Radical You & Me – The Radical Christ

images-2It’s easy to say, ‘We are to be like Christ’, it is RADICAL and yet it a common statement, we may also hear folk say we are to be incarnational, what does that really mean? Someone once said that ‘Jesus put a face on God’ by coming amongst people and touching, lifting, embracing and caring for them in their hurts and needs. I find the scripture in John 1:18 very important for the day in which we live, it states that Jesus “came to explain the father”. He put a face on God for all humanity and this is continuing in the family way, explaining and making people aware of God, being the image and likeness of God to our homes, streets, work and educational establishments. We embrace Christ’s radical mission, recognising that the Father sends us even as he sent Jesus, [John 20:21] then we too can wear the face of God in…

God’s intention today is to step into the cities, towns and rural areas of the nations to touch and lift the fallen, broken, hurting and dying in humanity. We must refuse to fossilize if we’re to avoid becoming a church, a called out people ‘having form without power’.[ 2 Timothy 3:5]

In reality Christ, the supreme restorer, was the most RADICAL man that ever walked the earth. Jesus’ radical actions were not moments of human weakness or intolerance, but expressions of God’s heart. The radical Christ is at all times the perfect image of God the Father. Radical Christianity will always be passionate, jealous as well as zealous, and white-hot for the divine interests involved. Being radically committed to the restoration of the church to God’s full intention brings us into inevitable conflict with custom and tradition.

Before we move on “Radical” a much used term that has often been taken to mean the way out, those who extremely different on the edge kind of people, those that don’t easily belong to cultural or norms. But RADICAL actually means “foundational”, Jesus is radical as he has always dealt with humanities foundational issues. We are radical as we carry a foundational message, life and implication.

I mentioned being radical is being committed to radical restoration, restoration challenges any misplaced sense of loyalty to religious heritage, or sentimental attachment to a religious past. Radical commitment to the restoration of God’s church keeps us moving forward in the direction of the Spirit in our day, and prevents us from falling by the wayside with the religiously comfortable. Its only by being given to a radical restoration will the progress of the church be achieved. Standing radically to break through the restraining religious walls and forces of our time, this is the radical ministry of the people of God.

Our world today and tomorrow will be affected by radical men and women who live as saints from bygone years in the light of God’s purpose.

RADICAL CHANGES

Changes are occurring at a fast pace, the world we live in is getting unrecognizable, shifts are happening, things are changing in this generation; we are growingly aware that what we have now is no longer sufficient for what presently is, or for what is coming. We cannot settle for the average, accepting conventional wisdom. We must do more than merely think of changing; we must change our thinking. We cannot just uphold the same. We cannot just drift by but the need to be foundation-ally radical is there. The kingdom of God is the reality of God’s ways, God’s order, God’s government and pattern in our “time/space” world. The kingdom of God is a very radical experience.

We are being radical when:

· We embrace the gospel that joins us to others and their need, and cuts us free from the destructive influence of our independent self-will.

· We embrace the consequences of following his direction and Spirit regardless of possible consequences, which frees us from self-preservation.

· We maintain an attitude of pioneering, journeying onward rather than settling in self-comfort zones; we are pilgrims, not settlers.

· Living free of any domination of consumer world and the passing unimportant things that try and make themselves important via group pressures. Money can enslave; decisions, actions, directions, relationships, even ministry can be controlled by the desire for the temporal or money.

· Confidently confront the powers of darkness that oppose us rather than allowing them to paralyse us in fear.

· Making things happen is our way of living It is not for others to cause something to happen but for you to make it happen.images

· We refuse to compromise the truth to accommodate religion, or cultural norms.

· We remain committed to Christ as head of the church refusing to get stuck.

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Barrier of the Mind

The Barrier of a Closed Mind – Breaking through Sound Barriers…

imagesWe can deliberately and inadvertently close the possibility of hearing God.   This Sound Barrier (see preceding blog)  comes in a number of ways.  As already mentioned one barrier is the lie of believing our lost-ness which makes us unworthy.

