Friday, February 26, 2010

Studying God's Word

Our Next area of Study in the Spiritual Disciplines is The Study of God's Word. Join us at The Passionate Participation in God Project starting 02/26/2010 for the 20 days of this study. Or go to and click on the In God daily tab.
The intentional process of engaging the mind with the written and spoken Word of God and the world God has created in such a way that the mind takes on an order conforming to the order upon which it concentrates.

When God made his covenant with the Israelites, he established the books of the Law, which laid out in detail the way God’s people were to live. From that point forward, study became an important part of life with God. Now in addition to the Law, we have the other books of the Old Testament and the revelation in Jesus Christ. Scripture is an expansive gift that shows how God has been with us throughout history.
Accordingly, one of the best ways we can learn more about and grow closer to God is to study the written word. Scripture is the foundation of all of the disciplines. We know Jesus studied the Torah. Luke 2 tells us that Jesus went to the Temple as a young boy and spent time with the teachers there, asking questions. Indeed, he knew the Torah backwards and forwards, quoting from it time and time again. We too are well served by studying and, yes, even memorizing large pieces of Scripture.
For our purposes, study refers to an analytical process of learning as opposed to the more devotional practice of meditation. It is appropriate for the study to come first. Before we get to the devotional stage, in which we meditate upon what a certain passage means to us specifically, we must first seek to understand the passage. But this is not to say that study has no effect on us. Indeed, the opposite is true. What we study, what we concentrate on, becomes ingrained in us. Study transforms us from the inside out.
Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.—Psalm 111:2

Day 46 ~ Spiritual Practice: Learning from Scripture
Day 47 Directions for Living
Day 48 Obeying God’s Law
Day 49 One Teacher
Day 50 Knowledge of God
Day 51 Setting Our Hearts to Study
Day 52 Saturated with Scripture
Day 53 The People of the Book
Day 54 Eating God’s Word
Day 55 Treasuring God’s Word
Day 56 ~ Spiritual Practice: Discerning Our Teachers
Day 57 Delighting in the Law of the Lord
Day 58 True Teachers
Day 59 False Prophets
Day 60 Observing One Another
Day 61 Remember Jesus Christ
Day 62 Learning in Community
Day 63 Learning from Creation
Day 64 Studying God’s Ways
Day 65 Transformed into the Image of Jesus Christ
This material is from the 'A Year With God' Devotional by Richard Foster, which is our text along with the Bible.
Artwork: Sword of the Spirit by Jeff Haynie

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Coming of the King and His Kingdom

The sermon outline which follows was part of my message at Hope Assembly of God a Ghanaian congregation in Aurora Colorado on December 16th of 2007.

I am posting it as an introduction to a study which I will be doing in the days ahead on:

The King and His Kingdom-What it Means to be a part of the Kingdom of God Today.
There is need of a fresh look in the Bible to examine how this concept, which seems so far from our current understanding of being a Christian or a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ, is meaningful today. I will also be reposting a few earlier articles about the Kingdom of God.

Christmas-The Coming of the King and His Kingdom
In a little more than a week we will celebrate the birth of Jesus our Savior and Messiah.
In order for us to be well prepared to celebrate the birth of Jesus we need to look once again into God’s Word of God and be reminded of who this Jesus is whose birth we celebrate.

He is not simply the reason for the season, but He is:
*Immanuel-God is with us.
*The Bright and Morning Star
*The Captain of the Lord's host
*The Alpha and Omega
*The Bread of Life

I. The Coming of the King and His Kingdom
A. The Coming of the King was not what we might have expected.
He Humbled Himself
1. Born as a child in a small town in a humble family.
2. He was born as a son to Joseph of Nazareth. Born in a manger, not a palace.
3. He emptied Himself of His divine authority and power.
Php 2:5-8
4. He lived according to the Father’s authority and will
Jn 17:1-26
5. He did His mighty miracles by the power of the Spirit Jn 1:32-34

B. The Coming of the Kingdom was not what others had expected.
hat Jesus began to do and teach
1. Repent the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mt 3:2
2. He is the Son of David and he came to fulfill the law and the prophets
MT 1. and Jn 1:45
3. He came to seek and save that which was lost Lk 19:10
4. He came to set the captives free and proclaim the time of restoration and Good news
Lk 4:18
Once we have celebrated the Birth of Jesus we must look ahead to the coming year of
2008 and Seek to do all that Jesus Began to do and Teach.

