Because Of Jesus

Christmas is the time that we celebrate God becoming man in Christ Jesus. We
celebrate divinity taking on humanity in order to live a sinless life—a life that
satisfied the righteous requirements of a Holy God. Easter is the time we celebrate
the fact that Jesus did in fact live a holy and perfect life that He might become the
holy and perfect sacrifice in His death for all mankind. And that having died for
man’s sins, He rose from death to grant eternal and divine life to all who would turn
from self and put trusting faith in the true Savior.

With this in mind, let’s take a few moments and consider what the death of Jesus
and His resurrection unto glorious life accomplished for us all. Then, let’s confess
with our mouths how the death of Jesus redeemed us from all that had us held in a
grip of hopelessness, and how His life restored us unto the high, holy and eternal
purposes of God.

Because Jesus died, I am no longer:
Separated The sin that separated man from God was paid for in full because of Jesus’ sinless death. Because Jesus provided and paved the way back to God by laying down His sinless life on the Cross, you are no longer separated.

Condemned We are told time and again in the Scriptures that by Jesus being sentenced to death, our death sentence was rendered null and void. Because the guiltless Jesus suffered for the guilty, you are no longer condemned.

Afraid The fear of rejection, isolation and hopelessness was dealt with by the death of Christ Jesus. The Son made it possible for you to be accepted by the Father into the family of God. Because of this, you can declare that you are no longer afraid.

Accursed The curse of sin was taken away by the One who hung on the Tree of Life, the very Cross of Christ. All the blessings of God are now yours because you are no longer accursed.

Ashamed All of the shame that you have ever borne because of all the shameful things you have ever done has been removed and cast off because Jesus died in your place. Now consecrated and clean, you can proclaim that you are no longer ashamed.

Bound The bondage of sin and death has been broken through the blood of Heaven’s Lamb offered for you. With the chains that held you broken and the change that freedom brings, you can gladly shout that you are no longer bound.

Oppressed Every demonic principality and power has been defeated and triumphed over because Jesus died on the conquering Cross. All satanic influence and impact must now loose their hold for you are no longer oppressed.

Because Jesus lives, I am:
Reconciled Separated no longer, you have been bought back and brought back to God the Father through Jesus the Son. Because the Crucified Jesus died and the Resurrected Jesus lives, you are reconciled eternally.

Justified Condemned no longer, you now stand righteous before God. Because Jesus ever lives as the Resurrected and Righteous One, you are justified completely.

Confident Afraid no longer, you can now live confidently and courageously. Because the Resurrected Jesus has conquered every fearful thing, you can declare that you are confident fully.

Blessed Accursed no longer, you can now be the glad and grateful recipient of all the blessings of heaven. Because Jesus broke the curse of sin and death, you are blessed abundantly.

Accepted Ashamed no longer, you can now live in serenity in your soul, knowing that your acceptance before God is sure and without question. Because Jesus, as the Crucified Savior and Resurrected Lord removed shame forever, you are accepted completely.

Freed Bound no longer, you are free to move and minister, unchained and unhindered. Because the Crucified and Resurrected Jesus broke every chain that held men captive, you are freed entirely.

Delivered Oppressed no longer, every demonic principality and power that seeks to stand against you has been defeated and neutralized. Because Jesus put them to an open shame on the cross and through the empty tomb, you are delivered triumphally.

Remember: Because Jesus died as the Crucified Lord and Christ, and because Jesus lives as the Righteous and Resurrected Lord and King, you and I can boldly and confidently declare that we are no longer lost and without hope, but are now the
redeemed, restored, righteous and resurrected people of God.

My Peace I Give To You

Again, thank you New Song Family for your prayers during this time of rest,
recovery and revelation. As I have gone deeper and deeper into times of meditation
on the word and listening to the voice of the Spirit, I have been gripped by a fresh
sense of our high and holy calling to get the gospel to everyone, everywhere. There
is not a moment to lose or an opportunity to be left unattended to. The need is
great—the time is now—and we are the people to meet the need and seize the hour.

