Contend for the Supernatural: Don’t Leave Home Without It.

For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient—in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.  (Romans 15:18-19 NKJV)

Just as Luke said Jesus began to teach and do, Paul says that His ministry included both words and deeds.  He then defines the “deeds” as being mighty signs and wonders that came by the power of the Spirit of God.  The world we live in is no more “spiritual” than the one Paul was in.  They need more than a nifty message in order to engage with Jesus.  I believe that is why Jesus told His disciples not to leave Jerusalem until they received what He called being “baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Signs That Make You Wonder

For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. (1 Thessalonians 1:5 NKJV)

Choosing Better Celebrities

So I’m sitting at a stop light and I see this sign: “Celebrity Tanning.”  Now you must understand, when I was a kid, a suntan was not obtained in a salon.  It was the outcome of working and playing outdoors.  My first take on this sign had no suntan involved..  Celebrity Tanning, to me, had to mean one of two things.  First, it might mean making leather out of their hides.  In a pretty direct linguistic segue, it could also mean whoopin’ them real good, from the parental injunction, “If you don’t stop that, I’m gonna tan your hide.”

Now, let me be clear.  I am not really in favor of skinnin’ celebrities, or even whoopin’ ’em, though there are a few I believe could benefit greatly from the latter. What bothers me is the notion in our culture that when someone achieves celebrity status it means they have generalized wisdom on all subjects.  Some celebs think that because they can dance, pretend to be somebody else (act), or sing a little bit they have the right to pontificate on the ills of society and what the rest of us ought to be doing about them.  The only thing sillier is that  we listen to them!

If we are going to pay attention to what they say, then we definitely need to choose our celebrities more carefully. According to Webster, a “celebrity” is a famous or celebrated person.  So maybe the problem is in what kind of people we choose to celebrate.  What if we decided to celebrate honest people?  How about hard-working people?  Maybe a TV show to extoll the virtues of loyalty and fidelity. I’m thinking a reality show about self-sacrifice and kindness.

New resolution: I am not going to listen to someone’s opinion because they can run fast, jump high, pick a guitar, or even spin a good yarn from the pulpit.  I will choose who I listen to based on how they live their lives.  That kind of celebrity will not need tanning.

Revive the Tithe: Mark the Victory

Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.  (Genesis 14:19-20 NLT)

The first time the tithe is mentioned by name is in the story of Abraham’s victory over the kings who kidnapped Lot from Sodom.  He brought a tithe of all to the mysterious Melchizedek.  Our New Covenant priest is not a Levite, as under the Law, but from the order of this guy, who was eternal before the Law and is still eternal after the Law. Mark the victory of God over the enemy by bringing a tithe to  your High Priest, Jesus Christ.

Contend for the Supernatural: Do and Teach

Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen Me do. “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in Me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.  (John 14:11-12 NLT)

Jesus intended that the Church be a supernatural entity, doing the same works in the earth that He did.  He left us the Spirit to help us in convincing others that He is alive.  It would be a shame to see the power of the Spirit lie dormant in a world in  such desperate need of something real.  Let’s believe the promise.

Healing Keys: That Faith Thing

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. (Mark 11:22-24 NKJV)

I have prayed for healing for many dear people over the last 39 years. Some have been healed, some have not. Since I am convinced that healing is always the perfect plan of God, I have to ask myself, “What hinders people in receiving their healing?” Some things are obvious: If your lungs are messed up, quit smoking. If your liver is swollen, quit drinking, etc. Others are more “spiritual” in nature. Two things pop up time and time again. In a previous post from a Tuesday evening teaching, I dealt with the first one: A general sense of unworthiness or shame. Jesus has dealt with those issues, but until you believe it, your faith will be hindered in all other areas.  Today, I want to address the secondd major hindrance to healing: that faith thing.  If you don’t understand it you will never receive what God intends – you have to believe it before you see it. Watch the teaching here: That Faith Thing.

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Don’t settle, Amigos!

The last sentence of Acts Chapter 1 reads, “They drew names to choose an apostle. Matthias was chosen and joined the eleven apostles. (GW)” The next verses (Acts 2:1-4) depict the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower the Church for witness. Within just a few more verses, the same guys who were drawing names to pick an apostle were turning the city upside down in the power of the Spirit. As the King James Version says, “This is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel!” I’m sure they never drew names again. My question is, “Where are we in our churches? Are we drawing names, or is this still that?” With the coming of the Holy Spirit baptism came the power of God to speak with tongues, to prophesy, to deal with devils and heal the sick, to preach Christ in the face of persecution. A supernatural Church is a church that does church supernaturally.

