Thursday, September 30, 2010

Looking Beyond the Manifestation of His Presence

Many people are attracted to the results of God at work. It might be His heart, His power, His majesty, His mercy and goodness or His glory, that attracts them, but what they see is the results of God’s presence. It might be in an individual, a group, a city or a nation but people are attracted to the results of God’s impact on His creation.

In the midst of, or at the time of His working, or the time of His visitation or outpouring people are attracted to the evidence or manifestation of His presence. These times of God’s interacting with people are recorded in the Bible and throughout history. Often they are the catalyst for a fresh move of God, a revival of His work among people, or even a great awakening which changes the course of a nation or history throughout the earth.

During these seasons or times it is easy for us to focus on the manifestation of His presence. The focus may be on His holiness or our lack thereof. The focus may be on His power or majesty, etc. In these seasons people attempt to understand and communicate God’s interaction with them in ways that fit their times or they point to a demonstration of His majesty or characteristic of God in the Bible to define it. This would include but not be limited to, the river that flows from under His throne, Rev 22:1, His glory as revealed in several encounters with God in scripture, His fire as seen on Pentecost and in several places in the Old Testament, and His holiness as revealed in Elijah’s encounter in the temple, Isa 6:1-7.

In the life of each person God desires more than our fixation on, or identification with a particular results or symbol of His having been present at some point in time interacting with us. Let me use the nature walk near my home as an example of what I mean. This is a man made drainage and nature area that originally was a natural drainage area with a creek which captured water runoff. The area has the trees and other vegetation from where the original creek was and the 50 yards away there is the man made one which was created when a housing development was built in the area. There is a great 8 to 9 foot concrete sidewalk to walk on with threes planted along it.

When you turn off from the sidewalk next to our street and enter the nature walk area you notice this large valley with rock formations adjacent to the beginning of the drainage area. During the spring and summer you can see the results of the creek’s life along its banks. There is a variety of vegetation and wildlife that are present close to the immediate area of the creek. Then throughout the valley surrounding the creek and running up to the fences of the housing area there is additional vegetation and wildlife.
During these seasons you cannot see the creek because of the vegetation, but its evidence is very clear in all that is growing around it. This is a very good picture of the results of God’s presence or the river of life having been present at any point in our lives or history itself.

It is God’s desire for us to move beyond looking for the manifestation or results of His presence elsewhere and for us to come into a close personal relationship or to use a biblical term ‘walk’ with Him. When we have a close personal walk with God we will have many times and seasons when the evidence of His presence in and through us will be made known to those around us. The presence of God can be seen in the lives of many people in the Bible, many of whom are mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11.

The most complete picture of this relationship with God will be a composite of all of those interactions, but it is clearly demonstrated in Jesus the Messiah. Jesus demonstrates how we can both lay down our life and plans, along with the authority over our life, while being empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a life that pleases God.

The beginning of the Jesus model can be pictured in three passages of scripture. Philippians 2:5-11, John 17:1-5 and Matt 3:11-4:1 In these passages we see Jesus humbling Himself by laying down His authority and power and doing the Father’s will while being empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s will.

This is extremely important as it demonstrates to us that we can live a life that is pleasing to God empowered by His Spirit if we are willing to surrender our will and our ability to accomplish it to Him. Then we will be prepared to experience firsthand the outpouring of God’s presence and glory, while others will only see the manifestation or evidence of His glory.

This is the first in a series of articles on (Living a Life of passionate participation in God.)
Copy write © Wayne Newcomb 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Enoch’s Amazing Walk with God II

How We Can Have an Amazing Walk with God Beginning Today
This is an updated and expanded version of this message.

