Live the Call

Genesis 18:19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

callLive your call, friend.  There is a specific destiny in each of us, a call, a voice waiting to be heard.  May God give your voice words and actions for others to hear and see and follow.

 A Specific Destiny

 Abraham had a call.  He had a way of righteousness and justice that was imbedded in all he did.  It commanded itself into the lives of others.  It commands itself into our lives.  Without Abraham there would be no Isaac or Jacob or Israel or a tribe of Judah or Jesus born of man.  He was selected to birth nations.

 Abraham had specific promises.  These promises were delivered as he lived his call.  They were brought to him by God as he lived his call.  In the path of obedience, he found all he needed and abundance for others.

 A Christian Disciple

 Live your call.  There is a general call to obedience in Christ that applies to all of us.  Prayer, meditation, witnessing, giving, service, thankfulness, gathering, and loving others are part of your call if you live in Christ.  To not do them limits God’s ability to deliver His general promises.  He places them in the path of living the call of a disciple of Christ.

Mistaken Identity

 I can make a good living and have many benefits as a salesperson.  Give me the right product and right list with the right affinity and right relevance and right distinctive proposition and I can sell it for you.  But, that is not my call.  Sometimes, I help clients with marketing and sales.  It is not my call, though it is a talent.

 Mistaken identity can cause us to live full of financial and relational prosperity and think we are following a call.  The evidence of a call is the delivery of promises related to that call. The evidence of a talent is the delivery of results of  principles related to it.  Present a well priced product with value to the right person at the right time and you have a sell.  Be friendly and you will have friends.

 Discerning the Difference

 Live the call.  It’s fine to live the talent as long as it does not rob the call.  Most folks stumble through life with no thought of call whatsoever.  As long as progress is being made we can ignore God’s voice forever.  Humans are like that.

What is your call?  Has the still voice of God talked to you in the night about influencing legislation or pastoring or starting a business or being a great administrator?  Has He intimated promises along the path?  The promises might not include the world’s success formula.  They might include martyrdom or families being restored or they might include great wealth.  They might.  Have you listened?  Have you stepped back from the rush and press of performance long enough to really listen and examine?  It might seem too big.  Usually His call exceeds our capability.  It should look to big.call

 Live the call.  God is speaking.  You don’t need to doubt that.  He is speaking your call.  Maybe you have heard it.  Maybe you have never listened.  Maybe you’ve been too busy trying to live up to someone else’s call or your personal desires and need to sort through motivations and voices. Maybe it just seems to big to get started. No one hears your call for you.  It is between you and God.

 Prayer:  Father, here is a friend.  This one has  a call.  I call it out.  I stir it up.  Cause Your Holy Spirit to stir deep and make clear.  That call, that voice, that destiny can awaken and change our world. As they obey and follow, Father, bring quickly those things you have spoken to them that they would have confidence and continue.

 

Meet Jesus: Biblical Proportions

“God did not wait for a natural disaster to send His Son.  God did not wait for a natural disaster to feed thousands with miracles.  God did not wait for a natural disaster for Jesus to heal lepers.”

Matthew 6: 1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly  

Grace   By the grace of God, we are thankful He is not motivated by the moment.  God did not wait for a natural disaster to send His Son.  God did not wait for a natural disaster to feed thousands with miracles.  God did not wait for a natural disaster for Jesus to heal lepers.  God did not wait for a natural disaster to pull His people out of Egypt.  God did not wait for any disaster to respond.  He waited for prayer.  He waited for people to call His name.  He waited for a people of love to prevail against the normal life we chose to live.

