Mediocre? No More!

called

We have a holy calling. Do you believe that? Do you receive that?

Or do you just want to skate along and hope you can hold out long enough, and be good enough, to get into heaven in the end and maybe get a few blessings along the way. Well my friends, those days are gone. That apathetic brand of mediocre Christianity was a lie from the enemy that has sucked all the power and the very life out of the church and the Holy Spirit is not going to sit idle any longer, He’s on the move. The chute has been opened, the bronc has been spurred, and I intend to stay on the hurricane deck until the buzzer sounds. And I pray that you do also.

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Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began 2 Tim 1

Following Jesus, being a believer, being a Christian, was never intended to be about making life easy and carefree. It was never about what we can get out of it or getting what we deserve simply by virtue of ‘being us’ and allowing God to be our God. It is about recognizing that we don’t get what we deserve—eternal death, and that we have long failed to fully recognize how sinful and empty we are because we don’t fully appreciate who our God is.

Following Jesus is about repentance, acceptance and obedience.

When we do recognize who our God is, we gladly suffer for his name and no longer feel the shame of being different from the rest of the world, because he has removed our shame as sinful creatures and made us his children, by virtue of His love and grace, not our own.

Then his purpose becomes our purpose and our life has meaning and our heart is filled with hope as we answer his holy call.

Power

But he doesn’t just ask us to answer his call and suffer needlessly and impotently—he gifts us and equips us to truly make a difference. His power becomes available to us. Seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

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Those of you who have been blessed to have been in Spirit filled churches or prayer groups that are not afraid of the Holy Spirit are well aware of the gifts and have a pretty good idea what your own gifts are. But there are those of you who have not yet had a chance to really understand or explore your gifts.

 1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant. . .

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. . . . But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 1Cor 12:1,4

power

There are many types and categories of gifts from the supernatural, wow gifts, as we see listed above, to the office, this is who you are gifts, to the everyday, aren’t you talented gifts. Some of these gifts are only released when you are baptized in the Spirit through the laying on of hands or as you are subsequently anointed for a specific task or position.

All the gifts,  whether gifts of encouragement, gifts of service, craftsmanship, teaching, healing, words of wisdom, spiritual discernment, prophecy, our prayer languages, seeing into people’s hearts— He does all this so that we can bless people.

God has called and equipped  you, do not fear nor neglect your gifts. Using your gifs to answer your Holy calling is truly living. The alternative, mediocre Christianity, is numbness.

To live comfortably numb, not using our gifts, not taking the risk of getting into trouble with them, not having to stretch ourselves, to work and put ourselves out there, may sound like a pretty safe strategy just to survive this life intact till the Master returns, but in doing that we miss one very  important aspect of the gifts made available to us— they are given us for the express purpose of investing in and growing the Kingdom of Heaven.

That is the point of Jesus’ parable of the talents.

“So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ Mat 25:20-21

Jesus wants us to make a difference in this world, that is why he left us the gifts in the first place. We are Jesus to this dying world and we are equipped and we are expected to take our place and function as part of his body in whatever capacity he places us or calls us to.

Our mediocrity could very well come back to bite us.darkness.jpg

But we are not of those who shrink back for fear, are we?

It may be that you are afraid of your calling so you ignore it- it may have been stolen away from you by a church leader who told you that you were not qualified or ready- or you may be waiting for someone, anyone with authority, to recognize and release you.

You are responsible for you and only you can answer to God for you. Get your barbarian on and just do it.

Check out my latest book Barbarians in the Kingdom

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The Acts 2 Generation

“You are the generation that can and must speak truth to the world”

Well, here we are, in the last days. I wonder what we are supposed to be doing?

Acts 2

Oh yeah, Prophesying! Speaking, teaching, rebuking, encouraging—praying in the power of the Holy Spirit

Platitudes and canned sermons don’t work anymore. Comfortable stale religion does not give people hope in a world where evil reigns and gives us a fresh load every day.

We need Spirit empowered believers who are willing to use the gifts God gives them who will speak boldly and clearly that which the Lord speaks to you. This mindless repetition of things that someone else came up with, whether it’s quotes from popular pastors, songs or Facebook memes, things that are usually not even scriptural let alone prophetic, is largely a waste of time and just leads people astray.

I don’t want to hear pat answers, I don’t want to hear clever sayings and feel good slogans or see your pictures of European Jesus demanding that I repost “if I am not ashamed” and either does anyone else, because when stuff hits the fan we discover that those things just don’t hold true nor have any power.

I want to hear truth, I want to hear what Jesus has told you, what he has opened your eyes and your heart to see in the scriptures— what he has opened your ears to hear from his Holy Spirit. I want to hear from the sons and daughters of an Acts 2 church what they are having spoken to them from the Lord.

I want to know what the young men are seeing in their visions and I want to know the dreams of the old men as the Lord unfolds the future to them and puts a passion in their hearts to build a better place in the kingdom as he shares the dreams he has with those who have the energy and the gifts to make it happen.

I want to hear from the true servants of the one true God who have had the Holy Spirit poured out on them— I want to hear from the Jeremiahs. I want to hear truth—timeless, relevant, living, breathing, spoken in the language of today and delivered with the fire that burns in the hearts of those who have been called to advance the kingdom of God, to storm the gates of hell, to bring the living water to this dry and dusty land—truth.

And I don’t care if you are four years old or one hundred and four, if God is using you to reveal his truth to whoever it is he desires to deliver a message to— than I want to hear it.

