Sunday, December 26, 2010

The REAL You

Daily reading from Ransomed Hearts ministry.  He says in a different way what I shared God was showing me in my last post.  Check out both!

You are not your sin; sin is no longer the truest thing about the man who has come into union with Jesus. Your heart is good. "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you" (Ezek. 36:26). The Big Lie in the church today is that you are nothing more than "a sinner saved by grace." You are a lot more than that. You are a new creation in Christ. The New Testament calls you a saint, a holy one, a son of God. In the core of your being you are a good man. Yes, there is a war within us, but it is a civil war. The battle is not between us and God; no, there is a traitor within us who wars against our true heart fighting alongside the Spirit of God in us:

A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death . . . Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells . . . if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he'll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus . . . When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. (Rom. 8:2, 9-11 The Message)

The real you is on the side of God against the false self. Knowing this makes all the difference in the world. The man who wants to live valiantly will lose heart quickly if he believes that his heart is nothing but sin. Why fight?

(Wild at Heart, 144-45)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wish List

“If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?”

It’s an interesting thought I’ve recently seen a new side of, this wish list idea of what we would make new about ourselves.  First, I have to back track so you know where I’m coming from.

I’m often not good at making myself read non-fiction books, but I never regret when I do.  I find that the best benefit I get from them is not always the information I read but the thoughts they provoke.  And such is the case when I picked up Blue Like Jazz (Donald Miller).  I just started and can’t even say yet if I would recommend it but there is a particular thought he introduced that began to spiral in my mind.

Miller writes:

“Everyone wants to be fancy and new.  Nobody wants to be himself.  I mean, maybe people want to be themselves, but they want to be different, with different clothes or shorter hair or less fat. It’s a fact.  If there was a guy who just liked being himself and didn’t want to be anybody else, that guy would be the most different guy in the world and everyone would want to be him.”

I immediately thought of a question that we often ask customers in Mary Kay, “If there were one thing you could improve about your skin, what would it be?”

Sure, it’s a selling technique but the truth is we don’t have to prompt people to come up with something.  People already have a wish list and, when we ask, they just pick one thing from this pre-created list.

And when I asked the question at the beginning, did your mind start scrolling through your own wish list?  Or maybe you have several.  Maybe you wondered if I was talking about a change physically, or a personality change, or a character trait, or something different entirely.  Because if you are like me then chances are you have a separate wish list for each different area. 

Miller goes on:

“The whole idea of everybody wanting to be somebody new was an important insight in terms of liking God…

“God said he would make me new.  I can’t pretend for a second that I didn’t want to be made new, that I didn’t want to start again.  I did.”

From there on, my mind just went crazy and that’s when I realized I needed to write, cause I needed to resolve this random tangent.

So, we want to change.  We want to be made new.  Christ wants to (and can) make us new. 

“He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” –Titus 3:5

“And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’” – Revelation 21:5

There are 2 trails this can lead down: the perspective of unsaved people and the perspective of Christians

Briefly on the unsaved, consider if we started sharing the gospel with the understanding of this view point.  I know it would change the way I approach people.  I have what they want!

Now, I’m going to continue on assuming you are a Christian and understand the fact that you already are new in Christ.  We know we can’t continue to be who we used to be.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” – Ephesians 4:22-24

What does this have to do with our wish list?  Well, I think we might just get a new one of those too.  God’s wish list for us doesn’t real match the one we have for ourselves.  Have you ever considered there might be traits you want to change that God actually had a reason for putting in you?

I debated this idea initial when it first came into my head.  I thought, “But we do have a fallen sin nature.  There are aspects of us that need redeemed.”  True, but who we are at our core is EXACTLY who God created us to be.  Let me repeat that, who we are at our core is EXACTLY who God created us to be.  When we want to change that, we’re going against the ultimate design plan of God himself.

Before you think I’m saying we’re perfect (we’re not) and that we don’t have to change anything (see Eph 4:22 above), listen to this.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” – Eph 1:4

“Before the creation of the world…” there was no sin.  It was only after creation that sin entered the world.

