April 18, 2011

Come and See

Romans 10:14-15  But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed [in Whom they have no faith, on Whom they have no reliance]? And how are they to believe in Him [adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him] of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?  And how can men [be expected to] preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings! [How welcome is the coming of those who preach the good news of His good things!]

I read that passage first thing this morning and thought of an old song by Bob Bennett "Come and See".    

 "Come and SEE a man from Heaven!!!  Come and see, and hear Him speak.  He has seen the face of God.  Come and see this Jesus of Nazareth!  Come and see the One that we have heard of all our lives.  A voice crying in the wilderness.  A voice from the sky loud and clear.   A still, small voice deep inside......and a voice still ringing in my ear......"FOLLOW ME.  And I will show you my Father.  Follow me and you will see the Heavens open wide.   Come and see this Man from Heaven....Oh!  Could it be?  That we will see the face of God!"

Then I began to think of the countless times I've read in scripture about people who just could NOT stay quiet about the One they came to KNOW, see and EXPERIENCE first hand. 

The Samaritan woman!  She had an encounter with Jesus at the well...and LEAVING her jar there.....ran home to tell anyone who would listen,   "Come and see this Man!!  Could it be the Messiah?  The One we've heard about?"

 We HAVE experienced intimately, personally, FIRST hand that HOPE and JOY and PEACE and LOVE.  None of these things can the world offer!

We HAVE come to Him and we have SEEN........and now......we must GO.  

Mark 16:15   He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel [good news].

It IS good news!  It is the GREATEST story ever TOLD....and we need to be DESPERATE!......ANXIOUS!.....EXCITED!  to share it!!!  and UNASHAMEDLY AND PROUDLY PROCLAIM (with this "I-JUST-GOTTA-TELL-SOMEBODY" feeling in your gut).............. "Come....and SEE!"

There is a song by Matt Redman and part of the lyrics are, "It's the overflow of the forgiven soul.  Now we've seen you God and our hearts cannot stay silent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Live life outLOUD....deliberately....and on purpose!   

Lord.....send ME. 
I will GO. 

Will YOU?


April 13, 2011

Peter....let me tell you who you REALLY are

Jesus laid out for Peter his future.....in ONE sentence......And now I'm going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.  (Matthew 16)

Now that's a promising future!
If only it were that easy to know the GREAT things that lie ahead-------and step effortlessly right into your destiny.  

.............but there is a battle beyond what we can see with our eyes.  There is a war being fought against the Kingdom of God.  There is an enemy who purposes to steal kill and destroy.  Putting us under a barrage of attacks with confusion, lies, discouragement....frustrating our well intentioned efforts to keep our focus on what it is we are here for.  The very purposes we were created for. 

We are here----for such a time as THIS.  Each of us have a purpose to fulfill.  

There is something unique about YOU that God needs to advance His Kingdom. 
(For I know the plans I have for you.....Jeremiah 29:11)  When God created you He knew EXACTLY what He was creating you for.....your steps were ordered from the beginning.

Peter has quite a calling.  Jesus called Peter a ROCK.  And also prophesied that He would build His church upon that rock....a church so expansive with energy that Hell could not prevail against it!  Wow now that's a promising future!!!!!!!!

......................the devil might as well pack it up.  That's a pretty definite promise.  NOTHING could stop Peter.  No weapon formed against him will prosper.  Satan and all his demonic forces were no match for what God was going to do through Peter.  

If you look ahead though.....it didn't come without opposition.
In Luke 22 Jesus says to Peter   "Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain,
    But I have prayed especially for you [Peter], that your [own] faith may not fail; and when you yourself have turned again, strengthen and establish your brethren."

Not only THAT----but THEN Jesus tells him that when faced with an opportunity to he will deny he even KNEW Jesus.  

