Sunday, May 15, 2011

Being real... confession and forgiveness

So this morning I was checking my Facebook and there was a post by Nor ‘west Prophetic that really stirred something in my heart.  I guess to be honest it kind of opened a can of worms for me.
Here is what the post said:  When God’s children pray, He listens, He answers. Jesus taught us to pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” How many people have prayed this over the last 2000 years?  No wonder the Kingdom is breaking out all over.  Break out more Lord!
And this was my reply:  Unfortunately there are thousands of people that will say this prayer today and have said it for years more as a religious mantra than an actual prayer.  They are clueless
to the power in the words that they speak and it makes me sad that for them there is no reality of the Kingdom of God being at hand, as Jesus taught.  For them access to The Kingdom can only come
through death or return of Christ, whichever comes first.  It breaks my heart that they are clueless.  Lord I ask that You reveal Your Kingdom to those that are blind and apathetic, so that they may realize all You have for them.
After writing this I felt prompted to read what is referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6:9-13. Some believe that this is a prayer that needs to be repeated religiously and others that it is an outline for how we should pray. I believe that it there is power in the words that Jesus gave us to pray and that it can be repeated as a heartfelt prayer and used as on outline or guide in how we should pray.
Matthew 6:9-13 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.   Give us this day our daily bread.   And
forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen
When you read this prayer, Jesus is revealing important things to us, He is giving us keys.  He tells us that the Father’s name is to be “hallowed” which means: regarded as holy; venerated; sacred.  He affirms the gospel that He preached that the “Kingdom of God is at hand”.  He tells us to rely on the Father for our sustenance.  He instructs to forgive as we have been forgiven and to keep us safe from attacks from the enemy.
Something that caught my eye was the next two verses: Matthew 6:14-15For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  When I read this, I heard this is a critical key to accessing the Kingdom.  Giving and accepting forgiveness allows for a clean heart which is prime territory for the Kingdom to come in.
In reading through this, I felt like God is changing something that I have had in my heart. After reading what I have already posted, you may assume that I am talking about unforgiveness, but that’s not what it is. I can’t tell you how many times I have preached or taught on how we are supposed to separate the sins from the people that are committing them.  That God loves people and hates sin and so should we.
I guess for me I have had an easier time separating the sin from the sinner with people that are outside of the church.  People that are criminals, addicted, leading a homosexual lifestyle, I can see beyond their issues.  At some level they don’t really know any better, they are products of their environment and culture.  I can sense God’s heart for them and see His desire for them to be set free.
Then there are people that are inside the church, the ones that should know better.  This is where
my issue lies, where I struggle, because I know that they should know better and it frustrates me.  Then I was shown that they also are products of their environment and culture.  In my processing this I was reminded of the times that I have been in public and people are letting their kids behave
poorly and don’t stop or discipline them.  Many times I will turn to my wife and say “their parents need a spanking” and in that God showed me that many times the leaders in the church are in the
same position.  They allow the propagation of poor behavior; they allow for judgment in the hands of those it doesn’t belong; they allow prayer meetings to become venues for gossip and rumor mills;
they let a spirit of religion run rampant and unchecked.   In realizing this, I figured out that I need to ask for forgiveness. One, because I was misplacing blame on people that didn’t know any better (but should), and two for having a feeling of angst against church leaders that lead these people into derision.  These are God’s children that have been led astray be a spirit of religion and need to be set free just as much as any of the people that are struggling outside of the church.
So LORD I ask that you forgive me for having these feelings against Your children, please help my heart line up with Yours.  Show me what You would have me do or say to minister to Your children better.  I know that You have called me to help others be released into their destiny, please
guide me in this as well.  Amen

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fruit of True Apostolic Leadership.... Love and Peace

I have been reading Culture of Honor by Danny Silk; first of all let me say that I highly recommend this book.  There have been many things that have spoken to me while reading this book, but there was a paragraph in the 6th chapter that I read the other day, that really jumped off the page at me. 

The chapter talks about the top priority of leadership.  One of these priorities is the need for leaders to create a safe environment, and that whenever the God is present, the environment is always safe. He also addresses how people have an impression of God that He is in a bad mood and many times this viewpoint is actually propagated by many church leaders.  Many times, because leadership behaves poorly and tries to control those in the church, the people in the church expect the same from God. 

When we have a viewpoint of God that He is not good, that He is in a bad mood; we will never reach our full potential in God.  We will never become free, whole and healthy. (This is my paraphrase and consolidated version)
Quote from the book that really spoke to me"But the good news is that conditions are changing. Heaven, the kingdom of love and freedom, is invading earth and love is directly confronting the fear that has governed us. Fear and love are enemies. These two spirits will not hold the same place together. Love and fear are like light and dark... fresh water and salt water... blessing and cursing. And one of them has to win. Love casts out the fear. Love not only casts out the fear; it brings
security, safety and shalom. This is the fruit that I am seeing in an apostolic environment....."

Back to me: There are many in the church today that are afraid to embrace the apostolic movement, leaders that have a fear of what they don't understand. Leaders that are afraid to give up control of
"their" flocks, propagate the fear.  The apostles and prophets should be the ones leading the Church. If they are truly submitting to God's authority, they can fully move in His call for their lives and the people in the Church are exposed the love of the Father and can reach their full potential.