Friday, June 14, 2013

Looking Ahead

Romans 8:38-39 "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

Notice that your "past" didn't make the list of things that can't separate you from the love of God.... Let me ask a couple questions. How many of us still struggle with our past? Does the enemy try to remind you of your past every once and a while? The enemy uses these tactics because our past CAN separate us from Gods love by blinding us to who GOD HAS MADE US TO BE and keeping us distracted by who we ARE NO LONGER. But, your past is what Jesus brought you out of! Your past is what Jesus forgave you of! Your past doesn't exist in Gods eyes!!! YOU HAVE BEEN FREED FROM YOUR PAST! YAY! God doesn't look back! The enemy doesn't want you to know this! Because it can keep you from Gods love. The enemy will try to use your past against you! And when we listen to the enemy, we are listening to lies! Don't listen to him. Here is what Paul says in Philippians 3 

"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus."

Forgetting what is behind! Straining towards what is ahead! WHY? The prize for which God has called us to... God doesn't need us looking back guys. His Love is what fuels us! His love is what guides us! His love is what set us free from our past! There is only one thing about your past you should NEVER forget..... The day Jesus saved you from it.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Everyday Without Rachael Ray.

The conviction of the Holy Spirit is usually taken the wrong way.  Before I explain what I mean, let me give you an example.  Timmy was a good little lad, raised in a loving home with caring parents and two older sisters.  Being that of a good Christian boy, little Timmy was always on good behavior.  One day, Timmy's sisters had some friends over for a pool party.  Timmy couldn't help but notice just how pretty these friends were.  (Gee Justin.... I wonder where your going with this story? Just wait...)   Timmy found himself tempted to peek while the girls changed into their swim suits.  And, little Timmy had his sneak peek and got away with it.  But something deep down inside just didn't feel right, why?  Little Timmy just couldn't figure it out.  Nobody saw him do it, and the only person that knew about it was himself.  So why was he feeling so bad about what he did?  DING DING DING.... If you said HOLY SPIRIT CONVICTION you guessed right!!! Congratulations! You're smarter then a 5th grader.

So back to what I was saying about how most of us usually take this conviction the wrong way.  When the Holy Spirit convicts us of something, our response is usually that of guilt.  And rightly so.  But guess what?  The Holy Spirit does carries no condemnation! So It's important to not tear ourselves down when we're being convicted.  This happens all to often, and when we do this, we loose focus on what the Spirit is really trying to do.  Well Justin, what is the Spirit trying to do?  I'm glad you asked!  Lets look at the book of John. Chapter 14 says:

"All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

  Oh boy! this is good stuff!  The Advocate. I like that.  Do you know what advocate means?  Neither do I!  So, let me copy and paste from to show you!  "Advocate: a person who pleads for or in behalf of another; intercessor.  To speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument."  So here we have the Holy Spirit "The Advocate", the One who stands in our favor, who supports us and urges us.  And He is ALWAYS with us, to teach us all things. Chew on that for a while!  Thats good stuff right there! When He convicts us, He's teaching us.  He's telling us that we're better than what He's convicting us of!  His conviction gives us the opportunity to repent, rise up and become stronger.  A good teacher helps his students to overcome obstacles and certain weaknesses and also helps them to persevere through hard times and trials.  Thank you Jesus that we've got the greatest teacher anyone could ask for!  He convicts us, not to tear us down, but to build us up and encourage us.  To teach us how He can help us overcome all sin and temptation.

Why is this titled Everyday Without Rachael Ray?  Good question!  I have no idea.  Everyday we have an opportunity to be guided and taught by the greatest mentor the world has ever know!  The church needs to take hold of this! You know what I'm gonna do!?!? From this point on, I will take his conviction straight to the heart and push aside all the shame and self pity that tears me down!  I will let His words of wisdom be my guide to the joyful and more fruitful ways of living. I will look upon myself as He does, and look to Him if I loose sight.  It's His teachings and convictions that will encourage me and strengthen me to become who He's training me to be.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Way Of The Warrior

