I have always felt that physical touch is very important to our emotional health and wellbeing. The power of touch to heal has been documented through many studies. There have been over a hundred studies on the subject published by the Touch Research Institute alone. Recently a team of neuroscientists stumbled on a very low-tech way to completely prevent stroke damage in rats: tickle their whiskers. (Who comes up with these things?) I know I feel better when my grandchildren tickle my whiskers!

There is no greater touch than the touch of Christ upon our lives. The greatest experiences I’ve ever had in my life came through two ways; God’s touch and God’s voice (I include God’s Word in the category of His voice). In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus demonstrates the power of His touch. Matthew 8:1-4 (NCV) 1 When Jesus came down from the hill, great crowds followed him. 2 Then a man with a skin disease came to Jesus. The man bowed down before him and said, “Lord, you can heal me if you will.“ 3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man and said, “I will. Be healed!“ And immediately the man was healed from his disease. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. But go and show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded for people who are made well. This will show the people what I have done.“

There very important concepts we need to embrace so we can experience the power of Christ’s touch in our lives and in the lives God leads us to touch with His love:
1. We must humble ourselves and ask Jesus to touch us! The man bowed, a symbol of submission and humility. Then he spoke directly to Jesus, not letting the great crowds that surrounded Jesus discourage him.
2. We must be still until we know Jesus touched us. I see so many Christians running around trying get healed, or get their problems solved, or get their hurts cared for, when the most important thing for us to do is to be still in His presence. Busyness can be a sign of fear or unbelief. The man didn’t get up until he was healed. I admit it’s a lot easier to be still when Jesus heals immediately like He did here in this story. Sometimes Jesus heals immediately, sometimes He heals gradually, and sometimes He heals naturally, through doctors and medication.
In the early 1980’s we were living in Lindsay CA. and were attending the First Baptist church. I had been suffering from constant headaches; if I was awake I was in pain. The Bible says in James if anyone is sick to go to the elders of the church for prayer; so that’s what I did. I showed up to a Board meeting and asked them to pray for me. They sat me down and laid hands on me and began to pray. Within minutes, (its seemed like seconds) the Holy Spirit fell on me big time and I began to speak in tongues! The Holy Spirit, Tongues, Baptists? YES!!! That touch from God was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had with the Holy Spirit. Did I get healed? It took about 2 weeks, everyday I felt better until the headaches completely stopped, never to return, AMEN!
3. We must always make Jesus the focus of the touch. Jesus instructed how he was to respond to the Touch. When God touches you share your story with the pastoral staff of your church. Talk about how your story can show the people what Jesus has done. Make sure you offer your thanks and praise to God Almighty. Then let the people know how God touched you and how God can touch them as well.

PEACE

I’ve been praying about a series of teachings for my blog. The Spirit of God led me to a very interesting and powerful subject, the touch of God upon our lives. We’ve all experienced the touch of God on our lives at one time or another. My goal is to give us insight on how to continue in that touch, to continue experiencing God’s hand on us every day, all day! We will always have those special moments when God touches us with an undeniable, glorious power. I love that! I look forward to that every day. But quite frankly, for most people, those times are few and far between. The first question that comes to mind is “Why don’t we experience God’s presence everyday? Why can’t I feel God” (I stopped asking the “Why” questions a long time ago.) If you insist on asking that question I will answer it for you; Why?… because He’s God and He can do whatever He wants! Okay, now for those who are more sensitive… God knows what’s best for us even when we don’t understand. And there will be some things we will never understand this side of Heaven. One more for my macho men of God… BECAUSE GOD SAID SO NOW GET OVER IT! (he, he, he)

Why is really the wrong question to ask, if God wants us to know why He will tell us. “What” is a much better question. In the early 1980’s Michelle and I were involved with an inner city church that ministered to gang members and drug addicts. One evening I was at a rehearsal for a play that we were putting on as part of our evangelism outreach. When the rehearsal was over I walked out to my 1974 Super Beetle only to find that it had been broken into and my stereo cassette player had been stolen! Why? Why? Why? Then the question changed… what, what was God about to teach me? The lesson was a good one. I didn’t realize that as a young Christian I still had a love… okay… a lust for material things, LIKE STEREO CASSETTE PLAYERS! With no Christian music playing in my VW I had no other choice but to talk to God. Riding home in my ’74 Super Beetle I experienced a holy visitation, and at that moment God set me free from lusting after things. Being in God’s presence in my VW was greater than any stereo, or nice car, or anything else. Don’t get me wrong, I still like nice things, but having nice things is not important to me, being in God’s presence is!

