training to be a follower…

September 20, 2012

(Short history of me) I have been a youth leader for a long time and I have been working with leadership structures for a long time. I have attended lots of leadership conferences and I have read many books on leadership (John Maxwell, and many others—which I all love still). With all that I have learned about leadership; I have to admit…this book was really refreshing. I loved the premise behind this book, “It’s never been about leading, it’s been about following Jesus”. I love that. The book emphasizes the point that to be a true leaders you must learn to be a true follower. We are called to Follow Christ. Like Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ”. It’s not about leading people to Him but let our life be the example; about becoming a true follower. Its not about God following my plan but me following His plan. I love how he opens up the book by reciting the words “I have decided to follow Jesus.” Leonard Sweet has a great way of writing. Its very encouraging but at the same time its very convicting. He challenges heart issues and perspectives. I love the phrase he says about reading scripture, “We will always fail to find the way if we just read the Bible without letting it read us”. I love that. I highly recommend this read. Great information and great challenging insight. This book will inspire any believer in their thinking

Hearing God’s voice (notes from my sermon on Feb 22 in evergreen)

February 23, 2012

“The Voice”

February 22, 2012

Last few weeks: Trials and tests; changing your thinking

Tonight is about hearing God’s voice

 

Nothing will make you stronger, steadfast, determined, secure then hearing God’s voice

 

He wants to speak to you.

Every one of you can hear His voice.

 

Jeremiah 7:23-24 NKJV “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you that it may be well with you. “Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward”.

 

John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

 

John 6:44-45 “Jesus says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me”.

 

Acts 2:16-18 “No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says,I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy”.

 

How to discern the voices I hear? Devils (demonic), Mine, God’s

1. Devil (demonic): they would never ask you to do anything good or that would benefit another person.

-not going to ask you to pray for someone; serve, give, etc…

This is how the voice of the devil sounds. When he speaks, his voice comes to:

  • Deceive you, (Revelation 20:7-8)
  • Cause oppression, (Acts 10:38)
  • Discourage you, (Numbers 32:6-10)
  • Cause you to be bitter, (Colossians 3:19)
  • Cause confusion, (Acts 19:32)
  • Cause you to rationalize sin, (Isaiah 5:20)
  • Blind your mind, (II Corinthians 4:4)
  • Cause you to lie, (I John 2:4)
  • Cause you to doubt God’s Word, (Hebrews 3:12)
  • Cause division in your family, church, business, (Mark 3:25)
  • Cause you to disobey the Word of God, (Joshua 5:6)
  • Inspire rage, anger and malice,    (Ephesians4:31)
  • Bring you fear, (Mark 4:40)
  • Torment you, (Matthew 8:6)
  • Cause you to lose hope, (Job 7:1-15)
  • Cause you to lose hope, (Job 7:1-15)
  • Cause you to be dismayed, (Joshua 1:9)
  • Cause you to seek revenge, (Ezekiel 25:15)
  • Cause you to curse God, (Job 2:9)
  • Stir up unforgiveness, (Matthew 6:15)
  • Cause you to be ashamed of the gospel, (Mark 8:38)
  • Cause you not to hear God’s voice, (John 10:5)

If you hear: fear, confusion, torment, doubt, justification of sin, etc., you don’t have to pray about it..

2. Mine: Learn to trust your own mind if your mind is transformed.

God gave you a brain; use it don’t abuse it.

-but it needs to be transformed! (not conformed)

 

Does God need to tell you to go over and be nice to someone…?

To serve? To write a note?

 

John 8:47 “He who is of God hears God’s words;”

 

1 Cor 2:13-16  “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ”.

 

If the answer of your mind contradicts the Written Word, or contradicts what God has said to you, then you must abandon the voice of your reasoning,

 

SIN is never God’s will (and voice for you); if it goes against His character and questions your character then its not of God

 

3. God’s:

·Instruction in righteousness, (II Tim 3:16)
·Correction in righteousness, (II Timothy 3:16, Proverbs 3:11-12)
·Causes you to profit in Christ, (II Timothy 3:16, John 15:16)
·Brings to your remembrance the Word of God, (John 14:26)
·Guides you into Truth, (John 16:13)
·Exhorts you, (Jude 3, Romans 12:1)
·Comforts you, (John 14:16, Psalm 23:4)
·Rebukes and reproves you, (Titus 1:13, II Timothy 4:2)
·Convicts you of sin, (Romans 6:1-23)
·Leads you to salvation, (Romans 10:9-10, II Timothy 3:15)
·Assures you of the Heavenly Father’s love toward you, (I John 3:1, Jeremiah 31:3)
·Admonishes and warns you, (Ephesians 6:4, Acts 21:4,10-14)
·Edifies you, (Ephesians 4:12)
·Increases our faith, (Romans 10:17)
·Cause you to triumph in life through Christ, (II Corinthians 2:14)