In Acts 2:42-47 we see the first bunch of Spirit-baptized believers doing church together. Our challenge: If this is still that, how do we let the supernatural power of God flow in each area of the church’s life in our day? Here are five things churches do, and some short thoughts on the supernatural in each. We’ll pick each one apart in the days ahead:

  1. Worship. Ephesians 5:18-19. Every believer touching God, unified and impowered by the Holy Ghost, making a suitable throne for Jehovah God.
  2. Pray. 1 Corinthians14:2 / Romans 8:26. Re-finding the incredible power of prayer in the Holy Spirit.
  3. Make Disciples. Matthew 28:18-20 / Romans 1:9-12 More than education programs, impartation encounters. Not just information, but transformation
  4. Fellowship. Acts 2:46 / Hebrews 10:24-25. Build relationships that look more like family, holding the faith life in common.
  5. Evangelism and service. Acts 11:27-30 / Mark 16:15-21. Hearing from God to care for others in His strength, not ours. Demonstrating the resurrection to touch the world.

At the risk of being a little crazy, ask yourself, “What would my church look like if the power grid was gone, there was no tax deduction for giving, the government was penalizing faith, the hospitals were closed, and the pharmacies were empty?” The answer will give you a little better picture of where the church really is.

Somebody Said: “The church for too long has followed Casper, the friendly ghost instead of seeking the fire of the Holy Spirit. We have turned limp at the thought of our own cross; we faint when we think of suffering or sacrifice. Beloved, it is time to embrace the fire of God’s Presence. It is the fire that purifies our sacrifice.”- Francis Frangipane

Scripture Reading: For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. (1 Corinthians 4:20 NLT)

It took a miracle of resurrection to start the Church. It required a miraculous new birth to become part of it. The Holy Spirit came upon us to give us power, not to have better tea parties, but to impact the forces of evil and rescue the captives they hold in thrall. The Church is not made up of nice people trying to get nicer, but of transformed people who have died and been raised for a new purpose. Let’s not settle for a social club or a marketing plan when we can have a revolutionary movement. I believe that this is still that!

 

De la Abundancia del Corazon

La Iglesia es cosa de “nosotros.”

Por años, he oído diferentes opiniones acerca de este tema, “yo tengo una relación con Dios, es privada y personal, no necesito asistir a una Iglesia”. Asumiendo que estos individuos sean creyentes de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, que han nacido en el Espíritu (Juan 3:6), entonces las dos primeras declaraciones son verdad hasta cierto punto, la tercera declaración, sin embargo, es evidentemente falsa, una mentira de satanás. Tú necesitas ir a la Iglesia, queriendo decir, tienes que ir a la Iglesia si quieres cumplir el plan de Dios para tu vida aquí en la tierra, y así disfrutar de las recompensas que tiene el Señor para nosotros en el cielo. Dios nunca tuvo la intención de que vivamos nuestra fe sin propósito. La Iglesia local es el invernáculo para ganar almas para Cristo, Pedro lo dijo muy claro: “pero tú eres una generación elegida, un real sacerdocio, una nación santa, su pueblo escogido, para anunciar las virtudes de aquel que nos llamó de tinieblas a luz, admirable (1 Pedro 2:9 NVRJ)” nota esto, somos un sacerdocio, no un sacerdote, somos una nación, una generación, no somos individuales, somos un pueblo escogido, no una persona escogida. ¡Sin ti, yo no soy especial!

Dios quiere demostrar su poder sobrenatural en la Iglesia, mediante la Iglesia. En nuestra búsqueda por buscar el poder sobrenatural de Dios en este mundo caído, ser parte del cuerpo de Cristo es esencial, en efecto, necesitamos ser parte de un cuerpo que sea más que un predicador motivacional una vez por semana, o un buen concierto, o un grupo de acción política. El nuevo testamento es muy claro. Necesitas:

1. Una familia espiritual que ore por ti. Creo que la razón número uno por la que no vemos más de la plenitud de la sanidad y la entrega del poder de Dios, es que con demasiada frecuencia estamos solos en la batalla. Colosenses 4:12 Epafras, que es uno de vosotros, siervo de Jesucristo, os envía saludos, siempre esforzándose intensamente a favor vuestro en sus oraciones, para que estéis firmes, perfectos y completamente seguros en toda la voluntad de Dios.

2. Un equipo de personas espirituales para cuando se viaja. Para alentar y aconsejar: Hebreos 10:24-25 NVI, preocupándonos los unos por los otros, al fin de estimularnos al amor y a las buenas obras. (25) no dejemos de congregarnos como muchos tienen por costumbre, sino amémonos unos a otros y con mayor razón ahora que vemos que el día se acerca.

3. Un cuerpo espiritualmente conectado. Que funcione en comunión para recibir poder sobrenatural para luchar contra la humanidad quebrantada. (1 Corintios 12:11-12 NVI) todo esto lo hace un mismo y único Espíritu, quien reparte a cada uno según Él lo determina (12) de hecho, aunque el cuerpo es uno solo, tiene muchos miembros, no obstante ser muchos, forman un solo cuerpo, así sucede en Cristo.