 Readiness   Jesus is just like His Father.  He stays in a state of readiness through private prayer and giving love with substance outside the sight of man’s cameras.  He is attentive to the fact that we live in a world constantly in a state of separation from God’s will and disaster.  There is the disaster of abortion.  There is the disaster of divorce.  There is the disaster of fatherlessness.  There is the disaster of drugs and alcohol.  There is the disaster of crime.  There is the disaster of violence.  There is a constant state of disaster all around us.  Being involved and ready is the habit of His people

Examples  Hudson Taylor was such an example to me.  He wrote little, but there is at least small amounts written about his example by those that were around him.  By serving silently and persistently in China he was able to see a cadre of native ministers established over years.  When human initiated disaster struck and missionaries were killed and banned, he had been used of God to leave a faithful church in place to continue to minister the gospel.  He did not wait for the disaster.  He waited in prayer and preparation and persistence.  Then when disaster hit, the grace and silence and biblical proportion of God intervened in mercy.

Many in the kingdom today are such an example to me.  There are men and women doing the work in hard spots drawing no attention to them.  When such world noticed events as an earthquake happen, they are already on the ground upping their serve.  They were already there. They were already serving.  They were already giving out biblical proportions of silent, ready love and ready to give more.

ACT! Where are you quietly and persistently applying the grace of God to an ongoing disaster?  Are you ready to step up in a moment of explosion in the area if it arrives?

PRAYER FOR YOU!  Father, I pray today for readiness in my friend.  Let peace and blessing overwhelm them in moments of strain that are hard to understand.  I pray that you open their eyes to discern a place and people to touch under a pressure of an ongoing disaster.  Let us be filled with the urgency of private and prayerful intervention.  There is not time to wait until the attention of the world is directed to an ongoing disaster by an act of natural force or human depravity.  Show us.  Move us.  Empower us.  Grace us with strength to be involved now to be used in harder days.

Meet Jesus : Perfect

Matthew 5: 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

 Now this is stiff to face.  A perfect Jesus is here asking us to be perfect.  How in this world can we accomplish such a challenge?  Jesus and the Father are one.  The Father is perfect.  Jesus is perfect.  The conversation exactly before this relates to relationships.  Even working at being even keeled and just and equitable in all our dealings with others in love and graciousness is tougher on perfection than we can match.  But, thanks be unto God, He did it for us.  Jesus was perfect for us to follow.

Greg’s Pressure: Greg liked to think he was strong.  Then the pressure came.  The challenge to do more in less time with less staff was causing him to stay up at night.  Over and over, he would think of reasons the project was late.  Every time, he concluded he just wasn’t the right person for the job.  This night, he decided to read a little and pray.  It was coming down to looking for a new job.  As he read through the gospel of Matthew, the verse on being perfect disturbed him.  Then he thought it through.  The thought wasn’t to do it all according to man’s perfection.  The challenge was to love and greet and meet each situation with the mind of Christ.  Whether the situation was good or bad made no difference.  Just meet it with confidence in Christ.  Love always.  Greet always.  Believe always.  He was the right man because God placed him there.  These were the right staffers.  Immediately he began to review plans and pray for wisdom.  What would he do if it were all in great shape?  Do the right thing.

ACT!  Start now.  Remove an imperfection, an attitude, a glitch in your treatment of someone today.  Don’t worry about everything.  Do work on one thing.

PRAY! Whew! Father, You sure want a lot out of me.  But, Father, You gave a lot.  You gave Your only begotten Son, Jesus.  Jesus gave His life’s blood for me to be perfect with You.  Encourage me, Father, to stand tall to the task and declare, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me fully and completely and perfectly.”

Meet Jesus: Even Ground

groundMatthew 5: 43″You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45: That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

 The Father is consistent in His world creation.  The environment, the rules, the principles, the laws, and whatever else happens is the same for good and evil, just and unjust.  What goes up comes down (gravity).  What goes down comes up (seed time and harvest).  The wages of sin is death.  When it rains, everybody gets wet.  There are certain principles that affect us all.  Acting like Him means being the same with those around us whether we like them and their lifestyle or not.  Sin does not invalidate principles; it invokes them.  Think about it.

ACT!  Is there someone you are treating rudely because they have a lifestyle different than yours?  Do you hold at arms length someone in a homosexual lifestyle but not a gossiper?  Think about it, and make sure you are like your Father.