I have also been meditating much on the subject of peace. And by peace, I mean the
peace of God. The peace that provides inner tranquility, undisturbed composure and
an overall sense of wellbeing regardless of what may be happening around us or to
us. I am referring to the peace of God in Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit that calms our
fears, clears our minds and charts our course. Not a peace that produces passivity,
but a peace that produces serenity to trust God as we travel on in His purposes for
us.
In John 14:27, on the eve of Jesus’ suffering for the sins of man, He bequeaths His disciples this kind and quality of peace. He tells them that there is no need to be filled with anxiety and apprehension, and no need to be filled with depression and dread. He told them that at His departure, by the gift and grace of the Holy Spirit, He was leaving them with the same divine peace that they had seen in Him and through Him. This One who had spoken peace to a raging storm was promising them the same “storm stilling” peace for whatever might try to rage in their hearts and minds.

Peace I leave with you. It was common for Jews to greet each other and bid farewell to each other with words of peace. In Hebrew, the word was shalom—a sense of divine favor and full blessing borne out of one’s covenantal relationship with God. Jesus was in essence saying, “As I leave, I leave you with God’s full blessing and favor
resting and remaining on you.”

My peace I give to you. But then Jesus takes it to another level when He says, “My peace I give to you.” The definite article My is emphatic. It is Jesus telling His disciples that this peace is in Him, of Him and through Him. He was saying that the same peace He had through an unbroken fellowship with the Father was now theirs because He would open the way to God and provide the work of God by the Holy Spirit given to them. He was promising an unbroken, unhindered and undiluted flow of heaven’s peace to them and any who would look to the Father through the Son by the Spirit.

Not as the world gives do I give to you. Peace in the world has always had to do with adequate resources and favorable circumstances, while peace from God has always had to do with authentic relationships and favor with God. Jesus is assuring His disciples that the shifting winds and whims of the world would have no impact on the ongoing supply of divine peace. Jesus’ teaching always emphasized that when one was rightly related to God and others, they could be assured of the perpetual flow of God’s peace and prosperity.

Let not your heart be troubled. The word troubled has to do with deep distress in the mind and emotions that make one unstable in the face of difficulties and unable to face those difficulties with courage and clarity. Jesus told His disciples to not permit anxiety and apprehension to grip them, but instead to take authority over being troubled by trusting in God’s promises. Then their minds would be stable and clear and their hearts would be filled with a serene confidence.

Neither let it be afraid. The word here for afraid means a paralyzing fear that produces cowardice in the face of conflict. There were many things that the disciples didn’t understand at this time and many things that threatened to render them terrified and immobile. Jesus told them that the cure for this paralysis of fear was the peace that came through faith in Him and everything that He had taught them. They were to take authority over crippling fear and to crowd and cast it out by trust and confidence in Christ’s love and care for them.

My friends and family, the peace of Christ that was the promised possession of Christ’s original disciples is our promised possession as well. Let us not let our hearts be filled with tormenting anxiety and crippling fear. Let us take authority over our hearts and minds in and through Christ Jesus. Let us allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts and not the ever-shifting circumstances we see in the world around us. Let us every day remind ourselves, and one another, that God’s plans are redemptive and resilient—forever settled in heaven. Let us not be shaken, but settled and secure in Jesus Christ’s love and power. Let us be assured that the Prince of Peace ever lives, ever reigns and ever intercedes for our good. Let us be at peace, my friends, let us be at peace.

Rest For Your Souls

Thank you for your prayers during this time of rest, recovery and revelation. The
rest has been necessary and nourishing. The recovery has been a process of
rediscovering the incredible worth and value of all the blessings, small and great,
that God has deposited in our lives (the person and presence of Jesus that is deeply
and profoundly sustaining, purpose that is high and heavenly, people who are loving
and loyal, and peace which flows and feeds the soul). The revelation through prayer,
meditation, reading and listening and looking intently to the Spirit has produced
clarity and confidence for an unprecedented future of fruitfulness for the gospel. So
again, thank you for this gift and your partnership in grace.