I've shared before in one of my past blogs, that Christians need to start seeing themselves as God sees them. As much as this is true, there is another side to this I've noticed in my own walk.  Putting this into words may be hard for me to do, so please hang in there with me.  Often times we think that in order for us to live up to God's standards, we have to fix things in our life before we can do it.  We have to become better or develop a righteous Godly character to be who he wants us to be.  In other words "We need to be more religious".  I was reading about Gideon for the men's breakfast at my church and was encouraged at what I read.  An angel of the the Lord came to visit him, saying " God is with you, mighty warrior."  Gideon's response was,  "My clan is the weakest, and I am the least in my family."  He wasn't finished there either.  He did the whole "do something God, so I know it's really you talking" thing we've all done a million times!  After Gideon finally got the proof he needed, God began to use him.  This is where I want us to catch this.  God used Gideon to do His work! There was no training or character development courses, no leadership seminars or team building classes!  God used Gideon, as he was, where he was, to do his work.

God turned a pansy into a powerhouse! A weakling into a war hero!  Character, Righteousness and Power come from obedience.  The Church needs to can the religious mumbo jumbo and realize that God can use us where we are, as we are!  And in the process of being used by God, comes the revelation and transformation of becoming who He sees us as! Mighty warriors!  On the flip side, We shouldn't be walking around with our chests puffed out either. We need to remain humble before the Lord, like Jesus.  Matthew 23:11-12 says "The greatest among you will be your servant.  For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." This is good stuff isn't it!?!?

God is moving powerfully in His Church, to counter-act the enemies advances in the world.  We can't afford to not be humble.  Trying to fix our issues and develop character before God uses us is only making us more religious!  Becoming that mighty warrior that God sees starts now!  Accomplishing the mission at hand prepares you and strengthens you for the next mission!  And the next after that! Eventually becoming that spiritual powerhouse for the Kingdom that He sees in you!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Going Overboard!

Jesus told the rich man in matthew 19, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Guess what guys? We're rich! This post may come across as kind of..... whats the word I'm looking for..... Ahh yes! Dinkish. So if your one of those people who get offended easily, do yourself a favor and just stop reading here. I feel as though I might tick a few folks off with this one. Now where was I? We're rich. You might be thinking "I'm not very rich Justin, I only make 20,000 dollars a year! I struggle to pay the bills and feed my family and to boot, I drive a piece of crap car." Your still rich dude! Even though our country is broke, we still manage to keep on living like kings. Sure some of us have had to make some cut backs in our lives but when we step back and look at the rest of the world, we've still got it made. But at the same time, because we've got it all, we've also got a boat load of dead weight! I'm talking about our luxuries. On facebook, I've recently asked a few questions just to challenge people, and see what they had to say, It was interesting to hear some of the responses.

Why do 3rd world countries seem to have greater faith then the western church does?   The most popular answer was, "because the western church has more distractions!" How true, this is. We have so many distractions it's not even funny. We got the big hitters like T.V, internet, video games, and work. Followed up with other little distractions that are usually some kind of personal pleasure. And we hear it at church and in small groups all the time. "It's just so hard, with all the distractions that life seems to have." Ever heard somebody say that before? I know I have,  like 50 million times! I'm guilty of saying it myself.....probably like 49 million times! and to be honest, I'm really starting to get sick of hearing it!

If we all agree that distractions are what keep the western church from having greater faith, then why do we choose to live with them?" Wow, what a good question! We all act like these distractions we've got are holding us back from having greater faith! We act like we don't have a choice but to surrender to them and let them control our level of Spiritual intimacy with Christ. I got some news for you, in case you didn't know. We are without excuse! Ladies and gentlemen may I purpose to you an idea? We could all stop using the "to many distractions" excuse, by getting rid of our distractions! Wow, Justin! your soooo smart, why didn't I think of that before? Please, thank me later.  It seems so elementary, to just get rid of them.  Call me crazy but I think it might work.  A.W. Tozer says in his book The Pursuit of God, "There can be no doubt that this possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in the life. Because it is so natural it is rarely recognized for the evil that it is; but its outworkings are tragic."

