Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.
These two verses are interesting when you look at them side by side. I think they kind of reflect two different ministry philosophies.
There’s a crippled man. He needs help.
One group of people decides to help him by carrying him to the gate to beg everyday.
Peter and John decided to help him by reaching down, pulling him up on his feet, and telling him to walk.
Our ministry philosophy at Mending Hearts is more like the latter. We don’t really have much interest in carrying people to the gate to beg. We don’t coddle and cater and spoon feed.
We’ll reach down and help you. We’ll impart the healing power of Jesus to you. But you’ve got to get up and walk. You’ve got to make a personal investment into studying God’s Word for yourself.
How about you? Are you investing too much time in carrying people to the gate and dropping them off to beg? Are you the one doing the begging when you should be lifting somebody else’s burden?
Take some advice from Peter.
In the name of Jesus, walk.
How many remember the movie “The Ghost and the Darkness” starring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer? That movie is based on an event that took place in the late 1800′s. It has become one of my favorites over time. There is a defining moment in this movie that inspires this blog today.
There is a supervisor who feeds the fear of his men while stirring them to abandon the work on a massive train bridge in Uganda that they had agreed to finish. On the other side you have three men, Remington, Patterson, and Patterson’s aide, who refuse to give up their responsibilities or allow fear of the man-eating lions to drive them to defeat. You should see this movie if you haven’t already… It’s a really good story based from true events. Ultimately it comes down to a stand much like we have the choice to make nearly every day… I refuse to give up! They win in the end but know that victory comes at great cost.
As ambassadors of God, we too build bridges. Ours don’t cross rivers; they span the gap between heaven and earth. We also face opposition, and the scriptures depict our adversary as a man-eating lion seeking to devour.
There are battles to be won and strongholds to overcome. Often these are rooted in mind-sets, modes of operation, and patterns the enemy has instilled in the people of this world. Our opposition is a worthy component to us, but “in Christ” we are more powerful and always able to conquer.
The question we face everyday is “will we be the frightened workmen who fled adversity to save their lives, or will we be courageous and unstoppable as we pursue heaven’s mandate and finish our jobs? Right now you need to know, as a believer that follows after Christ, you are equipped with the empowerment of God’s grace to overcome and make a huge positive difference in your sphere of influence!
By faith, we have effect to shut the mouths to all the lions of adversity that lurk in the darkness around us. You were created to make a difference in your world. Together, we will accept the challenge to keep taking people to the bridge of Christ between the lost of this world and our God in heaven and we knowing we have what it takes, will never give up!
There is a Law of Magnetism. In Ezekiel, chapter 16 we learn that God’s chosen people of Jerusalem became conformed to those around them which in this case was the Pagan leaders. It wasn’t good and it became a fatal attraction!
Consider the following:
1. Attractions: we tend to always attract or attract to those who are similar in actions, character, beliefs, hobbies, likes-dislikes, etc. So as we evaluate who we are and what we are like… ask yourself… do I want to be around me? If not, start changing now before you have an unhealthy attraction.
2. Reflections: We also tend to reflect the character of those who influence us, lead us or even follow us. Take a look around and ask yourself, who is within my inner circle of influence? Are they someone I want to reflect in my own life?
3. Repercussions: We all tend to face similar consequences as those who are like us or do as we do. This could be quite spooky depending on who we really are.
Let’s not end up like those of Jerusalem in that age. They had seen and experienced God but allowed themselves to become a product of their culture… which lead them to looking more like the culture than their God. We attract who we are, not who we want!
2 Timothy 1:7-9 NLT
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 8 So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.
God always gives us what we need to be effective with others. Paul was reminding Timothy that God didn’t give him the timidity that he was feeling; that had come either from Timothy’s own baggage or by the pit of hell itself (the enemy of God-Satan). Instead, God equiped him with power, love and a sound mind. All believers, especially those who lead, need these fundamental tools:
- Power: The courage and competence to get the job done.
- Love: The relational ingredient that enables us to attract and connect with others.
- Sound mind or Self-discipline: The perspective and wisdom to grasp a vision and take the right steps.
Because God has equipped us, He has instructed us to “… not be ashamed… but share… in the sufferings” NKJV. God gave Timothy, and us, everything needed to accomplish the job!
- God empowers us before He ever expects from us.
- He always gives to us before He demands from us.
- We receive His competence before we receive His commands
We are always most effective when we lead from our God-given gifts!
