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They Broke Through and Jesus Called it Faith – We Call it…?

What happens when you or a loved one has a need. A need that only Jesus can meet? A need that can only be met by a miracle? When it comes to having these needs met I’ve noticed there are primarily two schools of thought in the church. 2 schools of thought regarding breakthrough in the church   The first teaches that you can, and should, press in for breakthroughs. And even if circumstances seem to oppose this need being met you should still contend for the breakthrough and overcome the obstacles by the power of God that resides in you. The second is more of a passive approach. This belief system teaches that God will move in His own time and there is nothing we can do to influence Him to move. And the breakthrough is not what’s important anyway, what’s more important is “accepting” that God has ordained these circumstances and that they are all part of a bigger plan. I’ll be honest. I have a problem with the second school of thought. I believe it’s this kind of thinking that has crippled much of the church. When we are not allowed to press in for breakthrough we are sentenced to a life where circumstances become our lord instead of the Lord. I want to share a story I read this last week that relates to this. A biblical account of breakthrough   The story is found in Mark chapter 2. Four friends bring their paralyzed friend to the meeting where Jesus was. They could not get in through the front door so they dug a hole in the roof and...

Why Should Anyone Make a Covenant with Another Person?

I think it’s important to answer the “why?” question before we go out and form covenants with people. Should we form a covenant because we go to the same church or because we’re part of the same ministry? Should it be based on proximity — if you’re a Christian in my town is that enough to form a covenant relationship? Or are these foundations too shallow to build such meaningful relationships on? In my quiet time this morning I was reading 1 Samuel 18 and in it Jonathan and Davide make a covenant. Here’s what it says (verses 1-3): “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.”   So in this situation the Bible answers the “why?” — the motive — behind this covenant. Verse 3 says it was “because he loved him,” so we learn that love was the motivation for their covenant relationship. It didn’t say, “Jonathan perceived it would be wise to form a strategic alliance with David.” But how many times do we try to form covenant like relationships with others because it “makes sense?” The wisdom of the world teaches that relationships should be formed only when both parties will benefit from it. ‘You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ kind of mentality. But God’s...

What if Joshua Accepted His Circumstances or Was a DIY Type?

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com I was reading Joshua this morning and something really stood out to me. It was the truth that it’s God who prospers us and the truth that we play a significant role in this. I saw a beautiful example of God and man co-laboring together to accomplish His purposes in the earth. God speaks to Joshua in chapter 1 verse 3, Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. Did you see God’s part and man’s part right? God who said He would give the land to Joshua but Joshua still had to tread upon the enemy. And then I noticed it again in verse 8, This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. The key to Joshua’s prosperity was found in meditating in the Word and then acting upon what he learned. God then said Joshua would make his way prosperous and that he would have good success. Then in verse 9 God tells him not to be afraid because He would be with him wherever he went. So again we see man’s part (meditating and obeying the Word) and God’s part (His presence going with him). I think this is important because it’s tempting to fall in one of two ditches along the path. One side says that anything that...

Jesus Christ is Perfect Theology

“Jesus Christ is perfect theology” – Bill Johnson I’ve been challenged by this statement recently and would like to unpack what I believe Bill Johnson means by it. I’ve been drinking from the stream of Bethel Church (Redding, CA) for several years now so I have a pretty good understanding of what they believe. “Jesus Christ is perfect theology” means that we have a perfect revelation of what God is like in the person of Jesus. And any belief we have about God that we cannot find in the person of Jesus is a belief to be questioned. Is the Earthquake God’s Judgment on Japan? For example, let’s take God’s apparent “judgments” on unbelieving nations. Many Christians look at the recent earthquake in Japan and immediately conclude this is a result of God’s wrath in order to humble them. If this is true, then we have a belief that God will destroy nations that reject Him. But we don’t see Jesus act this way. Did Jesus agree with His disciples when they wanted to destroy a city that rejected Him? Let’s read an except from a really good book on theology, the Bible: [51] Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, [52] and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. [53] But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. [54] And when His disciples James and John saw this,...

How to Master the English Bible

It’s a new year and the time where many Bible students embark on the ever so popular “read-the-Bible-in-a-year” journey. I think having a Bible reading plan is a good idea but I wasn’t too keen on doing the normal one-year-plan so I started searching for what would work best for me. This post by Justin Taylor has just about every Bible reading plan available and is a great resource. The plan I decided on for this year comes from one of the most famous Bible teachers of the 20th century, James Gray. He wrote a book in 1904 called How to Master the English Bible, which is intended to teach students to master the Bible, not just study it. Here is the four step process he outlines: 1. Choose a book of the Bible. 2. Read it in its entirety. 3. Repeat step #2 twenty times. 4. Repeat this process for all books of the Bible I’m thinking about adjusting this process to only reading each book ten times instead of twenty but we’ll see (hopefully I don’t short circuit the whole “mastery” part by only reading each book ten times). I’m starting with the book of John and thinking of doing Philippians next. I like this approach because of the focus it encourages and the fact that I get to read big chunks of the Bible instead of isolated chapters each day. But even more importantly is the fact that I am excited about it and so my motivation to read the Word has increased! If you want to read James Gray’s testimony related to this process here...