That holy encounter changed my life. Can you think of a time when in God’s presence you know without a doubt that He changed you right on the spot? Cherish those times and share them with others to encourage them. Most of the changes that God makes in our lived are slow daily processes that make us more like Jesus. But it’s so awesome when we experience a holy, powerful visitation of God. My heart cries out for more of God’s presence in my life, my family, and my church.

PEACE

Retired?? NOT A CHANCE!

Posted: June 16, 2011 in Personal Thoughts

I want to thank all the loving family and friends that have congratulated me on my retirement from Clovis Unified, leaving my career of 32 years in teaching. But retired? NOT A CHANCE! I have entered into a new journey, an adventure of faith and purpose.
On Tuesday, June 14, 2011 I officially joined the awesome team at Northeast Assembly of God as Associate Pastor. As many of you know I have been bi-vocational for over 19 years, being the Lead Pastor of Family Joy Community Church (FJCC). Not many people enjoy the jobs they have but I can honestly tell you that I had 2 jobs that I LOVED, teaching children through music (I don’t teach music; I teach children) and pastoring all the wonderful people of FJCC. Now that FJCC has partnered with Northeast a new adventure has begun, an adventure filled with potential, vision and hope for the future.
Coming to this place was a long and, at times, stressful process. But the benefits and blessings that we are experiencing make it all worthwhile. Several years ago I prayed a very dangerous prayer (a prayer I think everyone should pray). I said to God in prayer, “Lord, I will do whatever you tell me to do, and I will go wherever you want me to go.” God took on that challenge and sent me to Lindsay CA. to be their high school band director. I loved my students at Lindsay High School (still do) but God had other plans for us. As I look back I needed to get out of Fresno for a while so I could focus on my new life in Christ.
After 2 years at Lindsay HS God moved us back to Fresno and opened a door at Tranquillity High School and for 6 wonderful years I directed an awesome group of musicians and Color Guard!! On our final Spring Concert we received a standing ovation! I will never forget my family from TUHS. I still have contact with some of my students. GO TIGERS!! I love you so much.
But being a high school band director is too demanding for the next journey God had for me and Michelle.
I left TUHS for Clovis Unified and Jefferson Elementary School. There is a miracle involved in this move but I will share it at another time. Being at the elementary school level gave me the opportunity to begin our greatest journey, starting a new church in Fresno called, “Family Joy Community Church.” Maybe one day Michelle and I will write a book about our experiences as lead pastors of an amazing ministry, filled with many miracles and too many heartbreaks, but not enough to make us give up on our vision. I LOVE YOU FAMILY JOY!
Now God has us on another new journey, a journey of power and blessings. We’ve already seen God do miracles, healings, restoration, and empowerment. For over 6 months we have been in the planning stages with Pastor Mike Bruton and his awesome leadership team to bring together two groups of people to become one Church, one in purpose, power, and peace. Because of this partnership I was able to retire from teaching and go on as a full-time pastor with Northeast Assembly of God. Praise the Lord!
If you are not currently attending a church I strongly encourage you to come on by. Every Sunday there is awesome worship, a powerful message from God’s Word, and a lot of love to go around. By the way, I Still Got Jokes! I hope we see each other soon. Much Love!
PEACE

When I read my Bible I see powerful stories of long ago; miraculous events, healings, even people being resurrected from the dead! But I can’t help but think, “Why does Christianity today look so very different from Christianity in the Bible? Where’s the power, where’s the action, where’s the miraculous?

Don’t get me wrong, we have seen God do many miracles in our lives, and in our ministry. But when I think of the people in the Bible miracles seem to be more common than today. I desperately want to see miracles, healings, and especially salvations, become common place in my life and in our ministry.

