Friday, June 29, 2012

Compelled by Love - obeying God's Commands

Obedience. The word conjures up thoughts and memories of experiences that are either good (my brother was better at complying) or bad (I was very acquainted with the “strap”). We all have an independent streak, a desire to assert our own will but obedience is part of the living in covenant and in relationship with others. Even though we live by the grace of God, we are not without commands. There are three levels to obedience, which one are you?

As a child, I was terrified of hell (h-e-double hockey sticks – it’s so terrible, it’s a curse word). I didn’t know a lot about it but I knew it was hot and the worst place to be. I was afraid and I didn’t want to go there. I turned to Jesus, not because I was in love with Him, but because I was afraid of being sentenced to eternity in hell. If I’m honest, Jesus had nothing to do with it.

Fear is the first level of obedience. We obey but barely. The motivation is negative – to obey so as to not receive punishment but the heart is unchanged. In our home, I had several “teaching” moments with my Boy around the issue of household chores. It takes effort from everyone in the camp to make it run smoothly but sometimes (often) my Boy doesn’t want to participate, and sometimes he outright refuses. Finally he complies because the continued refusal will result in loss of privileges. I thank him for his contribution but tell him his attitude towards me indicates he despises and curses me in his heart. Fear was the only reason he obeyed.

Law is the second level of obedience. We obey because we have to. After accepting Jesus in my heart because I feared going to hell if I didn’t, I was taught to obey because the law demanded it. Many (most) churches are suspended on this level. The fruit of a church intent on obedience by law is we are known around the world as rule keepers, rather than known for our love.

Paul’s letter to the Galatians identifies they are having similar problems. They initially received the gospel of grace but other teachers have come around and required them to obey the law, thus nullifying the sacrifice of Jesus. Paul calls them fools and asked who has bewitched them (Galatians 3)? It’s a question we could very well ask the church today. We live by grace, and not the law but grace has been misunderstood to mean lawlessness.

The highest form of obedience is love because of grace. We obey because we want to. I will repeat myself: grace is not lawlessness but the freedom to make right choices. Under the law if you break one law, you are guilty of breaking the whole law. It is a terrible burden and it’s easy to see how overwhelming frustration can make a person abandon the whole thing. Grace says the law was satisfied by the sacrifice of Jesus; our sins are no longer counted against us, rather through grace (by faith in Jesus’ sacrifice) we receive righteousness.

Understanding this, we no longer have any hindrances to a relationship with Jesus and he can call upgrade our relationship status from worker to friend. We don’t work for salvation, it is already ours through the cross, and because our first need is fulfilled we can have relationship, and get to know God’s heart. His desire becomes our desire and we do what he wants because of an overwhelming love relationship. No longer are we overwhelmed by frustration by not being able to keep the whole law, instead the love of Christ compels us to obey (2 Corinthians 5:14), which is why Jesus can say we are his friends if we keep his commands (John 15:14).

If Christians understood grace and lived there, being compelled by love to fulfill the commands of Jesus, the church would be known for its love rather than rules. Wouldn’t that be glorious?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lovers Do More

Lovers accomplish more than workers.

Recently I was chatting with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. We used to attend the same church. We both left and she began attending the fastest growing church on the peninsula. The church is fresh and edgy and pastor “says it straight”. She loves her church and I’m really pleased for her and celebrated her recent testimonies with her, but one thing she said stuck in my head. She said, “I like to leave church on Sunday and know where I need to change.” Really? Most of us already know what’s wrong.

Knowing what I need to do or where I need to change doesn’t help me change or increase my desire to do it. Knowledge points out what needs to be different and the places where I fall short. It’s a yucky feeling, and it needs to be fixed so we scour the Bible in hopes of finding the formula to know how to change or what to do but the Bible is dismally disappointing on the 1-2-3 step method. Instead, we find parables and stories that are seemingly contradictory and Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything. I still don’t know what to do or when to do it. Is it the season for action or the season for reflection?  Should I fast or not? Should I give to the poor or bring an extravagant to Jesus?

