Moving On [A Prophetic Vision for GR]

Priming the Pump

in these last days…

“’AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS (Acts 2.17 NASB).’”

 

a Friday morning run on the West-Side…

Yesterday, after a very busy week, I really wanted to have a nice relaxing “pajama Friday” working from my home office.  But, I’ve also recently been making a genuine effort to get back into working out regularly.  Because, (though I didn’t believe it at 30) what everyone says about it being harder and harder to loose weight as you get older is painfully true.  So, I (somewhat conflicted) suited up for a morning jog, turned on the David Crowder Band’s “Essential Collection”, started my Run Keeper app, and hit the sidewalk.

It’s strangely easy to forget how beautiful a morning run can be, with the sun coming up, the music turned up loud, and no one but me and Jesus.  As I was pounding along, I remembered one day in the Summer of 2012 as we were preparing to plant DCC.  Somehow or other, I had gotten it in my heart that God would “give me” anywhere the soul of my foot would tread and that he was looking to “expand my territory”.  (Incidentally, I’m using quotation marks because I need you to understand that some of this terminology is metaphoric and that I don’t actually believe that anything is MINE or belongs to me.  I mean to say merely that God was speaking to me about expanding my personal influence and the vision that I had for the platforms in which he’s placed me.  But, I digress…)  At the time, I was in much better shape than I am now and was used to running 5 miles at a time with ease.  So, I suited up, turned on the music, started my Run Keeper app, and set out to run a circuit which touched the entire Grand River valley from Covell to Union.  I did make it – barely.  And, I think at the end my GPS had clocked about 9+ miles.  But, weary as I was, rubber legs and all, I was resolved that God would expand my personal influence to impact the entire city.

Fast forward to now, He has done just that.  Though, in a far different way than I ever expected and in a greater capacity than I ever could have calculated.  I’m so blessed to be serving the family of DCC alongside such a great leadership team.  And, I’m constantly amazed at the platform that the Lord has given us together to impact the city of Grand Rapids and beyond.  Now, it may sound like I am thinking highly of myself or whatever.  But, criticize, mock and scoff if you’d like.  I’ve just gotten over the pretense of the false humility which tries to downplay the great and amazing things that God wants to do in us and through us.  And I would love to see that wave of freedom grip the body of Christ in GR, as it would unshackle us from the crippling bonds of the religious pride which tries to say that we’re insignificant and unimportant.

God says you’re significant and important.  So much so, that He made you a participator in His nature and a partner in His Kingdom agenda.

 

a prophetic vision for GR…

Anyway, let’s get back to Friday’s run.  As I was coming down Lake Michigan Drive from Covell, my heart was just pouring out worship to the Lord.  I was running down the hill, punching in the air, leaping with my arms up, pointing and shouting along with the lyrics of the song playing in my ears.  (I must have looked like such a fool.  But then, respectability is something I gave up some time ago.)  Then all of a sudden, as the trees cleared and I saw downtown in the fresh sunlight with the haze of the morning clinging to the tops of the buildings, the glory of the Lord overwhelmed me and took my breath away (which can be kind of a problem when you’re 50 pounds overweight and trying to run).  I felt as though the Lord was telling me that the haze represented His glory and in that moment, He confirmed the deep longing of my heart – that He was bringing revival to the city of Grand Rapids.  But more so, that this revival will send ripples which will reach and impact the State and beyond.  I don’t know if I was crying, gasping for breath, both, or what else – but, wow – what a great moment.

 

moving on…

This week, Jamie and I sold our home and bought a new one.  We’re excited to move, excited for more space and a different setting.  We’re excited to start a new chapter in our family’s history and to write new memories on the pages of our life’s story.  But along with all of that, I believe that our move is representative of a shift in our spiritual vision – a shift which broadens the scope of our impact and allows us to think and dream bigger than we ever have before.  The further I get down this journey, the more aware I become of the vital importance of our willingness and participation with the Lord’s agenda.  For us now, it’s important that we’re willing to be moved, uprooted, and replanted, both physically and spiritually.  But more so, it’s vastly important that we’re willing to get over ourselves and our feeble understanding of the amazing impact that the Lord wants to achieve in us and through us.

So, to you my friends I say,

Let us continue to rise up and meet the high calling that the Lord has placed on us to be Salt and Light – agents of transformation bringing revival to this city and beyond.  But remember, that revival begins in us first.  We are merely carriers, vessels of the LIFE of Jesus and the glory of God.  He is calling us align our hearts with His.  And as such, the deeper we go in our personal transformation, the greater our Kingdom impact will be in the world around us.

[Powerful People] fear God not men

Priming the Pump

The will of man, unsubmitted to the will of God, IS the will of Satan.

“But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s (Matthew 16.23 NASB).’”

 

where is my agreement?

Throughout the recorded ministry of Christ on this earth, we see that He was constantly met with opposition to the will of God for Him, by Satan in the wilderness, by His friends (in the passage above), by the world around Him, and even by His own will in the garden of Gethsemane.  To me, one of the most remarkable things about Jesus is that He lived every day in perfect alignment with the heart and will of the Father.

This is the life that my heart longs for.  I desire deeply to have a heart aligned with the heart of my Father and to walk through this broken world with the LIFE of Christ pouring out of me, being a redemptive voice everywhere I go, salt and light, an agent of change through which God can bring about the transformation and realignment that He desires.

I do not want to walk in agreement with the purposes of man, let alone Satan.  And yet, according to Jesus in the passage above, the will of man, unsubmitted to the will of God, IS the will of Satan.  It’s rebellion.  Still, I find that often Jesus turns to me, saying, “Get behind me, Satan!  You’re a stumbling block to me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

 

God doesn’t do things my way.

