A Fresh Release Of Faith, Hope And Love

As we approach the beginning of a new year, it’s a good time to pray into a fresh release of spiritual resources that can help us to enter into a new season of resolve, and potentially an unprecedented season of awakening and revival. For, as always, if we pursue that which is nearest and dearest to God’s heart, we can be assured that our petitions will become our possessions.

According to I Corinthians 13:13, there are three virtues that we are to remain rooted and grounded in to maximize our potential for spiritual fruitfulness and fullness: Faith—Hope—Love.

Faith is an absolute belief in God’s endless and eternal person, passion and power to fulfill every promise He has made to His beloved children. If we lose faith, we become skeptical concerning God’s word, will and ways. When we steward and strengthen faith, skepticism evaporates and a serene and steady confidence emerges, providing proof for things that yet remain unseen with  uman sight, but are clearly seen by the spiritual sight of true believers. Let’s pray that as we walk by the word and the Spirit, our faith will be stronger and more steadfast than ever.

Hope is a settled confidence concerning a certain future in God’s sovereign plans and purposes. If we lose hope, we become cynical, doubting that the days ahead will hold something dynamically different—something greater than anything we have known before. When we hold onto hope, we face our future with a sense of anticipation that God is always moving us toward an ever-brightening new day in Him. Let’s pray that hope will anchor our souls in a sure and serene shalom—an inner sense of well-being and wonder.

Love is a compassionate commitment to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to care for and serve fully the one in need of love. This love originates in the heart of God and is received and released by those who are the objects of His love—redeemed people who have opened to Him by grace through faith. If we lose love, we become critical of everyone and everything—forfeiting our prophetic potential to be ministers of God’s passion and power to believers and unbelievers alike. When we choose to daily receive and release the gracious gift of God’s love, we become a never-ending source of blessing to those over us in leadership, next to us in partnership and under us in stewardship. Let’s pray that in our lives, love will last and never fail.

Remember: A fresh release of faith, hope and love must be believed in and trusted for if we are to move into a new year and a new season of unprecedented opportunities for personal and collective impact and influence.

A Wonderful Life

The word wonderful means that which is excellent; great; marvelous; of a sort that arouses wonder; amazing; astonishing. It is God’s design and desire that we would live our lives for the glory of God and the good of man in such a way that people are arrested and amazed by the influence and impact of our lives—lives that become signs that we have searched out the person, power and purposes of God, and have made room for them to be on clear and compelling display. The journey of the magi, the wisemen of old, teach us some great lessons on paying attention to wonderful signs, giving ourselves diligently to a wonderful search that leads us to a wonderful savior. A Wonderful Sign During the Babylonian captivity, the prophet Daniel was declared to the chief of the magi because he had distinguished himself as one who knew the true God, how to hear His voice and interpret dreams, visions and signs of His dealings with men on earth. He would have undoubtedly discipled the wisemen of both Babylon and Persia in the prophetic words and purposes of God to bring forth His Messiah—a King and Savior whose coming would be signified by a sign in the heavens. He undoubtedly would have spoken to them of Balaam’s prophecy when Balaam said, “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near, a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab, and destroy the sons of tumult (Numbers 24:17).” When these magi, or wisemen from the east, saw this miraculous sign in the heavens, they recognized it as the sign that shouted and showed forth, “this way to the Messiah, King and Savior—sent from God to save all mankind.” As we, as followers of Jesus, start in the Scriptures and are led by the Spirit, we will see many wonderful signs that point the way to something and someone beyond the sign itself—namely the prophetic purposes and powerful person of Jesus Himself. A Wonderful Search The journey of the wisemen was a long and complicated one. They would have traveled in a large caravan with many people and many moving parts. While we don’t know the exact distance and time it took, we know enough to know they searched with diligence and determination to find the exact location where the Christ was to be found. At some point, they lost sight of the star and figured that Jerusalem might be the place to find the King of the Jews. Not finding Him there, they again consulted the Scriptures to find out the location of the Savior’s birth that the prophets foretold. They were told, according to Micah 5:2, that Bethlehem was to be the place of Messiah’s birth. They again saw the heavenly sign appear that had guided their holy search, not only over Bethlehem, but directly over the very house where the young Christ child and his parents were residing. The wonderful sign that guided their wonderful search brought them face to face with the wonderful Savior to whom they presented gifts of gold (representing royalty), frankincense (representing worship), and myrrh (representing death and burial). Just as it was with them so it is with us—searching out the wonderful works of God through the wonderful signs granted to us by the word and the spirit. As we pursue a Spirit-led search it will always lead us to the wonders of God’s grace and greatness. A Wonderful Savior Their wonderful sign and wonderful search led them to the wonderful Savior—the One worthy of awe-struck wonder and awe-struck worship. Their sign and search led them to the King and Savior of the world. Their prophetic procession and process led them to the very person and purpose of God for their lives and the lives of everyone, everywhere. So it is with us—the signs we follows and the search we engage in must always lead us to the Author of the wonderful life we are called to live. The wonderful life—the life that is filled with signs that make people wonder—must be wrapped up in a world of worshipping and walking with God’s miracle-working Messiah, Jesus our Savior and King. Let’s pray that this coming year will be the most wonderful, amazing and awe-inspiring year we have ever known.

