If you build it, He will come.
When I think about fast-moving, life-changing momentum, I'm often reminded of one of my favorite passages in scripture that displays a swift change in someone's character. We all want swift change, don't we?
In 1 Samuel 10:9-10 there is a passage about Saul, as he was anointed to be King, but still feeling rather unworthy and incompetent, so God set up this divine transfer, as it were, changing Saul in a momentary impartation.
"Now it happened as Saul turned his back to leave Samuel, that God gave him another heart, and all these signs occurred on that day. When they arrived there at Gibeah, a band of prophets was right there to meet them. The Spirit of God came upon Saul, and he prophesied along with them." (ISV)
He rubbed shoulders with the right dudes, and he was changed into another person!
I'll admit it. I have intentionally positioned my children next to people I truly admire. People whose giftings I would love to see land upon my kids. It started when they were babies. It was people like John Maxwell, Cindy Jacobs, and C. Peter Wagner while my husband was taking classes at Fuller in Pasadena. As they got older it became people like Banning Liebscher, Lisa Bevere, Susanne Cox, Holly Wagner, Sean Smith, Paul Goblet, Kris Vallotton, and Heidi Baker just to name a few. I have also made sure they spent time with my amazing friends, fathers and mothers in the house of God, who could impart their giftings onto them as well. If you are a parent and you think you have to do it all yourself, you are wrong!
It takes a multitude of awesome influences to produce highly influential children.
What about you? Romans 12:2 reminds us and gives us confidence that a transformed life is possible. "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." God has given you the ability to be transformed!!!
Have you thought strategically about who is leaking onto you, and what influences are imparting to you? What things do you want to influence your own heart the most? What goes in, eventually leaks out. You may even want to make a list of what you truly desire to receive through impartation. I don't know what it will take for you. Maybe it will be as simple as listening to great preaching podcasts. Or perhaps it will be getting on an airplane to hang with someone you admire. It could even mean you get bold enough to ask for the laying on of hands - a flat out impartation of power and grace from someone who has what you want.
One of the most prominent stories of impartation in scripture takes place between Elijah the older, and Elisha the younger.
"...Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken away." And Elisha replied, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become your successor.” “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah replied... “If you see me when I am taken from you, then you will get your request. But if not, then you won’t.” As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father! My father! I see the chariots and charioteers of Israel!” And as they disappeared from sight, Elisha tore his clothes in distress... When the group of prophets from Jericho saw from a distance what happened, they exclaimed, “Elijah’s spirit rests upon Elisha!” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him." 2 Kings 2:9-12, 15 (NIV)
If you read the entire account, you will be struck by Elisha's sheer grit and tenacity in going after that impartation of anointing. Why would it be any different for us? We need to strategically choose what qualities we want in our lives, and be willing, in humility and tenacity, to go after them.
Life is too short to let fate take it's course in your future. You must be willing to go after what you want in your life of faith. Ask. Seek. Knock. Do whatever it takes to receive the promises of God that have been spoken over you.
If your life leaks, you had better choose carefully who you are becoming.
So, I ask you, what do you want?
At C5 Church, we have declared 2015 to be a year of MORE. When you lay out a declaration like that, you begin living with an everyday expectation of what MORE means. For many, it means what more God wants from us. For some, it is what more do I need to do to become equipped to fulfill my destiny. For others, it is to see a financial breakthrough for more.
I, along with many of my friends, want so much more of God. It is a deep, soulful longing for more of His presence, and more of His power being evidenced in our everyday lives. When you really get a hunger for more, you start considering how you're going to get it. I've been thinking a lot about how people around me may add, subtract, multiply, or divide in this equation of MORE.
There is a term used in Christianity called impartation that kind of describes what I'm talking about. What is impartation, exactly? Impartation means:
1. to make known; tell; relate; disclose: to impart a secret.
2. to give; bestow; communicate: to impart knowledge.
3. to grant a part or share of.
It means that we are able to pass on and bestow to others, what God has so graciously bestowed upon us!
There are some people in the Kingdom that just have 'it', you know? That extra dose of spiritual something. Authority, or supernatural joy, or a walking- breathing- peace, we are drawn to people who contain the extra measure of God we feel we are lacking. We fantasize, "If I could just position myself next to 'that person', maybe that stuff would rub off on me."
But it's not a fantasy at all. The reality is, IT DOES rub off on you.
In the Old Testament, impartation, or laying on of hands was a symbolic act accompanying a prayer for a blessing, at other times it was accompanied the word of prophecy being spoken or to affirm a person into ministry. It is also found in the book of Acts as the practice to commission someone into ministry.
