Saturday, August 19, 2017

Manifestation of the Holy Spirit

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12:7 NIV

Perhaps the degree to which He reveals Himself supernaturally through us is dependent on the degree to which we allow Him to possess us.

From A.W Tozer's How to be Filled with the Holy Spirit,

... are you sure that you want to be possessed by a spirit other than your own? even though that spirit be the pure Spirit of God? ... I ask you, Do you want Him to be Lord of your life? That you want His benefits, I know. I take that for granted. But do you want to be possessed by Him?

Heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege of being united with you in spirit.  Lord Jesus, thank you for redeeming my spirit.  Holy Spirit, I want to be fully possessed by you.  Take full control of me.  I am your vessel, your instrument; use me according to your will.  I ask in the name of Jesus.

Friday, August 18, 2017

childlike faith

Heavenly Father, draw me nearer to you.  I want to step nearer.  

I want to have a childlike marvel at your goodness.  I want to brag to people about how great my Daddy is. 

I am afraid that I will stall out in my growth.

I have provided for you every step of the way, and I will continue to lead you every step.

Thank you, Father.  I trust you.  I want to trust you more.  I want to be faithful to continue walking and growing in the faith that you have given me.  I want to exercise the faith that I have and see you increase it.

Thank you that I can trust you to lead me.  I will follow you.

I pray in the name of Jesus. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Peace, art, and leadership

I read this passage a few days after the Power & Love conference, and I committed to memorize it:

2 Thes. 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

I want to live a life of peace, and I want to allow the Lord of peace to flow through me into other people.  Over the past couple of weeks, I have prayed this verse over several people.  

On vacation out at the farm this past week, my mom encouraged me to take up sketching again.  It was an enjoyable activity in junior high and high school, and I even enjoyed engineering drafting in college.  Somehow I lost that activity later in college, grad school, and early career; at some point, I allowed my perception of myself (my self-identity) to become strictly analytical.  But my mom reminded me that I do have artistic capacity.  I think sketching is a good activity for me to resume.

Brandi and I have decided that we want to be intentional about our kids learning to play the guitar.  It is such a versatile instrument, and I would love for my kids to be able to lead people in worship with a guitar.

Sunday, I had the opportunity to preach to Paseo about bearing fruit (Luke 6:43-46).  I fasted Saturday evening and Sunday morning, and I felt very tired and weak Sunday morning.  I almost ate some food before preaching, but instead, I asked the Holy Spirit to give me energy and passion as I taught, and He did.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to be used by Him to encourage my church to pursue God more deeply.  I want to engage fasting as a way to pursue God more and mature in hearing His voice and having a greater measure of Him flowing through me.

Sunday evening, Brandi, Shaun, and Raelene prayed over me, and it was very encouraging.  I was reminded of my opportunities for leadership, opportunities to make a difference.

Yesterday, I walked into the lab office, and the students were having a conversation about body, soul, and spirit, and the difference between animals and humans.  We ended up discussing how God made humans with a spirit to connect with him, how sin separates us from God, Adam and Eve and original sin, Jesus as the second Adam, how Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial and substitutional death, and eternity of heaven and hell.  Wow, what an opportunity to share truth!

Heavenly Father, thank you for your continued work in me.  Thank you for using me and flowing through me.  Please increase your flowrate through me.  I believe that you are leading me to spend more time with you in the mornings and evenings pursuing you, and also through fasting.  I trust that you will flow with more miraculous healings as I focus on pursuing you for you.  Thank you for your love!  Oh, may I be awestruck every day by your incredible love!  May my amazement at your beauty and love be evident to those around me.  May I be bold in explaining the source of my joy is you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Identity, intimacy, peace, and confidence

Reflecting on the messages at the Power & Love conference in El Paso this past weekend, four of the topics that were significant to me are identity, intimacy, peace, and confidence.

Fundamentally, we have to see ourselves as adopted sons and daughters of God.  We have been bought by the precious blood of Jesus, which secures our eternal salvation and allows us to be filled, baptized, and anointed with the Holy Spirit.  We are beloved children, and we are worthy of His love because of who He made us, not because of anything that we have done.  While we are worthy (worth the price that He paid), we are undeserving of His mercy and grace.  We are not "sinners saved by grace"; we were sinners, but now we are saints.  