 

How Can I tell if God is Talking to Me? (Here are some common ways God talks to us)

  • His Word 
    In order to actually “hear” from God, we have to know some things about God’s character. We have to develop an understanding of who God is, and the way he does things. Fortunately for us, all that information is available in the Bible. The Book goes into a lot of detail about how you can expect God to react, what kinds of expectations he has for us, and most specifically, how he expects us to treat other people. It’s actually a pretty good book, given its age.

 

2 Tim 3:16-17 NIV “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”.

 

Illustration: Reading the menu doesn’t fill you up; eating the food does

Are you reading/studying the Bible or are you letting it read/study you?

 

Psalm 139:23-24 “O search me, God, and know my heart O test me and know my thoughts. See that I follow not the wrong path and lead me in the path of life eternal.

 

  • Other People
    Many times God will use other people to try to get through to us. It’s possible for God to use anyone at any time.

 

Seek wise council: I have mentors who I trust.

                -they speak truth and they are honest

 

  • Our Circumstances 
    Sometimes the only way God can teach us something is to allow circumstances in our life to lead us to and through the very thing we need to discover.

 

“There’s no such thing as a drive-through break-through.”-Joyce Meyer

 

Trials and testing: what are you trying to show me.

 

  • Inner thoughts (still small voice) and emotions

God speaks though our thoughts (conscience) and emotions

-sounds like a flow of spontaneous thoughts

Example:  driving down the road and had a thought come to you to pray for a certain person? Didn’t you believe it was God telling you to pray?

 

Illustration: My Spiritual name:

 

Heb 10:15-16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,”

 

  • Visions (pictures)

Illustration: vision of pancakes

John 16:12-15 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”

 

  • The Actual Voice
    Sometimes we’re able to “hear” something in our spirit that sounds to us like an actual audible voice. Or all of a sudden, you just know you heard something. Pay attention to those occasions because it is very likely God trying to tell you something.

 

Spoke to Moses through a burning bush

Wouldn’t that be awesome to hear God’s voice audibly?

They would be jealous of us because God speaks (thru HS) from the inside out.

Why would we need to hear him from the outside if He is living on the inside?

Moses didn’t have the Holy Spirit like we do.

 

 

  • Holy Spirit

 1 Cor. 2:9-12 “But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God”

 

John 14:16-17  “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

 

Rom 8:27-29 “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren”.

 

John 15:16-17 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. “These things I command you, that you love one another.”

 

Let the Holy Spirit fill you up

 

Then……

Pray for one another (not just token prayers; let God speak through you

Write a letter to someone

Text or call someone

 

You are Gods voice to people around you.

 

You are a voice; not an echo

Billy Graham “Nearing Home”

January 5, 2012

 

What a great perspective book. Billy Graham writes this book in such a way that only a few men like him could. He wants write this not as proclaiming or bragging about his own accomplishments but rather bragging and giving glory to the Lord. I loved the timeless truths and the nuggets of info that puts into this peice. I also love the legacy he is trying to leave with the reader. He is wanting to share not just the things he did right but also the mistakes along the way. Someone once said, “Life is too short to make all your own mistakes; learn from others.”

As I read this i felt like i was sitting with my own grandpa before he went to be with the Lord and listened to everything that he spoke to us. He (like Billy Graham) had the right persepctive when the end of your life came close. Not one of sorrow but one of triumph. The way that they shared made your want to share and live life more then before.

This book is great because it just reminds us of what is important. What matters when the end comes. “I have learned in whatever state I am in to be content”. phil 4;11

“The Measure of a life is not its duration but its donation”-Corrie Ten Boom

The Chapter that challenged me the most in the book was found on page 47. “Keep your mind and your body occupied; dont give laziness or boredom a chance to take root in your soul. The devil delights in someone who is idle or bored; he knows it leads to temptation or discouragement.”

Stay focus and occupied. Enjoy reading this book. I did…

 

 

“Relentless” John Bevere

January 5, 2012

Image

I finished this book a few months ago. I went through a time of recovery after surgery and I was reading a lot of books. I read about 10 books in two weeks and this was one of the books that I read during that. I read some really good and surprising books during that time and this was the one that I dont remember very well. Not that I liked it the least, but the other books made me think more and challenged me more. As I look through my copy I see some highlighted parts but not a lot. I usually like his books and am challenged by them but this seem just okay. Not bad, not great. I had to look over it to remember what I read. I did like the part about pride, humility and having false humility. I also liked the theme of the book to pursue the right thing. Not just the statis quo but to not give up and pursue what God has for you. To e determined and to be focused on what He has called us to do. 

