Archive | August, 2013

The Changing Face of Christianity

31 Aug

Shift happens!

It has always happened… and it’s happening now.  This current shift / change is not your average garden variety, though.  It is an epic change from one Biblical age to the next age.  Sound too grandiose?  Listen to what the Bible says about this:

“… that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” – Eph 2:7

According to this verse, there must be at least two more ages beyond the age in which the book of Ephesians was written.  And so, even if you don’t think it’s probable, it is still possible to have an age shift in our day.

So what are the hallmarks at the transition of ages?

I believe a change of ages always involves a shift in what God is doing or how He is doing it.  For example, take a look at the change of ages from OT to NT… from Law to Grace.  It wasn’t just a little tweak of how we do things, it was a major revamping of much that we knew and held on to as sacred in the Old Testament… laws, sacrifices, curses, religious orders, our relationship with God, etc.  ALL those and so much more were antiquated and trumped with the better, when the ages transitioned.  

So if old values and systems get put on the chopping block when the age ends, what could we expect to be forfeited and replaced in this current shift change?  And what will the new values and systems look like?

Would we be able to see it?

Do we think we would have recognized and embraced the monumental shift from BC to AD?  The very best religious scholars and leaders didn’t… but strangely, a few gnarly fishermen, tax collectors and fringe guys did.  They were invited, saw, believed and became forerunners of the new age.  But most other likely candidates missed it completely… and worse yet, became an enemy to the change of the ages.  So assuming that we’re in for another shift change, what makes us think we would recognize the shift and embrace it?  Would it be because we honor and go with the flow of popular opinion… or because we hold to the ‘old time religion’ tenets… or because that’s what I was taught as a child?  Yeh, that will guarantee it, for sure (jesting).  Unfortunately, that didn’t work so well for the religious ‘scholars’ in Jesus day.  

Actually, a simple childlike heart probably has the most likely prospects of hearing, embracing and being able to adapt to the changes.  You see, a child has the least to lose and may be more sensitive to Father’s overtures of love and guidance.  And maybe that is just one of the things Jesus meant when He said, 

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matt 18:3

Are there any indicators of impending change?

In my opinion there are MANY indicators… even beyond the multitude of Biblical eschatological passages that are used so prolifically.  (Sorry to say, those passages get re-applied in a different way about every 5 to 20 years when of another epic global event occurs in the news.) One of the hugest indicators I know is something very obvious to all of us, and one which has historical precedent.  That is, the global prayer movement.  Throughout all of Biblical history, when God’s people called out to Him, He answered.  Just think about the little phrase, “And they cried to the Lord.”  What happened in the very next phrase or verse?  It was, “And God heard their cries” and sent a deliverer, judge, prophet, king, etc to extract them out of their distress.  In keeping with this truth, consider this: There are more people praying publicly and privately on the earth right now than at any other time in all of history.  And what is God’s historical response? …HIS INTERVENTION!  This is a most compelling indicator and it isn’t even an ‘end-times’ prophecy Bible verse.  This is huge!

BTW – I think God may have a different perspective on the prayer movement than we’ve had.  We thought we were going to be more self disciplined… more spiritual… help God out… and do Kingdom stuff.  But I wonder if God’s view was more on trying to get us to spend time with Him… so we would get to know His heart… so that we could hear His voice better… so we could move with Him when He makes the age shift.  Maybe the prayer movement was all about relationship versus working hard.  You see, if we were still steeped in our ‘religious’ ‘man’ strength (E.g. religious dogmas, traditions and mindsets), we wouldn’t likely be able to turn the corner with Him when we have to lay some things down.  But since we’ve prayed long enough to know that we can’t force God, we’re beginning to settle down and just let Him be Father and God.  We’re beginning to just agree with His Word and heart of love for us.  We’re beginning to realize that it really isn’t “by our works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us.”  Wow, now that really is Good News!  To think… all the while He just wanted to spend time with us… so we wouldn’t miss the next step of the journey. 

