Posts tagged ‘breaking’

A Return to Self

I think that I need to get back to blogging at least semi-regularly. Too much happens in my brain when I don’t do it like I should. I’ve been thinking here lately about the difference between my former self and my present self. When I preached my first sermon, the Pastor of the church that I was attending had just left. That left me to serve alongside two Associate Pastors. i think the problem with this was that I became arrogant. it was my home church, and I really felt like I could do no wrong. While preaching was still new to me, and I felt a deep awe that God would choose to use me as He did, I can also see clearly where pride began to work it’s way into me, because there was no one there to check me, and hold me in line for accountability purposes. When I felt God move us into my wife’s church, shortly after we got married, I was joined in ministry by several young men of the same age who were on fire for God. These guys mentored me in the ways of the Holy Spirit, and together, we felt like the Avengers- super-powered Saints in the pulpit with a license to speak what we felt the truth of the Gospel was, even though we had not experienced much of it ourselves. Pride.

Back in those days, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was headed for spiritual stardom. I saw a church in my future with thousands of members. I was going to be the next, young BIG thing in ministry. Sure to be an authoring, cd-releasing, fireball of a preacher and Pastor. That is where I was headed, and no one could convince me any differently. I even had nicknamed myself the “Rainbow Reverend”, because I wanted to have suits in every color of the rainbow, much like my then idol, T.D. Jakes. I was a TBN junkie back in those days, of course. Pride.

I was sure that I always had a word from the Lord, and I was unafraid to give it. Truth be told, most times God had really given me relevant words of wisdom and knowledge for people, but I can see so much arrogance in my life. I laugh at it now. I laugh at it now, because it is 10 years later and I am not the man that I thought I would be. I’m not doing what I thought I would be doing. In actuality, whereas 10 years ago I was a young, arrogant minister, now I look in the mirror and don’t know exactly what I see. Back then, i was sure of myself…even while I had no idea what areas of ministry God desired me to work in. Now, I’m as unsure of myself as I have ever been in ministry. I question everything. I question my calling. I question my purpose. I question if I’m right about anything that I do. I sometimes feel afraid to move when I know God is wanting me to move. I don’t take risks. Now, this is a constant over the course of my life as I have seen it. I was never taught that there were good risks. I was taught that risks weren’t worth it in general. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? The only thing I know for sure these days, most days, is that I love God more than ever, and just want to serve in His church however He allows me to.

What I know is that there needs to be a balance. I need to find elements of the young man, but temper him with the wisdom of experiences of the man who has battle scars to back up every word God allows me to speak, when the need arises. I know that I can’t be afraid. I know that I need to take risks. I know that I need to believe in myself again. God believes in me. I’m surrounded by people who believe in me, and there is something in me. I feel it there.

It is time for me to quit focusing on finding aspects of others to emulate, and instead find the parts of me that need to be cultivated and grown so that instead of being a carbon copy amalgamation of others, I can finally be comfortable being the individual me. I am convinced that this is where God is taking me- down a painful road of self discovery again. God is telling me that it is an insult for me to think so lowly of someone He thought so highly enough of to create and die for.

Pride. Arrogance. Brokenness. Uncertainty. Self-doubt. Identity Crises. Rebirth?

I understand that it is not popular for those in ministry to be this transparent, but I assure you that you can’t question me anymore that I already question myself. All I can be is who I am, and hope that others learn from me how not to repeat my mistakes and life experiences. Be better, and then some. I know I plan on being better. The best, ever.

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Breaking New Ground: Do You Know God’s Greatest Desire?

1. God made me from Him- in Genesis we see that God created some things and made others. He creates things from nothing. He makes things from something. He created the heavens and the earth. He made man.

Gen 1:11- and God said let the earth bring forth grass….and it was so.
Gen 1:20- and God said let the waters abound with an abundance of creatures…and let the earth bring forth every living creature..

God calls things out of something, sustains it by that thing, and returns it to that thing when it dies. He called the beasts of the field out if the earth, he feeds them from earth, and returns them to the earth.

Gen 1:26- -let us make man in our own image, according to our likeness.

We came from God, we are sustained by God, and will be returned to God. Our bodies were formed from the earth, and will return to the earth, but God gave us our spirits. So when we die, our spirits return to God.

Separation from what sustains us leads to death. When trees are uprooted by the ground, they die. When we separate ourselves from our sustaining God, we die. He is our nourishment, our pruner, molder, and life giver. We can never be solo.

