, in Part Two, we learned that our resurrection begins when we are born again, through faith in Jesus’ resurrection.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… 1Peter 1:3

Paul encourages us to press on to the perfection found in the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:8-11); the exchange of our life for that of Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:20).

Moving on to our conclusion, we consider the words of Watchman Nee: “We thank God that the church has actually experienced this resurrection power.”

This truly begs the question: Have you and I? Read the rest of this entry »

Bible with Cross ShadowThe word “therefore” is placed strategically throughout the Bible. It means “for that reason, that being the case”; tying what is to follow to the preceding thought. The Holy Spirit uses it to build a pathway of truth and faith – a means of renewing our minds. Keep this in mind as you read:

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:25-34

Because we cannot serve two masters – particularly God and treasures – we must stop worrying about our life. Once again, we have a saying of Jesus that we are to do by not doing. Once again, we are faced with a seemingly impossible task. Who can really stop worrying about their life?

Once again, we are reminded that our only hope is found is the abiding life of Jesus Christ; and in this case, His mind. Thank goodness, the mind of Christ is something we possess (1Corinthians 2:16). The challenge is appropriating – or syncing with – that mind. Jesus encourages us to do so in the following ways.

  1. Look around at what God has done.
  2. Consider your value to Him.
  3. Recognize the futility of worry.
  4. Deal with your lack of faith.
  5. Stop imitating the Gentiles.
  6. Trust in the Father’s omniscience.
  7. Get your priorities in order.
  8. Focus on today.

There are two ways to leverage this list for our transformation. First, consider these as steps in a process; each one a truth that will both set us free and activate faith to respond as Jesus commands. Beginning in your secret place, meditate on each one, inviting God to search your heart for the doubt, fear and self-reign that has conformed you to the world. Confess (agree with) and repent (change your mind). God is faithful and just to forgive your sin and deliver you from all unrighteousness.

As faith and courage come into your heart, ask God to give you the opportunity to exercise your newfound faith and courage. Ask Him for an experience of the mind of Christ in a particular way, that very day. You will experience the Holy Spirit’s transformative power; as you prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).

Second (and this may occur in the process above), allow the Holy Spirit to focus your attention on a step with which you have a particular difficulty. Very often, our greatest struggles become God most glorious victories. Work it out, trusting that He is working in you to will and do to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13); knowing that His pleasure is to give you His kingdom (Luke 12:32) – the very thing you are seeking.

Working it out will include searching out the matter in the Scriptures. The truth you find will make you free. You will also want to seek counsel from those that the Lord is using to make you His disciple. This is God’s way for our maturation. Regularly reckon the truths you discover as truth for you. Lay hold of them, and put them into practice. Read the rest of this entry »

Bible with Cross ShadowYou have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28

The house that stands in the storm will be the house of the man that guards his heart from the lusts of his eyes. This is an incredibly important issue for the church in America; particularly when you consider the houses that are being built around our pastors and our fellowships. Of all the judgment that will come to the house of God (1Peter 4:17), the judgment for this sin will be one of the most severe.

Consider the statistics. A Leadership Journal survey reports that four in ten pastors online have visited a pornographic Web site; and more than one-third have done so in the past year. Expastors.com reports that, of the 1,351 pastors that Rick Warren’s website, Pastors.com, surveyed on porn use, 54% said they had viewed internet pornography within the last year and 30% of those had visited within the last 30 days.

Patrick Means, author of Men’s Secret Wars, reveals that 63% of pastors surveyed confirm that they are struggling with sexual addiction or sexual compulsion including, but not limited to, the use of pornography, compulsive masturbation, or other secret sexual activity. Furthermore, 75% of pastors do not make themselves accountable to anyone for their Internet use.

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Matthew 6:22

Without question, pornography is one of the vilest demonic attacks unleashed on the church. If pastors are suffering in this way, what would we imagine for the rest of the congregation? BTW: Men are 5.3 times more likely to be addicted to pornography. Honestly, I am surprised that the number is not higher. This epidemic is affecting women more than I thought. Read the rest of this entry »

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