As adopted sons and daughters of God, we need to focus principally on desiring intimacy with our Father.  Jesus lived this out daily by spending time in "the secret place" with the Father in the mornings and evenings.  Jesus did what He saw the Father doing, and He said what He heard the Father saying.  Before we focus on doing, we need to focus on being.  As a "type A" person, it is easy for me to slip into the religious check-list of reading your Bible, praying, fellowshipping, etc., which are very effective at promoting intimacy only if we approach those activities with a desire for intimacy.  Otherwise we end up like Pharisees.

With respect to healing for ourselves and for others, we need to focus on the presence of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace ("sar shalom"), who is the Spirit of Peace, who destroys all chaos.  We can simply invite Peace into us, and He will destroy the work of the enemy.  Especially when ministering to children with mental or behavioral issues, it is important to treat them with gentleness and peace.

If we want confidence in demonstrating the power of God, then we need to step out in faith.  If we want to grow in faith, then we need to take more steps of faith.  Faith is spelled, "R-I-S-K".  If we try to heal someone in the name of Jesus, but we don't see it happen immediately, then we need to press in to know Him more.  We need to strive to live out the example that Jesus set for us of 100% healing, but the supernatural power and miracles are not the goal, simply an overflow of our intimacy with Him.

Heavenly Father, thank you for growing us and leading us.  Thank you for continually stretching us.  I want to know you more.  I remember when I was in junior high saying that I wanted to live a life that convinced people of who Jesus is.  I want to make good on that desire.  I want your power and love to flow through me so abundantly that people around me experience your goodness.  I don't want to try to give people a sales pitch for you, I want them to experience your love and power.  Lord Jesus, thank you for being the Spirit of Peace that destroys chaos.  Holy Spirit, thank you for your presence and power.  I want to be a holy vessel of faith that you flow through.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sent to bless: encourage and strengthen

In my Scripture reading this morning, I read about Silas and Judas Barsabas going back from Jerusalem to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.  

Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers.
Acts 15:32 NIV

I think the Holy Spirit has given me a gift of encouragement, and He has given Brandi a gift of prophecy. I feel like Brandi and I are supposed to learn the concepts, principles, and practices of the Power and Love conference this week so that we can go and teach it to others.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your great love.  Holy Spirit, thank you for giving us gifts.  Please confirm your desire for us to use our gifts to advance the Kingdom of Christ. We are your vessels, please flow through us. I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Importance of marriage retreats

Brandi was explaining to Beau that it is important for parents to invest time in marriage retreats because we can slip into routine, but taking time together helps us be intentional in our relationship.

Some time ago, God gave me an analogy of life before marriage as one-dimensional (1D), just me and God.  Marriage before kids is two-dimensional (2D); the three points of God, my wife, and me create a triangle of relationships. Continuing the analogy, categorically, life with one kid is 3D, and life with multiple kids is 4D.  What God showed me this evening is the aspect of quality.  I realized on our vacation last week that you can't have high-definition 3D and 4D without high-definition 2D.  Low-resolution 2D can not be used to produce high-resolution 4D.  So, it is important to take time to recalibrate and clarify the marriage relationship (2D) so that the relationships between the parents and each child (3D) and the relationships among the children (4D) can be higher quality.

Last night I had fun wrestling with my boys in the living room.  I feel like that was an overflow from our trip last week.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your abundant love that flows through us and cascades through our children.  May our family be a blessing to others and to you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fifteen years of marriage

Brandi and I spent some time last week celebrating our 15th anniversary on the beach near Puerto Morelos.  It was a great time to rest, relax, and have a lot of un-interrupted conversations.

As I reflect on the past 15 years, I think of three seasons.  The first season was a mixture of the accomplishments of education with the sting of sin.  The second season was recovery and discipleship as a couple.  And the third season has been the abundance of having children and parenting.  I am so thankful for the mercy and grace that the Lord and Brandi have given me.  Grace upon grace.

I look forward to this next season of our marriage together.  I know that it will be good.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of marriage.  Thank you for the opportunity to walk with the wife of my youth.  May I be a blessing to my wife and children.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.