Remember: A wonderful life can be our precious possession as we pay attention to
the spiritual signs and pursue the spiritual search that leads us to the wonder and
wonder-working spiritual power of our Savior and King.

BORN: GOD’S GIFTS REVEALED

As we are moving through the Christmas season, we are bringing a series of messages on how Christ’s birth revealed the gracious gifts of God that were to be bestowed on people everywhere, for all time. These messages are leading toward our annual presentation of the Gifts We Bring on Christmas Eve. We are believing that the more we know about the birth of our Savior, the more the fullness of God’s
gifts will be birthed in us.

We have talked about the Birth and Gift of God’s Presence and Person and The Birth and Gift of God’s Passion and Power, recognizing that when Jesus came to earth, He came in the presence and person of God, as well as the passion and power of God, so that God’s purposes and plans for mankind to be reconciled and restored might be realized.

This week, we are dealing with the birth and gift of God’s peace and prosperity. In Hebrew, the word for peace in Isaiah’s prophecy concerning Jesus is the word shalom (Is. 9:6-7), where Jesus is named the Prince of Peace. True biblical shalom refers to an inward sense of completeness and wholeness. Though it can describe an absence of conflict, most biblical references refer to it as an inner sense of tranquility and well-being. When Jews greet each other or bid goodbye, they say, “shalom.” In so doing they are literally saying, “May you be full of well-being” or, “May health and prosperity be upon you.”

It is with this concept in mind, that we look at the birth and great gift of God’s peace and prosperity, released through the righteous Son who was given so that all men might be completely made whole and live in the fullness of God’s life.

Peace And Prosperity For The Spirit The Prince of Peace provided peace and prosperity for our spirits as the Spirit of God enabled us to be spiritually brought near to God through the offering of Jesus the Son, as He became our peace through the offering of Himself in death. He came to make us well and keep us well spiritually. It was His intention to supply spiritual health to all people and to keep them vital and victorious, growing in grace each and every day

Peace And Prosperity For The Soul The Prince of Peace provided peace and prosperity for our minds, emotions and will. Our minds could now be filled with transformational truth, feeding our emotions with thoughts of a blessed heavenly reality, producing a blessed inner tranquility. By this, our will is moved and motivated to be conformed to His will through a sense of confident peace in His perfect plans for our lives. God’s shalom for our souls is a sense of constant well- being through the work of the Prince who provided God’s peace.

Peace And Prosperity For The Body The Prince of Peace is also the Prince of Power. The shalom that he provides ministers the whole gospel to the whole man, including healing and health that enables us to fulfill His mission as a strong and sturdy missional force. Although all of us experience the impact of living in a fallen world in an earthly body, it is so encouraging to know that God’s shalom touches our physical lives in profound and powerful ways.

Remember: Jesus, the Prince of Peace provided God’s heavenly shalom to earth to produce and provide a wealth of well-being – spirit, soul and body – making us a people fit the Master’s mission, full of God’s peace and goodwill toward redeemed mankind.

