Self – Sharpening…

images-7I wonder if  there is any one on the planet that has not heard of Nelson Mandela, if you had not known much of him and where near world media along with following the recent events in South Africa, the cerebration of his life and the “world funeral”.   He was a man who became a principled man, willing to allow his own desires and emotions to be adjusted by the principles he held, willing to live and die for an ideal. Through this he has impacted millions of people across our  world.   One value he encouraged and by all accounts practised diligently each day while imprisoned on Robbin Island and continued following his release, which actually explains something about him.   He longed that ever man and woman would self examine for 15 mins each day, considering how they forgave, how they spoke to others, how they loved, etc., a self-examination people in order that our world would be a better place.

Now let me take that though and extend it to our blog.   If we  are to serve effectively we must sharpen ourselves diligently.

Look at yourself – your mental abilities, emotional responses, character qualities, attitudes and skills.   determine to sharpen every aspect to become productive in either redeeming or influencing mankind.

Sharpen your emotions to respond adequately to the working of God in your human experiences.   Be a thanks-giver, not just a thanks feeler.   Train emotions so that when God is excited you are too, when God is at rest you are at rest.

Develop your powers of discernment.  learn to differentiate between the important and the unimportant, the open door and the close door, the door to push and the door to stop pushing.

Sharpen your mind by reading, study, learning and questioning.   Surround yourself with sharp-thinking people.   Get with sharp people, because sharp people will keep you sharp.   Sharp people will not agree with you all the time.   If you only love the people who are agreeing with you, it is only yourself you are loving.   Get with people who get you thinking ‘that is a good thought’, and that it did not come from you.   Get with people who can add to you.   You share the best revelation and they top it…

i can learn from people who see more than me.     Get with sharp people.   Don’t get with those that are gossiping, backbiting or pulling down, or even tell you they or you can do better that those around.   Don’t get with miseries and especially meanes, not with pessimists, get with faithful men and women, those who talk faith and know what it is to be involved with the Work of faith, those who stir faith who loves people, loves God, is reaching towards people.   that is where we want to go Hebrews 10:24, 25

Know when to switch off the computer, TV, Xbox…   Keep sharp by praying in the Holy Spirit.   Abide in the word of God, dig deep in the word, see things that you have not seen before, buy a markable bible, mark, mark, mark until the word is sharp in you John 8:31, John 14:23, John 15:7, Col 3:16

Perform good works.    Good works are full of faith and love.   Look for opportunities to do good Hebrews 10:24, Ephesians 2:10

Link up with apostles, prophets and let them know your fields of expertise Ephesians 4:11-13, Ephesians 2:19,20

Next whatever you are in already, if you are convinced that is where you should be as a sphere of influence, next step is then to establish yourself in it, succeed in it and excel.   Do not settle for mediocrity 1 Cor. 10:31.

Speak confidently to yourself saying I believe God has placed me here, I will establish myself, hone my skills until I excel and gain the high ground of influence.   In order that we become a people on the cutting edge to our life and story.   A radical people.   A people deeply conscious of our heritage and our destiny.   A people bent on discipling the nations. A people ready to meet the challenge of our times and change the world, we are not born to journey through a trackless wilderness in life.   We are to follow the Spirits directions the steps of a journey of faith towards the destiny of the Father as we do the will of God.  We are intended to impact our age and world en route…

Move…Move…what?

images-7Considering a move – From time to time there comes a moment when we see that repositioning is required to advance all we hold dear.   A new job, a new home all to do with taking steps forward and making a difference although possibly for many it is about their own lives.    Some today are discovering they are in the wrong job, enduring permanent frustration.    The greater part of everyone’s (awaken) day is spent at work, so what I do, my job choice is important.   You will never influence people effectively if you are unhappy, unfulfilled and feeling undervalued.

“Well”, you say “what do I switch to?”.   It does not matter, as along as you occupy the ground that affords its greatest opportunity for influencing people and situations towards righteousness and justice in your time, as you seek to pursue Godlikeness.