I loved this chapter on page 42 that talked about what the enemy fears. “The enemy doesn’t fear us having nice buildings, published books, large gatherings, television programs, or satellite boradcasts as long as long as we are ignorant of the amazing power available to us. What the dark forces fear is that believers will discover the power available to us. What the dark forces fear is that believers will discover the power that has freely been placed in us and, subsequently the ability we have to boldly, creativly change society as Jesus did. They fear us taking our place as rulers in this life.”

Really powerful statement that was in the book that reminded me of is available. I heard a while ago “Someday, somebody will pick up the Bible and believe it and embarrass the rest of us.”

I should re look of the book more and get a better perspective of the book. Check it out and see what you think. 

Relentless: I wont relent

November 9, 2011

I just finished reading this book a few days ago. I got it in the mail last week and i finished it within a few days. I liked it but did not love it. Thats kind of how I feel with all John Beveres books. I love listening to him preach but his writings i just like. This book had some really good points and if you are a person who is going through some hardships then this is a great book for you to read and get encouraged.

I really liked how the book incorporated scriptures. I realize that many books use scripture but this book has many good scriptures and talks them through really well. I love how the book pushes the fact that faith and redemption is only found in Jesus; not just in what we do. We cannot make ourself become pure and be changed but its God who purifies and changes us.

“God is Able”. This is the clear thought of the book. Even though we are not able and we dont see the end result; HE IS ABLE! God shows up.

“Are we living beneath that for which Jesus paid a very high price?” Great question that the book raised. Similar to the question, are the things you are living for worth Jesus Christ dying for? the book challenges the thinking that some of us who call ourselves christians are living lower then our callings.

I am glad I read the book. I will look back at the book for references but it was not great.

dark and light

November 2, 2011

What a interesting book. I started this book at 10:30pm on friday and I had the book finished in 24 hours. I was really into it. The book was really intense. Its about a man who gets caught up in satan worship and his life and his heart becomes totally dark. He makes bad choices and lives with deep dark thoughts. He goes into detail about going into the darkness and being part of the rituals. What I found amazing about the book is how God always pursued him. He did not give up on him. God was relentless in His pursuit of his life. He put lots of people in his way to show him His love.

Not to spoil the book (spoiler alert), but I was amazed about how Satan gave him a mission to murder a pastor. As a pastor, i find this to be a crazy thought. That satan wants to take out Gods people. If he cant destroy him with character issues, and sin, then he will give others missions of harm. I also find it amazing how the author had a change of heart. That God totally transformed His heart and life. He became new. That he is now using his story to show others the light.

Great book to read and to share. Great redemption story

The Quotable Rogue

October 6, 2011

“The Quotable rogue”

THe Ideas of Sarah Palin in her own words.

I got this book for me and my wife to read because we find Sarah Palin very intriguing. My wife read her biography and she really liked it so I thought I would give this a shot. I did not investigate this book enough when I got it. I thought it would have stories and interesting insights into her life. The only thing this book has is her words. what she has said over the years. The Chapters are the topic and the rest is just quotes of Sarah Palin. I am not saying it was bad, I was just surprised. I was surprised that its a book full of quotes. On a positive note, I do think the book was well done and put together well.

I just finished it and thought to myself, “I could have written this book; just writing down someone elses quotes”.

Might have been my fault about not researching the book very well before I got it.  If you love, love, love, Sarah Palin then I would recommend to you but if you are a casual fan like me, its ok…..

Read her biography instead…

Enemies of the Heart-Andy Stanley

October 6, 2011

What a great book. I was really surprised by this read. I will start by saying that I was disappointed when I first saw that this book was re-written with a new title and cover. I actually own the previous version of it and i did not read much of it. I had a hard time reading it, but now (because I am at a different point in my life) I really got into it. It really challenged me and at times convicted me. I am a youth pastor at a church and I have recommended this book to many people in our congregation. I feel like the book gets past all the surface feelings and gets right to the heart of why we think a certain way and why we feel that way. The book deals with 4 areas of the heart that we all deal with.

 

Guilt means that “I owe you.” There is no happiness in guilt. No joyful service, no smile.

 

Anger means that “you owe me.” You didn’t give me what I deserve! (Whatever exactly that might be!) Herein lies the heart of a grudge.