A great prophecy

“In 1982 in Cairo, Egypt, the Lord spoke to me about the end-time outpouring of the Spirit… The Spirit said, “I will change the understanding and expression of Christianity on earth in one generation.” – Mike Bickle (Founder of International House of Prayer – Kansas City)

I’m certain that we had no idea what was in store for us when we first heard this prophecy.  I now believe that it is exponentially larger and more impacting than we ever imagined.  Although the Word of God and the central tenets of the Gospel are unshakable, I wonder which pet peripheral sacred-cow doctrines will get sacrificed upon the altar of the emerging new expression of Christianity?  It’s inevitable, you know… it really is.  If we’re going to believe this prophecy and all other indicators, it will mean serious change for all of us.  And FYI – Historically, it’s usually traumatic for ‘settlers’ and scary exciting for the frontiersman.

Describe the current shift

The moniker over this emerging age has yet to be determined.  Will it be called the Grace Age, the Kingdom Age,  the Sonship Age, the Kingship Age, the Glory of God Age…. ?  We’ll have to wait and see.  But already there are a few overt evidences of change… and they’re obviously changes for the better.  I’ll leave you with just a few. 

Big Picture
The goodness of God is being exalted as a supreme tenet
Many ‘old time religion’ tenets are being upgraded

Our Identity
Harried ‘orphan’ Christians are becoming happy beloved sons
Always-‘do-good’ servants are becoming peace-filled bosom friends
Spiritual beggars are becoming spiritual kings
Belittling lies about our identity are being obliterated
An insecure salvation is now becoming an unshakable position in Christ
Fearful sin conscious saints are now secure in righteousness
Sin management is replaced with confident rest in Jesus’ righteousness
The Gospel is becoming the ‘unbelievably’ Good News

God’s Identity and Nature
Onerous lies about Father God are being exposed

An uncaring distant God becomes a loving committed Father
Working hard for His acceptance is being replaced with resting in His love
‘Sweat’ is now understood as the result of the curse
Rest in Jehovah Jireh’s provision is popping the anxiety bubble

Now and the Future
Traditional eschatology is being trumped by fresh revelation

Imminent doom is replaced by victorious future
Fear and hiding are replaced with courage and anticipation
Little-remnant hide-out mentality is replaced by expectant kingly ruling

Darker and darker worldview is replaced with ever increasing Kingdom
Future theologies are becoming now theologies
Heaven realities postponed til after death are being realized now
Some ‘millennial’ Kingdom theologies are being experienced now

Our Position and Prayer Posture
Desperate beggarly intercession becomes confident kingly declaration
Praying from earth toward Heaven is trumped by praying from Heaven toward earth
Emphasis shifting from praying TO God… to praying WITH God
We’re not praying FOR victory… we’re praying FROM victory

How’s that for starters?  Now list the paradigm shifts that you’re experiencing:

As Mario Bros. says, “Here we gooooo!!!!!”

— MLH

Prayer Audio: Power Of Your Word

30 Aug

Many revelations occur in the time of earnest prayer.  It seems like Holy Spirit hears us reaching with all our hearts and so He opens a new door of understanding… Thank you, Holy Spirit.  Enjoy this more conversational, prophetic and free praying style.

In this prayer I’m celebrating the delight and impact of hearing God’s voice… knowing that it comes from an incomprehensibly loving heart and carries the power to ‘make it happen’.  We might as well go ahead and get happy right now.  About 9 mins.

— MLH

Grace: For The Sin Issue… and So Much More

29 Aug

Some people have given this current emergence of revelation, the moniker: The Grace Message… and that it is.  But it is so much more than that.  It’s a rediscovery of our original identity and design.  This revelation will do same for us as it did for failure and guilt-ridden Simba when Mufasa took the Lion King to look into the waters of reflection.  At first Simba sees only his own reflection, but then his real identity is revealed… he’s the son of his father and the rightful king.  Our Good Shepherd, in Ps 23, leads us beside still waters… the still water of His Word which will create the proper reflection of our identity.