 PRAY!  Consistent Father, You treat us all the same.  You are the same yesterday, today, and forever.  The principles of life and death rule over me as much as anyone who hates you.  Thank you for offering that to me when I was outside of Your family.  Help me offer even ground to others that they might see Your goodness and enter also alongside me and Jesus.

Daily Crosses Lift Easier With Faith

underhiswingsI press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23

The Cross of Your LIfe:
The going home celebration of a friend of a few decades reminded me of the fragilility of life on this side of heaven. It is full of laughs and tears and comings and goings. None of us are guaranteed the next hour of breathing. None of us are guaranteed the next hour of financial prosperity. None of us are guaranteed the next hour of health. My friend lived with joy and endurance and love and all who knew her are stronger for it.
By faith, we embrace life with all of the uncertainty and instability.
By faith, we believe in a God that promises to never leave us or forsake us.
By faith, we hope in the glory of which we cannot see, but which changes us moment by moment.
By faith, we look to life and life more abundantly.
By faith, we are certain that He will see us through to completion.
By faith, we grasp the confidence that He is greater than any issue of the world.
By faith, we tackle issue after issue after issue.
But, there are no guarantees.
The cross of your life may include some time struggling through illness or disaster.
The cross of your life may include some days of uncertain financial footing.
The cross of your life may include some betrayals and unstable friends and family.
The cross of your life may include temptations to which you fall.
But, there are sure promises and continual blessings.
By promise, we understand that He owns this world and can move resource to our need at just the right momemt.
By promise, we hold to the faith of the Son of God, who loves us and gave Himself for us.
By promise, we have wisdom in Christ.
By promise, we are complete in Him.
By promise, we know those that follow Him will lack for no good thing.
By promise, we depend on His constant intercession.
By promise, we are filled with inestimable treasure of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control.
By faith in the promises of a Living God we live with and through our crosses stronger for each moment and more like Him. And that is life. Live it. My friend did and all of us who knew her are stronger for it.

Prayer: Father, when I started this morning life looked glum.  I have to be honest with You.

In Your promises, I find life is a joy.

In Your love, I find life is happiness.

In Your support, I find life is enchanting.

Take me though this day with all the crosses to bear and let life be more abundant.

Meet Jesus: Clear Thoughts Matthew 5:27

meetjesustakebackMatthew 5: 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

 One of the greatest thought battles of the male is with lust.  Jesus is fully aware of that thought battle.  He is conscious of the struggle men face.  He doesn’t excuse it away.  Connecting with Jesus is connecting with a commitment to clear, controlled thought-life.

With what appears to be such a strict edict, is there hope for men and women?  Yes, the thought is not just directed to men, it is directed to all.  Is there hope?

Like any struggle, Jesus is giving us tips to stopping damage before it goes to full fruit.  The key is to stop thoughts before they develop into action.  He isn’t telling us that a quick temptation is like full blown sexual contact.  He is telling us, “Don’t go there.  Get control of your thoughts before they develop further than a fleeting idea.”

ACT!  Thoughts wandering?  Try speaking blessing over a person instead of contemplating their sexual attraction.  Change the focus of your mind.  Give your mind something else to think about.  See the person as a person not an objective.

 PRAY!  Father, our hearts can be so distracted.  So many times we find ourselves struggling to stay faithful and content with the lives in which we are blessed.  You call us to not covet other’s goods and spouses and conditions.  Keep envy far from us.  Keep jealousy away from our door.  Keep coveting out of our mind.  Clear our hearts, God.  We need Your help.  You give us clear and clean thoughts to guide us.  Help us to focus on the good and gentle and kind in life and be content with our condition.

Life Can Be Frightening, Friend.

But then, God did not give you a spirit of fear, but of love and power and a sound, well-disciplined mind.  The Father dispenses right knowledge and wisdom and equipage to get your life lived with a smile and a dance in your step.  He does.  Really, He does.

