Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part I

Today, I’m beginning a new series entitled Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit. The entire series will be 12 posts long. So at three posts per week, it will last for some time. If you find the posts of help, you can share them with your friends using the Facebook and Twitter buttons at the bottom.

In 1 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul discusses the manifestation of the Holy Spirit saying,

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

As the name implies, the manifestation of the Holy Spirit is given by God to manifest—to make known or display—the presence of Jesus Christ to and through His church.[Continue Reading...]

Interview with Andrew Farley

Andrew Farley is a friend of mine. Andrew recently released an intriguing work of fiction entitled, Operation Screwtape: The Art of Spiritual Warfare. The book is a compelling read and it highlights some wonderful truths about who we are in Christ and where our focus should be. I caught up with Andrew to hear him talk about the book. Enjoy the interview and order Andrew’s Farley’s new book.

Operation Screwtape: The Art of Spiritual War  -<br /><br />         By: Andrew Farley</p><br /> <p>

Give us the premise of “Operation Screwtape.” What is the book about?

Andrew Farley: It’s a fiction book. And in the book, an expert linguist encounters a device containing thousands of archived files revealing a worldwide conspiracy. Operation Screwtape is the largest of these files and details the intelligent scheme to steal, kill, and destroy Christianity. Here’s a video clip of the discovery of the device:

[tentblogger-youtube 4E19uzrXkjw]
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Two of My Best Books $1.99 on Kindle For a Limited Time

I don’t usually post on Sundays, but I thought today’s news warranted it. Someone on Twitter drew my attention to the fact that Amazon is offering two of my best books (on Kindle) for only $1.99. I’m not sure how long this insane sale will last, but I suspect it won’t be long.

Here are the Amazon links with book descriptions (to see how these books specifically benefit readers). Tomorrow’s post will begin a response to a question I’ve been asked countless times. It’s called Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit. Stay tuned![Continue Reading...]

For God So Loved the World vs. Love Not the World

In this conference message (uploaded to the podcast), I address the paradox in the New Testament concerning the world. On the one hand, Christians are to love the world because God loves it. But on the other hand, we are exhorted to love not the world. The message resolves the paradox and explores our relationship to the world. You can listen to it on iTunes, RSS, or stream it on your computer.

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Logos 5 – The Best Bible Software Available on Discount!

Today, I’d like to let you all know about what many Christians consider to be the best Bible software available today. It’s Logos Bible Software, version 5.

You can get a 15% discount if you are a new Logos user. Just click the link and ensure that VIOLA5 is listed as a coupon when you check out. Note that the discounted price will only appear later in the checkout process.

If you’re an existing Logos user, you can still follow the link. But sign in with your Logos user account at the top right of the screen, then click products-upgrade to get the same discounted price which is currently available for all upgrades.

My friend Adrian Warnock wrote such a great review on Logos 5 that I decided to repost it here (with his permission, of course) rather than re-invent the wheel. I cannot improve upon what Adrian wrote. Here it is:[Continue Reading...]

Milt Rodriguez

Milt Rodriguez is a close and long-time friend of mine. He’s also one of my co-workers. Milt and I have spent much time together over the years . . . in prayer, in spiritual labor, in navigating others through problems, in struggling to find God’s mind, in mutual help and encouragement, and in fellowship.

In addition, Milt and I have made numerous trips together over the years, including going overseas. In short, Milt is a beloved friend and a trusted co-laborer in God’s work. It’s been a personal joy to work side-by-side with him over the years. With the Lord’s enabling, we’ve been privileged to serve in helping to plant and encourage numerous organic missional churches over the last seven years.

While I’m presently not focused on organic church in this season of my ministry, I recently received a wonderful report from Milt on the status of the churches we relate to and it was super encouraging. The Lord is doing some wonderful things in and among His people.

In that connection, I want to highlight Milt’s contributions in this post.[Continue Reading...]

Who Are You? Accepting Your True Identity

In Revise Us Again, I argued at length that the Christian life is becoming who you already are.

In Ephesians, Paul says two times to “speak the truth in love” to one another. In context, Paul is exhorting God’s people to remind one another of who they are in Christ . . . to remind one another about the new self into which they have been made . . . to remind one another of their true identity. Something that’s all too easy to forget.

If you have received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, here’s a list of who you really are.  Marvel at the epic greatness of your Lord and what He has done for you.

Receive it, remember it, and walk in it . . .[Continue Reading...]

DeVern Fromke: The Box Set

DeVern Fromke is one of the Christians who has had a profound influence on my life. I met Fromke in 1993 and we’ve kept in touch ever since. Devern Fromke worked with T. Austin-Sparks, the man who has had the greatest influence on my life and ministry. He also spoke in conferences with Stephen Kaung, a dear friend of mine and a co-worker with Watchman Nee.

DeVern Fromke, T. Austin-Sparks, Stephen Kaung in 1966

DeVern Fromke, T. Austin-Sparks, Stephen Kaung in 1966

Because so many of you who read this blog are in your 20s and 30s, not many of you have heard of Fromke or know his work.

Hence this post.

It concerns me greatly that I see so little emphasis or understanding today on the deeper things of God. While a number of popular speakers with rock-star followings are fronting three new movements aimed at 20s and 30s, there’s very little that’s new in those movements.

It’s not that these movements are bad or wrong. Nor is it that God isn’t using them. I believe He is. It’s just that they are missing something essential. Critically essential.

What is lacking is . . .[Continue Reading...]

An Interview with Dr. Michael Brown: The Real Kosher Jesus

Before I get to today’s interview, I want to let you know that we just uploaded to the podcast the message I delivered at the NCY Ministers Conference. It’s entitled “For God So Loved the World vs. Love Not the World.” Other speakers were Scot McKnight, Jon Acuff, Larry Osborne, et al. You can listen to the message freely via iTunes, RSS feed, or direct streaming. Just click here.

Now on to the topic at hand.

Dr. Michael Brown is one of my favorite people. He’s not only a superb Hebrew scholar, but he’s a friend and a respected brother in Christ. I interviewed Michael recently on his new book, The Real Kosher Jesus. Enjoy!

The Real Kosher Jesus: Revealing the Mysteries of the Hidden Messiah  -<br /><br />
        By: Michael L. Brown Ph.D.</p><br />
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The Absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ

“And He is before ALL THINGS, and by Him ALL THINGS consist. And he is the Head of the Body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in ALL THINGS He might have the pre­eminence.”

~ Colossians 1:17-18

“. . . According to His good pleasure which He has PURPOSED in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one ALL THINGS in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.”

~ Ephesaians 1:9-10

“And [God] has put ALL THINGS under His [Christ’s] feet, and gave Him to be the Head over ALL THINGS to the church.”

~ Ephesians 1:22

Often when Christians come into a deeper understanding and experience of grace, they lose sight of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I’ve addressed this problem on the blog before in detail. However, I want to revisit it in light of God’s eternal purpose.

The eternal purpose of God is centered upon making the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ a visible reality. God’s goal is the establishment of the complete sovereignty and supremacy of His Son. His driving passion is to make His Son preeminent over all things. All of God’s activities are toward this end. Hence, the chief work of the Holy Spirit in this age is to establish the absolute Lordship of Christ in the universe.

Accordingly, the Holy Spirit will break down and devastate everything that opposes, obstructs, and hinders the Lord’s sovereign rule in the hearts of His people. He will stand against all that gets in the way of God’s ultimate intention of establishing the centrality and supremacy of His Son over all things. Strikingly, before Christ can be made preeminent over all things, He must first have the pre­­­eminence among His own people. Colossians 1:18 puts it this way, [Continue Reading...]