The Apostle Paul has helped me put things into perspective in his letter to the church in Thessalonica. Miracles didn’t just happen then and they don’t just happen now. There needs to be action that motivates the heart of God to move in the miraculous on our behalf. Here’s what Paul said, We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV)

The church at Thessalonica had an ongoing work for God that was empowered by their faith in God. They worked hard. The Greek word translated here means to toil (as an effort or occupation). The sad truth about the American church is only 10% of attendees are doing 80% of the work. Most people come to church as consumers, not as workers for God. Since very little work is being done by faith, very little power is being manifested. (I am happy to say that we see that changing in our church) When more Christians realize they can be empowered by faith more work will occur. Let’s not confuse activity with faith-work. There are a lot of activities going on in every church but very little work produced by faith. Harsh statement? Well all we have to do (if we are honest) is look at the results of all our activities.

Paul seems to be repeating himself in the next phrase, but he is actually taking work to the next level, labor prompted by love. The Geek word here is toil (as reducing the strength), pains, labor, trouble, weariness. This is hard work, where we are worn out by the pain involved with laboring for God (I know that pain all too well). What keeps us going is love. When you have genuine love for God and compassion for those around you nothing can stop you. I have quit the ministry hundreds of times but I’m still going strong. Why? Because God loves me and has filled me with an undying love for others. Don’t hate me because I tell the truth but people who quit laboring for God love something more than they love God (It’s usually self-love in various forms). If you are suffering from ministry burn-out take some time off and go back to your first love. Then get back to work!

Paul finishes his statement with a powerful word, endurance. This is a word we all need deep within our hearts. Endurance is cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, loyalty, enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting). We, that have Christ as our Lord and Savior, have hope for our future and hope for all eternity! That’s something worth waiting for! I keep on working, I keep on laboring, and I keep on enduring because I have hope in Jesus. This is what my hope looks like: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and there was no sea anymore. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It was prepared like a bride dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Now God’s presence is with people, and he will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain, because all the old ways are gone.” The One who was sitting on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this, because these words are true and can be trusted.” Revelation 21:1-5 (NCV)

PEACE

What is Attractive to God?

Posted: June 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

Titus 2:10 … in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. (NIV)

There’s an old saying that has some validity, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Not everyone agrees on what is beautiful or attractive. Michelle and I don’t always agree on what is attractive. Married guys; have you ever watched a movie with your wife and she asked you that dangerous question, “Do you think she’s pretty?” Be careful brothers how you answer!

On our way to Lake Tahoe a couple of days ago (for a much needed vacation) we passed a line of low-riders. These cars were beautiful, obviously the owners put in a lot of time and money fixing up these cars. But Michelle was not impressed one bit. To her old cars are unattractive (okay, she says they’re ugly). How could two people who are so close have such diverse opinions about what is or is not attractive?

People have differing views on the attractiveness of churches. We have so many different churches with different shapes, sizes, music, preaching styles. How do we, or more importantly, how should we determine the attractiveness of a church? I think we need to have some rules to follow in order to determine what is attractive and what is not. Paul lays it all out in the second chapter of Titus how we make church attractive. (Unfortunately most people use a different set of rules than Paul)

The first rule Paul gives Titus is this, you must teach sound doctrine (Titus 2:1). That may seem obvious to you but the reality is sound doctrine is not the most important thing in many, if not most churches. But in the following verses Paul makes it abundantly clear why sound doctrine must be on the top of the list of what makes church attractive; sound doctrine changes lives.

Paul starts with older men. If the church is to be attractive to people without Christ we need older men to have their act together. Why would Paul start with older men? Older men that are self-controlled, serious, wise, strong in faith, in love, and in patience give stability to a church. If there is any group of people that should be showing stability it is the church. We live in a very unstable world. People need to feel safe and secure. When older men are standing strong in the most difficult of circumstances, that is very attractive to people that are hurting.

Next Paul teaches that older women to live their lives in a way that shows they are dedicated to God. They must not to be gossips or addicted to alcohol, but to be examples of what a godly woman is. (Titus 2:3) When older women realize that God has called them to be examples the younger women will have a great opportunity to learn about Christ and have the biblical tools to live in happiness and power. When young women learn to be sensible and kind, as well as a good homemaker, who puts her own husband first, then no one will be able to criticize the teaching God gave us.  (Titus 2:5)

Paul teaches young men to live self-controlled lives. I think this is more important than most people realize. Most young men think they are in control of their lives and their future. The reality is our culture controls young men (sports, music, music, movies, video games, etc.) more than they control themselves. That’s why Paul told Titus to be an example to younger men. We older men need to get involved with the younger men to set a godly example to them.