The Bible isn’t a 1-2-3 formula book because it’s supposed to introduce us to a relationship with Jesus. It’s more of a dating service profile than a formula for how to stay out of hell. He invites us into a love relationship with him and then turns us into world changers. Not because we’re supposed to, but because we’re in love and we want to. When I leave church, I like to leave with a greater understanding of the Lord’s love for me. Then and only then can I be a yielded and laid-down lover.

A man [or woman] with an argument is no match for a woman [or man] with an experience. Lovers accomplish more than workers. We are loved; we surrender to transformation because we are already loved, not in the hope to be loved. We are loved; Jesus died while we were still sinners. He died for us when we were at our worst. He doesn’t expect us to love him before we knew how much we are loved by him. Bible reading, prayer, fasting, service – all of them are excellent disciplines but none of them replace the first order, which is to be loved and in a relationship.

Have you noticed some married couples begin to look like one another the longer they’ve been married? We take on the resemblance of the one we are in a relationship with.  When we are in a relationship with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we start to look like them. Jesus said, if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Nobody has ever said they look like the law, the law doesn’t produce positive changes – it can’t. The Law points out where and how far we’ve fallen short but Jesus gives us a view of the greater things we can be and do.

I’m loved. I need to be reminded I am loved. You are loved, and I’m reminding you.

Giveaway: If you need a reminder, I am giving away copies of a teaching CD by Chris Gore on the Secret of John. If you’d like a copy, leave a comment or email me.

(I apologize for the late post, I've been trying to post since yesterday but experienced connectivity problems.)

Monday, June 25, 2012

International Flag Worship Day

July 14, 2012 is appointed as International Flag Worship Day.

I have a dream to see flaggers around the world stand for one day to battle for their community, city and country. We would love for you to be involved, and to have a group of flag worshippers in your area praising God on Saturday, July 14.

Give God praise and proclaim the victory for our communities, cities and countries with flags, banners, streamers and ribbons.

If you want help or ideas about how to organize an event in your community contact me by email.

Receive updates and more information on Facebook,,

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Psalms for Sunday, L

I awake and the day is bright to greet me. The sun welcomes me and I sit to wait for you.

As the sun warms me, even in the morning, I peel back the layers; so too, in the intimacy with you, I am peeled like an onion.

With you there is no fear; though I am naked, I feel no shame. I am exposed and you love me still.

You love me more.

Your love is overwhelming; I must worship because you have done this. You have taken me, but an immature child and shared secrets – secrets of your heart and secrets of things to come.

Who am I that you love me?
What have I done that you desire to spend time with me?
What can I know that you pursue me relentlessly?

I am yours and in the warmth of the sun, I wait for you – and you come.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Left Defenceless?

Paul didn’t present the gospel only with wise and persuasive words but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power (1 Corinthians 4:2). For too long the church has watered down this verse to read, “a demonstration of power,” and by power, we mean with a loud and authoritative voice.

By and large, the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit (dunamis) has left the church. I grew up in a church where there were little to no physical effects or demonstrations of the Holy Spirit’s power. We loved God, preached and taught about Jesus but the Holy Spirit was like a 3rd wheel – no one knew what to do with Him, so he was pushed into a corner like crazy Uncle Bob at Thanksgiving. Smile and be polite but nobody engage him. I don’t recall many firsthand encounters with manifestations but even though I didn’t see it, I understood it largely to be demonic when and if it happened in a church meeting. The early church needed miracles but regular demonstrations of power through miracles ceased to be relevant once the church was established.

The trouble with that is it isn’t true, not even remotely. There is evidence of supernatural activity – of the Godly kind and otherwise and if we deny the Holy Spirit is at work today to perform miracles and demonstrations of power then we leave ourselves powerless against a much stronger foe. If all the paranormal/supernatural activity is attributed to the demonic then it’s like entering a war zone of cowboys and Indians. Fighting a battle where a gun vs. tomahawk is a very short battle with the victory going to the side with the stronger weapons. Let’s be real, here. The Indians didn’t have a chance, and neither do Believers if we don’t have access to an arsenal stronger than a loud voice.