Lost-ness is where we have not only a barrier created in our hearing it’s where another sense is changed our seeing becomes skewed, and it is where our insecurities arise and self-centeredness is created.   This Sound barrier creates a preoccupation with ourselves and our welfare, a feeling of loneliness, a need of acceptance, and the drive to prove ourselves, it provokes us to finding something that makes us secure.  This belief we are lost creates threat, aloneness, guilt, it creates a fear and anxiety of the soul, which drives us and forms our relating and responses, the lost-ness in us, forms its own world and history.

The sound barrier is there when we struggle with our worth, this lie has not awakened us to the mission of the Holy Spirit which is to lead us to KNOW what the Father has made of us in Christ.   We are not known as we are known (1 Cor 13:12). NASB    For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

Don’t get caught in the barrier of “somebodiness” find your self in Christ.

“Who, me?” when God speaks it is accompanied by disbelief and discredit.  Gideon’s story paints this picture well, a reaction of disbelief and self dis-credit.   Gideon an unimportant member of a minor family in the weakest clan Judge 6:1, I want a sign to prove I am hearing you, is it really you?    I wonder why we ask for signs, which is such a gift from God, but what is the basis of my asking?

This young unconvinced general doubt, not that God would speak but that God would speak to him, why would the God of the universe and beyond converse with a nobody?

Would God speak to little old me?  O yes remove the sound barrier as God has asked us to ask, align our will to Gods and ask Luke 11:9, the God that has numbered even the hairs on my head Luke 12:7, the Father of the detail of our lives cares enough to speak to you.

“That’s just thunder”, in John 12:29 a place where a conversation between earth and heaven went on, even the voice from heaven was spoken for those around that had a sound barrier.

Some times the closed mind is such we can not hear God because our expectations of how God might speak did not include the way God did speak.  In this passage clearly the way God would speak did not include an audible voice.    When God spoke they heard a noise…thunder.

To Elijah he spoke in the opposite expectation of the prophet 1 Kings 19:11-13 tells me.  Not in wind, fire, earthquake but a whisper a prophet who expected sensational ways would have had a sound barrier.

Our open minds are sensitive to ordinary and surprising ways of God speaking.  images-1

“I might not believe it” or “it might get weird”, “its not the way our protocol is”.   How many cults start with ”God told me…”, how many unbalanced people have engaged in action, crimes and said God told me?   How many times do normal people make poor decisions as they acted under God’s private, specific instruction?

We don’t want to ascribe to God our silly notions, do we; by claiming God told us that and it proved untrue.   No one brings any one to account for it.    April 2014/15 has been announced as being the importance of the four ‘blood moons”, along with this will be climax of the end of the end (Fall 2015), when international prophets through TV sit and affirm this, yet if your reading this, after the ‘Fall of 2015’ – it has not happened and the Christian world brings no one to account…?   How many times doe this need to happen before we say enough….

Caution is admirable, yet we are those who hear God voice, know Jesus speaking don’t switch your new birth right off, you are meant to hear God, designed to hear God.

We live in a world where we all have access to so much information, so many teachings, so much we find agreeable and information we disagree with.   Years ago it was about teaching what we must believe taught from pulpits now we must train, teach, help and empower people on how to hear God in the midst of so much sound.     Train to discern, we have to work with the sound barrier of so much noise to hear God, the Father.

The hearing of God will always be affirmed by other confirming ways.   Simple, we all know it but why don’t we do it?    Confirm it through the scriptures, affirm it through wise counsel our friends.

What a loss to our lives if we did not take heed of some “weird” direction from time to time, the experience, the meeting of God would not have been if I had allowed a fear of “weirdness” to keep me from responding to that word from God.   Do not fear, but do confirm.

Road signs ahead…

images-7As you drive in the rural areas of UK the road signs are some times different to urban driving.   You come across signs that tell you to pay attention of, “Beware of…”.   Generally they are small signs, not mass-produced or government signs but little hand-made, painted on cardboard to wooden board and some times even marked stones.