II. Living Life in His Kingdom According to the King’s Plan
A. Living Life as the King would have us to Live it.
1. Seek First the Kingdom of God
Mt 6:33
2. Do all that Jesus began to do and teach Acts 1:1
3. Remember you are In the world but not of it Jn 17:11-17
4. Jesus teaches us to pray the Kingdom prayer
MT 6:9-14

B. Living Life as a member of the Kingdom
1. Empowered by His Spirit to be His witnesses
Acts 1:2, 8
Without getting sidetracked about dates and times.
2. Doing the Work of the ministry Eph 4:12
Those things Jesus began to do and teach
With humility as Jesus did, by the Father’s authority, by the Spirit’s Power
3. Building up one another Eph 4:12
In brotherly love, honoring others before yourself, as the household of God.
4. Becoming mature, to the measure of the stature of Christ.
Through constantly submitting ourselves to Him and those God has placed over us.
By worship, prayer, the study of God’s Word, service to one another, giving of our time
and resources. Living life to please him above all others.
Eph 4:12

If we will do these things Then We Will Hear Him say, Well Done my Good and faithful servant!
Copyright © 2007 Wayne Newcomb

Artwork: Manifold Majesty by Graham Braddock.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Praying Earnestly, 1 Samuel 1:1-20

Praying Earnestly, 1 Samuel 1:1-20
10 She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. 11 She made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head."
12 Now it came about, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli was watching her mouth. 13 As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk. 14 Then Eli said to her, "How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you." 15 But Hannah replied, "No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD. 16 "Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation." 17 Then Eli answered and said, "Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him." 18 She said, " Let your maidservant find favor in your sight." So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
19Then they arose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD, and returned again to their house in Ramah. And Elkanah had relations with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. 20 It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, " Because I have asked him of the LORD.

I will pray like Hannah prayed! Really, would you? Under what circumstances would you pray like she prayed? Hannah’s unrestrained honesty and transparency in prayer is almost scary to some of us. Yet, we often deny ourselves the joy of unburdening our hearts in private and in public because we will not go all out for God and what is on our hearts.

Do you need to practice honest transparent prayer? Start with the small things and practice complete honesty in fact and emotion with God in prayer.

This day 39 From my Passionate Participation in God Group on facebook book

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Kingdom Vision Taste Test

Ps 34:8 taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him. AMP

We talk a lot about Vision in the Church, in business and in politics today. When you are around people with a Kingdom vision they have the qualities of the King and that is why they are appealing to people.

People with a Kingdom Vision are focused on the giver of the Vision, they are full of faith that the Vision given by Him will come to pass, they have hope even when things do not look the way they had thought they would be, they have a positive influence on those around them that the King's Vision is within reach and as a result others believe in, and become a part of making the vision reality.

This comes not just from vision casting or sharing the King's vision but from the fruit or impact the Vision has on the vision bearer. When the Vision is fresh and alive it brings freshness and life. When the Vision is dim, contrived or is lacking in the vitality of the King it is hard for someone to follow it or the person bearing it. I have noticed that hope springs from vision and vision from faith or belief that what is not yet is what can be Hebrews 11:6.

Faith in the king and His Kingdom are the key to vision. There are a lot of people who live in fear and doubt and who are always looking for or are wandering around seeking someone or something to give them hope. They are in need of a healthy relationship with God. He is the giver of life, a life that flows continually to those who are in an ongoing relationship with Him.

Today, we are tempted to have a fast food version of our relationship with God, when what we really need is a time of restful feeding on the green grass of His Word and of drinking from the still water of His Spirit, of letting Him minister to us by talking with us and calling us by name, and of letting him rub His healing ointment into the hurts and bruises we receive from everyday life. When we do this and do it again and again we find the life, hope and vision that inspire others to see in us a glimpse of Him.