Eph 2:1- and you, He made alive, who were dead in our trespass and sin..
John 10:10- their comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.

When we stay connected to God, He continues breathing that same breath of life into us.

2. God made me like Him.

Gen 2:20- so God gave names to all the cattle, birds, and beasts, but for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. Then the rib which The Lord had taken from man, He made into a woman….and He brought her to the man.

God knew the desire of Adams heart was to have a companion. That’s what was missing in his life. God knew this because He created us to be His Bride! The symbolism of Eve is that she represents the companion that we were created to be for God.

He created us with free will, not as robots. Therefore when we willingly come to God, it melts His heart.

3. God made me to love Him.

Satan wants our worship. God wants our love.

Jer 24:7- then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am The Lord; and they shall be my people and I will be there God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.

Christianity is a life sustaining relationship where we choose to love God freely. If we passionately go after God, He will passionately come after us!

Breaking New Ground: Time to do Something!

James 2:14- what good is it to say you have faith, but don’t show any actions? What good does it do?….some may argue that some have faith and some have good deed…..I will show you my faith BY my good deeds. Can’t you see that faith without works is dead? You say you believe in God? Good for you, even demons believe this and they tremble. Don’t you remember that father Abraham was shown right with God by his actions when he offered his son on the altar. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the scriptures say: Abraham believed God and God counted it to him as righteousness. He was even called a friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, and not by faith alone. Just as the body is dead without breath, so faith is dead without good works.

-Just believing that God exists does nothing for my day to day life!- anyone can wear a t shirt or have a bumper sticker. That means nothing at all!

-James says we must do something about it!

-the reason we aren’t breaking new ground is not because we don’t want it, but because we aren’t doing anything about it!

James is challenging us to not stop at proclaiming. He is pushing us to put action behind the proclamation.

-there is no divine intervention unit here is human exhaustion. We must do all we can do, then God will do all that He can do.

-God won’t get involved until we get involved.

-in the Bible, we see that God starts out almost every miracle with instructions first.
–examples: water to wine miracle, Lazarus’ resurrection, -in each case, people had a role to play in the miracle.

-God won’t do what we don’t wanna do.

-we need to access the areas of our lives that need to change and do what He says to do.

-stop wrestling with regret and learn from it to start doing your part now! Regret should bring us to repentance and teach us a lesson we don’t want to repeat. But then we must move on. We aren’t called to live with regret for the rest of our lives. Nobody can unlock our chains of regret but us. God has forgiven us if we have asked. We need to open the door and walk out of the cell. We can’t live our past everyday. Let the regret go! Move forward.

Joel 2:25- so I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten. – God can restore what was lost. He can do more in one year than the enemy can do in 10! When we make the decision to change and move forward,

BNG: Growing New Perspectives

Someone that I look up to as a mentor urged me to really try to blog more often, because it helps with spiritual growth to be transparent and talk about what God is doing in lives.  I really enjoy blogging. I just have to have something to blog about. Lol. I do now. And I hope my Pastor doesn’t get too mad at me for adding to his sermon series. Just seemed to fit. Any members of my church woul read this, this is not from any message Pastor Gene has preached. These are just my own thoughts.

 

All of my life, I have struggled with so many things dealing with my identity. I regret to say that I have been jealous at times of others who I interpret as being further along in their purpose than I am. I’ve been resentful at both man and God for presumed slights against me, for overlooking my own presupposed giftedness. I’ve used the fact that I know God has called me into the pastorate to harbor ill feelings and feel looked over., completely overlooking the fact that God’s path for me is completely independent of what He does in someone else. Not painting a pretty picture of myself am I? And this is the me that I see when I look in the mirror. Much of how I move through the world is based on aspects of this personality deficiency.  Even when it comes to spiritual gifts, I often haven’t been honest about my own, and embraced them. So, as you can imagine, for much of my life I have struggled with an identity crisis of sorts. Not that I don’t know what God says about me, but I’ve struggled accepting where I am versus where I think that I should be. I know that I’m not the only one out there who struggles with this. For much of my life, I have harbored dreams of being someone important, without being sure what a person of importance really is, has to sacrifice, and is responsible for.

