Sunday, April 25, 2010

Serving God A 20 Day Study

Introductory Notes for our new 20 day study on our Facebook Group The Passionate Participation In God Project.

Loving, thoughtful, active promotion of the good of others and the causes of God in our world, through which we experience the many little deaths of going beyond ourselves.

Service is one of the most frequently mentioned disciplines in the Bible. From the very beginning God’s people pledged themselves as God’s servants and were directed in the law to serve and care for others. Being a servant of God and of others was a way of living—a declaration of obedience, not an occasional volunteer activity.

In the New Testament, Jesus made it clear that He was God’s servant, but also the servant of others. These two were inextricably linked. Again and again, He spoke of turning the cultural order upside down: “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35b). In Luke 22:25-26, He said, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves.” Jesus underscored His point by humbling Himself to wash the feet of the disciples (John 13:1-20), making it clear that this servanthood was much more than symbolic.

Then after Jesus’ ultimate act of submission and servanthood on the cross, Paul took up the theme of servanthood, referring to himself time and again as a servant of the gospel (Eph 3:7; Col 1:23). We can follow in Jesus’ footsteps and serve God and others purely as an act of love, but service is also an excellent way to train ourselves in humility and submission to God’s will.

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. —1 Peter 4:10

Day 106 Spiritual Practice: Serving God in Every Task
Day 107 Serving and Carrying
Day 108 Consecrated for God’s Service
Day 109 Do Not Neglect Them
Day 110 My Servant Caleb
Day 111 A Willing Heart
Day 112 Service in the Home
Day 113 As for Me and My Household
Day 114 Two Servants
Day 115 In Every Good Work
Day 116 Spiritual Practice: Not to Be Served, but to Serve
Day 117 I Devoted Myself to the Work
Day 118 Do Not Withhold Good
Day 119 Wash One Another’s Feet
Day 120 Servants of the Lord
Day 121 Serving Others’ Needs
Day 122 A Servant Heart
Day 123 A Servant of the Gospel
Day 124 Serving the Saints
Day 125 A Light to the Nations

Join us for this 20 Day Adveture in Serving God!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Your Tribe is Waiting For You

If God has given you a Vision and calling Tribe strategies will help you build it!

The material below is from Tribe Strategies and Seth Godin

TRIBE = A community built around a similar vision, philosophy or interest."

A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate." --Seth Godin in Tribes

What is a tribe? (From Tribe Strategies Site)
A social community built around an idea, a vision, a goal, a common interest, a common problem, a unique product or service, to facilitate the sharing of experiences, education, support and encouragement.What do I do with a tribe?
Share your ideas
Expand your vision or dream
Make a positive impact on the world
Interact with others who have common interests, experiences or goals
Sell your product or service
Educate others interested in your subject
Add value to others’ lives
Create a movement

How do I build my tribe?
Social media strategy
Word of mouth
Business cards and email signatures with links to facebook,
LinkedIn, Twitter, and your website
Ezine articles leading back to your website
Amazon recommendations
Public talks/seminars/workshops

Blog An overview of the tribe process:Find your tribe -- Determine your niche then spread the word about your tribe, online and in the real world
Gather your tribe -- Put your social web strategy in place and create a virtual meeting place (social website) so your tribe can communicate
Feed your tribe -- Offer free advice, research, ideas. Allow members to share with each other
Trade with your tribe -- Sell your services or products to tribe, exchange information

Check this information out and let God connect you with the Tribe you are called to lead!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Mystery of the Wineskins

When God Mixes His Glory with Our Lives, Culture and Times.
When God's presence or the River of Life flows among people it does not do so in a vacuum, but flows into their time in history, culture and theological understandings. It also embraces their gifts, talents and personalities in the process of forming the new wineskin or organic unit in and from which the glory of God flows out to the people of their day.

These wineskins seem to have varying life spans, but all seem to follow similar patterns in their life cycle. This pattern is seen throughout Church history. It is similar to the pattern in the book of Judges. It all starts when believers begin to call out to God for more of Him. They repent and humble themselves, God moves on them and they rediscover God’s power and supernatural work, and they see a biblical truth or truths that have been neglected or ignored, these new discoveries become a part of their core values or doctrines. They begin to spread this new life or renewal of God’s power and truths and grow in numbers.