Many people in our church are ditching these distractions, so that they can grow in the Holy Spirit. Thats what I want hear!  People who are choosing to destroy their distractions, rather than keep them, and then use them as an excuse for struggling to grow. Some people have taken it as pointing the finger when other people destroy their xboxes or get rid of their distractions.  If this is how your receiving this message, then please let me clarify.  Distractions are different for everyone.  If T.V is not a distraction, then whatever dude! don't get rid of it then.  If internet is your weakness, then you have a choice to make.  We all know that God has so much more to offer.  The stories I hear about what happens in Africa, make me want to live like they do. (with less)  Heidi Baker who is the founder of Iris Ministries, operates out of Africa, and has some of the most mind blowing testimonies you've ever heard.  Did you know that every single deaf person they pray for is healed....Thats 100%... EVERY SINGLE DEAF PERSON IS HEALED!  Why do I mention this?  Because I feel, that if we (the western church)  could only step it up a notch and choose to live with less, choose to live without all the riches and luxuries of life, then God would move more powerfully then we've ever seen!  The Holy Spirit would move, and the church would move with him!  Revival!  YES!  Isn't this what the church should be craving?  Lets do it, guys.  Lets kick these distractions to the curb, and let the Holy Spirit be our distraction!  Lets show our Father that we care more about his Kingdom, then we do our favorite t.v program.  This is not a "finger pointing" message people!  It is a challenge, however.  Many of our distractions are our luxuries, and these luxuries may seem like something we can't live without. It really is different for everyone.  But God knows what you need to kick in order to go deeper. 

"Any revelation from God's Word that does not lead us to an encounter with God only serves to make us more religious. The church cannot afford "form without power", for it creates Christians without purpose"  ~ Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth

Lord I pray, that you begin to reveal to your people the distractions you would have us remove from our lives.  And show us the better way of life!  The Holy Spirit way of life!  The way you intended life to be. More Lord!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Still Water Illusion

Being in a place with calm waters, makes me wonder if I'm in the right place.  I'm in that place now where the waters seem to have calm and the wind has almost stopped blowing. Or so it seems!  I can't say I feel I'm in the wrong place, because God brought me here.  So clearly I'm where I'm supposed to be.  It's just that things seem to be "uneventful".  The key word here is "seem".  This is where a renewed mind is needed, the eyes and ears of he Kingdom are needed.  One thing I've learned is to not underestimate the works of His Kingdom.  You see, even though with my own eyes the kingdom may appear to be still, it doesn't mean it is.  Maybe God is giving me an opportunity to prepare myself for another storm (like fasting and praying, or reading more).  Or maybe He's stilled the waters so I can simply rest (like just spending some time with my wife and kids).  For all I know, I could still be in the midst of a huge storm, and I'm just at peace with it, because I know God is always in control.  Whatever the case may be, I need stay focused on my faith, because the Kingdom is always active.  This means that I, too, should be active.  The Kingdom is heavy at work, and if I'm not living by my faith, then I will miss out on what God is doing.
Have you ever found yourself in this place?  The Lull. The place in your journey where it just seems to be uneventful!   If we're not moving with the advancement of the Kingdom, we can find ourselves floating with no bearing.  When the wind isn't blowing, man the oars and start rowing!  Don't just wait for the wind, MOVE!  Look at Paul in the book of Acts.  In chapter 16 It's quite obvious he's not just standing around waiting for the wind to blow. He's moving.  And when he started to go somewhere he shouldn't have,  God didn't allow it.  God guided him, you see!  He was just moving, rowing that boat if you will, knowing that God would guide him along the way.  I think God stills the waters and the wind to see if we're either gonna sit there and wait for the wind to blow, or to see if we grab the oars and start rowing until we find wind again.  Am I making sense?  What I'm saying is that we can sit around and wait for God encounters to keep our faith moving.  Or we can get off our lazy bums and start living in our faith.  Read ( God help with me this one! ).  Find time to fast and pray.  Get alone with God and just worship him!  And always bring the Kingdom with you wherever you go.  Be Spirit filled!  And in God's timing, you will find your bearing and the winds will fill your sails and move you forward once more.