Scripture tells us the Lord always leads us into a triumphant victory (2 Corinthians 2:14) and we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). How can this be true if our weapons are rusty tool sheds? Would the Lord do that to us? Would he leave us defenceless while he “went away to prepare a place for us?” Of course not, you say. Scriptures tells us he left us his Holy Spirit (John 14:26), but if the Holy Spirit is powerless, what good can He do?

The beautiful truth is God is good (Nahum 1:7) and he equipped us to build up the church in love (Ephesians 4:16) by giving us gifts through the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4). Not only do these incredible, supernatural spiritual gifts build up the church as they are intended but also, they are strong enough to tear down the enemy (where one is built up, the effect is the tearing down of another).

We cannot attribute the demonic realm with having gifts of divination and witchcraft and believe we are left with defence, let alone an offensive strategy to seal the victory Jesus already made on the cross.

If you’ve never seen or experienced a miracle yourself, ask the Lord to give you a witness and a testimony (a current one – not one from 1968) and live on that, until the Lord does it again (and again and again). He is the same – yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and the miracles the early church experienced are nothing like we are about to see in our present day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Are Pyschics Phony?

I live life naturally in the supernatural. I’m being trained to understand the supernatural realm and especially to understand the new supernatural nature we have through Jesus Christ. It’s awesome to learn what I’ve been learning but remember the original Karate Kid movie? Wax on, wax off? Eventually we understand the exercises and training are only to improve our party tricks but there is opposition we’ll encounter and the muscle memory learned in training will keep us in peace because it becomes part of our DNA.

There are two erroneous ways to deal with the supernatural – both are common in the North American church. Today we’ll talk about the first error and on Friday’s post, I write about the other.

First, we’ve been taught psychics , mediums and the black arts are phony. Are some of the practising psychics phony? Absolutely, but not all of them and to discredit them in one fell-swoop denies us the ability to protect, fight and advance against the dark spiritual forces. You can’t fight a war if you don’t know you have an enemy.

Last week, a customer entered the insurance office of a friend. During the business interaction, the customer asked the employee (not my friend), “Is your name Jessica? Has your mother passed away?” Jessica confirmed both questions and the customer said, “I’m here to tell you, she’s doing okay.” Jessica was alarmed and asked how the customer knew her information. The customer said she was a medium.

My friend was concerned (as was Jessica) because both are Christians and the encounter was contrary to what both of them believed about the supernatural realm – that is, they are fakes and phonies. It created an opportunity for a conversation about the experience. My friend knows I do something similar – receive a word of knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8) and use it to begin a conversation with someone to give them an encouraging word from the Lord. (I never bring a message from the dead because that kind of message is not received from the Holy Spirit, but from the demonic forces.)

Romans 11:29 says the gifts and call are irrevocable and without repentance – meaning you don’t have to be a professing and believing Christian to operate in the spiritual gifts. It also doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit is the only source for supernatural information. We all have receptors to hear and interact with the supernatural (some people’s are more trained than others, but we all have access).

There are varying reasons as to why someone might use their gift apart from the Lord, but some common reasons are fame and fortune. Another reason is like the prodigal son, who wanted his inheritance to live life as he wanted - then and now - instead of work the family business and gain influence under the watchful eye of his Father.

Okay, we have a real foe with seemingly real powers. What should we do about it? Satan would like to keep us in fear and stay focussed on him because when our focus is on him it can’t be on the Lord and our victory. We don’t dwell on the enemy, nor do we deny him but remember greater is he (the Lord) who is in us, than he (Satan) who is in the world. Our God is bigger, period.

Monday, June 18, 2012

International Flag Worship Day

July 14, 2012 is appointed as International Flag Worship Day.

I have a dream to see flaggers around the world stand for one day to battle for their community, city and country. We would love for you to be involved, and to have a group of flag worshippers in your area praising God on Saturday, July 14.

Give God praise and proclaim the victory for our communities, cities and countries with flags, banners, streamers and ribbons.

If you want help or ideas about how to organize an event in your community contact me by email.

Receive updates and more information on Facebook,,
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