Finally Paul addresses slaves. Let me take a little stretch here… how do you feel on the job? Just kidding, but the advice Paul gives definitely applies to the job place. Christians should be the best employees, doing our job to the best of our ability, not talking back to our supervisors, not taking stuff home from the job (that’s stealing), having such a godly character that we are fully trusted on the job.

The Word of God is clear, this is how to make the teaching of God attractive to people who don’t have a relationship with God. All the other things we do to attract people to our church are fine, but if we aren’t committed to these godly concepts we will be in danger of offering people a church that is not the church that God designed it to be.

PEACE

SUPER GRACE PART 2

Posted: May 11, 2010 in Grace

Why do I refer to God’s grace as “Super-Grace”? It’s really pretty cool how I came to call God’s grace Super-Grace. God placed a word into my spirit in December of 09 that would guide the vision and direction our church is taking for 2010 and prayerfully into our destiny as a body of believers. That word is RADICAL.

If any word has ever been over used by churches all over America it’s this one. But God gave me what I feel is a different twist to the concept. We are moving away from concept of being radical for God and are diving head first into being radical in Christ. You may be asking yourself, “What’s the difference, dude?” Even though it appears that there is very little difference, God began to show me major differences. When we are radical for Christ the emphasis is on us, what we do. When we are radical in Christ the emphasis is on Jesus, what He will do and what He has already done.

Back to Super-Grace… the second message I preached this year was entitled, Radical Grace. God began to show me, through His Word, many different truths about grace that we (the American Church) had been neglecting. During my study of God’s grace (and I have a lot more studying to do) I came across a verse I thought I knew well, but now I admit not well enough. Romans 5:20b (NIV) …But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,

A closer look at the Greek meanings opened my eyes to a wonderful truth. Where sin increases God’s grace superabounds. There are actually two different words used in the original language; pleonazō—abound and hyperperisseuō—to superabound. Think about that, where sin abounds (and we must admit sin is abounding in the church and our culture), grace SUPERABOUNDS! Wow!!! That’s what I call Super-Grace!

Once that reality began to penetrate my heart it opened my eyes to a more complete understanding of God’s marvelous grace. I’ve got a lot more to learn about grace and every new insight God gives me just makes me more and more excited about what God has given us in the gift of His grace.

One of the first truths that God ignited in my spirit is the reality that God’s grace is much more powerful than sin. Pastor Paul Shepherd put it something like this… God’s grace gets rid of the “can’t help its”. So many people categorize their struggle with sin into the can’t help its, “I can’t help it, that’s the way I grew up” or “I can’t help it because of my circumstance” or—and this is one really ticks me off—“God understands, that’s just the way I am”. The one major flaw with these reasons for giving into sin is simple, the focus is on ourselves not on God’s Super-Grace. When I look back at my life I can now see how much God’s Super-Grace has impacted my life. I am a product of His divine Super Grace!! My family, my marriage, my job, and especially my ministry are successful because God’s grace has been active in my life, even when I didn’t realize it. I thank God everyday for His Super-Grace upon my life! Superman ain’t got nothin’ on me! Why you ask? There is no kryptonite when it comes to Super-Grace!

PEACE

SUPER GRACE PART 1

Posted: May 3, 2010 in Grace

This has been an interesting year. There have been old hurts and disappointments to get over and new lessons to learn. (Yes, even though I order off the senior menu I still have things I need to learn… You Too!) Have you ever felt that you knew something well only to realize you knew very little at all? That’s how I feel about grace.

The biblical concept of grace is one of the most powerful realities in Christianity yet what I have discovered is that most Christians know little about grace and are not utilizing grace in their everyday walk with God.