Signs of “beware lambing season”, “beware heavy plant in road”, “beware ducks crossing”, they communicate one thing in all their ways BEWARE, pay attention, take a second look, make sure you’re paying attention, avoid an accident or an incident.   All these tells us we don’t want you to harm yourself or any one else.

While recently writing blogs on the prophetic a few have come to mind, things written on hearts, hands, eyes, life really.    I would like to knock a few hand-made posts in regarding the prophetic, to hold up some beware’s for us all.   All prophetic ministry, using it in a broad sense if you prophecy or are in ministry call, even if you are an elder, pastor, vicar or teacher you should have a prophetic fervour in you.

All prophetic ministry should Beware of Weariness.  When the scriptures says don’t images-13grow weary, weariness.   Think of the prophets that got tired.    Elijah running from Jezebel, oh the grace of God that he didn’t just wake him up and give him a meal but sent him back to sleep.   Let’s get rid of the weariness.

Beware of a weariness that is deeper than just physical.   beware of the weariness that insidiously creeps into your soul, the tiredness of not wanting to get up and do it again.   Or so much flack that you don’t want to get up and say it again.   weariness. beware of that weariness.

When Jesus pressed himself on in the garden of Gethsemane and had come back and asked them to wait the hour and watch the hour in pray with him, he says “…can’t you even watch the one hour?”   Their weariness.   But he couldn’t afford to let that weariness press his soul.   For if he had allowed that weariness to engulf he soul the cup would never had been drunk and you and I would not have been here.

Beware flattery.  All the apt on the back to the prophet.   Beware those who come flattering you on your delivery, your content. your powerful word and yet don’t change by it.   Flattery comes from the heart that is committed to no change.   It just wants you to feel good about accepting them in their unchanged state.   Beware flattery.

Beware compromise that when you have the word of God, when you have the vision of God, then you don’t indulge in well may be, well perhaps you are right, maybe I will have to tone it down a wee bit and yes perhaps I am asking too much too soon, and by the time they will have finished helping you adjust your vision will be so small you will need a microscope to find it.   Don’t compromise.

Beware of ridding your gift.  Most prophets, not all but most, are articulate.   But when in the unction of the Holy Spirit they bring the word of God it is powerful and articulate, even when they are preaching the prophetic word, it can be very easy to lose your dependence on God and ride your gift.

Beware hypocrisy.  It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t shout out to the crowds there images-12beware of hypocrisy, he accepted the fact that the Pharisees had hypocrisy, but he said to his own, beware of the leaven.  Hypocrisy of demanding in your words what you are not willing to walk and are not walking in, of calling on people to walk by principles that your are not a model for living in.

I have found myself being in situations where people are generous they give, share of their life and give as well as tithe while some men and women live on this generosity yet did not personally tithe, the church required the people to be generous in this manner other wise it would not meet its responsibilities.   I could not believe it, what right did they have to expect what they did not do.   What right do we have to know the depth of their actions and not walk ourselves in it?   Beware hypocrisy.

Beware the influence of wrong companions to you as God servant.   Imagine how many people in the hour of crises or time to strain forward to stand for what is to come from God found themselves in companionship that keep undercutting, undermining, with nice words and suggestions.

Beware trying to prove your ministry.   if you are a prophet you don’t need to prove your ministry.    there is nothing for you to prove.   Listen to what its says in 1 Samuel 3:19-20 ‘Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fail.  And all Israel from Dan even to Beer-Sheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet.   Who confined him?   God, by not letting his words fail.  By brining it about.  You have nothing to prove.   You are either bringing the word, if you are bridging the word, let God do the proving.  It will happen. You don’t fight anything.

 Just be who you are meant to be, enjoy the adventure as you expand and follow Godlikeness, as those who are part of a prophetic movement, a church called to be the voice of God, to enable, to inspire all to hear God, to enable people to hear the Father where ever they find themselves to be far from God or where God has made us near.

9 things that will come to pass.