BORN: GOD’S GIFTS REVEALED

“The Birth and Gift of God’s Passion and Power” 

As we have come into the Christmas season, we are bringing a series of messages on
how Christ’s birth revealed the gracious gifts of God that were to be bestowed on
people everywhere, for all time. These messages will lead us toward our annual
presentation of The Gifts We Bring on Christmas Eve. We are believing that the more
we know about the birth of our Savior, the more the fullness of God’s gifts we will be
birthed in us.
This week, we are giving attention to the Father’s passion to send His Son as our
Savior, the power He expressed through His plan of salvation, and the person of God
becoming man which provided the fulfillment of all of God’s promises—promises to
bring people back to Himself and onto the fullness of His purposes for them.

The Passion To Pay Any Price True passion has to do with sacrifice and suffering—a willingness to pay any price for a worthy pursuit and a righteous cause. God our Father deemed the sacrifice and suffering of our Savior to be a worthy pursuit and a righteous cause—nothing less than the redemption, reconciliation and restoration of lost and sinful mankind. The Father sacrificed and suffered in the giving of His only begotten Son. The Son sacrificed and suffered in leaving heaven, coming to earth and laying down His life as salvation’s price and provision. The Father’s commitment to redeem and restore man to His originally intended purpose was an act of passion beyond measure—and an act of love without limit for a world hopeless and helpless. No wonder Jesus said that God loved the world in a manner no one could have imagined. Let’s pray that the Father’s passion to seek and save the lost would be ours each and every day.

The Power Able To Overcome Any Enemy The Gift of the Son and Savior was an expression of passion—the grace of the Father through His Son was an expression of power. Through the gift of the sinless Son, the Father unleashed power to conquer Satan, sin, death, hell and the grave. The price that had to be paid was matched by the Father’s ability to release the resources to pay that price—the sinless life of the Son, Christ Jesus. As we have said, it is one thing to be willing but not able. And it would be another thing to be able but not willing. But is quite another thing to be both willing and able, which God was by His great grace through the child who was born and the Son who was given. Let’s pray that the power of God would overcome and defeat every enemy of His purposes and plans.

The Person Able To Fulfill Every Promise The prophets foretold the coming of a divine person who would bring about the fulfillment of every promise of God’s plan of salvation. That person was Jesus Christ of Nazareth—conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, sent by God the Father to make all things new. It has always been

God’s plan to give gifts to people, and then make gifts of people that the needs of all people would be met. The consummation of that plan was fulfilled in the Father’s gift of the eternal Son. And through the Son, every person receives gifts that then are to be released back to God and into the lives of others. When we put our faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, we not only receive the gifts of God’s grace, but we receive the ability to release those gifts of grace for the glory of God and good of man. Let’s pray that God’s people would be freshly aware of the need to trust God and cling to the promises He has made to His beloved children.

Remember: The Father’s passion and power provided the person who could save us
from our sins and restore us as beloved sons and daughters, filled with passion and
power to release every spiritual blessing we have received.

BORN: GOD’S GIFTS REVEALED

“The Birth and Gift of God’s Presence and Person” As we come into the Christmas season, we are beginning a series of messages on how Christ’s birth revealed the gracious gifts of God that were to be bestowed on people everywhere, for all time. These messages will lead us to our annual presentation of The Gifts We Bring on Christmas Eve. We are believing that the more we know about the birth of our Savior, the more the fullness of God’s gifts will be birthed in us.

Unto that end, we invite you to join us on a journey of discovering the depths of
God’s devotion to us in the advent of the Father’s amazing plan of redemption,
renewal and restoration in the presence, person and purpose seen and secured in
the face of Jesus, God come to live among men as Savior and Lord.

We believe that this journey will become an important capstone for this Year of Light
and Knowing. May God open our eyes more fully to the revelation of His gifts to us
and how we can respond to these gifts with the gifts that we bring and give to Him.

God’s presence came to dwell among all men. God’s desire was always to have His presence abide continually with mankind. Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden diverted God’s desire for a time. But from the beginning, God always had a plan for redemption, restoration and renewal. He was committed to providing His ongoing presence through the coming of His Son to dwell among all men for all time.