There is an actual impartation that can happen through the laying on of hands. For example, as I pray for you, I can believe in faith, that what God has given to me, I can pass on to you. But we all know we cannot give away what we do not have, so how do we grow what we have? Time spent in the secret place fills us up for the pull that we feel when we are with people. Scripture and prayer, of course build up our inner man as well. But could there be more?
In this 3 part blog, we will walk through the historical how-to's of impartation, as well as consider the flip side of what can happen when a bad life tries to leak on us. As the body of Christ, we are encouraged to "...think of ways to motivate one another to love and good deeds." Heb. 10:24 (NLT) So let's do it, by considering the implications of impartation. And remember today, your life leaks!
Something incredible happened this evening in Carson City, Nevada. We took some of our Connect Leaders up to a hill overlooking the south side of our city, next to the boundary marker on the side of the highway. In that place, my son Tyler, our Connect Pastor, began to talk about our role as believers in our city. Have you considered what your role is where you live?
We boldly prayed to become the catalysts for the love of God and the power of God right where we live and work. The power of the Holy Spirit landed on that hill. My hands and my legs, in fact, my whole body was shaking! The tangible presence of God descended upon us. We heard from God, and we knew He was there.
Tyler asked us if we would be willing to give up all that we are to get all that He is.
That's a deep question, a high call, and a no-brainer, simultaneously! We each declared a loud "yes", and accepted a new mandate to bring heaven to earth in our city.
Does that seem far fetched? To actually, tangibly, bring heaven to earth in a city - an impossible dream? Does it seem like a delusional belief that God's word could actually be true? At times, maybe. But we are to be people who walk by faith, not by sight. We are to live like we believe that all things are possible for us!
I was reminded of Matthew 6, where Jesus said to the disciples, "This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven..." Matthew 6:9-10 (NIV)
I look at the challenge like this, HE STARTED IT! If He started it, I believe He can finish it. His will be done, His Kingdom come in my city!
So what about you? Are you willing to give up all that you are for all that He is?
Last night, in Charleston, South Carolina, as members of the Emanuel AME Church gathered for prayer and Bible study, a young white man joined them. He sat with the group for nearly an hour when suddenly he pulled out a gun and opened fire, killing the pastor, as well as 8 other parishioners.
As we struggle to wrap our minds around such an act of senseless violence, we ask many questions. Personally, I keep wondering what passage they had been studying. Why couldn't the love of God penetrate that young man's heart? What evil must have consumed him. We ask why? Why them? Why there?
We join with so many around our nation who mourn. We join in prayer for these families, this church, and their community. The grief we feel is deep.
I was thinking that perhaps what we struggle to comprehend is not just THAT this terrible tragedy happened, but WHERE it happened.
It took place in a church.
For a believer, just about every big event in life is celebrated in the confines of the local church. Weddings, births, christenings and dedications, graduations, memorials and funerals. Even for the unchurched, they seem to flock to churches when there is a time of national crisis. The church is a place of refuge, where people seek solace and comfort. Although God is everywhere, they know they can find Him in the church.
Perhaps that's why this shooting has particularly scarred our consciousness. It just shouldn't be, especially there!
In the Old Testament, there is a story of a soon-to-be-deposed-king, who ran to the sanctuary because he knew he would be safe there. We all run to the sanctuary for that same reason at certain times in our lives. Psalms 68:35 tells us, "You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!" (NIV)
But here's the thing. When Jesus died 2,000 years ago and the temple veil was torn in two, laying bare the inside of that sacred space, it signaled a new order. God would no longer be confined to a sanctuary built by human hands, but He would dwell within the human heart.
"You know that you are God’s sanctuary and that God’s Spirit lives in you, don’t you?" 1 Corinthians 3:16 (ISV)
The world is indeed, a dangerous place, but there is comfort in knowing that God is within us, around us, never leaving us, and never forsaking us. So let us lift up our friends in Charleston to our heavenly Father in prayer, but let us also refuse to live in fear. Now, more than ever, we must be prepared to speak, prepared to give an account, and motivated by love.
May God be glorified through this tragedy. May a light be shined upon His church and His people, loving and living in freedom. The whole world is watching. May we represent Him well.
May what was said in Joseph's day, be said in the coming days in Charleston, “...Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.” He reassured them, speaking with them heart-to-heart." Genesis 50:19-21 (Msg)
I understand that there are deep racial scars that this tragedy has reopened as well. I'm not minimizing them, I am just leaving that portion of the conversation for those more qualified than I.
I see miracles every day. I see miracles in my friends, I see miracles in my city, I even see miracles in my mirror.