Gen 5:24
And Enoch walked [in close fellowship] with and pleased God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him].
Heb 11:5-6
Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For even before he was taken to heaven, he received testimony [still on record] that he had pleased and been in close (intimate) fellowship with God. 
But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].Amp


What an amazing thing this is, to be in such a close and pleasing relationship with God that you just walk into heaven with Him without dying.
• This Walk, Relationship, Adventure that God is calling us to is greater than the George Lucas’s ‘Star Wars’ Movies, it is greater than J. R. R. Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ series, greater than Homer’s ‘Iliad.’
• It is an Adventure that will never end. Let is capture your heart, let the roots of your life go deep into the soil of God’s love and join Him in Living a Life of Passionate Participation in God.
• Align yourself with Jesus the Messiah, the Cornerstone. This is why you were created. This is what Adam and Eve had a taste of and cut it short because they doubted God and had faith in Lucifer.
• A ‘Life of walking with God’ is not meant to be a part of your life, it is meant to be your life! God has given us a free will and does not demand that we give Him our all, but invites us into a life, an adventure of intimate fellowship with Him.
• God is calling, He is inviting us to a life without comparison, a life with Him, the author and perfecter of all that was and is and shall ever be. (HEB 12:1-2)
• Each person’s journey will be different. It will be your own unique adventure with God, but like John Bunyan’s Pilgrim in his book ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ who was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God. ( Heb 11:10 Amp) We were created for more than life on earth, but a life that does not end in death and is much more than life on earth in the flesh without God.
• There is no story ever written or told on video greater than the one God has for you. You however must choose to actively participate with Him in faith.
• BE like Enoch, Live a Life of Passionate Participation in God, walk or live in continuous relationship with Him. THIS is why you were created.
• Chose to walk with God. Do Not just let Him walk with you! Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. Operate or live by choosing to continually act in faith by seeking Him out concerning every detail of your life. By doing this your life is lived in active faith as you include God and seek Him concerning every detail and aspect of your life. He is a rewarder of those who genuinely and sincerely seek Him. Heb 11:6
• Your unique life; who you are, how you function, your gifts, heritage education, personality etc. make you the One and only person like you and God wants you to walk in intimate and continual relationship with Him! God love the infinite variety He has created and celebrates every single person. He does not compare you to others. He is not a respecter of one person’s uniqueness over another. He wants an intimate ongoing relationship or walk with you!

Let’s start the adventure by learning more about Enoch’s Amazing Walk With God so that we may Live a Life of Passionately Participating in God.

I. The Plan Unfolds

In The Beginning: Adam and Eve had such a walk/relationship with God. God came to visit them in the cool of the day. Unhindered by sin, they had amazing fellowship with God daily.
• Do you remember the joy of your salvation?
• Remember what it was like when you were first in love with Jesus!

Satan’s Scheme: In Genesis 3 we see the unfolding of Satan’s master plan to destroy humanity’s Walk with God. ‘You shall be like God he said, when actually they became like him, separated because of their sin from God. (Satan was challenging their faith in God)

God's response: in Genesis 3:15 the beginning of God’s plan of restoration with is seen with a demonstration in the shedding of the blood of animals to provide clothing, which is a fore shadowing of the shedding of the Messiah’s blood that we might have that close relationship or walk with God once again. Theologians call this the Protoevangelicum which means the prototype or the original beginning of the good news or Gospel message.

LET’S LOOK AGAIN Gen 5:21-24; HEB 11:5-6
At what these verses say about Enoch again.
Reread the verses above and note their key points.
Comment: Scripture does not give us many details about Enoch’s relationship with God beyond these verses, but we can look at other people in scripture that pleased God.
Action: If we are to discover more about having a walk with God that pleases Him we must begin with the message of the Gospel and Jesus’ ministry as prophesied in Gen 3:15.

II. The Gospel is our Beginning Point: God’s Purpose and Action.
Luke 19:10, John 3:16 and Col 1:13-14

1, Luke 19:10
"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

John 3:16-18 "For God so loved the world, which He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Col 1:13-14 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

III. What is next: Laying The Foundation 1 Cor 3:10-11

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Preparing the Soil: If you have ever built or watched a foundation being built you know that the land must be prepared and that you must be careful as to what type of soil you build on.
When we come to God as new believers we have sin and its results in our lives.
We not only need to repent from sin and renounce ungodly influences in our lives, but we may also need cleansing and healing from sins impact in our lives.

Build on Christ alone: We must build from the cornerstone which is Christ a foundation which is from Him and Him alone.

Building a Relationship: Building on that foundation requires a growing relationship.
Relationships have several key parts.
Motivation, Interest, Interaction, Response, these are part of an ongoing cycle which must be kept fresh and alive. Illustration in dating and marriage

IV. Building on the Foundation Which is Christ I Cor 3:12-15
Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

The Word of God as illuminated by the Holy Spirit is our primary and most important resource for knowing and developing a walk/relationship with God. Our prayers and our worship must be founded in the Word or we risk being led away from God by our own soulish desires and responses.