This glimpse of Him, what He is and wants to do, generates loyalty and passion for the Vision He has given us. People follow a vision when they can see hope and faith of the Kingdom alive in it, not when it is a part of the latest promotion or fashionable idea, which gets pounded endlessly into their information pathways.

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast of restraint, are discouraged or wander without hope. But blessed is he who keeps God’s Word.

When they see Kingdom vision which has come from faith and hope alive in someone it gives them a reason to seek God for themselves and in the building of their relationship with God they gain faith, hope and His vision for them.

The Bible uses the imagery of trees bearing fruit as an outward demonstration of His life flowing through us to produce the fruit of the Spirit, which is the true mark of His life within. Jesus in John 15 speaks about the need for the branches to stay connected to the vine if they are to have His life which produces vision. When we have a healthy ongoing relationship with Him we make it possible for people to get a glimpse of Him. We have a choice; we can allow others to get a glimpse of the King which brings faith and leads to Kingdom vision or a glimpse of us without Him, which will lead the people to not have hope or a purpose and wander aimlessly.

Faith in the King is the key to vision. Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of the things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” NASB revised version.

Kingdom Vision does not cause us to be DRIVEN; instead it leads and inspires us. True Kingdom vision makes room for all who would agree with it. It does not need someone to constantly pound it into our heads and manipulate us into sacrifice so that some one else's vision of their kingdom can be realized. People will become a part of the Kings vision and freely participate in the cost of seeing God accomplish it when it carries the sweet aroma of a living sacrifice and not the stench of self and pride.

Kingdom Visions spring forth as children of the calling of the King in our lives. The more mature and healthy in Christ we are the more the birthed vision will demonstrate the Fathers heart and not our own!

Kingdom Taste Test
When someone taste of the vision you proclaim will they taste and see that the Lord is Good, or will they taste and see that bitter and impure water has been mixed with the river of life? Or will they see that Jesus has save the best for release in His season?

John 2:9-11 9 When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, 10 and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now."

In the midst of these troubling times we need to know the King and the precepts of His Kingdom. We learn these from His Word and our walk with Him. Therefore it is important that we walk by the Spirit of God.

Gal 5:16-26
16 But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).
17 For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do.
18 But if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.
19 Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency,
20 Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies),
21 Envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,
23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].
24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.
25 If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.]
26 Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another. AMP

Artwork by Graham Braddoct's Road to the Cross

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Highest Kingdom Values

I. The highest values in the Kingdom start with every believer being equipped to have a life of Passionate Participation in God. To live in a passionate pursuit of knowing, experiencing and enjoying God and in bringing others along on the adventure.

A. This can be accomplished when our goal is to have the heart of the Father, the mind of Christ and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Ø The heart of the Father: Learning to know Him relationally and then being a source of building up and encouraging others to have the same type of relationship. In equipping, mending, nurturing, challenging, releasing, mentoring, inspiring, motivating and encouraging the people around me.

Ø The mind of Christ: Knowing the Word both written and living so that we can lay down our lives and do the will of the Father. In servant leaders who will be responsible and accountable to the team they are a part of. In dreaming and praying big while being faithful with those who are around you. In allowing, encouraging and supporting others to follow the calling and dreams in their life. In working hard to do my part and allowing God to do His.

Ø The empowerment of the Holy Spirit: Learning to live and breathe and flow in the Spirit. Allowing Him to manifest God’s character, gifts and power through the creative unfolding of God’s direction on a continual basis. In the unfolding, creative, and fresh work of God for every group of people. In the wonder of God's endless, creative and unique style of accomplishing His will among people.

B. The second value is to encourage, seek, teach and be available to the fresh move of God in our day. To allow and encourage freedom of expression and interaction with God. To provide guidance and instruction where valuable to the individual and the group in which God is working to encourage an atmosphere of community in which a believer may grow and experience God interacting with them without fear.

C. The third value is to provide a culture in which each person may come into the fullness of Christ through mending, equipping and being released into the work of the kingdom and the building up of each other in every dimension and aspect of our society.

Most of all: That we might all one day hear Him say, well done, you who have been a good and a faithful servant.