4. Un cuerpo de consejeros Espirituales. Para entrenarte y coordinar tus dones: Efesios 4:11-12 NVI ahora bien Cristo dio los siguientes dones a la Iglesia: los apóstoles, los profetas, los evangelista, y los pastores y maestros. (12) ellos tienen la responsabilidad de preparar al pueblo de Dios para que lleve a cabo la obra de Dios y edifique la Iglesia, es decir, el cuerpo de Cristo.

Alguien dijo. Talento gana juegos, pero el trabajo en equipo y la inteligencia, gana campeonatos. Michael Jordán

Escrituras Biblicas. Y de hacer entender a todos la realización del plan de Dios, el misterio que desde los tiempos eternos se mantuvo oculto en Dios, creador de todas las cosas, el fin de todo esto es que la sabiduría de Dios, en toda su diversidad, se dé a conocer ahora, por medio de la Iglesia, a los poderes y autoridades en las regiones celestiales. (Efesios 3:9-10 NVI)

La vida cristiana no es una cosa de “yo” es una cosa de “nosotros”. ¿Has oído hablar del jinete sin cabeza de la famosa bella durmiente? Creo que reducimos el cuerpo de Cristo al estado de un cuerpo sin cabeza. Cuando fallamos en el fluir del Espíritu Santo que fue para lo que fuimos diseñados, privamos a nuestro Señor Jesús de su habilidad para impactar al mundo. Nosotros somos su cuerpo en esta tierra, nosotros somos lo único que Él tiene.

Sunday Blessing: Stay Hungry

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness. (1 Peter 2:2-3 NLT)

 

Curmudgeon Alert: Attention socialists

curmudgeion 2 280by200             Curmudgeon: – a crusty, irascible, cantankerous old person full of stubborn ideas. (The Free Dictionary)

Socialism is a trap for idiots

So now I read that young Americans are embracing socialism.  This is nothing new.  Young people have always been stupid.  Wouldn’t it be great if it would work? Everybody could just have everything they need and we can all just get along.  In previous generations we had the counterbalance of education and Christianity to put the lie to the idea that government can intervene to make everything fine. We should all just trust our government to do what’s best for us. Right? What could possibly go wrong?

The results of socialism should be obvious.  If we just take the twentieth century, The first big mess was in the Soviet Union.  In trying to establish a socialist state, Stalin and his cronies accounted for the deaths of millions of people.  The Chinese did the same, and we have the sterling example of North Korea to admire as well. Then, of course, we have the National Socialists of Germany, known affectionately as Nazis.  Now we see the country by country catastrophes in Central and South America.  Help!

Of course, we might also make the case for the problems of unfettered capitalism.  After we clean up the toxic dumps, and skim the oil off the Gulf of Mexico, we can all join Tennessee Ernie Ford in a heartfelt rendition of 16 Tons, ending up with the refrain , “I owe my soul to the company store.”  It could be that the economic system is not the core of the problem.

The founders of our republic were sharp enough to know that the hearts of men are not to be trusted.  thus the checks and balances idea.  Government is generally the problem, not the solution, because it is composed of humans. Whether they be capitalists, or socialists, or anarchists,  give folks power and they will abuse it. Period. Limiting the power of government is simply avoiding tyranny.  We have a constitutional republic designed to give specific rights than cannot be taken away by simple majorities.  Majorities elected Hitler.

The truth is simple.  Socialists think government will solve the problems of man.  History tells us that idealistic power is ruthless to those who hold different ideals.  Capitalists believe the “invisible hand’ of the market will even out the game over any extended period.  That’s fine, except that greed has no more conscience than utopian dictators.  The problem is man and evil.

God said in Genesis 6, “that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” It has not gotten any better.  The problem is the heart of man, the disease is sin, and the only cure is blood, the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Man’s systems can slow the madness, but eventually the inmates take over the asylum.  As Christians, we have to avoid getting seduced by political delusions and remember the prime directive:  Jesus is the one and only way to change men’s hearts.

Salvation is to be found through him alone; in all the world there is no one else whom God has given who can save us.”  (Acts 4:12 GNB)

Revive the Tithe: It’s Holy!

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17 NKJV)

And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s. It is holy to the LORD.  (Leviticus 27:30 NKJV)

God has had a “set apart” as a test for man from the very beginning.  Under the Mosaic economy He says that the tithe of the land belongs to Him, that it is holy.  I believe that means it is inherent in His very nature.  But what I believe doesn’t matter to you.  What matters is what you believe.  New Covenant giving is love giving, conviction giving, and faith giving.  Let me challenge you, allow the Lord to teach you about His tithe.  If you are open yet unconvinced, so be it.

Sunday Blessing: Better is One Day

O God, behold our shield, And look upon the face of Your anointed. For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. (Psalms 84:9-11 NKJV)

Sing With the Spirit

For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying. Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand. (1 Corinthians 14:14-15 NLT)

One of the best ways we have to worship and praise God is the capacity to sing in the Sprit, to sing with tongues.  That deeply spiritual experience is being lost on much of the church due to the desire not to offend.  Please take a moment to consider what God said about the  subject.  Don’t miss out.