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus issues a clarion call for the spiritually, mentally,
emotionally and physically worn and weary to discover true and abiding rest in Him
and through Him. I have been meditating on these verses, and I would like to share
some thoughts for your consideration.

Come To Me The Lord always and ultimately called people to Himself. He didn’t tell people that He simply knew the way, would speak the truth and point to life. He said that He was the way, the truth and the life. It was in being inextricably and intimately joined to Him that everything they were searching for or would ever need would be found.

All you who labor and are heavy laden In the Greek these words mean, “those who have labored to the point of exhaustion, and those who have had heavy burdens laid on them by others.” They were working in their own strength as a way of life and it had wearied and wasted their souls. They had been erroneously taught by the religious leaders of the day that this was theirs to do and carry. Consequently, they were exhausted spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.

I will give you rest Jesus came offering rest—rest that would be found in being joined in an abiding fellowship with Him. The structure in Greek reveals that this rest is a “perpetual release of refreshment and renewal provided by another.” The source of this rest was the Savior sent to undo heavy burdens by unlocking and unveiling heavens plan and provision for perpetual peace. Can you imagine how freeing and welcomed these words were?

Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me This was not a call to inactivity, but rather inspired activity that was infused with the life and leadership of the Lord Jesus. They were to be yoked, or joined to Jesus in order to learn from Him, not of Him. Jesus was calling all men to abide and remain in a constant fellowship and followership with Him.

I am gentle and lowly in heart Jesus was telling the people that He was always open and receptive to the will of the Father through the work of the Spirit. So those yoked with Him would learn to be receptive to all that God had planned for their lives.

They would learn to humbly submit themselves to the purposes and power of God. As they linked themselves to the life of the Son, following His example of submission and obedience to will of the Father, they would find their divine destiny in God’s eternal design.

You will find rest for your souls Remember this rest is a “perpetual release of refreshment and renewal provided by another.” Rest for the soul—what a blessed promise and possession. Rest for the spirit—divinely made alive and new. Rest for the mind—renewed by divine truth. Rest for the emotions—restored by divine faith, hope and love. Rest for the body—reinvigorated by divine strength.

My yoke is easy and my burden is light The word easy in Greek means “that which is well-fitting, profitable and useful.” Jesus was telling the people that His yoke did not chafe and frustrate, but rather changed and freed one to be what God had always intended for them to be.

I trust that as you have been reading these words they are coming alive to you in a poignant and powerful way. Everyday, as I go to the secret place to have coffee and communion with Jesus, I am freshly reminding myself of my Lord’s clarion call to find rest for my soul. I invite and call you to do the same. Peace and rest for our souls is part of our divine inheritance in Christ. When we know that we are joined with Jesus in living out the will of God for our lives, we can live being internally in a posture of rest and repose. My friends, the storms of life may rage around us, but the stillness of His life can reign within us.

Clear Vision – Clear Values || Reach In To One Another

As we have entered 2018, we are taking this first month of January to freshly revisit our New Song Nashville mission, vision and ministry values, as we pursue another year on Knowing God and Knowing Others. This will help us to not only revisit, but also to help us to recast a clear sense of prophetic assignment in what God has called us to personally and as a people gathered to encourage and equip one another, in
order to be a people distributed to the communities we live in and serve.

This week, we are focusing on what it means to Reach In To One Another—being a people who make disciples, develop leaders and multiply covenantal communities. For in reaching in to one another, we become a cohesive community, who are both connected and bonded to a common cause in mission and ministry—well able to minister the love and power of Jesus Christ to neighbors, nations and generations.

Through The Ministry of Making Disciples Leading people to faith in Christ and going on to maturity in fellowship, followership and friendship with Him must be our highest priority. We are called as devoted disciples to make devoted disciples, either as parents, pastors or partners in communicating the gospel and committing ourselves to the process of helping people to go on with God. Following Christ means that we fully embrace who He is and all and everyone He teaches and touches—everything and everyone that He is committed to. Every generation of true believers must pass His transformational truths on to the next generation. Making disciples must not be hurried or haphazard—but rather intentional and deeply involved. Let’s pray that making true followers of Jesus would be our highest call and commitment.