As surprising as it is, God doesn’t always do things the way that I expect Him to.  Nor does He always do what I want Him to.  And yet, there is a common misconception in Christianity today that we have this duct tape, WD-40 Jesus who comes in to fix things that we don’t like.  That’s B.S.!

We have a King.  And He demands our allegiance every day.  Now, He is a good King and He gives good and perfect gifts (James 1.17).  But, let us not be confused.  He is no Genie in a bottle.  He’s not the can of fix-a-flat rolling around in the trunk just in case.  Furthermore, we can be assured that He is far less concerned about our earthly happiness than He is with His glory.  Sounds arrogant, right?  But, He’s not.  He’s actually the only One who deserves such glory.  So, He’s only after what is by nature His.  Furthermore, He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him, which means that He is constantly working all things for our good (Romans 8.28).  However, our concept of good doesn’t always match His.  In which case, I have to make a choice…

…I can submit to God or ask Him to submit to me.

 

alignment with God or ideas about God?

It’s important to note that our goal isn’t primarily agreeing with God’s will.  Our primary goal is agreement and alignment with God.  Obviously, in choosing to align ourselves with God, we will always choose His will.  And yet, this is an important distinction because, in my experience, we can be fooled into thinking that we’re choosing God when we’re merely choosing obedience to ideas about God, which is religion.  Think about it…

A person doesn’t ever have to talk to God or have any sort of relationship with Christ at all in order to look like a Christian.

“A beautiful saint may be a hindrance if he does not present Jesus Christ but only what Christ has done for him…we have to be more careful of our…relationship to Him than of any other thing, even obedience…the greater part of life is not conscious obedience but the maintenance of this relationship…”  – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

 

God has made His Church to be a spiritual POWERHOUSE of men and women who fear His name and walk in everyday submission to Him and alignment with Him, living out His will and purpose.  Yet, in order to become the POWERFUL PEOPLE that He’s made us to be, we must choose Him above all else…

Satan
the World
our closest friends
even ourselves

[Powerful People] Are Dead

Priming the Pump

dead to self, alive to Christ.

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2.20 NASB).”

I have been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2.20)…
If you have died with Christ (Colossians 2.20)…
For you have died (Colossians 3.3)…
If (or since) we have died with Christ (Romans 6.8)…
If (or since) we have died with Him (2 Timothy 2.11)…

 

dead or alive.

Seems pretty clear right?  I’m dead.  And yet, often I find that it seems I am very much so alive; to my sin, to my own desires, to the things of this world…

Still I am convinced that the Scripture is true and that I belong to Christ.  I believe that I have been made alive in Him which can only mean that I have in fact fully and completely participated in the death of Christ.  Otherwise, I could not have been made alive and couldn’t possibly be participating in His life.  After all, what part can our Holy God have with sinful, fallen, rebellious men living in their sin, after their own desires and for the things of the world (the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life)?  None of course.  Then, it must be so that I have died to all of that and have been made alive to righteousness in Christ.

 

a deep longing.

So then, if I long (and believe me, I do) to live a life that is consistent with the FACT that the life flowing through me is, in fact, the life of Christ, then I must REALIZE, EMBRACE, and in all other ways LIVE CONGRUENT with the reality of my own death.  In doing so, I realize that while my life was previously held in bondage, I have now been wholly and completely freed from the bounds of SIN, SELF, and the WORLD.  Furthermore, since the life in me is the life of Christ, not only does it know no bondage, but it knows no boundaries at all, save one.

If I would live according to this TRUTH, I am certain that my life would look far different than it does presently.  Not to say that I never live according to this TRUTH, but that I am consciously aware that I am being called higher and deeper into this LIFE of Christ.  And as such, I must bow to the overwhelming reality that I am probably not where I should be and I am definitely not where I will be.  Yet, for me, this is by no means discouraging.  Rather, it is very encouraging, because I realize that I do not have to be good enough, strong enough, powerful enough, or any of that.  I just need to be dead.  Then, and only then, will His life flow through me such that I become the POWERFUL PERSON that He’s made me to be.

 

a spiritual powerhouse.

God has made His Church to be a spiritual POWERHOUSE of passion and fire for the King and His Kingdom.  Yet, in order to become the POWERFUL PEOPLE that He’s made us to be, we must realize that we are dead…

To SIN
To SELF
To the WORLD

[Powerful People] An Introduction

Priming the Pump

a conflict of interest.

“But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s (Matthew 16.23 NASB).’”

 

a question I’ve been asking.

What if my own self-interests and my desire to see them met literally create a stumbling block for Jesus?

Honestly, I don’t have much to say today.  Just that I can’t shake this looming question and the haunting reality that often times I supplant the Kingdom agenda with my own.  I know…the sovereignty of God…right…

…but as I’ve said many times before, though I KNOW that God is sovereign and can fulfill His will and purpose with me or without me.  I also KNOW that His heart’s desire is for me to partner with Him in the family business of the Kingdom.  In order to take that invitation seriously, I need to approach each sacramental moment with the thought that…
…if I don’t submit to the life of Christ in me and the will of God for the moment, there may never be another opportunity and this thing that God wants to bring about, may never happen.

In the non-profit world, we have what’s called a “conflict of interest policy.”  This is especially important given that we are being trusted to steward private money at no profit to ourselves.  As such, boards will often create a policy requiring those who have a conflict of interest on a certain matter to disclose it and even prohibiting conflicted parties from voting on the matter in question.  From there, the policy may include a written description as to how the group will manage the conflict moving forward.  I’ve been wondering today what the “conflict of interest policy” for the Kingdom looks like…

…probably something like this…

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in  the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2.20 NASB).”

 

facts.

  • dead men have no rights
  • dead men have no needs
  • dead men own nothing and control nothing

 

* Selah *