I’m no theologian but what I’m thinking is that God’s original design for us was holy and blameless and that at our core, we are designed that way.  My belief is that the enemy can not create, so anything that is in us was designed good.  Sin then came and corrupted that.

“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” – Rom 5:12

Although there may be holes in my logic, here is the conclusion I’ve come too:

When Christ makes us new, he does not change who we are.  Instead, he takes away the sin that has corrupted who we are

So look at your wish list. 

Do you want to change the sin in your life?  Or do you want to change who God has created you to be?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Listen to your heart!

John Eldredge brings a great word once again about our heart.  It touches on a reality deep down we want to believe, but many times are too afraid to believe.  Go ahead, believe it…your heart is good!

“When we set out to hear God's voice, we do not listen as though it will come from somewhere above us or in the room around us. It comes to us from within, from the heart, the dwelling place of God. Now, most of us haven't been trained in this, and it's going to take a little practice "tuning in" to all that's going on in there. And there's a lot going on in there, by the way. Many things are trying to play upon the beautiful instrument of the heart. Advertisers are constantly trying to pull on your heartstrings. So is your boss. The devil is a master at manipulating the heart. So are many people-though they would never admit that is what they are doing. How will you know what is compelling you? "Who can map out the various forces at play in one soul?" asked Augustine, a man who was the first to write out the story of listening to his heart. "Man is a great depth, O Lord . . . but the hairs of his head are easier by far to count than . . . the movements of his heart."

This can be distressing at times. All sorts of awful things can seem to issue from your heart-anger, lust, fear, petty jealousies. If you think it's you, a reflection of what's really going on in your heart, it will disable you. It could stop your journey dead in its tracks. What you've encountered is either the voice of your flesh or an attempt of the Enemy to distress you by throwing all sorts of thoughts your way and blaming you for it. You must proceed on this assumption: your heart is good.”

From Daily Readings (Waking the Dead, 105-6)

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

ATX Awakening


We’re seeing Him.  We’re hearing Him.  We’re obeying Him. 

The last couple of days have been quite an exciting journey among a crew of young folk here at ONEchapel.  Sunday night launched a call for 7 days for prayer and prophecy among the group and things have been shaking!  For the last 4 nights there has been some sort of meeting among brothers and sisters and God has been glorified.  It is just the beginning…

    • Sunday-prayer and prophecy at the office.
    • Monday-meeting with other believers in the city to hear God speak through Bill Johnson
    • Tuesday-prayer and prophecy over a family in the church
    • Wednesday-weekly prayer meeting for the ONEchapel family
    • Thursday- TBA

It’s exciting to think that what is beginning in our baby church is going to impact the city and maybe even the nation!  It has been said that there is a revival starting here.  I believe it but I also want to give credit where it is due.  We aren’t the first to have asked for this or cried out for the city of Austin.  There have been intercessors here for decades on their faces praying for this place.  There has been work among the already established churches to soften the ground.  There have been warriors that have risen up to fight for our city.  And now we join their efforts. 

All that said, I know what is happening among us is hugely significant for the Spirit to be loosed on this place!  Yes, it is about more than us, but we are also a formidable force as we wage war for hearts in Austin.

To be less ambiguous, here are some of the fruit we’ve seen already in just this week: encouragement, joy, peace, refreshing, healing (there are stories!), direction for life, revelation of the Father heart of God, love, camaraderie, new tongues, and more!

That’s exciting!  Now, here’s something that God’s put on my heart that excites me even more: the fruit that is yet to come!!!!!

I’m believing for: salvations, the orphan put in homes, homeless getting jobs, addictions of alcoholism, drugs, sex, and other bondages being broken, people freed of demons, the bars of 6th St being turned in to houses of missions and hope, open visions of heaven, awakening from the spirit of passivity, purpose for every family in the church, greater revelation of God’s heart of love, all the fruit of the Spirit being manefest (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control), God’s glory being manifest in a powerful and tangible way.  That’s just a start!

As Pastor Ross said, close your eyes and picture what it looks like for the Spirit to be poured out on the city.  What do you see?  What does it look like?  What changes?