 

What I am understanding now, though is that I have thought about things wrong all of my life. I’ve ministered to people about recognizing their worth in God, but disregarded that same wisdom for my own life. Let me give you an example. Ephesians 4:11 is a very well known verse. It says that when Christ ascended, he left gifts to men for the equipping of the church and to build up the body of Christ.  When I was younger, I thought that the order in which they were listed indicated their rank of importance. So when I would complete those gift surveys, and mine would come out as Pastor/Teacher, I would change answers to try and fit what I thought were higher offices. Perhaps, not esteeming what God holds as important is a reason why I’m just now submitting to His will for me to teach. The thing is, God did not give us these gifts to lord them over one another. The 5 fold ministry gifts were given to build a winning team in which each office needs the other to do its job effectively. One is no more important than the other. I see that now. Even in the church, everyone is on equal footing. The Pastor may preach in front of everyone, but he or she gets the least face time with the congregation. It’s the greeters, ushers, and congregation that makes the most difference in whether people feel welcomed enough to receive the word. It’s a total team effort.

 

Another area where God is really dealing with me is in the area of pastoring. I’ve come to the conclusion that while God has called me into that area, my primary pulpit will not be in a church setting. It’s been a hard chain to break in my life. Parts of me have felt that if I did not have a traditional pastorate, then I had failed God. Isn’t it funny how things sneak into our lives about Godly purpose that have no Godly relevance at all? Again, God is working on me daily about my perspectives and mission. My “church” will be the students in my classroom who see me everyday. My pulpit will be my interactions with them. My sermons will be my actions towards them and others that show God’s love on a daily basis. In just my short time being in schools as a sub and library aide, I see so many children who just need to be loved. And God has had to break down my walls about this, because for so long I was just rigid, not allowing God to be creative in my life. I wanted the status quo, because that is what I had been conditioned to desire. But while, I will preach in church from time to time, I will be ministering to these students everyday, children whom God loves with a stronger love than I could ever imagine.  It’s humbling that God is equipping me to do this hard work.  What has God called you to do, and are you allowing Him to be as creative with His calling as He wants to be?

 

So here is what I’m getting at; it is easy for us to become disillusioned with life, and with our identities. It is easy for us to spout Biblical truths to others when we know the Bible. It is easy for us to live lives that have absolutely no relevance in our own minds. What I am learning daily is that my life is not about me. It’s not about what I think about myself. It’s not about where I want to see myself. It’s not about how important I want to be.  And even with my self- esteem issues, I realize that when I focus on how far I am from where I want to be, I’m still being arrogant. I’m still being prideful by willfully focusing only on myself when there is a God in heaven who has His own thoughts about me. I really hope that you’re getting what I am trying to get across. Our lives should be daily testaments. We should trust what God says about us, and believe Him when He says it. We have to quit holding ourselves to a standard that God has not set for our lives. Our hopes, dreams, wants for the future, etc, are nothing compared to God’s dreams and will. And if we will be still long enough to hear from God, I believe that the same things that God is pulling out of me are things that He wants to eradicate from His church as a whole.

 

Don’t be like me and allow yourselves to become corrupted by your own dreams and expectations. Free yourself in Jesus’ name, and ask God to help you see yourself as He sees you, that He will help you dream His dreams about you. Ask Him to help you see through His eyes, the work that He wants to do through you. He will begin breaking down walls in your life, and He will break new ground, thus growing more fruit for others to partake of and see His glory.  A big part of God breaking new ground in our lives is building a new perspective in our hearts.  As we stay in His presence, this perspective will become who we are and how we live.

 

On the flip side, maybe none of this is you. If not, I praise God for who He has made you! I just pray that you will be open to God moving in you to help others who aren’t like you. The body of Christ is made up of all kinds. We have to help one another become all that God desires for us to be. So that is your charge!

 

Be blessed, family!

 

 

Breaking New Ground: it’s time to leave

Genesis 12:1-3- now The Lord had said to Abram: ” get out of your country, from your family,…..and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”

Here God tells a that He wants us to be a great nation. This promise extends to us today. He wants us to be great. But many times we don’t get there, because we curse the things He calls blessed.

There are three things required before we can become a great nation:

1. Come out from your country-you have to take off the barriers that society has put on you and break free.

2. Come out from your family- certain family names automatically put you into a class or status. Break free from what your family is supposed to be. Realize that when we cross over into Christ, our bloodlines change. We become royalty. We are no longer limited by who our family is or is not.

3. Come out from your father’s house. -we can no longer live according to generational curses. We have the power in Christ to break every curse and chain that has been passed down. We have a new bloodline.

We can do all things because of who our Father is! There are no more barriers.

