Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Powerful

Do we really know what the word “power” means?

Sometimes, I wonder if we are so conditioned by shows of weakness that we’ve begun to call moderate strength or even mediocrity, “power.” It seems that those exercising true Spirit-enabled power are often culturally interpreted as arrogant or brash.

power

Could it be that a weak church culture is feeding that misconception? Could it be that we are teaching the world that “Christian” = “weak”? Yes, Jesus is humble. Yes, those who follow Jesus will demonstrate real humility.

But…

Jesus is also powerful & those who follow Him will demonstrate His power! Have you read the book of Acts? Humility & power are NOT mutually exclusive!

Real humility isn’t about projecting a negative or neutral self-image; it’s not about talking yourself down whenever someone gives you a compliment.

As C.S. Lewis so wisely said:

True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

So Go ahead, be powerful, think of Jesus more, follow His mission harder, see like He saw, do what He did, & think of what your friends will think WAY less.

Look in the mirror & see someone who is powerfully compassionate, someone who tells the truth even when no one wants to hear it, someone who is powerfully joyful even in the face of painful tragedy. Look in the mirror & see someone so controlled by the Spirit of Christ that he looks a lot like Jesus! Yes, you’ll likely lose yourself in the process, but isn’t it all about Him anyway? Don’t worry, living a powerful life won’t lead you to deny truth, rather you will find yourself discovering greater truth.

Don’t be afraid to be powerful!

Romans 12:1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Article by Brian Norris

@BrianNorris

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Forgetting the Fairy Tale

fairy-tale-190x300I’ll take 100 copies in camouflage please!

My friend & new ministry teammate has yielded herself to God & written an incredible book!

I do, in fact, recommend that you read it.

It seems that most of the people who read my blog are men. Readers other than my Mom that is–hi mom!  Notice that I didn’t recommend that you buy this book for your wife, your daughter, or your mom—though that’s a good idea, first why don’t YOU read it.

I need to insert a confession here:

I did have a little trouble getting “into” this book to begin with. First, because many of the illustrations are girly; second, because some of the application was a bit harder for me to identify with (cause I’m a dude); & third, I kept seeing the faces of young ladies who I’d ministered to, as a pastor, who got caught up in the “fairy tale.”

This last one was most distracting:

Some of my “manly” readers will jump to a conclusion here. You’ll be thinking, ah, Brian is recommending that I read this book so that I can help ladies in my ministry more effectively.

Again, good idea, nice try, but that’s not my primary intent.

Instead, I want you to take the time to apply this book to your life! I think its concepts will be as helpful to you as they have been to me.

You will find them Biblical & as a result meaningful.

Yes, some of the illustrations won’t “connect” immediately but if you change out “shoes” for “guns” you’ll get the message just fine. On the surface the application might feel different for you, but at the root our need for ultimate satisfaction in Christ alone is the same!

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book:

I challenge you to take time to consider the vastness of creation and the indescribable glory of our Creator, Jesus Christ. Ask Him to open your eyes to the truths of His majesty. Empty your mind of all that seeks to distract you from true communion with Him and give Him praise. Lift your hands and heart to Him in complete surrender and ask Him for the grace that you need to love Him as you ought. It is a prayer that we all need to pray every day of our lives. Our sinful natures prevent us from knowing true love as He is love, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, He can open your heart to love that is deeper and more fulfilling than anything any man on earth could ever provide for you and far more than anything you could ever have imagined. Let Love reign in your heart and life from this day forward.

Now, tell me you didn’t need that!

So really, I’ll take 100 copies with a camouflage cover and a few different illustrations but until that edition comes out, dudes, get over yourselves, grab a pink copy.

Go ahead, open up Forgetting the Fairy Tale, buckle your seat belt, and listen as my friend Donya walks you through the Word reminding YOU that Jesus is more than enough one story at a time!

It’s available on Barnes & Noble’s website & on Amazon too, check it out!

Article by Brian Norris

@BrianNorris

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The Legacy Trap

Has God called us to build a legacy?

I believe many men try to create a legacy that lives beyond their generation, but is this God’s plan?  It just seems to me that if God wanted a man to affect two generations, He would give that man two lifetimes.

What am I saying?  Simply this: I am choosing to stay busy affecting change for the Lord in my generation!  I am not going to spend my time setting the table for my “legacy,” or putting into place policies and procedures that will ensure the next generation adheres to my plan.  This seems to be a colossal waste of time.