You might be a social worker, teacher, engineer, IT, dinner lady, secretary or mother and father, it really does not matter what it is, others of you might be a driver, refuse collector, postman, newspaper deliverer or a student, it does not make a difference  as long as whatever you do, you are committed to it.   Position yourself in life where there is an opportunity to extend the Kingdom, and be happy.   I find more people just survive in work as they have not aligned who they are in their passion with what they do, (that may be another topic we may look at that some other time)

In thinking about changing what I do, we have to face the broader issue of our priorities.   We are to seek the Kingdom first, making it our first thought in life and making it foremost.    If we are to exercise influence for the Kingdom we must be governed by the Kingdom not the  local currency.

Some have come to the realisation ‘I need to relocate’, my home, flat.. is in cosy-ville, comfort-town, settled settlement where nothing is happening.   Nothing about it sharpens you any more.   You are in a rut, with no more sense of challenge.   but you have been around there so long that you don’t even recognise an open door when you see one.   Start to think actively about relocating!    Some live in places where they are really struggling to believe God for anything, it starts with being unable to believe for little things that we push aside, then before we see it they are not stretching to believe for anything.   it is time to reposition yourself along side men and women who are believing beyond, bigger and have a wider reach.    Some live where there are too many relatives taking a bite of your time and not allowing a reaching wider.

Some are too close to other people’s responsibilities.   If you were to move, you would be amazed how people could take up for themselves what they have been dumping on you.

I can hear some saying do you know the condition of the economy, the housing or job market, well what about believing God in all that, tapping into the life of God and going out to live that life….

Here is a challenge some are in a church that is too large for you.   it has 100’s and some 1000’s like you…you are just one in a long line, O yes its progressive, the music the programmes, the facilities but it’s not radical, cost but no challenge you know this week to week what goes on.   but we are to fill the earth with Jesus, Kingdom communities, we are to enlarge the family of God, we are to GO… constantly.   Lets make families, God-families, filling the earth with the family of God in every street, village, town and city by going rather than staying.

Ask yourself ‘Am I in the right work. right place, amongst the right church/people?”  determine to do whatever may be necessary to play your part to the full in touching and changing the world.   Jesus said that the grace and anointing was to do something (Luke 4:18) to set freedom first.

Be what you are, men and women, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters brothers and sisters, people of God, children of God the ecclesia.

 

Position Yourself…careful

images-7We must position ourselves carefully to exercise influence. 

Positioning means us saying ‘Let’s get where the action cannot be missed’.   Let’s position ourselves to get involved with this generation.   Position ourselves to be the incarnate body of Christ in our street, work place, education world and homes.

We redeem men by the proclamation of the Christ and his gospel: we influence society by being salt in the street, world.  Both are essential, and often our ‘salt’ is the necessary forerunner to our proclamation.

I recently visited a township in South Africa where the conditions were so dire, the filth and squalor, the heartache, pain, poverty and hunger were indescribable.   This seen is repeated world-wide, its experienced on very continent, in the back streets of Brazil, on the roads of India, in the aftermath of every war, even in areas of the so-called developed world, some time son our doorsteps.     You can’t simple preach, ‘repent of your sins and you’ll be saved for heaven’ and walk away from a place like that with no sense of further responsibility.    God is concerned with people’s social conditions as well as with their souls’ destiny.  True, eternal destiny is paramount, but this doesn’t mean God has no concern for our social conditions.

We are to be ‘Restorers of streets to live in’ (Isaiah 58) and we must not divide images-13our world into social and salvation, our theology into liberal or evangelical, one after the soul and the other after the transformation of society.   One view looking through one eye and saying ‘don’t get side tracked into a social gospel it’s the souls that need saving and the other looking through the other eye ‘but what about saving them?’

Jesus shows us he had two eyes open, as the Son of Abraham he wanted to redeem mankind, as the Son of David he wanted mankind’s world to be an ordered and just society.

It is right to bring God’s saving grace and correct to transform society.

We must position ourselves to do both.

No longer ignoring the deepening plight and worsening social conditions of our world, while protesting we are concentrating on saving their souls, continents and countries need more than a soul-gospel.    We cannot close our eyes to the growing number of homeless building their cardboard cities on our own doorsteps as well as in distant lands, which is our responsibility, let me explain.

