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I want to tell you a story about someone short.  I can identify.  I mean I have to say I’m real happy there are some new year 7s in here because me and Mikayla are no longer the shortest people here!

 

Anyway my story is about this short guy called Zacchaeus.

Now they say that good things come in small packages but that was so not true about Zacchaeus.  He was the chief tax collector in his area and made a living ripping people off.  People didn’t like him very much and defriended him on facebook and didn’t invite him to their parties or out to McDs for a frozen coke.

Anyway he heard that Jesus was in town and for some reason just kinda felt like he should go and see him.  Like everyone else in his town.

Now short people problems here.   No matter where he stood he couldn’t see.   And people wouldn’t move to make way for him.  So he ran ahead and climbed a tree beside so he could see Jesus.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.

 

Did you catch that.  Jesus was walking by the tree, looked up and called Zacchaeus by name.

In the crowd Jesus saw this short guy.  He picked him out.  He knew His name.

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OUT OF THE OVERFLOW – I sleep with the Pastor

We must start living our daily lives, and doing ministry out of the overflow of God. People need Jesus more than they need me, or you. We need to start praying for God to root all of us out, so we have more room to fill Him in. I want when people to see me to see Jesus. I want when I leave a place, or a conversation for people to desire more and more of Jesus. I want them to experience Jesus, not Jessica.

May the anointing of God start filling us, and the places we go. We sing these songs to be the lights of this world, or songs to fill us up and send us out. But are we just sleeping and singing corporate karaoke or are we truly awakening to the power of the words of these songs and desiring every cell in our body to be covered by Jesus.

 

 

The Mr. Miyagi Guide to Practicing Your Craft Jeff Goins

Remember that scene from The Karate Kid in which Mr. Miyagi made Daniel wax his car? (What — you’ve never seen that movie?! Shame on you. Go watch it now. It’s a classic!)

The point of the exercise wasn’t to teach Daniel how to buff. It was to teach him the fundamentals of a craft he didn’t understand.

So Daniel spends weeks doing this repetitive, boring task, without really understanding why. Over and over again, he scrubs that car until it shines like nothing else — until finally he can’t take it anymore.

He didn’t sign up for this. He wanted to learn Karate. He wanted to be awesome. And this felt like a chore, a waste of time. But Miyagi shows him what he’s been doing has been preparation for all the moves he’s going to learn. In fact, he’s already learned them — without realizing it.

Daniel learns an important lesson here. And so do we when we commit ourselves to the work, not just the fruit.

 

 

Why superheroes don’t inspire us anymoreTyler Ward

What social research says about the power of vulnerability at work & at home.

Research shows that projecting as if we have it all together is both “dated” and “destructive.”On the contrary, when we’re willing to take off the masks of who we “should” be to admit who we currently are, we create a human connection that is not only necessary for relationship, but critical to inspiring (or leading or helping) others.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of inspiration. Brene Brown, a long-time student of vulnerability and the author of “Daring Greatly,”says it this way:

Our ability to be vulnerable forms the basis for our connection with others, a connection that is critical if we are to inspire others. (Read more)

Vulnerability inspires change. Peter Fuda and Richard Badham spent 5 years studying the effects of vulnerability in a professional workplace. Their conclusion?

When a leader (read: parent, pastor…etc) admits their own weakness, it invites a mutual accountability that creates momentum for change. This act of humility is seen as courageous and inspires others to follow suit. As more members of the team join the process, the snowball becomes more tightly compacted and almost impossible to stop.

 

 

 

Focus, Perspective, and Leading Well – Christine Caine

THE MORE LIFE I LIVE, AND THE MORE CIRCUMSTANCES I FACE, THE MORE CONVINCED I AM THAT IN ORDER TO FULFILL OUR CALLING, WE MUST BE SELECTIVE IN THE THINGS WE LOOK FOR IN LIFE.

If we as leaders truly desire to live out our God given purpose and destiny, we must make the decision to follow God with our whole hearts and maintain a passionate faith walk. I have come to the realization that the perspective we maintain actually determines the purpose in which we walk in.

As leaders it can be easy to become distracted and miss the plans and purposes God has for our lives because our focus is on unimportant, insignificant things (that just happen to be screaming the loudest for our attention!).

 

 

4 Places to Encounter Jesus That May Surprise You – Jonathan Merritt

A few years ago, I found myself in a time of profound spiritual emptiness. I’d been working in the church world for many years and my time of service was a period of sweet struggle. Crafting sermons, trying to make much of Jesus. Calling people to faith, and reminding those who found it to keep doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.

BUT SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY MINISTRY HAD BECOME A JOB. ANOTHER WAYPOINT IN MY EFFORTS TO SAVE THE WORLD. I SPENT MORE TIME TALKING ABOUT GOD THAN TALKING TO HIM. MORE TIME DESCRIBING GOD’S PRESENCE THAN BATHING IN IT.

I had become a travel agent pointing to God like a far-off tourist attraction when I should have been travelling there myself.

I tried to balance my increasing workload with budding writing opportunities, a juggling act that often left both efforts unfinished. I was moving bricks from one stack to another. Worse still, I was moving farther away from the God I wanted so badly to draw near to.

So I decided to take a journey to meet the God of the Bible. What I discovered is that Jesus often shows up in unexpected spaces.

 

 

+ this great one:

If I’ve learned anything about dreaming, it is thisJon Acuff

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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 ~ Matthew 6:9-11

Give us today our daily bread – we need to have our bread fresh every day – just as the israelites had mana, every day, fresh, from heaven.  