I have been saved by the grace of God! I have been redeemed and set free! I have been given the opportunity for a new life! (Now, that new life isn't always easy and it takes a great deal of work, but the results are so worth it!)
You may think your redemption story is nothing special, but I beg to differ. Every life that is redeemed through the power and love of Christ is a miracle. Think about that! In John chapter 6, Jesus tells His disciples that unless the Spirit draws people, they cannot be saved. When we flippantly think that 'we found Jesus,' we are selling the story short.
God searched you out, sent His Holy Spirit to draw you, and then Jesus rescued you! Your story is a miracle!
"The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But some of you do not believe me.”(For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.” John 6: 63-35 (NLT)
But here's the deal. When you decide to tell your miracle story to a friend it suddenly takes on a life of it's own. Your miracle story, (or testimony) sets another miracle in motion, whether you see it or not. Because the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy (Revelation 19:10), as you set your faith into action, as you understand that what God did for you, He can do again for them! Your miracle story sets into motion their miracle story, and their miracle story sets into motion someone else's miracle story.
It works sort of like compound interest works in finance. Compound interest can be thought of as “interest on interest,” and will make a deposit or loan grow at a faster rate than simple interest. Once told, your story is never static. Once you release your story, the outcome is no longer up to you. Think of it like a compound miracle. It can be thought of as a "miracle on a miracle", making the Kingdom grow at a faster rate than if you had simply kept it to yourself.
It's incredible. Some would say impossible. But that's the stuff of miracles!
We get ourselves tied up in knots with fear about telling our stories, thinking it's all about us, but it's truly all about Jesus. We can step out in faith knowing that He will not leave us hanging, and trust that another compound miracle is on the way. We don't manufacture it, and we don't have to coerce people into believing this amazing-grace-testimony. We just release it and trust God with the rest.
Matthew 6:38 says, "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap." (NIV) This verse is not just referring to money, it's talking about anything you give for the cause of Christ! So go ahead, give your story away! See what God will do. You might just have a compound miracle on your hands!
I think it's part of every human being's DNA to have a desire for more. We want to advance, to achieve, to make a name for ourselves. We all want our lives to count.
Social media has provided a platform for people to promote themselves, their beliefs, their likes and dislikes, their photos, and every detail of their lives to anyone who will listen. I mean, I am doing it right now!
Just like we choose who we want to be in real life, we also choose who we want to be online. Narcissism, arrogance and pride abound, but so does empathy, compassion and love. We get to choose our public persona.
After writing my book, "Made for This Moment", I got schooled in the art of self promotion. The publishing house would call and tell me all the things I was required to do to promote my book. Since then, I have read books on building your platform and read articles outlining the many avenues of building your brand.
I understood in my head, how important these things were, if I wanted to be seen and heard in the marketplace. But in my heart, I didn't like that it was necessary.
Our way of climbing to the top is often so different than God's way. James 4:10 tells us, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up." (NIV) Humbling ourselves seems to be counterintuitive to the desire in our hearts to be raised up! The world tells us to build a platform, get your face out there, make a name for yourself, and make some noise! But God tells us something different.
"This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength." Isaiah 30:15 (NIV)
How are we supposed to be exalted by being humble? How are we supposed to show strength by being quiet?!
We did an interesting exercise in our C5 Church staff meeting this week. Each of us wrote on a whiteboard the precise moment that God called us and propelled us forward into that calling. We recorded years and turning points. But an unexpected reality was revealed. Each landmark moment recorded was also a season of deep surrender within us.
Why is it, in God's economy, we must always go down to go up? He says plainly in Matthew 23:12, "For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (NIV)
So I made a decision. I decided I would rather have God promote me than to even attempt at scratching and clawing my way to the top. (Usually when I do that, I discover the unfortunate reality that the top I am striving for is not what I expected and I realize that it's the top of something that has no eternal value whatsoever.) It becomes a waste of time, energy, and strength to do it on my own. Instead of trying to figure it all out and do life in a way that makes sense to me, l want to try to do life His way. I must choose humility. I have to get low.
When we humble ourselves, we become usable to God. When we humble ourselves, we get out of our own way. When we humble ourselves, it is a white-flag-surrender-kind-of-thing that signals to God that He can finally step in and do what we could never do on our own.
I am seeking after God. Everything else can wait. His promotion. His way. His time. His work in me is what I'm aiming for.
When God promotes you, no one can stand against you. When God promotes you it feels so much easier. When God promotes you, because it is in His time, and He has done the work of molding your will to His, you will be ready. When God promotes you it lasts.