Through The Ministry of Developing Leaders Everyone will lead someone—either as a parent, pastor or partner. We are always called to develop the next generation of emerging leaders who will influence and impact those they engage and empower as future generations. Our call is to develop people who develop people. Whatever the context, we are called to foster an environment for following the leading of the Holy Spirit and learning the word, will and ways of God. The next generation will always be the product of the previous generation—we must take this responsibility soberly and seriously. Let’s pray that God would give us His heart and hope for the next generation of emerging leaders.

Through The Ministry of Multiplying Covenantal Communities Covenantal communities are groupings of people who have promised to give their best and most blessed resources to those they are connected to. These could be families, churches, Life Groups or any collection of committed people—those who have declared their devotion to serve one another—no matter what. The Bible is a book committed to the concept that communities exist to serve the needs of every person who is committed to the community. If you live in community, there is always a sense of mutual commitment to a people who have covenanted to care for one another. A covenant is a promise with a purpose and a power—a promise to serve for the purpose of the common good by the power of the common purpose and the power by the Holy Spirit. This is our call, as we reach in to the body of Christ for a common cause and the common good. Let’s pray that the multiplication of ministers and ministries would grip our hearts with a sense of unity and urgency.

Remember: As we reach up to God and in to one another, we will have the passion and power we need to reach out to the world with influence and impact.

 

Clear Vision – Clear Values || Reach Up To God

As we have entered 2018, we are taking this first month of January to freshly revisit our New Song Nashville mission, vision and ministry values, as we pursue another year on Knowing God and Knowing Others. This will help us to not only revisit, but also to recast a clear sense of prophetic assignment in what God has called us to personally and as a people gathered to encourage and equip one another, in order to be a people distributed to the communities we live in and serve.

It is with this worthy and worshipful pursuit in mind, that we come to this month’s theme of Clear Vision—Clear Values, as we freshly focus on who we are, what we do, why we do it and how we do it—all for the glory of God and the good of all He has called us to effectively serve.

Last week, we did an overview on our vision and ministry values to Reach Up To God Through the Ministries of Prayer and Praise, Reach Into One Another Through the Ministries of Making Disciples, Developing Leaders and Multiplying Covenantal
Communities and to Reach Out To The World Through The Ministries of Evangelism, Compassion and Justice.

This week, we are focusing on what it means to Reach Up To God—being and becoming a people who engage in the ministry of prayer, the ministry of praise and embracing and engaging in a theology of place—the secret place, the gathering place and the public place. This is our first pursuit and priority that leads us to our other worthy pursuits and priorities.

The Ministry of Prayer Every person and every people that have ever made a significant difference for God’s purposes in the earth have always been given to the ministry of prayer. Serving God in prayer means that we are searching for the revelation of God’s will, by the word and the Spirit, and agreeing with it in faith for its fulfillment. We see this service and search in the life of every true believer who longs to know the heart of God, hear His voice and heed His commands. Prayer is an ongoing dialogue with God about what He is saying and doing, as exemplified in our Lord Jesus and all those who love His word, will and ways. Let’s pray that the burden for prayer and the blessing of prayer would grip our hearts and guide our way.

The Ministry of Praise King David, the founder and father of faith-filled praise, modeled for us what it means to praise God for who He is, what He has done and what He will do in the future. The Scriptures are replete with examples of how praising God’s attributes and actions produce faith in God and friendship with God. If we want our faith in God’s great power to grow, we must become a people who release God’s great praise in His person, power and purpose. Let’s pray that the release of praise for our great God would grow ever stronger in these days.

A Theology of Place We are called to come to the secret place, the gathering place and the public place as a people of prayer and praise—a people who are seeking God’s face and speaking for His name and His fame to be known in the earth. What begins in private, becomes corporate and then public in the community where we live and are called to have redemptive influence. Jesus taught that if we sought God in the secret place, every place we went would be openly rewarded—revealing that we were seekers of the Father’s word, will and ways. Let’s pray that our pursuit of God in prayer would produce power every place we are.