We need both Knowledge and Experience:
Wisdom is gained by experience that comes from applying what we believe in life. The Greek valued knowledge, the Hebrew goes one more step to say if you believe something you will act on what you believe. As Christians we must be function like the Hebrew by acting on what we believe.

Knowledge by Itself is not enough
Illustration: Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev former Soviet Premier memorized large portions of scripture to get candy as a child but never came to Christ or served Him.

V. The Enoch Type of Walk with God helps us in Avoiding False Doctrines which take us away from God and from constantly responding in faith and building our relationship daily.

It keeps us from being caught up in the latest fads and winds of doctrines.

False doctrines always have some truth. They also can take truth out of its biblical setting when it was not meant to be.
Two Examples:
  • Judas went out and hung himself and Jesus said go and do the same thing. These two scriptures do not go together. Christ never told anyone to hang themselves.
  • Talking daily to Angels instead of God. God assigns His angels to us. We need not seek them out as they are on assignment by God. When they do show up in Scripture it is a big event and we should pay close attention to them. We must however be careful not to get away from our daily conversations and relationship with God Himself. Why talk to the messenger when you can talk to the Commander of thr Lord's army, unless of course he sent the messenger.

We must judge our experiences and all we think and do by the Word. There are plenty of false teachings floating around in every generation and we can avoid them if we are in close relationship with God based on His Word.
The solution is getting to know Him intimately and saying YES to Him

VI. Simple Steps to a Growing Intimate Walk with God.
Hebrews 11:6b He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].
James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. NASU

 Start where you are at and build little by little 5 min prayer, 5 min reading, 5 min worship
 Find and fellowship with others who love God
 Start with a good study Bible and learn how to use it, read, read, read and study,
 Then add an exhaustive Concordance
 Then a Bible dictionary
These three resources will make you a good student of the Word!
 Learn to pray by using Scriptural prayers, start with the lord’s prayer
 Listen to worship and praise music as much as possible
 Spend more time doing these things than listening to others teach and preach or in reading other people’s books
 Work on making God your best friend and seek Him out every minute you can.

Growing in our relationship with God requires us to ACT and be active in Drawing near to God!

VII. Do what the Apostle Paul Did and Taught I Cor 14:18-19, I Cor 14:4.
1 Cor 14:18-19 I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; NASU
1 Cor 14:4 Those who speak in a tongue build up themselves. NRSV
This gift is available to all Christians in every generation.

VIII. Prayer of Action and Response to This message:
Lord God, please forgive us for being so busy living our lives that we have not made you the priority of our lives. Father bring us close to you by your Spirit and through your Word that we might build a relationship that pleases you and that we might have walk a with you even as Enoch did!
Father, if we have not built wisely then please show us where we must rebuild our foundation and help us to restore our first love with you.


(C) Wayne Newcomb, 9/26/2010 Use of this material is by permission only, please request permission to copy or quote. The Amp Bible is used unless another translation is designated.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Becoming Mature Disciples of the King

When God's Spirit River moves among us it is not in a vacuum. He understands who we are and how we will respond to His work in and through us.

We then must focus on three areas that get us to the next level in His kingdom design for us.
1. Understanding the depth and width of the salvation Jesus our Messiah has purchased for us. Jesus the Christ is the key to the success of any fresh move of God.
2. Embracing who we are becoming in Christ is also necessary if we are to fulfill Ephesians 4:13. Becoming mature unto the measure and stature of Christ.
3. Perceiving the King's leading is necessary if we are to get all we should be getting during a fresh move of the Kings River of life. There is a need to discern what is of God and what are the results of a man's or woman's will.

The object is to build Christians into the Master's Image. We can understand, who we were created to be apart from sin and who we are to become in Christ included in three areas.
1. Spirit: Our New Nature in Christ is the resource of life to the Spirit, Soul and Body.
2. Soul: Mind, Emotions and Will,
3. Body: Flesh / physical.

