Friday, April 4, 2014

Wisdom & Strength

We just wrapped up our Equipped 2014 conference presented by Covenant Life Ministries and hosted by New Covenant Church. God’s presence was incredible, the speakers were amazing and getting to catch up with old friends from around the globe was great. The theme this year was Re-Generational. We are totally aware that it’s not a real word but it is a powerful concept. To realize that God, not to mention 2000 years’ worth of faithful men & women, have passed the baton on to us is humbling. To understand that we have the responsibility of preparing the next generation to carry on the cause is sobering.

We must finish well. In order to do that we must live and work for something bigger than ourselves. We must realize that true success cannot occur without a successor. I’m not talking about passing along an organization or a position - not to say those are necessarily bad things. What I mean is that we must equip people to lead and then empower them to do so. Jesus is still building His church, day by day, year by year and generation by generation.

There are so many sad stories in the Scriptures about one generation failing the next - Eli & his sons, Samuel and his sons, Solomon and Rehoboam and the list goes on. The entire book of Judges is like Bill Murray in ‘Groundhog Day’ - History repeating itself over and over. Every time God raised up a judge the people would repent and then the judge dies and the pandelerium ensues. So tragic and so unnecessary!

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” - Malachi 4:5-6 (NIV)

Generations must learn to cooperate and not to just tolerate one another. We must truly love and value each other because every generation has something of value to offer. What could we accomplish if we married the wisdom of one generation with the energy the next? Or the creativity of a teenager and the perspective of a senior? We would be unstoppable!

One generation thinks the music is too loud and another wants to crank it up. One grew up holding hymn books and another with projection screens. One remembers the stained glass and another wants LED lights and fog machines. At the end of the day what really matters is that we all have something to offer and we need each other to achieve our common calling. It’s something the Apostle Paul understood -

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” - 2 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV)

Hopefully we get it too, and sooner rather than later. We need to pass the baton, not the buck - and that applies to the young, the wise and those of us somewhere in between.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Alternate Reality

This past weekend we had an incredible worship event at our Clayton Campus called Ignite. We spent about an hour just soaking in God’s presence and I believe that worship is a rich environment in which to hear the voice of the Lord. That evening I sensed that people had allowed their situations to redefine their reality instead of trusting God at His word. We’ll get back to that in a moment but for now I want to share a passage of Scripture with you.

“As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”; and their sight was restored.” - Matthew 9:27-30a (NIV)

Many of us have walked through an extended season of challenges. Maybe it’s an illness, or a grown child who has lost their way or perhaps you were looking forward to retirement until the economy took a nosedive. Anyway as the days turned to weeks and the weeks to years we have accepted our current circumstances as our new fate. Remember that Psalm 23 says God takes us ‘through’ not ‘to’ the valley of the shadow of death. Don’t get me wrong, God rewards faithfulness. It’s not like we’ve given up and quit on God, but we’ve lost sight of the calm waters and green pastures that are waiting for us on the other side. We’ve pushed God’s blessing off into eternity because it’s safer that way. We wouldn’t want to get our hopes up after all!


Let me make one thing clear - Jesus healed these two guys THIS SIDE of heaven! And He did it according to their faith not His. So what do you believe God is able to do? Seriously. Can He heal you? Can He reach your lost loved one? Can He provide for you abundantly in spite of the economy? A good friend of mine once told me that, “Faith isn’t denying the facts. It is demanding that they submit themselves to God’s truth.” Don’t settle for any less than God’s absolute best for you. Don’t let the world, the devil or any situation determine your reality. It’s time to get your hopes up again!

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