This revelation of Grace invites us to look into the Mirror of the Word to find, agree and act upon the truth of who we really are (Jms 1:22-27 and other vss).  When we look into the Mirror, surprisingly we find Jesus looking back saying, “Welcome to yourself.”  In fact, He goes so far as to say, “Whatever is true of Me is true of you.” (“You are as He is in this world” – I Jn 4:17) (“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference” — Rms 3:22)

This is stupendous news.  It staggers our imagination and comprehension.  But yet, it’s true!!!

Grace could be construed and diminished to mean just that we’re righteous no matter what.  And that much would be true!  But truly, the revelation of Grace goes light years beyond just lifting off sin and sin consciousness and sin management.  It has to do with exalting us to our original sonship, kingship, co-rulership… and beyond.  Yes, beyond.  You see, believing that Grace only deals with our sin issue is like stopping on first base after a great home run hit.

In fact, there are those whose first rebuttal to ‘the Grace message’ is, “What? So you’re saying that you can sin without consequence!?”  Which of course is not true.  But this rebuttal begs why a person would even ask such a question.  Why are they so preoccupied with sin?  Why is sin their first line of thought… when God is trying to restore and exalt them?  That sort of rebuttal is probably telltale of the kind of self-talk going on inside the mind… and likely indicates the need for a greater baptism of… Grace… yes, Grace!

You see, we are so steeped in our own sin consciousness that when we’re told the Good News that we are “saved by Grace”, our primary response is to ‘camp out’ on what we’re save FROM rather than what we’re saved TO.  Having been so surrounded and indoctrinated by the devil’s lie of our sinfulness, we’ve adopted that lie as our persona and inescapable identity… at least while on earth.  It’s possible that our heads may agree with the volume of Scripture that gives us KNOWLEDGE of our radical transformation into the “righteousness of Christ” (what we we’ve been saved TO) but the fact that we’re still preoccupied with sin conscious rebuttals (what we’ve been saved FROM) lends evidence that we’re still in need of the REVELATION of Grace.  Knowledge and revelation are not the same… and they create two very different dynamic responses.

We’ve must learn how to ‘drive this car’ of sonship by looking through the windshield rather than being preoccupied with the rear view mirror… consumed with where we’ve been.  Yesterday’s identity is NOT even close to our current identity.  To think with the same old thoughts is to hamstring ourselves and cut short God’s awesome plan… maybe not so different than the Israelites who never entered the Promised Land.  They had escaped Egypt but they couldn’t get Egypt out of them.  We’re saved and on our way to ‘heaven’, but we still process through the lens of our old life.   

Recently I’ve been gripped with the awareness that retooling my mind to agree with my original identity and design in God is really only the beginning point… the starting point of all that God has reserved for those who can get comfortable in their own ‘righteous’ skin.  There’s so much more;  co-ruling, co-reigning, kingship, and stuff that Jesus wanted to tell us but we couldn’t yet bear it (Jn 6:12).  A treasure trove of delectable pleasures (Ps 16:11) awaits His people if we can escape the gravity of our past sin-ridden identity and consciousness.

So do you want to know if you’ve really gotten the revelation of Grace and your original design in God?  Just listen to yourself pray next time.  We are most likely to be genuine and honest when we’re locked away in our ‘closet’ with the One who knows us best and loves us most.  In those times, are you a beggar of another crumb, reminding God of your unworthiness and sins, hoping to be good enough to have this audience with Him?  Or are you confidently seated alongside Him and prophesying His heart out over your earthly circumstances… like kings do?

You see, Grace is so much more than being saved FROM the sin issue… it’s what we’ve been save TO!!!  Look into the waters of reflection… the Mirror of His Word.  Do you see Jesus?  Do you?  Then, welcome to yourself.

That’s what Grace does for us.