The Process for Maturing Saints, a summary. (Growing from Salvation to Maturity
1. Once we are born again we must discover the depth of Christ work in and for us.
2. Identification with Jesus or Understanding oneself in Christ.
3. Healing/Cleansing/Deliverance Process
4. Spiritual Disciplines of Christianity
5. Understanding our Life context.
6. Discover our Motivational Gifts.
7. Learn to operate in the Manifestational gifts.

The Key Elements needed for the Believer's growth.
A. Teaching or Doctrine: continually growing in our knowledge of Him and His Word.
B. Spiritual Disciplines: prayer, Bible reading and study, worship, fasting, memorizing scripture, journaling, giving, service to others and living as a witness of the Kings Mercy and power.
C. Nurture: Pastoring nurturing and care of flock or people of God.
D. Fellowship with or Connectedness within a local group of believers.
E. Experience: allowing believers to exercise giftings and live the Spirit filled life.

1. Our first objective is to know what has been done for us and who we are in Christ.
2. The final goal is to become who we are to be in Christ as mature believers and leaders.

If we are to accomplish these goals there are certain principle teachings we must grasp and put into action in our daily lives. It is the working together of the Motivational gifts, our Life Context and the Manifestational Gifts along with the Working out of our New Nature in Him, as seen in the first 3 chapters of Ephesians that make us who we are and are becoming.

I. Motivational gifts. Romans 12:6-8
These steer us or move us in a certain direction as a rudder does a boat. The Human Body can signify the differing motivational or ministry giftings: These can be broken down into two parts: above the heart and below the heart
1. Administration Shoulders
2. Mouth Teacher
3. Eyes Perceiver/prophet
4. Exhorter Mouth
5. Heart Compassion
6. Hands Giver
7. Hand and Feet Server

II. Life Context the soil of our lives - we are molded by these exterior factors: Our personality is molded and shaped by these factors. This is then defined as our filtering system. It is made up of our Family Uniqueness, our Culture our Physical characteristics, our Education and our Socio-Economic context. We must also add to this the experiences of life as we move through it as a unique receptor and responder.

III. Manifestational Gifts I Corinthians 12-14 (after we are saved)
1. Made manifest through us by the Spirit and as the Spirit desires. These gifts are the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer after they baptized in the Holy Spirit. This was a regular and expected experience for all New Testament believers after Pentecost.
I Corinthians 12:1-28
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.
2 You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led.
3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except 1aby the Holy Spirit.
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.
6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.
7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the
Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing 1by the one Spirit,
10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this
reason any the less a part of the body.
16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this
reason any the less a part of the body.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?
18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.
19 If they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now there are many members, but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary;
23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable,
24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it.
But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked,
25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the
same care for one another.
26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.
28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of
tongues. New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S.

The Church needs all of the 5 Fold Ministries to grow successfully and fulfill its mission. Although the titles may be different the functions are needed for us to fulfill Ephesians 4:11-13. A brief description of each follows:
Apostles-A Sent One; they started churches, raised-up leaders and passed on core beliefs.
Prophets-Perceiver Spoke to the people of God about things to come and unfolded the heart of God for the people they spoke to.
Evangelist Proclaimed Christ publicly to people. Peter was evangelist on the Day of Pentecost
Teachers taught, discipled and raises up the saints
Pastor leads the flock with nurture and teaching

There are two types of leaders.
a. Offical leaders lead because of position
b. Unoffical leaders lead from midst of the people.

Ephesians 4:11-13 Tells us that leaders are to work together to bring Christians into Maturity?
1. Preparing God's people for the works of service
2. Building up the people who are in the Body of Christ
3. Equipping to maturity believers through discipleship training, impartation and ministry opportunities.

We need to apply, the following process of gaining Spiritual Wisdom to any event, teaching, observation, revelation, vision or dream.
1. Revelation or Observation: The same process that works for revelation and observation is also used for dreams and visions. Seek God About the actuating event:
a. Pray for wisdom: Both to understand and apply the truth revealed.
b. Study the Word and research: Did this happen in or occur in another scripture
c. Meditate on: Process God's answer, think about it pray about it
d. Confirm: Speak to another mature Christian for conformation

2. Interpretation: Discover the meaning through the process of 1 through 4 above.
Wait on the Lord for His Wisdom and instructions for the delivery.

