Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Word & Work: Through the Holy Spirit

John 16:14  He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  (ESV)

The Ryken's refer to the Holy Spirit as Jesus' "successor after his departure" (Literary Study Bible, p. 1611). As Jesus declared the word that He received from the Father, so the Holy Spirit declares the word of Jesus to us. So we are dependent on the Holy Spirit who reveals truth (to us) with power as we go out into the world proclaiming the word (v. 20) and work (v. 24) of Jesus [proclaiming and doing the works of the kingdom of God]  (Luke 8:1).

Holy Spirit, revealer of truth, may my ears be attentive to Your word, my spirit sensitive to Your leading. Have mercy on me O God, a sinner. Lord Jesus that I might teach others Your word. Come in power - for apart from You I can do nothing (15:5).

In Jesus' name - Amen,

Friday, December 27, 2013

An Exposition of the Kingdom

Luke 8:10  He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to to others I speak in parables, so that,

'though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.'  (NIV-2011)

What we have here in Luke chapter 8 is an exposition on the Kingdom of God - what does it look like when Jesus goes about "proclaiming and bringing the kingdom of God"? Remember, He is training the twelve (Lk. 8:1, ESV) as He is about to send them out on their own to 'drive out all demons, cure diseases, proclaim the kingdom of God and heal the sick' (Lk. 9:1-2). True followers of Jesus put His words into practice (v. 21). Faith is required to see the kingdom come (v. 25, 48, 50). Testimony is the proper response when you encounter the kingdom - testimony which glorifies God (v. 39).

Some will reject our message. Some will appear zealous at first and then fade away (v. 13). Some will receive our message but never mature due to entanglement with worldly concerns (v. 14). Some will grow and produce fruit - it's an issue of the heart (v. 15). We should not be dismayed or dissuaded/distracted when this happens. Jesus told us ahead of time that this would be so. Brad, proclaim the message of the kingdom (Jesus is King and therefore everything is new) and do the works of the kingdom. It starts with obedience to His word(s) in your own life, "put it into practice" (v. 21) - obedience, simple obedience. Build your life on the rock of His (Jesus') teaching (6:46-48). Faith is a critical element - you're going to have to step out in faith and just trust Him. Testimony, telling others what he has done for you, is the disciple's response when He comes through, when that prayer is answered, when you find your trust was not in vain: "you will be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8)! Obedience, faith, and testimony to His faithfulness - that's it.

God may I be obedient, a man of faith - faithful and full of faith. Brad: "go and tell" (v. 39, 7:22). Holy Spirit build, grow in me a thirst, a longing for obedience - to do what is pleasing in Your eyes Lord and thus be glorified. Be glorified, Lord Jesus. Be glorified in me. Holy Spirit grant me strength and faith to not forget this moment, this conviction. God my Father, create in me a clean heart, a new heart that I might serve You. Bring Your kingdom.

In Jesus' name - Amen, 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Word to Preachers and Teachers

Proverbs 30:5-6 Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found liar.  (ESV)

We like to talk a lot. We've all spent a lot of time reading and studying so we have an abundance of opinions on a multitude of issues - Be careful! Be very careful!!

"Not many of you should become teachers my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness" (Js. 3:1).

Brad, when you stand up to teach the word of God be very, very careful. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb. 10:31). You can serve as His mouthpiece, but don't ever think that you can add anything of value to what God has already said by your cleverness, your smarts, or by diligent hard work. Your opinion is just that - your opinion! But "the word of God is living and active... discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Heb 4:12). The word of God is transformational by it's very nature. My words are, well, just that, my words.

We are his ambassadors! "God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:20).

God I present myself as a living sacrifice. I'm not much, but You are great. You are good and Your mercy endures forever. And it is not Your will that any of these little ones should perish (Mt. 18:14, cf. 2 Pt. 3:9). So Lord Jesus, I am Yours, Your vessel, for Your glory, a clay pot to be formed as You see fit... that in us, all the nations of the earth might be blessed. Come Holy Spirit.

In Jesus' name - Amen,

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Three Things For Mission

John 20:21-22  Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and he said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.  (ESV)

Jesus gives the disciples three things here at what I like to call John's version of the Great Commission. 1) He gave them Peace. They must have been extremely sad, confused and afraid. 2) He gave them a sense of sent-ness, mission - to continue the work of Jesus on earth, from the Father God to the world. 3) He gave them the Holy Spirit "for as yet they did not understand the Scripture that he must rise from the dead" (v. 9). I believe that the disciples were first converted (indwelt) at this moment.