My journey into the power of God’s grace actually started a few years ago. Being a bi-vocational pastor has many challenges that the average Christian (or pastor for that matter) doesn’t have to deal with. I am not complaining by any means, I know what I am called to and I thank God every day that he chose me for such a demanding ministry. But my calling does get tough at times, and very exhausting. People come to me quite often with a statement similar to this, “I don’t know how you do it all!” or “I could never do what you do!” I really appreciate their loving concern for me, but honestly, I have a power that comes from God through grace. This has been a lifesaving verse for me because of the demands of work and ministry: But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10 (NIV)

The grace of God has had such a profound effect on my life that when facing the trials of life and ministry I have not been overwhelmed to the point of defeat. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been no walk in the park. I have faced some extremely difficult situations, from breaking up a fight in front of a drug dealer’s coffin to countless hospital visits and crisis counseling for families. I have also seen God do miracle after miracle (over 100 healings in 2009 alone) and have been able to rejoice with hundreds of people as God’s power meets them where they hurt the most!

Even with all I’ve experienced I have barely touched the surface of the power of God’s amazing grace!

As the year began I was about as low as I have been in a long, long time. Saying that I was discouraged is a major understatement, I was as close to defeat as I had ever been. But right in the middle of my pain God spoke into my spirit a word I thought I knew, GRACE. For the first time in my Christian life grace came alive! Like I stated before I was utilizing grace more than most people… but I was not even close to the power that grace offers every believer.

For those of you who feel grace is one of those elementary concepts that you mastered long ago, stick around. Maybe we can learn more about grace together.

PEACE

Does God Still Heal Today?

Posted: April 12, 2010 in Healing

This may be an easy question to answer theologically, yes He does. But what about reality, are people receiving their healings? A much more important question needs to be answered, “Does God heal through your prayers?” If you feel He does then keep praying, make intercessory prayer a top priority, the church needs more prayer warriors. If you feel He doesn’t; I’ve got good news for you, God’s Word can change this around. It’s all in one word… BELIEVE.

In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 9 there is a story of two blind men that were following Jesus. Before Jesus healed them he interviewed them to see if they were prepared for a miracle. During this interview it’s interesting to me that Jesus only asked one question. Why didn’t He ask more questions? Here are some questions that maybe you are asking yourself:

Have you been a good person?

Are confessing your sins and asking for forgiveness?

Are you making sure you come to church every Sunday?

Are you involved in ministry?

(Here’s my favorite) Are you obeying and submitting to your spiritual leaders?

Nope, Jesus didn’t ask any of these. He just asked one question, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They answered with two words, “Yes, Lord.” Only two words, but combined together are probably the most powerful two words we can express, YES, LORD!

Do you believe God can heal anything and everything? Do you believe God hears you when you pray? Do you believe that God wants miraculous signs and wonders to follow us as believers? I DO!

These two blind men received their miracle because they had faith and believed that Jesus was able. God is not expecting us to be perfect before He will use us! He does expect us to believe. My heart’s desire is for all of us to become the type of believers Jesus talked about in Mark 16; And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:17-18 (NIV)
Do you believe? If you do then it’s time for you, as a true believer, cast out some demons, speak in tongues to edify the church, stop being afraid to do something out of the ordinary because you know God is protecting you, and lay hands on sick people until they get well!!

Why is healing so important for today’s Christians? John put it this way; Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by BELIEVING you may have life in his name. John 20:30-31 (NIV) (emphasis is mine)

Keep on Believing!

PEACE

Does God Still Heal Today?

This may be an easy question to answer theologically, yes He does. But what about reality, are people receiving their healings? A much more important question needs to be answered, “Does God heal through your prayers?” If you feel He does then keep praying, make intercessory prayer a top priority, the church needs more prayer warriors. If you feel He doesn’t; I’ve got good news for you, God’s Word can change this around. It’s all in one word… BELIEVE.

In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 9 there is a story of two blind men that were following Jesus. Before Jesus healed them he interviewed them to see if they were prepared for a miracle. During this interview it’s interesting to me that Jesus only asked one question. Why didn’t He ask more questions? Here are some questions that maybe you are asking yourself:

Have you been a good person?

Are confessing your sins and asking for forgiveness?

Are you making sure you come to church every Sunday?

Are you involved in ministry?

(Here’s my favorite) Are you obeying and submitting to your spiritual leaders?