— MLH

What If: Musings About Our Fall… and Restoration

29 Aug

Just some musings ‘outside the box’… or maybe not so ‘outside the box’…

What if ‘The Fall’ wasn’t so much about our sinfulness, as it was about the position we forsook alongside God?  We were highly favored and loved.  God took huge delight in co-ruling with us… (E.g. bringing us animals to name them and see what we would come up with – Gen 2:19)  We defaulted and forsook our position, our privilege, our perspective, our paradigm… and our reality of who we are in God.  We exchanged the truth for a lie (Rms 1:25).  We slipped off of the throne where we were with God… and into our own little contrivances of mind to create an alternate reality of self-preservation and reliance. 

What if our post-fall “nakedness” had more to do with our lack of being clothed with God’s glory?  We were now exposed… not having our originally ordained ‘apparel’.   We were now naked.  No ‘apparel’ (fig leaves… or even animal skins) fit like the innocence and glory we used to wear.  There had been no shame or fear in perfect love, but now our new reality left us feeling awkward and “ashamed”.  We had believed the serpent’s lie that we were on our own to better ourselves.  God had always ‘covered’ us with everything we needed, but now we were naked and had to provide for ourselves… for everything.

What if when God asked Adam, “Where are you….?” it wasn’t that He didn’t know where Adam was?  What if it was a longing expression of God’s unfulfilled heart, missing His companion Adam, who had been uniquely and primarily created for fellowship with God?  Now that companion was not in his rightful place alongside God.  Maybe this view is not so different to God’s longing for us when we get preoccupied with the cares of this life… or drift toward self-suffiency.  Ever hear the “Where are you?” question?

Even before the foundations of the world (Rev 13:8), God was delighted to create man, carry man, restore man, inhabit man and ‘marry’ man, and co-rule with man… He was love-struck with us… but now after ‘The Fall’ we were absent from God’s side.  We were still very much in His heart, but not present for fellowship.  Yet even then, God’s love never wavered as He lovingly carried us through the journey of our ‘fallen’ detour of the Old Testament until Jesus completed God’s grand plan to restore us and catch us back up to our place alongside Him (“seated with Christ in heavenly places” – Eph 2:6).  Jesus summed it up so well in the parable of the prodigal son.  The father’s love longed for his absent son.  Then without even allowing his son to recount his failings, he eagerly and fully restored his son to his rightful position.  What love!

What if ‘the rapture’ (getting caught up) is really what happens to us when we receive and believe the re-revelation of who we really are… our original identity and design… and our profound worth and position in God?  This ‘catching up’ transformation does not occur merely with the memorization of pertinent Scripture… rather, like a true and deep salvation experience, life altering change only comes through revelation.  What if when this revelation of our original identity and design in God (even before Adam was placed on the earth) is radically and quickly revealed and restored to us, it renews, transforms… and even transfigures us (following Jesus’ example on Mt of Transfiguration)… raising us out of base and earthy mindsets and ‘back up’ into the Heavenlies? (“we… will be caught up… to meet the Lord in the air…”– I Thess 4:17) (“being transformed by the renewing of our minds” – Rms 12:2) (“on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His presence.” – Hosea 6:2)

How could “every eye see” this glorious spectacle… and be “caught up” in a “twinkling of an eye”?  Possibly, it all becomes much more plausible and possible in our day that at any other time in history.  When this mighty outpouring of the Spirit of Revelation is released on hungry and responsive hearts, the powerful life altering ‘Good News’ goes ‘viral’ and is electronically promulgated and proliferated across the earth literally at the speed of light (“Let Your word run swiftly” – II Thess 3:1) via the fingers of enflamed bloggers, twitter-ers, text-ers, and email-ers, etc.  Even a casual look at the current blogosphere will explain the speed, power and impact of digital communication.  Of course, this idea of cyber-transmission is NOT to diminish supernatural mass/global revelation and enlightenment in any way… rather, it works in tandem with Heaven’s revelation resting upon mankind.