Peter has walked with Jesus throughout his ministry.  He's formed an intimate relationship with Jesus.  He's seen the miracles and heard Him preach.   Peter is shocked that Jesus would say such a thing....."Not ME Lord!  I could NEVER..............."

We all know that when he was confronted and denied He knew Jesus.
If you can imagine how Peter felt in that moment. 

Here's what I want to point out to you though.
I've heard this story a million times.   Hearing it as a child my response was always SHOCK.  "PETER denied Jesus after walking so intimately with him?"
But if you look at the bigger picture and step back and see it through GOD'S eyes......Peter has a destiny and a purpose that HE IS GOING TO FULFILL.  So what?.......... he failed.
There's grace for that.
And if he would have let it----it could have become the end of him.  He could have gotten discouraged, felt sorry for himself and just watched it all happen from the sidelines instead of playing his part in the building of the church. 
(The gifts and callings of God are without repentance.  What He purposed to do WILL STAND.  And He will sustain us and KEEP us and if need be PICK US BACK UP again when we have fallen and bring it all to a *FLOURISHING FINISH* and accomplish all He wants to do in our lives.)

But there is an enemy who wants to frustrate the plans of God.
And if we're not careful to see the bigger picture.....when satan sets out to frustrate our dreams?  We can become discouraged and hopeless and forget that THERE IS A GREATER PURPOSE AND REASON FOR WHY WE ARE HERE................and we need to put all our hope in the Truth that God will keep us and sustain us.  

God has things for us to do.
The setbacks should not keep us from them......but propel us FORWARD.....more determined.....*SET YOUR FACE LIKE FLINT*.   And when the enemy tries to frustrate you and discourage you.....dig your feet into the ground, grit your teeth and refuse to be shaken.  STAND YOUR GROUND! ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and Keep a Kingdom focus!

April 10, 2011

Resurrection Redemption Restoration and Fixing What’s Broken

Jesus came that we may have (and ENJOY) *LIFE* and have it abundantly… to the full…..filled to the brim till it overflows. John 10:10
Living life ABUNDANTLY.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Life is meant to be enjoyed…..not endured.
It doesn’t matter if it’s broken…….or if YOU are broken.  He asks us to come JUST as we are…….at any given moment.  In whatever state we find ourselves or our circumstances.  To run----not hesitate-----but RUN to Him.    

Because you see?  The Author of Life Himself is into making something exquisitely beautiful out of nothing....creating BEAUTY from ashes.  He can do that.  

All around us is evidence of CREATION.  LIFE.  RESTORATION.

Spring from a cold dark Winter and all of LIFE that comes with it.  Babies being born.  Caterpillars wrapping themselves up and emerging as beautiful and colorful butterflies. 

Creation constantly renewing itself.

 He created it all from nothing.  He can resurrect what is void of any evidence of life and make it VIBRANTLY alive.
 You can be confident in this:  You will see the goodness of the LORD
   in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart
   and wait for the LORD.  Psalm 27:13-14

...............……things are still unfolding.  Life is coming.

 “The world is full of resurrections. Every night that folds us up in darkness is a death; and those of you who have been out early and have seen the first of the dawn will know it-the day rises out of the night like a being that has burst its tomb and escaped into life”  - George MacDonald

This is an excerpt from an article I recently read that speaks to all of these things…………………………………….."There cannot be a resurrection unless there is first a death.  In light of Christ’s promise to make us a new, this is a scary thought, even scarier if it’s true that He didn’t just make us new once, but continues to make us new with every breath we takeThis means that life in Christ is as much about death as resurrection…………………….If God is telling a story, and the main character of that story is Christ, then the theme of the story is resurrection.  God is in the business of fixing what’s broken.  He makes all things new. 


So when I find that life conspires to frustrate me, to wear me down, to break me,----even to kill me-----I shouldn’t be surprised.  It’s right that I should lament, that this suffering should bring sorrow.  But in the end we will give thanks..........

because the Author of the story is Love Himself.
And love is a good thing, all evidence to the contrary.”  -Andrew Peterson (an excerpt from his article “Fixing What’s Broken” in HomeLife magazine)

It’s not the end.
...........................................It’s a beginning. 