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Set an example to the world as to how a true believer, empowered by the Holy Spirit and passionately in love him lives in in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity, and then tell your story, tell his story, and let the two be one in the same.

Look at what the world is doing to our young people right now. From Antifa thugs in the streets, to Berkley scholars—He’s turning them into mindless one size fits all propaganda machines who espouse tolerance while savagely trying to silence all who would dare have a different opinion then they do. And you are their primary targets, you who know the truth.

Make no mistake, the enemy is at work here and he is trying to silence a generation of Holy warriors.

Make yourself heard, do not be afraid to be Jesus in a world that is quickly turning all authority and power over to Satan as he sets the stage for the Anti-Christ to rule. You are the generation that can and must speak truth to the world, to those for whom Jesus died, who just need to hear the truth spoken in love and power. Be that generation, be that prophet.

 “‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy

The future of the church, belongs to those who are not afraid of the Spirit, who are not afraid of truth. 

Want to change the world? Embrace the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Prophesy

“It’s not a side show talent or something only special people–spiritual super stars–Spirit meme can do. 

29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 1 Cor 14:29—20

If we are living for and in the Spirit we do not need to conjure up a Holy Spirit official word moment, we need simply to allow the Lord to use our mouths to accomplish his purpose. Whenever I am talking to someone who is seeking help, advice or prayer I always listen to them with one ear attuned to the Spirit and an attitude of prayer.

Then when I do speak, pray or reply, chances are the words are from the Lord. We can all do that. If you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit, if you truly love or seek to love and encourage others in truth, the Lord can and a will use you to speak for him, sometimes without you even realizing it.

Sometimes we are afraid to speak, or speak for him, because we make it such a big thing, like somehow we have to conjure it up or we just assume we can’t, and then we get frustrated—’why can’t I prophecy, why don’t I know which verse to speak, why I am not worthy or spiritual enough to speak for the Lord!?’ Do you love Jesus? Do you love the person you are speaking to? Then yes you can speak words of wisdom and truth that come from the Lord— that is prophecy!

I have people tell me all the time about something I said to them while visiting or praying that I didn’t think was significant at all if I even remember it, but the Lord used the words to change something in their hearts. The Lord wants to encourage and bless us, all of us, why would he not use you to do it? You don’t need to be perfect, you just need to be willing.

Years ago, back in the 80’s, Donna and I went to a Full Gospel Businessmen’s  banquet. Donna’s dad used to invite us to the banquets and even pay our way, he was a big part of their ministry. Full Gospel Businessmen was a Pentecostal ministry started by Demos Shakarian that encouraged men to meet together on a regular basis to encourage and bless one another. There were many men in Billings that I still know that were greatly blessed by this group, many of them went on to become pastors—including myself I suppose.

They were Spirit filled and not afraid to let you know. If you were around them manifestations of the Spirit were expected and frequent. And If you went to a banquet, it was unashamedly Pentecostal.  

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I remember one particular banquet quite well, Actually it might have been the first one I went to because Donna and I weren’t married yet, in fact we weren’t even dating. But apparently I had a secret crush on her. You’ll know why in a minute.

The speaker was an older gentleman who had the “gift of prophecy, or words of wisdom,” Honestly, I am not sure what the distinction is, both involve speaking things that originated from God for the purpose of revealing something important to someone that the Lord wants them to know. But anyway, after the really loud and spirited worship and the Chicken Cordon Blue the speaker gets up and just starts giving people messages from the Lord.

This was nothing new to me but I had never seen anyone just spend an hour going around telling people things about themselves that no one could know and encouraging them with good things that were going to happen. I spent the evening scared, not because I thought it was weird, I thought it was awesome and I really wanted to be able to do that. But I was scared because I was afraid he was going to look at me, point at Donna, and say “You are supposed to marry that girl.” Donna was sitting next to me but at that time she was just a sister of my friend Charlie whose Dad had paid for my ticket.

Well, in spite of my fears I wasn’t outed by the prophet and I got to court my future wife at my own pace.

But the reason I tell you that story is because of the first thing I said about that experience; I really wanted to be able to do that. Why? I have to admit that it might have been because I thought it would make me look really cool in a super spiritual way. And, looking back, I don’t remember being encouraged or anyone else being encouraged to share a word, it was all about the “Prophet.” I hate to say it, but it was kind of a Pentecostal side show.

I struggle with things like that, like the big name healers who fill stadiums and TV slots with their get’em healed shows. Get’em on the stage, slap’em on the forehead and tell them they are healed, book the next stadium and see you next time, by the way, we take PayPal and PushPay.

That’s great, I know the Lord is using these people to help but the thing is—we should all be able to do that We look at them as someone special or super spiritual, but they aren’t, they just have a powerful God and realized that they can be used by him. . When we look admiringly at people on a stage or a pedestal God no longer gets the glory and we feel diminished.

A word in time or a healing prayer is not just for Kingdom Super stars, it’s for all of us.

It’s not a side show talent or something only special people, spiritual super stars can do, it is something all of us who have given our hearts to Jesus and accepted the further gift of the baptism of the Spirit can and should be doing. It is one important way that Jesus blesses and encourages his church, by using us to speak into one another’s lives. Words guided by the wisdom gleaned from reading and knowing his word and words given specifically for the person you are talking to, to address a situation in the moment.

Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 1 Cor 14:26

Here is a word from the Lord, the one the Lord gave me as I was working on this message.

 “My church is a place to encourage, not to discourage, to bless and not to curse.”  HS

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