God’s person came to dwell among all men. Jesus came to earth as Immanuel—God dwelling with all people for all time. He didn’t just come with His spiritual presence, but with a personal visitation that would redeem mankind and enable them to relate to God personally and powerfully. Jesus came as the Son of God and the Son of Man—a child was born in His humanity and a Son was given in His divinity. God became man in Jesus Christ. This was not only a gift of help and healing—but a gift of God Himself—individually and intimately.

God’s purpose came to dwell among all men. Jesus brought the grace, greatness and goodness of God’s divine plan and purpose for everyone, everywhere. Our God and Father is a good Father who longs and lives to give good gifts to all who will look to Him by faith’s perspectives and posture to receive the fullness of His benevolent blessings. God’s divine purpose is one of truth and transformation—enabling all those who are willing to be conformed into the image of His Son—the One sent to explain the Father and express His love, light and life. The Eternal Son brought the eternal purpose and plan of the Eternal Father who desires all men to be saved, strengthened and sustained forever.

Remember: The birth of Christ Jesus brought the presence and person of God to a helpless and hopeless world in need of understanding God’s purpose and plan to redeem all people to Himself.

Jesus Our Lord: Lord In His Royalty (Part 2)

In this year of Knowing God and Knowing Others, we are currently focusing on
knowing Jesus Our Lord. Our God is one God in three persons—Father, Son and Holy
Spirit. It is vitally important that we understand the person and work of each
member of the Godhead—and in this vital understanding, that we embrace and
engage each member particularly and powerfully.

In our focus on Jesus our Lord, we have focused on His humanity—as our life-example and our life-giver. He is the One who models what a life that pleases God the Father looks like and the One who makes a way for those who follow Him to do the same.

We have also focused on His divinity—fully God and fully man, enabling His followers to become partakers of His divine nature. He has given us a pattern to follow and a path to walk. The Scriptures tell us that we are not only called to identify with Jesus in His humanity, but also in His divinity. Jesus was and is the Lord that brings divinity to humanity and leads humanity to share in His divinity—not as co-equals, but as joint-heirs in all that He brought to us and provided for us.

This week, we are again focusing on Jesus as Lord In His Royalty, the King of Kings who came to earth to establish a spiritual kingdom that mankind could respond to, receive and release by faith and loving obedience to the King and the kingdom. He came as the royal seed of David and the royal Son of God. He came in royal honor, endowed with royal authority, releasing royal power. When we know Jesus our Lord as King, we can make this King and the authority and power of His kingdom known to all men, everywhere.

Royal Honor In Hebrew and Greek the words for honor have to do with weight and worth. Jesus, as the King of all kings, is worthy to receive the measure that his majesty demands. He is to be honored above all, for His weight of worth is above all. And as we commit ourselves to honor Him for all He’s worth, it is His good pleasure to allow us to share in His honor, enabling us to live lives of worth and weight—lives that are honoring and honorable. Then we share that honor with on another, acknowledging each believer’s divine position in a dynamic interdependence.

Royal Authority Jesus came to bring the royal authority of heaven to bear on earth. He had both the legal right to rule and the lethal power to destroy the works of demonic darkness—and destroy them He did. Matthew records that when Jesus healed a man whom demons had rendered blind and mute, He told those gathered that it happened by the Spirit of God and that the kingdom of God had broken in and bound every person and power that would try to resist Him (Matt. 12:22-30). Jesus told His followers that the same keys – the right of divine entry into the spiritual realm of authority – were theirs as they believed on Him and recognized Him as their Sovereign Lord (Matt. 16:13-20).

Royal Power Jesus brought the mighty and manifest power of God to be expressed and experienced among men. As the Supreme Ruler over all, empowered with the Holy Spirit and having the armies of heaven at His beck and call, there was nothing He couldn’t do to fulfill His divine mission. Everything Jesus did, whether lifting up and loosing human lives, or laying down His own life to save men forever, He did by His royal power. Jesus promised this same royal power to those who passionately pursued Him and His divine purposes. People like you and me a kingdom of priests unto our Lord, who live our lives everyday for the King and His glorious kingdom.

Remember: Our Lord in His royalty is the King and supreme commander of all who
bow to His name, look to His face and live for His will and works to be done in the
earth.