We often seek to perpetuate our work by setting up an organization or society or system!  How much of my training was wasted in telling me how the current leaders wanted me to “carry on” their plan?  I’ve heard more about my responsibility to my spiritual forefathers than I have about my responsibility to the Holy Spirit of God!

I can no longer check my path by their plan.  In fact, to do this is to act in direct opposition to “God’s Legacy,” if you will.  God’s work is spiritual to the point of having no earthly roots, and no smell of earth on it at all.

“God’s Legacy” is the Holy Spirit, not man.  He transcends all generations to lead men for the needs of the current generation.  To subscribe to a previous generation’s playbook is to deny the living power of the Holy Spirit inside of you!

His Holy Spirit is in fact “The Old Path” – not the secret of erecting a tent and putting down a sawdust trail.

“Everything to do with the Church must be up-to-date and living, meeting the present needs of the hour. Never must it become fixed, earthbound, static.  God himself takes away his workers, but he gives others.  Our work suffers, but His never does. Nothing touches Him. He is still God.” -Watchman Nee

So however will the Work of Christ go on?  He might have already figured out this part of the plan when He gave us the indwelling Holy Spirit!  Funny how many are trying to improve on His plan.  I think I’ll just get on board.

David “a man after God’s own heart” got it right: “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:”  Acts 13:36

The men that lay the responsibility of their “legacy” on the backs of their followers are, whether they intend to or not, handcuffing the next generation!  Think of it this way: it’s much like a business man, who enjoyed his successful years in the 70’s and 80’s, is now handing the family business to his son, the next generation.  Now, in 2012, the son is operating a dead business while, according to his dad, right!  In fact, every time he tries to bend one of dad’s old rules to reach new customers, one of dad’s old friends writes a strongly worded letter or article, telling the world that the son is illegitimate as a businessman and the old man is now turning over in his grave!

The Bible-belt is on life support when it comes to our churches, yet so many are still preaching “daddy’s programs” instead of God’s principles.  

Serve your generation, raise the foundations, die, and let God take care of the next.  No human legacy needed!  Hear the Holy Spirit as He says in a still small voice: “I got this.”

To read the rest of the article… visit Bob’s blog.

GUEST POST by Pastor Bob Ritter

@Bob_Ritter

Bob is the Senior Pastor of Nebo Crossing and currently blogs HERE.

To hear my Savior say “well done” to me would be great! But, to hear Him say “well done” to those I’ve pastored — that’s a goal worth living for! Every member a minister!

Rose-Colored Glasses

It’s amazing how many people feel Christians look at the world with naïve optimism.  I was fortunate enough to assist with a Christ-centered addictions program for two years.  Week after week I watched people come to the program once or twice and never return.  One man even stood up and said, “You’re not giving these people any real help.  When they are down in the gutter, they need someone they can call on to drag them out.  Sitting here in a church and praying isn’t going to help them in the real world.”

Oh, how wrong he was.  Many of those people came to church on Friday nights hoping to find a magic cure:  “do this, this and that and presto – the gutters of the world will be a distant memory.”  The glorious truth is they were closer to a cure than they ever realized.  I believe addiction is the result of a conscious or unconscious attempt to deal with the sin-riddled world around us.  It starts with a drink, pill, food, etc. that temporarily blurs the vision, numbs the senses and disarms the moral compass within to give some comfort from the harsh reality of the world in which we live.   They make things, at least for a while, more bearable.

Addiction is the result of a conscious or unconscious attempt to deal with the sin-riddled world around us.

Now, here’s the rub.  As Christians we try to help people with these addictions without realizing we do the exact same thing.  John 14:16 says, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever.”  In John 14:26 Jesus says, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

Why is the Holy Spirit called a Comforter?  Because He is sent to help make things more bearable.  The Comforter sent to us by God clears our vision, heightens our senses and guards our moral compass so we can see beyond the harsh world in which we live and see the world that was intended and will be again.  The rose-colored glasses we wear do not blind us from the reality of the world.  They allow us to look at those who have fallen into the gutters of this world and see children of God.  Our Comforter allows us to reach out to those around us and give them true hope in Jesus Christ and, for the first time, let them see themselves through the eyes of The King.

 

Article by C.S. Depew

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Remembering the One Who Will Never Forget

As part of God’s work in my life he has allowed me to have many different illnesses. Of all the things He has chosen to bless me with, dementia is the hardest to deal with. It was two years ago when the physiologist told me about early onset dementia. Sitting in my family doctor’s office a few months ago, he asked me if I was scared to lose my mind. Thankfully, so far it has only been little things. Forgetting how to do simple tasks, forgetting who people are, and sometimes – like a blanket thrown over me – I forget it all.