The move of God among them needs defining and conceptualizing; there is also a need to organize as they continue forward with this fresh work of God. The people, who have been leading, organize things and form a recognized unit, terms are defined and doctrine established. It is at this point where the trouble usually shows up. There is an attempt to camp out or build tents at the point of renewal or revival. This is similar to Peter wanting to build three tents on the Mount of transfiguration. The people begin to get fixated on the unique things that happened or truths discovered and the hardening of the wine skin begins. All future fresh working or teaching from God must fit the new grid or it becomes unacceptable. God is grieved and begins to wait for His people to start the process again. It might be a different group in a different place at the same point in History or among the same group.

The other thing that occurs among those experiencing a fresh move of God is a tendency to retreat back to previously known ways and beliefs when the new move of God begins to fade and /or its teachings get to be a challenge to live with or walk out in daily life. Evaluating what is or is not of God along with teaching others the proper way to express and operate in these gifts or according to these teachings has been a major challenge to those who experience a renewed work of God among them. This is particularly true if there is supernatural manifestations of God’s Spirit among them as was true in the book of Acts and as have been recorded throughout church history. We have a tendency to either abuse or deny anything new. We either become fixated on it or flee it and those associated with it.

This seems to be just as true for justification by faith as it is for divine healing. If you are familiar with molding clay, mixing concrete or even plaster you are aware that the mixture only has so long before it will set into some permanent form. This is somewhat true of the mixing of God’s living water into the lives, times and culture of people. Once you set the form it seems hard for us to change.

Wineskins are also limited in their durability. Although, it is true that with proper care they can last a long time it is also true that they have to be replaced from time to time. This knowledge requires of us that we care for the wineskin we are a part of so that it will accomplish all that God intends and last as long as He desires it to be useful.

Isa. 55:8-11 presents us with a truth that must be considered in our examination of God’s work among people.8 "My thoughts are completely different from yours," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
10 "The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

God knows what he sends His Spirit or River of life to accomplish and into the context which he sends it. He knows the strengths and weaknesses and the life span of His work among each time and people. This brings us to awareness that God is constantly pouring out His presence or river of life to accomplish His work among the different peoples and in the different cultures and times. Although culture and times change peoples need for the life of God does not. The question then arises; can we change with the seasons and changes in culture to allow the River of Life to flow through us so that God’s purpose in the earth is accomplished on a continual basis? If we say yes, how will we do it?

With our different Wineskins we are all faced with accomplishing the same task, to fulfill the commands of Christ  to make disciples and to equip His people in accord with Ephesians 4:10-13. This so that they come into maturity in Him and acomplish all that he had begune to do and teach.

What are the common elements to our task?

Monday, April 05, 2010

20 Days of Daily Teaching on Worship

Please Join us for 20 days of teaching on Worship on the Passionate Participation in God Project  When you join the group each days teaching will be emailed to you via facebook.

WORSHIP—Expressing in words, music, rituals, and silent adoration the greatness, beauty, and goodness of God, by means of which we enter the supranatural reality of the shekinah, or glory, of God.

In Exodus, God makes clear that we are to worship the Lord and only the Lord, a message Jesus reiterates when the devil asks Jesus to worship him during the temptation in the wilderness: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him” (Luke 4:8b). In worship we seek to enter into God’s presence. We can and do worship in many ways—in song, in prayer, in silence, on our knees, seated at our desks, or standing in a forest. As Richard Foster writes, we cannot guarantee true worship by form and ritual or the lack thereof.1 Ritual can be important and helpful, but it is our hearts that matter.

True worship is about our attitude.
In worship we reflect on all that God is and does and offer our praise and gratitude. To worship is to, as much as is possible, see God in full glory and worthiness. That is why so often worship is preceded by study. We seek to understand who God is and remember all that God has done, and then all we can do is marvel and adore. We can only enter into worship of God if we view God as worthy, if we understand our proper place in our relationship with God.