Because of resurrection HOPE.   
Because of redeeming LOVE.  
Because of restoration LIFE.   
And the Author of it all.

Nichole Nordeman-Every Season

Every evening sky, an invitation
To trace the patterned stars
And early in July, a celebration
For freedom that is ours
And I notice You
In children’s games
In those who watch them from the shade
Every drop of sun is full of fun and wonder
You are summer
And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice You when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and was to come
You are autumn
And everything in time and under heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white, all creation
Shivers underneath
And still I notice you
When branches crack
And in my breath on frosted glass
Even now in death, You open doors for life to enter
You are winter
And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
What was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with You
And how You make me new
With every season’s change
And so it will be
As You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring

April 6, 2011

Christ's love compels us......................

I cannot TELL you how many times I've heard those words over the last few weeks.
And I heard it again yesterday---TWICE.

Christ's love compels us...............2 Corinthians 5:14

It compels me....motivates me.....urges me.
Compel means to exert a strong irresistible force.  To overpower. 
It is now necessary and of utmost importance for me--------

Once we have experienced the sacrificial and perfect love of Jesus for ourselves........there will be no greater calling we have than to share that love.  To give it away.   Freely.  Enthusiastically.  Passionately.  Eagerly.  There should be a anxiousness in our spirits that everyone should experience that same Amazing Grace....that same passionate love.  The Hope that comes from knowing the Truth.
It's that LOVE that compels us.  That compassion. 

I was walking at the park one day listening to my music.  I wasn't really paying attention to any of the lyrics because I was lost in my thoughts.....and through my thoughts -loud and clear- I heard one line in particular that caused me to stop walking.

"Now that I see You ....I know Your love commands my soul."

...............and then I came to the end of the song.........."Open your eyes...and tell everyone."

Now that I have heard and have seen and have experienced.....there's no greater purpose I have than to share it.  Nothing could compel me more.....than the love I have experienced. 
I remember looking up that day and the sky was so blue and clear and I had tears running down my face because I realized that what I have seen is ENOUGH to compel me to GO....and tell everyone.  (Mark 16:15)

Now that we have seen Him and KNOW Him.........that love.....all that we have experienced.....it commands our souls.   It calls us.  And if what you have seen and experienced is not compelling you then maybe you need to SEE Him in a way you've never seen Him before.  Because I will tell you..............................there is no greater love.  What He did....for me.  Seeing Him.

And now it is necessary for me to be His voice.  His hands.  His feet.  And GO.
Wherever it is I find myself-----to be a light.  That my life shows evidence of a God who gave it all.  It certainly should change the way we look at people. They are no different than me.  In need of a Savior.  In need of grace.  In need of hope.  Just needing to know a LOVE that won't let them down.  How will they know----how will THEY see-----unless we tell them?
And now that WE have seen.....and know-------Christ's love compels us.

How are we spending our time?!?!?!?  What are we DOING!?!??!
Oh, God open our eyes to see beyond----to what we are missing!
To see what you see!  Make our hearts ache with the same compassion and mercy that
put Jesus on that cross and give us the boldness and courage to make it a priority
to share the Greatest Story Ever Told!

2 Corinthians 5:14-15  For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Open Your Eyes-Desperation Band

I see You hanging there.  Blood stained and freedom in Your hands.
I see amazing grace.  Agony and passion on Your face.

Now that I see You I know Your love commands my soul.
Now that I know You I see....there's No One else for me.

I see you standing here....Scarred hands of hope have been revealed.
I see you took my place.......What was meant for me has been erased.

Open your eyes!!! look to the skies. 
The King of love. The King of Heaven.

Tell everyone.  Your daughters and sons.
The King of Love.  The King of Heaven.