I cannot put into words the concern I was under about forgetting God. For these many years of my ministry He has been my constant companion. I do not know how I would get through a day without the special touch He gives me each day. To lose that connection would be unbearable.

The Holy Spirit brought to mind the last part of Hebrews 13:5. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake me.” I have that part of a verse burned into a small wooden plaque I can hold in my hand. There is a picture of God’s Hand, and the verse. During dystonic storms and times of confusion, I hold this in my hand to give me strength. There is no magic in the wood… the power comes from the Word of God.

One other scripture the Holy Spirit gave me was John 10:27-30. In these verses, God tells us that He holds us in His hand. In this place I am safe, and no one could take me from God.

The answer was not what I thought it would be. I thought I would find that you could never forget God no matter what. The evidence of my studies, however, took me to another place. God could not forget me. God would never leave me. God would never forsake me. God would never let me out of His hand. I may forget God, but He would never forget me. What is stronger that I have a hold of Him, or that He has a hold of me? I can slip, and I can get tired; God, however, holds me in His hand.

So nothing really will ever change. He has held me though over 23 years of ministry. Seven years of Bus Ministry, seven years of pastoring, seven years of working with a local church, and two years of total disability. In all that time He has never left me. There have been hard times, but He has not left. There have been others who have left, but He has remained. In all that time he has never forsaken me. Sadly, there have been people who have forsaken me. Some good friends in ministry have walked away. In all that time He has never taken me out of His hand. If I take a look back at what He has done, how can I fear that He would not continue?

Herein is true faith. We must trust that God will continue to do what He has promised even when we are unable to be aware of it. We must realize that we might not always remember the One who will never forget. God has promised to keep on remembering us.

I wish to say something to those to whom God’s blessings are health and a sound mind. My walk with God began way before I became ill. The faith I have today is a result of the faith of yesterday. I did not wait until I became ill to start living for God. Your today is very precious. The things you do for God today will effect your tomorrow. As I look back on my years of ministry, it seems that each step ended before I was ready. I miss working with children on buses. I miss being a pastor. I miss being a Sunday School teacher and superintendent. Those days are behind me now. Today, my ministry is one of edification. Whatever God is allowing you to do for Him today; do it with all your heart. I am not trying to lift myself up in your eyes. I am rather hoping to lift your eyes to Him.

Every day God gives is a gift that should not be despised. If today was the last day you were able to serve God in the capacity that you do, how would you serve? The day will come to me and others with dementia were our service for God will be out of our hands. Until that day, take the gift of today and use your talent to serve God.

Article by David Wagner

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No Fruit, No Life

When we think of the life and ministry of Jesus, we always assume that he is talking to the multitudes. However, some of the most powerful truths that our Lord ever shared was among His most trusted and beloved friends. The entirety of John 14-17 is Jesus speaking in the upper room to His disciples; mere hours away from being taken captive and eventually crucified.

No Fruit is a sure sign of NO LIFE!

John 15 houses one of the “I AM” statements from Jesus’ ministry. In addition to being The Door, The Way, and the Resurrection, Jesus here said that He is the TRUE VINE. He paints the picture in wonderful imagery showing that He alone is the life-giving blood to the believer. Without Him pumping life through you, YOU DRY UP AND DIE!

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. – John 15:1-5

What He goes on to say is a powerful truth many people do not grasp the depth of:

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. – John 15:6-8

In a sense, what He is saying is that if there is no fruit being produced from you, the branch, that means that there is NO LIFE in that branch. So what should you be producing? The Bible clearly shows through the New Testament the types of fruit that we should produce. Not everyone will produce the same amount, but everyone should PRODUCE! Let’s quickly take a look at them:

Fruit of the LORD – If you plant apples, you get naturally will produce apples. So goes the thought of a Christian: Christian’s should produce Christians!

 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. – Romans 1:13

Fruit of our LIFE – Your lifestyle should mirror the fruits of Spirit.

 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) – Ephesians 5:9

Fruit of our LIPS – The Psalmist, David was known for His praise of God. We should always have SOMETHING to praise Him for. I always say, if you woke up and had nothing to be thankful for, go back to bed and try again!

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. – Hebrews 13:15

Fruit of our LOOT – God considers our sacrificial giving towards His work as fruit!

Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. – Philippians 4:15-18

As stated earlier, not everyone will produce a plentiful amount of each, but everyone should be producing something!
No Fruit, No Life … 

Article by Kevin Crozier

@kevcrozier

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