As I look at the spiritual landscape of our world today, I’m reminded of a message that I have only delivered twice in my life. The message is called “The Tabernacle of David.” If you’ve never heard it, you can listen to the recording of the first time I ever delivered it. I believe it’s a message for our times, even more so now than when I first spoke it. Go here to give it a listen.
The Lord will not always rescue you when you want Him to. And He certainly will not act according to your timetable every time.
In fact, sometimes He will let you die (metaphorically speaking). He may even wait until you’re quadruply dead and stinking in your tomb before He does anything (think Lazarus).
So when things become black in your life, and there seems to be no way out, your situation has the fingerprints of Jesus Christ all over it.
Chisel it in stone: you can’t have a resurrection without a death. Resurrection is God’s act alone. And that’s why it always brings glory to Him.
Two things to remember during your trial: 1) the Lord is seeking to show you something new about Himself and 2) the lesson you learn is not just for yourself. It’s given to you to help others.
So lean hard on your Lord. Trust Him, yielding, waiting, and seeking, expecting your resurrection. And in time, it will surely come.[Continue Reading…]
The high-voltage political season in the US has got me thinking about smearfests. Jesus of Nazareth was no politician. Yet He was subject to a continuous stream of smears. Here are 11 accusations that were laid at our Lord’s feet during His day:
He was an illegitimate child, a drunkard, a glutton, a false prophet, a deceiver, a blasphemer, mentally ill, demon possessed, a law-breaker [“unbiblical”], Beelzebub [Satan incarnate], and a temple-destroyer.
Strikingly, the Lord never defended Himself against any of these allegations. That’s just how divine life rolls.[Continue Reading…]
In every presidential election, those who cheer for a particular candidate feel like it’s closed curtains on the free world when their candidate loses. Those on the winning side feel the opposite.
Laying that aside, throughout this year’s US election, countless Christians engaged in the same level of anger, vitriolic rhetoric, and political smackdowns in which the unbelieving world engaged. There was little difference save for the words “Jesus” or “God” peppered in.
As I reflect on the kingdom of God, I believe many of us have forgotten who we are and what our citizenship entails. The kingdom to which we belong isn’t reduced to going to heaven when we die. Nor is it trying to make the world a better place by grabbing political power.
The kingdom of God is here right now (though not in fullness). It broke into this realm 2,000 years ago when Jesus of Nazareth — this world’s true Lord — began a divine insurgence. It’s a kingdom that’s not of this world, yet it’s for this world.[Continue Reading…]
DeVern Fromke is the author of Ultimate Intention – a book that revolutionized my understanding of God’s mission when I was in my 20s. Fromke ministered with T. Austin-Sparks, the man who has had the greatest impact on my work. Fromke also ministered with Stephen Kaung, another mentor of mine (and a co-worker to Watchman Nee).
I met Fromke when I was 28. Since then, I’ve made it a priority to keep in regular contact with him via phone, email, and through in-person meetings. I sought him out and made hearing him speak a priority.
One of the saddest things in life is to have the opportunity to be in the presence of greatness, and let it pass by. DeVern Fromke was a great man. And I thank God for seizing every opportunity to sit at his feet and learn from him, even when it was inconvenient. Fromke went to be with the Lord last Friday (October 28th, 2016). And heaven is now richer. But there is a lesson to be learned.[Continue Reading…]
Some quick background before I make two points.
Last week, I had the privilege of facilitating a mastermind gathering with 12 top-shelf pastors and teachers. The gathering was called MinistryMind 2016. The leaders who attended were incredibly diverse. Men and women came from different parts of the world and represented different theological persuasions.
After our initial dinner together on Wednesday I announced, “For those of you who live outside the USA, there will be a civil war occurring at 9pm and broadcast on television tonight.”
I was speaking about the third Presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
We then met from morning until evening the following day (Thursday) and then again Friday morning.[Continue Reading…]
One of the exercises I give when I hold a connecting event is ask, “If someone made a movie about your life, what would the title be and which actor/actress would play you?”
This exercise gets people in touch with their calling.
Sometimes the emphasis of your calling will change over time, but the central thrust will always be the same.
For instance (speaking personally), back in 2008, people branded me as the “organic church” guy or the “Pagan Christianity” guy. Mainly because of two best-selling books I wrote back then.
Over the last five years, however, that’s all changed. I’m now known as the “Deeper Christian Life” guy or the “Eternal Purpose” guy or the “Christ is All” guy. Mainly because of the books, blogs, and podcasts I’ve released from 2009 to the present.[Continue Reading…]
Countless Christians labor under the idea that life is about working, getting a nice house, raising crumb-snatchers, sending them to college, and having grandchildren. (And of course, going to church and being a “good Christian.”)
After this, they can happily die and go to heaven.
For such souls, everything is built around these values. The wonderful spiritual opportunities they say “no” to are governed by them.
Consequently, God’s Eternal Purpose is not much of a consideration. In fact, many believers have no idea what it is.
The Jesus-followers of Century One were a different breed altogether.[Continue Reading…]
Christian peevishness is an oxymoron, but unfortunately the title fits. Because the problem is so pervasive today, I’ve spoken about it at length in other places along with identifying a solution.
But so many of God’s people today are profoundly peevish and so easily offended.
Like it or not, these are marks of spiritual immaturity.
Are you quick to take offense when you hear or read something that goes against your views or is stated differently from the way you would state it?
Do you read the worst possible motives into what others say or write?
Do you whine and complain when you see or read something you feel is inappropriate? (I’m not talking about profanity.)[Continue Reading…]
I’ve often said that good preachers leave you saying, “What a great sermon!” While great preachers leave you saying, “Wow, what a Christ!”
On that score, some churches have created a culture of guilt. Every sermon preached is judged by how guilty it makes the listeners feel. The more guilty, the better. And if there’s no guilt, the sermon was a dud.In these churches, the guilt is described by the term “conviction.”
Let me illustrate. Jim (25), Bill (28), and Tom (32) are members of one of these churches.
Bill missed Sunday service because of work. On Monday night, he called Jim. Listen to the conversation.
“Hey Jim, bummed that I missed church yesterday. How was it?”
Jim responds, “Dude, it was awesome. I was SOOOO convicted. What a great sermon!”
Bill says, “Oh man, I have to listen to it online.”
Bill calls Tom, “Tom, Jim told me about the sermon yesterday. It sucks that I missed it!”
Tom replies, “The sermon was incredible. I was SO freakin’ convicted!!!”[Continue Reading…]