P.S. The better you get at sailing this ship the less frequently you'll hit dead waters.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Being "Normal"

I've spent most of my Christian life as a "Casual Christian".  It's only been the in the last couple of weeks that I've moved from being a casual christian to a normal christian.  Well what does a casual Christian even look like? you may be asking!  Lets look at the word Christian first!  Christian simply means "Little Christ" or "Follower of Christ".  I like the term "Little Christ".  Christians are people who accept the teachings of Jesus Christ, and choose to live in accordance to his teachings.  Now lets look at the word casual.  Casual means, "without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; unconcerned."  Wow.  that doesn't sound like it goes with being a christian now does it?  But the funny thing is, is so many Christians are just like this!  We love Jesus, and He loves us.  We just stroll through our Christian life trying to be good and do good things, without actually thinking about what God really wants us to be doing.  Even active Christians can be like this.  Active as in "I'm an official member of the WWJD club and I help out at the soup kitchen".   So you help out at the local soup kitchen, that's amazing.............  so can a group of boy scouts.  I've seen movie stars doing this stuff in the tabloids too.  And don't get me started with Oprah!  Don't get me wrong,  these things are important.  Christians should be doing these things, I understand that.  But if that's the extent of your faith, you need to stop and look at what Jesus really emphasized in his teachings and his lifestyle. This is where we look at the word "normal".  Normal means, "Conforming to the standard; natural; serving to establish the standard." Natural... I like that.  Jesus is the most normal christian in the Bible.  Funny how most Christians would call his life radical!  but it wasn't.  He lived how a normal Christian should live.  He lived With Kingdom principles, and brought it with him everywhere and in everything he did.  That's normal.

     The kingdom needs to become "the normal" for us.  He taught it and lived it, so we could learn it and live it too, "the normal".  Casual Christianity isn't enough, clearly!  We need to be normal.  Or to put it differently,  the kingdom lifestyle that Jesus lived needs to become natural (aka: normal) to us.  Wow, I'm just killing the word normal here! I'll use the word natural now.  When Jesus fed five thousand people (Matt 14:13) with only five loaves of bread and two fish, that was nothing more than natural in the kingdom, when Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:1), again, only natural in the kingdom.  Bill Johnson said something really cool in one of his messages, He said "With natural treasures I can buy everyone here at church a lunch, but with the natural treasures of the Kingdom, I can buy one lunch and multiply it!"

Again, if you volunteer at a soup kitchen, that's awesome. You're going out of your way to serve others and God honors that.  I don't want anyone to think I'm bashing good deeds here.  But serve others with the intention of bringing the Kingdom to those your serving. That's what Jesus did.  That's what living normal should look like for a Christian.  What's natural in the Kingdom can be our natural way of living.  Let's step away from being casual and leave that to the boy scouts, shall we?

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Lord help me!  I want to live.  I want to walk constantly in your presence.  Lord, give me open doors to do your work, so I can prove myself to You.  I want to honor You and glorify You.  You are worthy, Lord.  I no longer desire to be a vessel for the world, but for You, Father!  I want to carry your Spirit, Lord, wherever I go.  Overflow out of me, so you can spill onto others.  Be contagious through me Father.  Lord do this not only for me, but your church Father God.  Move among your church, Lord.  Fill us with joy, Father.  Give us your "to do list".  Lord let us see with your eyes the people that need your love, so we can love on them.  Lord, let us hear with your ears the people's cries, so we can answer them with love.  And what things we have to do in are own lives, Father, be with us as we do them.  In all the things we do, let your Name be glorified.  Lord, this isn't just wishful thinking! I want to reflect You.  A perfect mirror image, Lord.  Help me to stand strong against the enemy, Lord.  My hearts desires are against the enemy's ways, and he will try to fill my head with lies.  Be with me in those times, God.  The devil may know your Word more than I do, and he will use it to confuse me. But You know my heart more than he does, and You will use it to tear down his dark kingdom!!!  I will not live for him, I will not believe in his lies, I won't live a life that empowers him.  Use me, Father, to reap havoc in his dark kingdom.  Shine through me, and let that light push out the darkness.  And again, Father, let this prayer not be just for me, but my Brothers and Sisters as well.  So many of us are ready.  And for those who aren't Lord,  help us to raise them up in You and prepare them.  This is the life your Son lived, and I want to live just like your Son.