Humility is the signal to heaven that you are ready.
When your pastor encourages you to invite someone to church, it's not what you think. First, I'll tell you what it's not about.
It's not to tell people how great your church is.
It's not to tell your friends that we have an excellent children's program where kids are so loved. (And we do.)
It's not to tell your family that we have awesome worship. (And we do!)
It's not to brag about your amazing pastor. (And of course we have that too.)
It's not about filling up the place and getting more butts in the seats.
It's really not about C5 Church. (Or whatever church you might happen to attend.)
Why do we constantly encourage you to get people into church? Here are six reasons.
1. We want to get your friends into an environment where they can feel safe, valued, and loved. The church is a place where they can hear the things you wish you could've said. When your friends come to love the church like you do, they will be able to grow into the full potential and become all that God intended them to be.
2. We want to get your family into the church so that they can thrive! When they thrive, they begin to make better choices. When they make better choices, there are fewer mistakes to fix, fewer holes to dig out of, and greater freedom. (Yay!)
3. We want to get your people into church, because the more they are in church, the more hope there is of them accepting Jesus, which means you will see them in heaven. FOREVER!!!
4. We want you to experience the complete joy of participating with God and watching your friends and family members change. Right before your very eyes. It is so much fun.
5. We want to get the people you love the most, (or let's face it, those who cause you the most grief or worry), to step into the one place we know God's presence rests, where miracles happen, and where they can be transformed in an instant.
6. God's desire is that we build His kingdom and most of that happens within the context of the local church. In the book of Acts, we see His plan unfold in black and white. "Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." Acts 2:47 (ESV) This reason alone should be enough for us, but out of God's great kindness, He throws in all the other perks as a bonus! (He's amazing!)
I can think of a lot more reasons why your pastor wants you to invite others to church, but for now, those are the top six on my heart. Can you think of a better one? Let me know!
John 1:16 "Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given." (NIV)
As Christians, we stand in a unique place. It is an undeserved place that all believers get to stand in. It is a place of unexpected freedom and great relief. It is the place of grace.
When we are bowed down under the weight of guilt and shame, expecting punishment but instead, we receive mercy, it is cause for great celebration and joy!
The world, those without the saving knowledge of Christ, has not experienced first-hand the grace of God, so how could they possibly understand the gift that is grace and how could they possibly comprehend how to extend grace.
We see it all the time, when a public figure messes up, there is an immediate outcry to punish, banish, and destroy the offending person. There is no grace and most of the time, there is no "innocent until proven guilty".
I think of the current situation with the Duggar Family. In case you are unaware, the Duggar Family, (i.e. the reality show "19 Kids and Counting"), who believes in courting instead of dating, side hugs instead of kissing, modesty over bared skin, family Bible-reading, home-schooling, and church-going has been pulled by the TLC Network as advertisers are pulling the plug of their connections to this show. Allegations surfaced last week that their oldest son, now married with 3, going on 4 children, when he was an underage teen, he was charged with groping 5 underage girls. The allegations submit that all children involved received therapy but charges were covered up by the adults involved.
I am not saying that this kind of behavior is ok. No. It is NOT okay. But what I find interesting is that as gay rights groups are shouting "hypocrisy!", there has become a public lynch mob of sorts on social media, with Christians included. But shouldn't Christians, those who have been redeemed, those who have received grace, be very careful about their public response to these kinds of things.
After all, Romans 3:23-24 teaches, "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (NIV)
We stand in the place of grace. We have been generously spared. We received grace freely! Grace must come from grace. Our response must be love, or the world won't see any difference between us and them. The one person who stood up for the Duggar Family first was Gov. Mike Huckabee. In a statement on CNN, he said that "good people make mistakes... Josh Duggar had redeemed himself by living a responsible and circumspect life as an adult."
Passing judgement on people we don't personally know is one thing, but what about people we do know? When a person stumbles and falls, will we be first to point fingers and heap on shame or will we remember the response of Jesus in situations like this? When the Pharisees were ready to stone the woman caught in adultery, He was the only one who stood up for her. He said, "He who is without sin, throw the first stone." Then He stretched out His hand and helped her into that place of grace as He said, "Go and sin no more." (John 8:7-11)
As human beings, it may be natural to think, "I don't want to associate with that sin, I don't want to get any of that on me". But instead of looking at our own position, what can we do to help that person get to that place of grace?
John 13:35 reminds us, "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." (NLT)
What does your response prove to the world?
Life is tricky, but love is always the answer. If we want people to be redeemed and restored to wholeness, they must be able to stand in the place of grace, and only love will get them there.
What are your thoughts?