Indeed, the pages of Scripture testify to the fact that so often God’s people revert to worshiping idols, to giving their allegiance and adoration to what they can see or taste or touch. We too are guilty of idol worship. We worship money, sex, power, even other people, but everything other than God will ultimately disappoint. Only God is worthy.

Worship the Lord in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth.—Psalm 96:9
Spiritual Practice: Everyday Worship
Sing to the Lord
Admiring Who God Is
Worshiping God Through Song
How We Worship
Remembering God’s Deliverance
Worshiping Jesus
Worship in Times of Suffering
Trusting That God Is With Us
Worship That Is Dependent on God

Spiritual Practice: Worshiping With Our Hearts
God-Directed Worship
Building the House of the Lord
Worshiping False Gods
Preparing for Worship
Worshiping in Community
Worshiping God, Not Spiritual Experiences
Practicing God’s Presence
Coming Close to the Glory of God
Praise Without Ceasing

The Above material is from 'A Year With God', by Richard Fister

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Transform Your Worldview.

I have been fascinated as I have traveled on this journey with Jesus at how very much He has changed my world view. Beginning that day when He reached out to me and rescued me from the mire and dust to see how many false things I believed about the world around me, the nature of people, their and abilities, as well as, the spirit realm.
I experienced something as a young believer who was passionate about following Jesus that changed the way I saw and experienced the world around me and within me.

Today we would call what happened to me a Biblical immersion (immerse: reflexive verb to become completely occupied with something, giving all your time, energy, or concentration to it). Every day for months I immersed myself in the Word of God reading the Bible and praying for hours about what I had read everyday. This total immersion not only illuminated (transitive and intransitive verb to provide somebody with knowledge or with intellectual or spiritual enlightenment) me but challenged everything I believed, everything I understood and the way I interacted with the world and everyone in it. Every thought, action and belief came under the conviction and illumination of the Holy Spirit. I spent many and hour repenting and grew in grace and truth. This process did not stop but has has continued for many years now and I have come to understand that my World view has continuously been changed and molded as I have submitted myself, my experiences and beliefs to God.

Another significant part of my transformation was the Christ like love and wisdom of my first pastor, his wife and the church they led. Pastor Jim and Julie Maley and the people of what is now the Pueblo Christian Center taught me by example what the Good News of Jesus looked like in everyday life.

My journey as a believer has also been shaped by others in the Kingdom of God who have written books which are important in adding to or understanding of what we are a part of and just how our World-view impacts our usefulness to God. One of the many books that have impacted me is below.
This book opened my eyes to the area of World-view many years ago and is still around, now in its 4th addition. James Sire's "The Universe Next Door" is a wonderful resource and should be mandatory reading for all Christians who interact with anyone who was not been raised in the Church. Sub titled 'A Basic World-view Catalog' the reader of this book is treated to insights, such as how the Church's weakened Spiritual state led to the rise of false religions and a dependency on science as the underpinning of mankind's belief systems.

If you want to know more go to the IVP web site The primary reason for mentioning this book is the comparison of the transformational results and power of a Biblical immersion in the Word and Spirit of God and the contrasting de-transformational results of a life which is not filled with the truth and power of God.

When Jesus came He spent three plus years proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Many could not or would not allow their world-view to be changed by the truth and power He proclaimed through a life that did the will of the Father and that was empowered by the Holy Spirit. One of the most fascinating Biblical accounts of Jesus' impact on people is the account of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Lk 24:13-18
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they
talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?" They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?" They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?" 19 "What things?" he asked. "About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took
place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see." 25 He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

Their hearts burned within them! The fire of God not only illuminates it also burns away the impure and all that is not of God. Will you allow God to immerse you in His Word and Spirit, allowing His Spirit to illuminate and burn away all that is not of Him?Your World View will Change to His World View even as Moses' was changed when he spent 40 days and nights in the presence of God!

The light of His glory will not fade, but it will transform us as we immerse ourselves in His Word and Spirit continuously!

Artwork by John Bell