One of the early characteristics of the community of the King, in the words of Jesus that an apostolic community, the church as it should be apostolic,  was to be focused in being established where they where local ‘…wait in Jerusalem until the Spirit comes…’, then to have a four focus at one time beyond the local.   This focus I suggest was a command to work on four areas at any time, being the living life church of Christ, ‘…God into all the earth…Jerusalem…Judea…Samaria… and utter most past of the earth…’, we are to be local, regional, national and international in focus, in our actions, message, pray and work of faith.   We cannot close our eyes to our world and end up local minded only or even the a fool with our eyes in the ends of the earth, holding these four focuses will prevent foolish eyes for us.

We have a voice, a gospel to restore our world to the Fathers first thought in creation, beginning with the restoration of the soul to the image and likeness of God.   Therefore  where am I, where are we hitting the streets of our world to create a ‘….street to live in…’ and a people who are able to live in a street with a Godlikeness pursuit?

Too Much for Some

images-12If we keep putting things off we will never achieve anything  – ‘But surely churches, communities with an all out kind of commitment are bound to loose people?’

How can we expect to bring Godlikeness to bear to in our street, workplace, family if we do not find in our hearts a desire to be given to the cause of Christ.   A community that asks for commitment to bring Christ to our world, to be Godlikeness where we live is a good thing is it not?

A community such as this will likely become a challenge for the comfortable and half-hearted, but the community will fill up with the those who are looking for authentic faith, an adventure in life, who are wanting a God who engages people, the needy, the hurting who need help and an encounter with Christ.     Our aim should always be to embrace all, empowering all to be ‘all out’ for the will of the Father, yet reality has to be faced, some will just decide to be the comfortable.    Never mind if some stay comfortable, let us shout loudly ‘not me’, it is necessary that you and I commit ourselves totally to this radical mission of ours, of Christ, to the Fathers will.     To be the Godlike people of God in our generation.   Committed to bring God’s domain, God’s order to all creation, committed to transform our worlds, one life, one house, one street at a time.    Not committed to sit all day and achieve nothing but transform, change my environment, beginning with that which is right in front of us daily.   When we are totally committed we don’t waste time on the little blips, the minutiae that cross the screen of our lives, making the small things major we crowd out the important.   When fully given to this cause the little things will stay little, the big things of life will draw and fill our lives.    As we commit its amazing how this commitment re-scales our world, enabling us to know what is important and necessary rather than stay around in the shallows of life, engaged with the minutiae.

Communities with this kind of commitment you may not see around you but why not images-13start with where you are, be a committed person to create a committed community.   These communities are authentic, what the world is waiting for, they are not self-serving or self-centred but are given, willing to live a poured out, being a drink offering, as Jesus lived a poured out life for the cause of the Father, it’s for us to be poured out for our streets and the Father’s cause.

Find them, these communities, ecclesia’s, churches they are Christ Centred, not programme centred or even worship centred, neither event centred, conference focused all these they may participate with but guaranteed it will flow from a Centred Life On Christ and Christ’s Cause, which is the Fathers desire and the Holy Spirit‘s commitment.

Let it never be too much for us to be committed, let us find a place and pour ourselves out!    Committed to Christ communities, committed to Kingdom communities, committed to Christ and his ecclesia, his church.

 

“You Won…”

images-9Subtitled “You won Arthur!”

We recently directed some guests of ours from overseas to Kings Cross station London as they wanted to see platform 9 ¾, I wondered what they wanted, 9 ¾ never heard of such a platform, cannot be really?  I had no idea what they were talking about, never heard of it, thought they are not from UK.    However I found out that they knew better than me, the platform was made famous through Harry Potter’s book, you go to the platform quite simply to get your photo opportunity… just in case you wish to see it take the Underground to Kings Cross / St. Pancras, (two main line stations that share the same Underground Station).        Follow the signs into Kings Cross Station when you get to the surface walk along Platform 8 (it’s totally free access).     When you see a sign directing you left to Platforms 9 to 11 keep going on along Platform 8 and the Platform 9 3/4 photo opportunity is a few yards further along on your left. There is normally a conspicuous sign on the platform pointing to the small alcove and out of the wall projects half a baggage trolley.   You have arrived at your destination.