Fortunately, as we forerunners are making this epic journey back into our original identity and design, the blogosphere is also our friend.  As we explore ‘outside the box’ (or maybe not so ‘outside the box’) checks and balances by fellow scouts serve to both correct and inspire us on our journey.  We can’t just go ‘willy-nilly’ into spurious conjecture or theories… too many people are watching and eager to catch us up short… and at the same time others fuel our fires with their newly-found discoveries.

What a time to be alive!  It’s obvious, something is changing!  Hang on for the ride of our lives!

— MLH

Quote: The Goodness of God

25 Aug

“I have felt for a long time that the next great theological conflict in the body of Christ is going to be over the goodness of God.” — Bill Johnson

“Everybody says that God is good, but the definition of His goodness varies based upon our theology.” — Bill Johnson

“It is possible to distort or dilute the goodness of God, but it’s impossible to exaggerate the goodness of God.” — Bill Johnson

“If I did to my children what many people believe that God does to His, I would be arrested for child abuse.” — Bill Johnson

“You don’t have to have an answer for everybody’s objection to God goodness.  You just need to be unfazed… and to love people well, because the greatest evidence of God’s goodness is in the countenance of people who love people.” — Bill Johnson

by Bill Johnson – Bethel Church (from Sunday AM sermon – 8/18/13)

For free weekly downloadable podcasts from Bethel Church: www.ibethel.org

Quote: I Will Not Sing of a Distant God

24 Aug

“While in captivity in Babylon, the children of Israel declared that they could not sing the songs of Zion while captives in a foreign land.  In the same way, I say that if the songs of Zion don’t belong in Babylon, then the songs of Babylon don’t belong in Zion.  I will not sing of a distant God, an impure heart, or beg for the heavens to be opened.  I will not sing like a slave, when I’m an exalted son of my Father.  A renewed mind is a treasure to be guarded, so make sure to be as picky about your worship as you are about your preachers.” – Jeff Turner

From Facebook post – Aug 15  Jeff Turner & Sound of Awakening Ministries

Quote: Fight From Victory, Not For Victory

17 Aug

“Put on the whole amour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” – Eph 6:11

God does not need you to defeat the devil today. Jesus has already done it and given you the victory. (Colossians 2:15, Romans 8:37)  Your part is to enforce the victory by simply standing your ground, which is victory ground.  In other words, you “fight” from victory ground by standing.  You don’t fight for victory.

In Ephesians 6:10–18, the passage on spiritual warfare, the word “wrestle” appears only once (verse 12), while the word “stand” appears four times—“stand against the wiles of the devil”, “withstand in the evil day”, “having done all, to stand”, “Stand therefore”. (Verses 11, 13–14)  Four times the Holy Spirit tells us to stand.  Yet, many Christians are focusing on wrestling their way to victory!

My friend, you are already on victory ground.  You already have everything in Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:21, 23)  You are already blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3). The devil knows this.  And that is why his tactic is to deceive you and make you think that you don’t have the victory.

So when he attacks you by saying, “Look at that small sum in your bank account!  How are you going to pay the bills?” stand your ground.  Declare, “I am not trying to be rich.  I am already blessed in Christ!”  It doesn’t matter how much you have in the bank.  You are richly supplied because you are in Christ.  And as the need arises, the supply will be there if you believe it.

It is the same with healing.  The devil will try to attack you with symptoms in your body.  He will try to put pain in your body, and make you feel weak here and there, so that you think that you are still sick.  He is trying to make you believe that you don’t have your healing.  That is the time to be conscious of Jesus’ finished work and declare, “I am not trying to get healed, I am healed!  I am standing on the victory ground which Jesus has given me!”

Beloved, it makes a world of difference when you fight from victory and not for victory!

From Joseph Prince – Daily Grace Inspirations  (8/15/13)

To receive free daily Grace-filled posts from Joseph Prince’s ministry: http://forms.josephprince.org/forms/dgi-signup.aspx


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