I came across this recently thought-provoking list.   It’s a list of 9 things that will pass away in our lifetime, what will your world be like If these pass?   Start thinking and realizing the effect on our life style

Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come…

1. The Post Office. Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long-term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

2. The Cheque. Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with cheque by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process cheques. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the cheque. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

3. The Newspaper. The younger generation simply doesn’t read the newspaper. They certainly don’t subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

4. The Book. You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can’t wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you’re holding a gadget instead of a book.

5. The Land Line Telephone. Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don’t need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they’ve always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes

6. Music. This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It’s the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is “catalogue items,” meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, “Appetite for Self-Destruction” by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, “Before the Music Dies.”

7. Television. Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they’re playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It’s time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

8. The “Things” That You Own. Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in “the cloud.” Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest “cloud services.” That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That’s the good news. But, will you actually own any of this “stuff” or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big “Poof?” Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9. Privacy. If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That’s gone. It’s been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, “They” know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. “They” will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.

Money, money and all that

Interesting thought from a book written by Craig L. Blomberg on “A Christian View Of Possessions”, an academic, his expertise and fields of research are Economics and Hebrew he writes “More than a billion people out of the earth’s seven billion inhabitants live in desperate poverty.  Natural disasters, war, corrupt governments, lack of education, human greed, disease, unfair trade laws, false religions all play their part in creating this situation.   Conservatively, at least 200 million (1/5th) of these poor are Bible-believinng, born-again Christians”.

In taking on board his comments we today as Bible-beliveing Christians worldwide, heralding the coming of the Kingdom of God cannot see it as someone else’s responsibility be the answer, we must be part of the answer.   The Kingdom of God is not only miracles and healing, if this is our only focus we will be distracted from the fuller gospel of the Kingdom.

He goes on to say that just in America, let alone the remaining world “…over the last 30 years Christians have changed their spending patterns…the amount of money spent on non-essentials as sports and recreation, lawn care, video and computer games, home entertainment centres, pets and dieting has skyrocketed. At the same time Christians per capital giving to causes of all kinds has steadily declined in the last 40 years from just under 4% of their total annual income to barely above 2%”.

He then delivers a punch with “…trend watchers have made two staggering calculations…firstly if every USA Christian simply tithed, the additional amount of money that would be raised above and beyond current giving levels would be enough to eradicate world poverty in our lifetime.  Secondly the average age of major donors is now, for the first time ever, well over sixty-five.   Current Christian work is being funded largely by retired people.   Unless we change, in less than a generation the majority of ministries and good works will close their doors in reaching the poor.”

I write this with these thoughts, if we all saw the biblical, not tradition instruction on money, seeing the tithe as an answer not something to fight against, along with the biblical necessity of financial stewardship as part of a working answer perhaps a difference would dawn in our world.    If the whole church tithed worldwide, not just Europe or the West, but the whole church, we could eradicate world debt in less than 15/20 years.   What a powerful argument, of course we would need to agree to stop investing further in internal building programs, adding to men and women’s egos, running  bigger and better and getting more cut of the Christian market share.   We would need to distance our selves from the annual $7 billion Christian market but taking up the Apostolic & Biblical direction “never to forget the poor”.     Truly this would be the Isaiah 2:2, 3 “In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob.  He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”   It will not be governments of politic or polices but the people of God that will have dealt with world poverty, this is truly the Kingdom of God coming to earth!

Before you get the wrong idea I am certainly not against buildings or exiting programs as we reach our world far from it.    However we are told that only 4/6% of the church worldwide actually tithes, and we all would admit the church downs amazing on that alone but the thought is not to affect existing budgets or support at all but just to apply the other 96/94% increase of giving and see what we can change?

 Join with us in changing our spending habits, join with us in making a difference with others while being the instructive Mountain of God, join and make  a difference rather than allowing the church to be something other than the Father has in his ultimate intention.    Being a different kind of people who creation awaits for sons of God led by the Spirit.
For the West he says lest get delivered from “…the already affluent becoming richer…” or let us not think about the well-to-do Christians “…trade places with the poor…” for both extreme prove un-biblical and prevent any action.
Let us join and become the Kingdom heralding, called out people of God bring a world answer!    Its time to truly study the scriptures and discover the real answers that has been outline there in about financial stewardship.