Nope, Jesus didn’t ask any of these. He just asked one question, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They answered with two words, “Yes, Lord.” Only two words, but combined together are probably the most powerful two words we can express, YES, LORD!

Do you believe God can heal anything and everything? Do you believe God hears you when you pray? Do you believe that God wants miraculous signs and wonders to follow us as believers? I DO!

These two blind men received their miracle because they had faith and believed that Jesus was able. God is not expecting us to be perfect before He will use us! He does expect us to believe. My heart’s desire is for all of us to become the type of believers Jesus talked about in Mark 16; And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:17-18 (NIV)
Do you believe? If you do then it’s time for you, as a true believer, cast out some demons, speak in tongues to edify the church, stop being afraid to do something out of the ordinary because you know God is protecting you, and lay hands on sick people until they get well!!

Why is healing so important for today’s Christians? John put it this way; Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by BELIEVING you may have life in his name. John 20:30-31 (NIV) (emphasis is mine)

Keep on Believing!

PEACE

res·ur·rec·tion (rěz’ə-rěk’shən)
noun  1. The act of rising from the dead or returning to life.

With the Easter celebrations behind us now I guess it’s time for us to once again put the idea of the resurrection back on the spiritual back shelf and go on to the important things in Christianity; making me happy and making my life easier. Isn’t that what Christianity is all about? After all that’s what we are preaching in our churches.

I got on the websites of some of the biggest churches in America just to see what the “big guys” were talking about. Here are a few titles to sermon series of one of America’s biggest churches:

The Best Me I Want to Be

A New You

Be Rich (okay, I kind of like this one)

Don’t misunderstand; I’m not a jealous little pastor of a sad little church. We pastor an awesome church with people that love God and love each other. And there are great churches and ministries doing much more than I will ever do, and I say “PRAISE GOD!” What’s been on my mind of late is this, why do we have the types of church services in America? Are our services more American than they are biblical?

Recently I taught a lesson from 1 Peter and one verse stuck out like a lightning bolt, 1 Peter 1:9 (NIV) for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus purchased our salvation. But let’s be honest, the goal of faith for most American churches is a better life for its attendees. But Peter made it very clear; the salvation of our souls is the goal of our faith.

Maybe what the church needs, (“we” are the church so it’s what we need) is a crucifixion of our own! The Apostle Paul put it this way; Galatians 2:20 (NIV) I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

By God’s wonderful grace I have been receiving revelations of His Word that has had a very powerful affect on my life. I want to know God more, and want to experience His presence more; I want to live in more of His power and more of His glory. I want what Paul wanted, and my prayer is that you would want it too…

Philippians 3:10-11 (NIV) I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Many people talk about being radical for Christ, there are even workshops and conferences designed to radically inspire us and our churches. I even preached a series several years ago about becoming radical Christians (After the series was over we weren’t much more radical).

But something changed in me in mid-December… while ministering at a men’s ministry dinner those words came rushing out of my mouth, “God is calling us to be RADICAL.” After listening to what I was saying (a habit we all should develop) it hit me, even though 2009 was a year of miracles, our church was not very radical. Without a doubt that night gave us a challenge and a mandate-live a radical life in Christ.

So began a series of messages to challenge our church, and especially me, to live a RADICAL life IN Christ. I realize this is nothing new. There are many churches and ministries that challenge their people to be radical for Christ. But that’s not what God has called us to. He doesn’t want us to be radical for Him, He wants us to be radical IN Him. That may seem an insignificant difference to you, but it makes a world of difference to me. When I am radical for Christ I may do things that are out of the ordinary, even strange. But when I’m radical IN Christ The focus is not on what I do but what Christ does through me.

Let me give you an example… there are many different techniques for evangelism, the Internet is full of them. I haven’t found our technique in a conference or workshop (maybe there out there I just haven’t found them). Our techniques is radical, based on Luke 10:9  Heal the sick who are there and tell them, “The kingdom of God is near you.” Our strategy for evangelism is to pray for people that need healing, (as many as possible) then introduce them to the Healer, Jesus Christ. This is radical for our day, but its the technique Jesus gave the 72 as He sent them out on an evangelism campaign. As I study the Gospels this appears to be the technique of choice for Jesus. JESUS WAS RADICAL! I pray that we become like Christ… a true radical.