Remember: As we reach up to God, He will reach back to us, by His Spirit, to provide every spiritual resource needed to fulfill His plans and purposes revealed through the ministries of prayer and praise.

Clear Vision – Clear Values

Coming into 2018, we are taking the of January to freshly revisit our New Song
Nashville mission, vision and ministry values as we pursue another year of Knowing God and Knowing Others. We want to recast a clear sense of prophetic assignment for what God has called us to personally and as a people gathered to encourage and equip one another in order to then be a people distributed to the communities we live in and serve.

It is with this worthy and worshipful pursuit in mind that we come to this month’s theme: Clear Vision—Clear Values, as we freshly focus on who we are, what we do, why we do it and how we do it—all for the glory of God and the good of all He has
called us to effectively serve.

Reach Up to God Through the Ministries of Prayer and Praise King David, in Psalm 5,
declared that it was his daily commitment to look up, and thus reach up to the
source of his strength and divine guidance—none other than the Lord Himself. This
was not a mere exercise or endeavor in currying favor with a divine being who
could serve his purposes but, rather, to cultivate an authentic relationship with the
God he loved and served. David was a man who prayed diligently and desperately—and praised lovingly and lavishly. And so it has always been for those who have seen themselves as priests and partners in seeing the purposes of God accomplished in the earth—this is who we are and what we do. Why do we do it? Because God is worthy, and we are completely dependent on Him for everything that has to do with our identity in Him and our influence and impact for Him. How do we do it? By the truth of God’s Word on how to approach a loving and holy God and the life and leading of God’s Spirit to grace and guide us. Everyday we come before God our Father and Jesus our Lord in the secret place, the gathering place and the public place, serving as priests of prayer and praise wherever we go. Let’s pray that the Holy Spirit would open our eyes anew to see our role as priests of prayer and praise.

Reach In to One Another Through the Ministries of Making Disciples, Developing
Leaders and Multiplying Covenantal Communities Our Lord’s Great and Supreme Commission has never been reduced or rescinded: lead lost people to Christ and take them on to spiritual maturity in Him. This is what the life of the Apostle Paul was concerned with and concentrated on. He actually wrote that he would be a most miserable man if he didn’t respond to God’s call to preach the gospel, make disciples and prepare others to do the same. Paul gave his life to making disciples, developing future leaders and multiplying covenantal communities, whether they were new city churches or home groups, what we call Life Groups. Just think about Timothy, Titus, Silas and Luke. Think Ephesus, Philippi, Thessalonica and the churches in Galatia. Think about the churches in the homes of Phoebe, Lydia, and Aquila and Priscilla. This way of life is not isolated to or individually a characteristic of Paul. This is to be all of our conduct in life. This is who we are and what we do. Why do we do it? Because people and the future of the church are that important. How do we do it? By
investing our lives in others through time and truth embedded in the hearts of
precious people in need of devoted discipleship. This is our call and this must be our daily commitment. Let’s pray for an increased passion to lay our lives down for
discipleship, mentoring and multiplication.

Reach Out to the World Through the Ministries of Evangelism, Compassion and Justice no one ever embodied these ministry values better than Jesus our Lord. Everywhere He went, He preached God’s good news, did God’s good works and brought righteousness and justice where unrighteousness and injustice had prevailed. When He saw the multitudes infirmed, ignored and oppressed, He was moved with compassion and ministered in mercy and might. In Christ Jesus, God our Father reached out to the world with love and life to release those held captive by sin’s grip and reconcile and restore them to Himself. As Christ’s ministers of redemption, it is our task to bring good news and good works wherever we go. Why do we do it? Because God the Father’s goodness and glory demand it. How do we do it? By going to the least and the lowest, the broken and the bound, the outcast and the oppressed with the good news of Jesus Christ’s love and power. Let’s pray that this new year would bring our greatest year of gospel influence and impact.

Remember: As New Song Nashville has a clear and fresh sense of mission, vision and
ministry values, we will be positioned and empowered for a tremendous year of
influence and impact for the King and the kingdom.