 

Greed means that “I owe me.” What’s mine is mine–because I’ve earned it–and this is only the beginning. Greedy people worry, don’t share, and don’t give. But Greed isn’t a financial issue; it is a heart issue. Greed demands security.

 

Jealousy means that “God owes me.” How dare you have what I can’t? It isn’t “fair” that you’re smarter, better equipped, or more successful than I am, because God owes me just as good or better!

 

Really good book. Highly think you should read it with an open heart. We all need to deal with our heart issues. Our buried issues.

Jarvis Devo: Samuel and preparing for his calling

June 14, 2011

Scripture:

1 Samuel 3:1-7  1 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions. 2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the LORD, where the ark of God was4 Then the LORD called Samuel.  Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. 6 Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

Observation:

Usual Space: This was a common space for Samuel. This was the same spot he waited for the Lord. It was not just a once or twice event, it was an common occurrence. It happened frequently and often that he was at the spot waiting on the Lord. He had consistant times with his God.

The Lamp of God had not gone out: The fire did not die. It did not burn. The fire was kept burning. Am I letting my lamp go out?  We have the flame of God burning within us, but is that flame dying out or comsuming us (strating a fire in our hearts). Our God is a consuming fire; if He lives within you then He should be consuming you.

Where the ark of God was: He desired to be as close to God as he could. He wanted to be in His presence. Wanted to be next to Him. As close as he can. Thats the best spot to be at.

Called Samuel: God called Samuel and he was ready to answer. Am I ready to answer the calling? Am I listening? Samuel’s response to the call was “Here I am”. He was standing there ready too respond. What is my response to God’s call, “not yet, I’m not ready, call back, can you text me later (facebook me), do you mind coming back at a better time, I am too busy, raincheck, who is this?, I got other plans” What would me response be? I need to be ready to hear His voice.

Now Samuel did not yet KNOW the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him: Samuel was in God’s presence but he did not recognize who God was. How many times in our life has God tried to show up but we missed it because we did not recognize Him. We missed Him because we were not expecting the way He came or not expecting it at all. Do you know His voice. The more you hear it, the more you know. Like a child who knows their parents voice; we are his children. We need to know His voice.

Application:

Am I ready? Am I letting my lamp (fire) go out? Samuel met and heard from God in his usual place with his heart ready and open. Do I have that and do I do that? Am I waiting on God or is He waiting on me? Is he waiting for me to be ready to receive from Him. He was in God’s presence (ark) and ready. Do I recognize he Lord when He shows up? Am I ready to be called on for whatever opportunity that God has for me. Am I ready? Here I am…..Ask of me…You call,I will answer. We say that we wait for God to answer us, but maybe He first wants us to answer. I need to learn to listen. Here I am!

Prayer:

I pray that mu heart is tender to You like Samuel’s. That I do not let my fire die. That I continually soak in your presence and I try to get as close as I can. That I continue to long to be close to You. Help me to be ready to receive from You. That when you call I do answer with “Here I am, I am ready for You.” Make me an instrument of your grace. Grant me the hunger for your word. Let it be a light to my path. May all things become shadows in the light of you.


Unleashed byErwin McManus

June 8, 2011

I got this book in the mail and started reading and was disappointed in that fact that it was the same book he wrote previous (that I have already read), just re released under a different name. I still like the book but just a little disappointed that I already read it. I was hoping for a new one from him (like a series or somethings). I love how the book opens with the illustration of Robert The Bruce and carrying the heart of the king. Thats a great visual of having Gods heart.

Erwin McManus says that Christianity has become too civilized. He rejects the belief that “Jesus died and rose from the dead so that you can live a life of endless comfort, security, and indulgence,” and he says that it’s his “mission to destroy the influence of the Christian cliché, ‘The safest place to be is in the center of the will of God.’”

Following Jesus is not about safety or security. McManus points out that John the Baptist lost his head while in the center of God’s will. “We look to Jesus not to fulfill our shallow longings or to provide for us creature comforts. We look to Him to lead us where He needs us most and where we can accomplish the most good.”

McManus calls Christians to reject conformity and security, and to embrace what he calls the barbarian way, which is “about love expressed through sacrifice and servant hood.” Like early followers of Christ—John the Baptist, Peter, and Paul—we “are called to a path filled with uncertainty, mystery, and risk.”

I love the idea that there is more to live for then just being happy. Jesus did not die for us to just be happy. He died for more then that. I love the idea of living as a believer needs to be about sacrifice. This book is a good book and will help you to be stretched in your thinking.