I need these three things if I am going to go on mission. I need the peace that comes only with intimacy with God in the presence of Jesus. Brad, keep pressing in - He's pleased with you. I need to be sent by God. I don't need to create my own mission or dream up my own call. I need to know that I am sent by God for the mission that He has sovereignly created, molded, sanctified and prepared me for. I need the Holy Spirit. I need to believe that He is risen from the dead, Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God and that by believing I have life in His name (v. 31) (ζωὴν - life without end, blessed life that satisfies, eternal life).

God grant me peace. Jesus, Prince of Peace, I desperately need You, Your presence in my life. Here I am, Lord send me! Come Holy Spirit, I am Yours.

In Jesus' name - Amen,

Friday, January 11, 2013


Matthew 10:7  And proclaim as you go, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'  (ESV)

The mission of the twelve is virtually identical with the mission of Jesus. He is training them to do as He does. He is preparing them to continue the mission after His departure. They proclaim the same message, do the same miracles (v. 8), endure similar persecution (v. 18-23), receive the same reception (v. 40).

We are His ambassadors (v. 14-15). Our mission is to continue to do the same works as Jesus (both spiritual and physical). Our reception will be very similar: some will welcome our message others will hate it. Our speech should be Spirit-led (v. 20). We needn't worry much about those who are uninterested (v. 23). Just go, proclaim, do. The mission is urgent. Our goal is to be like Jesus (v. 25). That's why we're called followers!

I am Your mouthpiece. I am unqualified. A simple working-man. But I am sent. Teach me, Lord Jesus, to fear not (v. 31). Teach me to depend on the Spirit. Teach me to accept the same pay as You (v. 8). Teach me to find fulfillment in self denial (v. 39). Teach me to proclaim. Teach me about authority (v. 1). I am Yours: body & soul, mind & strength, spirit. I worship you Jesus as King and present myself as a living sacrifice.

In Your name - Amen,

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Call - Urgent & Irresistible

Matthew 4:19-20  And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him.  (ESV)

Jesus could not have picked two more ordinary men for His first disciples - Peter and Andrew. Two brothers, on a presumably ordinary day. Hard working guys "casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen" (v. 18). Had God been working in their hearts, preparing them for this day, this call? Probably, for we know that Messianic expectations were high, what with John the Baptist and all. And along comes this Rabbi. They left their nets and followed Him. James and John left their father (v. 22). Elsewhere, it says 'they forsook all and followed Him.'

When you have a genuine encounter with Jesus, the call is irresistible. The urgency is immediate (v. 20, 22). He will train them. They will hear Him speak many times (ch. 5-9) and they will see many wonders before He sends them out (10:5f.), but the call to follow Jesus is now! Is He calling you today? I know He is calling me. The draw is strong, almost irresistible (save my stubborn will). The need is urgent, immediate: "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

I will follow. Teach me. Show me. I am Yours. I don't know. That's why I'm the student and You are the teacher. I am the disciple. You are the Rabbi. Come Holy Spirit and fill me with the Spirit of Jesus as I follow. I want to be a diligent learner. Fill me with Your wisdom and discernment to recognize the scripture twisting deceptions of the devil: 'If you were really a Christian...' (cf. v. 6). Empower me Holy Spirit to minister to others. I am Yours. Teach me wisdom, Lord Jesus, I am Yours. I will follow.

In Jesus' name - Amen

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Transforming and Purifying Fire

Matthew 3:11  I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  (ESV)

John's mission was one of preparation, his message one of repentance in anticipation of the coming Messiah. To be sure, repentance is still of central importance in Jesus, but His is a baptism of transformation and a purifying fire. You will never be the same.

Once you encounter Jesus, the old you cannot stand. The Holy Spirit does a powerful work of sanctification: setting apart, purifying. As Pastor Christina said back in October: the Holy Spirit transforms us by truth, conviction, and power. He has made us spotless. There is no condemnation for us who are in Christ Jesus. You will never be the same, once you have a genuine encounter with Jesus. He will baptize (immerse) you in the Spirit and fire!

Come Holy Spirit, fill me. Not only fill me but immerse me, in You. That I know nothing else but Christ and Him crucified. Let Your truth convict me and Your power transform me. Come Lord Jesus, I am Yours. Let Your kingdom come - purify me with fire, consuming fire. Set me apart, for Your glory.

In Jesus' name - Amen,