Perhaps Jesus isnt talking so much about kai on the table but kai for our hearts – soul food – spiritual nourishment.

 

 

My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26 ~ Give me today my daily portion / God is my portion

 

*** kai = food / #WikiOTeReo

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The people kept their distance while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.  Exodus 20:21 MSG

Moses was the rare individual that would not settle for knowing the acts of God but he desired to know His ways. While there are many who will stand at the bottom of the mount wanting someone else to climb the mountain to meet with God and relay the information. There are few who will climb-(exert effort), press past fear and preconceived notions and disappear behind the cloud. It is there that a man meets God. All were invited but only one ascended. Only one who came back with the radiance of God still shining upon him, only one who spoke with God face to face as a friend. The mountain and the invitation awaits ….. Who will climb? Father I know how many obstacles/excuses there are for me to stay at the base of the mountain. My desire and longing is to climb to meet You. Keep that passion at the forefront of all that I do this day!  youversion note

 

its interesting to note in exodus 19 and in this chapter the limits had to be put around the mountain and how only one called man could come and approach God.  the people had to consecrate themselves but even then the mountain was off limits.  God appeared in a dense cloud with fire and thunders and lightenings.  if the people crossed the barrier they would die.

 

contrast to the reality that Jesus is God with flesh, incarnated.

  • The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

  • Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.  Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.  John 14:8-11

  • The Son is the image of the invisible God.  Colossians 1:15
  • Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men  Philippians 2:6-7

Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God.

and the beautiful thing is that He came and dwelt with us, to show us the Father, to demonstrate His love and grace and power.

because of Him we have access and freedom to approach God, just as Moses did : In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

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kindle a fire in me o my Lord God for your presence and your purposes

let me stand for you ways and let me stand and overcome

let me be intentional in pursuing you and encountering you

let me encounter you so that others too who need your presence and love and grace and healing and salvation and deliverance will encounter you

kindle a fire in me to see you move in my church in my land in my life

burn in me Lord that i might burn bright for others to see

stir me towards your purposes

dare me to follow you

transform me into your likeness

let me be aware of spiritual things and contention

that i might live toe to toe with the enemy, taking ground and not being distracted by his influences and subtle oppressions

let me live with clarify and purpose and intention for your holy ways and knowing you

reveal to me who you are and let me hold onto that vision and reality, let that burn within me and keep the fire kindled

let encountering you not be a memory but be a reality

stir me

stir others

let me stir

move o Lord

move our hearts

stir us to pray

stir us to pray

stir us to pray

Interesting to note, that though Moses freaks out in this first encounter with God, and hides his face, that one thing Moses is known for is face to face encounter with God – Exodus 33:7-11

Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. 8 And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. 9 As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent. 11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

Dont stay in the place of first encounter!  Press in, relate, connect, develop that relationship and friendship. Seek face to face encounter.  Don’t be satisfied, hunger for God and do something about it.

All around us Christians are seeking to convert the lost to Jesus.  What is the best way to do this?  And once men having been converted, what is the best way to aid them in attaining full perfection in Christ?

The way to reach the lost is to reach them by the heart..  If a new convert were introduced to  real prayer  and to a true inward experience of Christ as soon as he became converted you would see countless numbers of converts go on to become true disciples.

Burdening the new Christian with countless rules and all sorts of standards does not help him grow in Christ.  Here is what should be done:  The new Christian should be led to God!

How!

By learning to turn within to Jesus and by giving the Lord his whole heart.  If you are one of those in charge of new believers, lead them to a real real inner knowledge of Jesus.  Oh what a difference there would be in the lives of those new Christians!

Or a new Christian, for all of us in fact , the heart is all important if we are to go forward in Christ.  Once the heart has been gained by God, everything else will eventually take care of itself.


Madam Guyon from 100 Days in the Secret Place

I can relate to this both by experience and by theological thought.  My own experience as a new Christian in 1993, and since then, was that my heart was won first and then once I was captivated by God it meant that he ruled and reigned and by love could correct me and change me and change the outward things that I was doing.  I didn’t know what a Christian should and shouldn’t be doing.  But God showed me bit by bit and revealed his heart to me and thus my desire was to follow and obey.

I think it is really important for new Christians to really encounter God.  Not rules.  Not church.  But the one true living God who loves them and knows them and saved them.

New Christians don’t need to have their brains filled up with head knowledge, they need to develop trust and faith in God.  They don’t need to know the meaning of the 3rd toe on the left foot of the beast, just that God is mighty and able to save and that he has a plan and purpose and works His good in all things.  They need to know that when they pray God hears them and works in their life.   There are complex things in christianity.  God doesn’;t heal always because he is working the big picture.  God sometimes says no as his answer to prayer.  Life is hard and God uses experience to produce hope and faith and good things in our lives.  Being a Christian and knowing God isn’t happy happy joy joy all the time.  BUT do new Christians need the weight of all the negativity that older Christians sometimes have about such things.  Nope.  They need the truth in love and light and hope.

They need the opportunity to discover for themselves the complexity of the plans of God, but aalso how he is always GOOD and GREAT.  They need to know that sometimes the answer is no, but that God always is with them and walks through the fire and flames with them.

When our hearts are devoted to God obeying Him is easier.  All of us need to stir our hearts to love towards God, keeping the love fresh and real.

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