It is frightening to face life without a loving Father’s protection and insight.  This morning as I prayed for my friends, my guideline was the book of Ephesians.  Yes, I read through the entire letter and prayed.  It usually takes about an hour these days, sometimes two hours or more.  Martin Luther, the great reformation leader, and others are quoted as saying, “I had so much to do today, I had to start with 3 hours of prayer.”  I get it.  There is no time to waste. Every minute has to count and prayer puts the power in the punch.

It is frightening to look into tomorrow and realize the threats and opportunities to fail and opportunities to succeed. Failure and success are not distant partners.  Each brings an element of pain and cleanup.  Each creates a next step that has to be addressed.  Plan for success and handle the failure.

It is frightening to go it alone. Living alongside the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is a fearsome task.  He really does get things done. Boy, am I glad I don’t work in the kingdom alone.  It would be hell.  Yes, I believe hell on earth is trying to do the work of living without family and friends and partners in work and ministry and life. When I make a list of co-laborers, I never get to the end.  There are thousands.  What a blessing.

It is frightening to trust my own hand. Friend, never trust yourself to get it done.  When you stretch out with God, you will find yourself in situations that are impossible.  They take impossible strength, impossible faith, impossible love, and impossible energy.  He has a ready supply of all four.

My prayer for friends.

Father take the hand of my friend and bring impossible strength, impossible faith, impossible love, and impossible energy into the path.  As You walk with my friend enable with everything necessary to live abundantly, faithfully, and effectively.  Let life be changed.  Let fear be put into the street.  Let faith shine so bright those around my friend will lose fear and find faith.

Other’s Need – God’s Supply – Your Hand and Heart

Remember to pray for the Community Transformation Initiative and all those that are helping and joining. After taking a few months of prep and collaboration, you would not believe the demands of the next six weeks at the Community Transformation Initiative.  We are actively engaged in East OKC, North OKC, Stillwater, Del City, St. Louis, Matamoros, Mexico, and online around the world. Every one of these engagements results in life change.  Our goal for 2013 was to impact 1000 families face to face.  In the last 30 days, we’ve exceeded 300 and expect to pass that goal in the next six weeks. Much of this is 1-1.In the next six weeks, we will be presenting live for over 60 hours.  The average pastor will present 10 hours in the same period. Much of our presentation will be bilingual and all of it will occur outside my personal cultural background.  The average pastor/leader never does either of these because they are ten times more exhausting than staying within your personal culture zone or niche. The Community Transformation Initiative is not called to be average.  Our aim is transformation.

 

Our commitment and high level schedule:

General Ministerial Conference – Dallas July 24-26

East Zion Men’s Leadership – July 26th 7pm

Telemundo Radio 33.1 – July 27th Interview on Matamoros outreach 2:30pm to 3pm

Rewrite – Mentoring – Life Church July 31st

Fearless Weekend – Tabitha Baptist East OKC Aug 2,3,4

Fearless Weekend – Regrese de Clase – CAREVI – Matamoros, Mex Aug 8-12

Watch DOG Launch –  Back to School – Tulakes NW OKCAug 16

Watch DOG Launch – Epperly Heights – Del City – date tba

Outreach Planters Training – OKC Aug 23-25

Schools of Prayer – West OKC – Aug 7, Sept 4

Dad’s University – Online Fall Semester Aug 20-end of term

Champion Fathers Luncheon and Tourney – SW OKC Sept 16th

Total cost to get this done – $20,000.  On hand funds $1500.  Faith Commitments $5000. God’s Challenge To Be Met: $13,500

How to support.. <==click it

Impossible faith will see it to completion.

Impossible love will keep us motivated.

Impossible strength will bring us to perform.

Impossible energy will make this fun.

Meet Jesus: Dignity Matthew 5:21

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Matthew 5:  21″You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

 Dignity is a key concept in Christ.  Jesus did not assault the dignity of any human.  There were times He directly challenged people to righteousness.  He had no problem calling people to account for hidden agendas and false fronts.  He did not attack the person as a person.  He never called anyone a fool or an idiot or stupid or any such attack.  That standard stands for us.