I had no idea of how to get there or how to help others arrive there then the thought came to me, it is a real challenge for us all to answer the question   “where are we going and how can we help each other get there?”.    It is a timely question in the hour we live, with so many changes in society, politics and the economic world , in the business world and in the world of faith, the church change is coming at us as a fast speeding train, whether we want it or not.    Where is it taking us and how can we help each other get  there?

It  is a day for the prophetic people of God to come to the forth, a day in the midst of much noise and debate, to take hold of the word of God.     Gods’ words when uttered in the past created, they also sustained people who took them up.    These spoken words gave direction and knowledge to those who listen and heard them, those who listened  did not find themselves with out understanding.

Clearly we are in a day of discovering a deeper trust of the Father a new listening and obedience that will lead us into freedom and to the land of promise.    We have to grasp the idea that we are on journey,  that in itself  will empower, challenge and  mature all who embark.

Today as people of God in the west, we find ourselves so much part of societies thinking at large, that it has invaded the church and they way we think, becoming consumers in every way.   Seeking ever-increasing experiences for our emotions, listening to the word of God to consume that which we believe that will give us a quick advance, an edge on life or even fix?    Making decisions on that which we can get hold of immediately, the NOW rules us.    Yet the Journey men and women of old, the pictures of lives of people between the covers of the scriptures walked a journey, not a quick dash with immediate consumer gratification.    Consider the lesson of one of these journey men, Abraham, here is a man who had promise upon promise spoken to him, of people’s, fathering, sons, nation and land, God promises to bless all nations through Abraham, yet Abraham received none of these in his day, but  even 1000’s of years on the promises are still coming to pass.

Even more than that Abraham had a 644 Kilometer journey, once he was willing to entertain the promise.   A 644 Kilometer journey and a 4000+ year, time frame, to get the promises.   Now that is a challenge once he become obedient to the promise words of God it was a long haul walk and a massive time frame to content with.    Now don’t get me wrong on the journey there where evidences, victories of the promise but its fullness took walking on investing time, he become wealthy in his day, he had influence and did finally get a true son of promise, but certainly one son does not constitute a nation!   Once Abraham believed and entered the journey it was counted as righteousness to him, that is keeping in right line with the journey, and keeping it foundational to life’s actions and decisions.   The words of God are living, but how living are they ?  They require movement, obedience, a change of vicinity, a change of surroundings, a departure and a step in front of you.    Actually the words of promise to us all are to bring about sons of God who are led by the Spirit, to bring maturity in light of eternal promise.

I think its time to discover not only the joy of the immediate but the eternal will of the Father, knowing that we have been called to an eternal purpose, to depart from the tent of  the immediate and become the tent of meeting for our life and then our world around us.     We are, the people of God, the ecclesia, the church are to be the place where people will meet the love of God along with a people who are a prophetic journeying people

Let me encourage you to find others people who will also ask, where is all this taking us?  where are we going and how can i help you get there rather than making sure i can get there.

Traveling in a plane has its challenges, but no more for me than the initial film or safety demonstration, we are all shown, there is one difficult line there to listen  to, it goes something like this …make sure your mask when it drops from the roof goes on you first before you see to children or others… that is so against the journey of prophetic people,  firstly seeing to ourselves before others, so that we can all arrive together.    Many years ago  we were taught to play croquet by a great Godly man called Arthur Wallis some 15 or so of us, in a retreat centre in Sheffield.   As we came to the end of our game and lesson Arthur being the master crossed the line, won the game and a shout of “…you have won Arthur…” went up from all,  with this he turned and said “…no I only cross the line when all my brothers cross…” and with that he went to  be with the Lord.   What a line to enter eternity with, to depart this expression of life with, what a way to live, asking more how can i help you get to the destination of the will of God rather than consuming, to get there myself.

So find journey men and women, young people, children sojourners who are pursuing the will of the Father in eternal promise and plan and seek to help each other fulfill the prophetic purpose of God.