Genesis 3:14-15- so God said to the serpent, “because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle…..and you shall bruise his heel.”

God already had the plan worked out, even before Adam and Eve sinned.

God said that He would put hostility between woman and the snake. Women are so much more spiritually aggressive than men because of this. They stand ready to fight at a momemt’s notice.

Every plan of God begins with a promise.

Gen 1:26- let is make man in OUR image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over all the earth”

When we are born again, we are born in the image of our God.

Galatians 4;1-5- but then the right time came, God sent His Son ……and since you are his child, God has made you His heir.

This means that we can inherit all of the good things that God has promised us. We are heirs of God, created in His image. It’s time for us to stand like it, live like it. Man up and step up!!!

Philippians 3:20- for our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we also eagerly await the savior, Jesus Christ.

Spiritually, we are citizens of heaven. Though we live on earth, we belong to heaven.

We have to know who we are in Christ. Take the limits off! You are the only person stopping you from being all that God has for you.

Breaking New Ground: Is Your Soul Pregnant?

Spirit- redeemed at salvation
Soul- In process of redemption
Body- redeemed in Heaven

Gal 5;16-17- walk in the spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Your flesh will always try to lead you against God. The Spirit does the opposite. This is a never ending conflict. We can never stop fighting.

-Just because I have wrong feeling doesn’t mean I’m bad, because the flesh will always desire the old habits and things. I have to realize this and fight against them. We often condemn ourselves because of what we think. As a Christian, our job is to take those feelings and place the under subjection to God. Take captive ever bad thought to the Spirit of God. We have the power. W have to do it.

-We try to justify our flesh. We compare how we think that we are doing in our flesh as opposed to another time. This makes us callous and ignorant to our true condition. Many times we don’t allow our everyday sin to bother us. If sin in our live doesn’t bother us, we have allowed ourselves to be ruled by our flesh.

James 1:18-21- of his own will, he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might b. kind of first fruits of his creatures. So then, my bellowed brethren, be swift to hear…..therefore Lu aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word

-God will always impregnate me first, then give me the baby later. It doesn’t happen right away. You receive the word first, then see the fruit later. Our problem is that we want to hold the baby without going through the pain and trials of the pregnancy. We don’t wanna understand the hardships that come along with the process. We give up way to easily.

-How do we get pregnant? By the word of God sticking to our spirits. God wants to impregnate us o that he can bring forth fruit.

Heb1:3- whatever God speaks, He upholds it by His power.

Gen 1:3 God said let there be light…day 1
Gen 1:16- God made 2 great lights

Th first words that God spoke are still being upheld by His power.

-if God spoke something to my spirit, IT’S STILL ON!!!!

Breaking New Ground: Do You Shut the Door on Your Flesh?

We all have issues that we struggle with. We all have at least one thing that we struggle with, but struggles are a good sign. It means that our spirit is battling with the thing that God wants to get out of our lives. God has already revealed his direction or my life, so when there is struggle, it is god bringing alignment back to our lives. The danger is in saying that we don’t have a struggle. We should have struggles!!!

What better place to admit our struggles than in church. Too many times we try to act like we are super Christians. We always have things that will need to be aligned. If we aren’t careful, our flesh will rule us.

Have you ever rebuke the devil and he didn’t flee? In that case, is it the devil or my flesh? The word says that if we rebuke the devil, he must flee. So if we still struggle, it’s our flesh. By managing our flesh, we can have the abundant life.

My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, so we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. It’s hard. But it is also what is required of us.

Gal 5:16-18- I say then, walk in the spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Of the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. And these things are so tarry to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish….

Your flesh and spirit hate each other! They are completely unaligned.

Gal 5:19-21- when you follow the desire of your flesh, the results are very clear; sexual immorality, impurity, lustful,pleasure, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again…..anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Verse 19- sexual sins
Verse 20-21 sins of rebellion

Notice that it didn’t say that the people who struggle with this will not make it to heaven. It just means that when we let our flesh rule us, it takes us out of Gods will. We can’t be blessed when we allow our flesh to rule our lives like this. Quit blaming it on a demon and take personal accountability.

Eph 4:1- therefore I….beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God!

Fight your flesh! Live a life worthy of God’s kingdom. Act like it. Speak like it. Serve like it.

Spirit- already redeemed
Soul- being renewed as my mind is renewed
Body- not redeemed until Christ returns

Rom 13:14- put on The Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lust.