 Interesting is the way Jesus looks at one of the ‘ten commandments’.  There is a level beyond the surface to which He takes us.  It is the heart intent that is most important.  It is the beginning of the action in the depth of the heart that Jesus looks to identify.  Lusting leads to adultery.   Anger and contempt leads to murder.  Stop the action at the point of the seed in the heart.  That’s His message.

 ACT!  Look for any bad seeds in your heart.  Take a few moments to sift through your thoughts over the last few days.  If you have a mate, is there another besides your mate that has taken time in your thoughts in the wrong direction?  Have you been unduly angered and contemptuous with someone?  Are you miffed at God over something You think He should have done for you?  Have you railed at a government official?  Now is the time to uproot the seed before it germinates.

 PRAY!  Father, I’ve got to admit.  There are times I am really upset with people acting out of my pattern.  Yes, Father, I have my ways.  Help me to not be so quick to call them right and others wrong.  Help me to see the person separately from the action.  Help me to protect the dignity of each human as precious.  Help me to look at others as Your creation with an intention for good.  Though they may be demonstrating wrongly, help me to look beyond at potential and design.  Let me call out goodness for the lives of others in the midst of pain and problems.  Help me to be like You.

Meet Jesus: Served Matthew 4:9

meetjesusservedMatthew 4:9: And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10: Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11: Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

 Angels minister to Jesus, and so should we minister to Jesus with our worship.  In Paul’s letter to the Romans he talks of a reasonable or rational service and worship done with presenting our bodies as living sacrifices.  This is our pleasure and our part.  Our worship of Jesus is to serve Him, to present ourselves totally to His selection for our life.  Satan had it backwards.  He forgot who was to serve whom.

Josue was determined to follow God this day.  Lately, he had been wandering from his relationship with Christ.  Over and over events just did not seem to go his way.  Something he had read before was now stirring in him.  There was something about praising God in everything.  He was ready to try it.  He was ready to try anything that would restore the warmth of the love of Jesus back in him.  As he lifted his voice in the quiet of his room late that night, something broke.  He began to weep.  He began to praise God out loud.  He began to know again the reassurance of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

ACT!  Where does Jesus need your active worship?  Take action this week on worshipping with real action where He needs you to serve another in the kingdom.

 PRAY!  Father, Jesus is the center of my worshipful services.  Help me connect with the right actions for which You created me.  I was created in Jesus for good works of  worship done unto You.  Enable me, Father, to find those works for which You created me and act on them.

 

Meet Jesus: Double Jeopardy Matthew 4:8

meetjesusMatthew 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 

Willingly, Jesus goes with the Devil to a high mountain.  This is the second time.  Here is Jesus isolated away from everyone except the Devil.  He is willingly taken into a place of testing and trial.  Going once was enough.  Now, He goes with this pure evil creature a second time.  It is isolation.  He is one on one with the strength of evil.

The Devil has no authority over Jesus.  This is a choice of Jesus, Himself.  He is proving to us and to the Devil and to the entire world that will read this for centuries, that He is able to resist evil to the uttermost on behalf of mankind.  Amazing!

There are times God asks us to go the extra mile into exhaustion.  Think of how exhausting it must have been to put up with pure evil stretching against you.  There are times He asks us to do that.  We want to rest.  We want to quit for a season.  We want to lay down and cry in our pity.  God calls us to continue.  God calls us to do it again.  Jesus gave the example to follow.

It was late for Michael.  Three times this week, he had stayed up late.  Each time a friend called and wanted to talk.  Then he would pray for an hour or more after the phone call.  The alarm in the morning was barely enough to cause him to wake.  He wondered how long he could keep doing this.  Wouldn’t that friend get to a point of surrender to Christ soon?  Must he talk to him every night?  He knew that was God’s plan.  He knew it was the right thing to do.  He knew he was the one person between Jack and a decision for Christ.  How long?