3. Application: The Impact that God desires.
In Due season=right timing, right weight. Our delivery must be Gods way! We must be wise when we sense the Holy Spirit at work that we are waiting on God's manifestation for specific details from God so that we don't filter everything through our own experiences. We must be careful how we execute what He reveals to us.

Artwork: Walking in the Light:

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Discovering the Kingdom of God

I was suprised earlier this week when I was reading an article by an author I respect and he said, ' we should be focused on Jesus and not the kingdom of God.' The first thought that came to me is 'What did Jesus himself say about the Kingdom of God and then if he is the king of the Kingdom how can we separate the two?'
So, like any good studentI began doing some research and was surprised by the number of books that deal with the Kingdom of God either partially or as their only topic. I say surprised because we hear so little teaching or preaching on the subject today.
But before I make any recommendations as to what books might be good to read or own you should do some self directed research, also known as personal Bible study.
The list below can be followed as steps in your study.

1. Set up a notebook to keep your research notes or printouts in. You can organize your notebook according to your own thinking. I would suggest using page tabs for the different sections.
2. Look up the words kingdom, kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven in the concordance in the back of your Bible.
3. Follow the cross references listed in your Bible.
4. Use an exhaustive concordance which is designed for use with the Bible translation you use the most to get a complete list of the references.
5. Use your notebook to write down the Greek and Hebrew reference numbers and use them to look up the definitions of the words used in the Old and New testaments for the references you find.
(If you are using a Bible software program, save the list to your word processing program and set a file for all of the materials you find related to your kingdom research.
6. Organize the scripture references by categories that match the usage of the words in some type of topical system that makes sense to you.
7. Look up the words you have found in your research in a word study tool, such as Vine's Expository Dictionary or one of the many other word study tools available at your local Christian book store, theological library or within your Bible software. This will add a greater understanding of the ways in which these words are used in scripture.
8. If you have a topical Bible tool this is where you will want to use it to compare what you have discovered with what the author has written concerning the Kingdom.
9. The next group of tools you will want to use are Bible Dictionaries, Bible handbooks and Bible encyclopedias. These will provide greater context historically and theologically. I will recommend which these will be most helpful and some additional resources in the next article.
10. Read the Intertestimental books to discover more about what the Jewish people were expecting concerning the coming of the kingdom of God between the end of the Old testament and the beginning of the New testament.
11. Read the Gospels starting with Matthew to find out first hand what Jesus taught concerning the Kingdom or God or Kingdom of heaven. Remember Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets.
12. Read the rest of the New Testament to see how this teaching was dealt with by the New Testament Church. Even if not mentioned by name look to discover how the rule and reign of God was to be applied in the daily life of the believer.

1. Pray before, during and after your study that God would reveal the truth of His Word to you by His Holy Spirit!
2. Remember take good notes, review your notes after each new step to see what you have learned and how and if it fits together with the rest of what you are discovering.
3. Make room or even a distinct section in your notes for questions, observations, reflections and insights you have as you go through your study.
4. Ask God how to apply the things you are discovering.
5. Keep a record of the prayers you are praying as God reveals the truth about His Kingdom and how to live in it and share it with others as you are move along on your Kingdom quest.
If you will follow the order given above you will have the joy of discovering God's Truth as the Holy Spirit reveals it to you. If you jump ahead to see what others have written you will deprive your self of the revelation you would gain by doing the work yourself.

Along with your study, prayer and meditation you will want to apply what you are learning in day to day life as well as discussing it with other believers.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY for we are pilgrims on the earth.

Heb 11:1010 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. NIV

Heb 11:1616 Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. NIV

Heb 12:26-2826 Then [at Mount Sinai] His voice shook the earth, but now He has given a promise: Yet once more I will shake and make tremble not only the earth but also the [starry] heavens. [Hag 2:6.]
27 Now this expression, Yet once more, indicates the final removal and transformation of all [that can be] shaken — that is, of that which has been created — in order that what cannot be shaken may remain and continue. [Ps 102:26.]
28 Let us therefore, receiving a kingdom that is firm and stable and cannot be shaken, offer to God pleasing service and acceptable worship, with modesty and pious care and godly fear and awe; AMP

By now you will have a good understanding of the usage of king, kingdom, kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven in the Bible. In the following three steps you may want to pick a color for each word and use it to mark your Bible as you read.

Artwork by Graham Braddock