God encourages us to fix our eyes on the things that endure. In light of eternity, followers of Christ cannot afford to become consumed with the temporary. It’s nice to have things, but we cannot allow the pursuit of wealth or power to move us. I think of the empire that Donald J. Trump has built. The accomplishments of his activities tempts me to envy and covet. What a great inheritance he will leave behind for family and loved ones under his name. However, the measure of true life that endures is not just about the stuff we accumulate. Only a vision that out lives us, a vision connected to eternity, will fulfill a genuine christian. Our hope is that a man of great influence and power like Donald Trump is a christian or becomes a christian (a follower of Christ Jesus), so that he can leave an eternal legacy in those around him with and the abundant inheritance he has obtained.
Things are temporal, life is eternal. Psalm 49:17 reminds us we will take nothing with us when we pass from this life, no matter how rich we become. Therefore, we must build a legacy with eternal values in our family and loved ones. What will we leave behind that really matters? When I am gone, will my children and my grandchildren continue to serve God and follow Christ because they seen the truth and value in it by the way I lived? So far, the inheritance I leave behind is slim (we hope it increases). However, the eternal values of character and righteousness I have tried to live out and pass on into my family will hopefully carry it’s worth from generation to generation.
A huge difference exists between a legacy and an inheritance. Anyone can leave an inheritance. An inheritance is something you leave to your family or loved ones and it also fades. A legacy is something you leave in your family and loved ones. Consider the differences between the two:
1. Something tangible you give to others
2. Temporarily brings them happiness
3. Eventually fades as it is spent
4. Your activity may or may not pay off
1. Something tangible you place in others
2. Permanently transforms them
3. Lives on long after you die
4. Your activity becomes achievement
4 “Lord, make me to know my end,
And what is the measure of my days,
If you don’t know where your time goes, that’s a danger signal! Like Moses in Psalm 90:12, David shows his mindfulness of his brief time on earth. He asks God to help him number his days, which I believe ought to be the prayer of ever believer and especially leaders in the church circles. The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians chapter 5 that people with wisdom redeem the time they have. I’m not the greatest at this, but my mindset is always focused to improve in this area.
Management expert Peter Drucker said that “good leaders need to regard first of all not their task, but their time”. We should wonder if the task set before us is worth the time investment it will take to accomplish it. What would happen if we don’t chose that task? Maybe God will use someone else to meet the need. They may have the time to do it and their time be better spent in doing so. God change us if we are self-centered, prideful or even insecure to think we have to do everything! That is a very dangerous attitude and thinking that usually doesn’t lead to any successes.
A wise leader knows that time is like gold, and good “spending habits” are essential. It’s just that in this case the units are minutes, not dollars. It’s like “finding money” when you can save small bits of time here and there and then consolidate them into chunks of time to be spent on something worthwhile. If by God’s help we can number our minutes and hours, “numbering our days” will be easier.
Just wanted to jump on and wish everyone a Happy New Year!
It is about 8:30am on 01-01-11 and I couldn’t sleep past 7:00 this morning regardless of the fact that I stayed up in celebration way past my bedtime last night with my family. I am so excited about this next year. I feel something is coming… something from the four winds of the earth and heavens. Something prophetic! I feel in my spirit that it is a year of blessing, a year of abundance, a year of prosperity and not just in material gain. I start a series this Sunday morning entitled “The Power of Blessing” and I am so pumped about it. My prayer is that our church family including those who watch us via internet streaming and the podcast listeners will gain revelation about what God has reserved for them and how we have been empowered to speak favor into the lives of others.
I also hear the words “Increase” and “Expand”. I expect our ministries at Mending Hearts Church to expand and increase in several ways. We will gain territory and expand in facilities and grounds. Ministries are being birthed and even restored now by the Holy Spirit. He is speaking and calling those to rise up and labor in this special season of life. Those that will dedicate themselves to labor among the kingdom of God will flourish in all areas including generations to follow after them. This year will mark a time that will be known later to become great history for MHC and the Kingdom of God.
Do not doubt what God is saying over His people. Expect it for you! If you will only believe, you will certainly receive.
Colossians 3:1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. New Living Translation
The battle always begins in the mind. Paul argues that since we have a new position with Christ, we also need a new perspective. Permanent change and improvement always happen from the inside out. What do you spend the majority of your time thinking about? Do you need to change the way you think? Do we put more emphasis on what we see here on earth than what we know awaits us in the eternal?
I challenge you to two things…
1. Remember Your Identity (we have been raised to a new life with the one who sits in honor at God’s right hand).
2. Renew Your Thought Life (focus what you think on things above; things that pertain to our eternity; things that challenge your internal standards).
As a minister by the call, with the responsibility of leading people into their God-created greatness and destiny’s, I have often asked myself this question, “Why does the mentality of mediocrity seem to plague so many Christians”. Why is it that all people want is just to be average? It seems so many get caught up in resting at a place of satisfaction. They’re saved. They have their ticket to heaven. But do they understand that there is so much more God has for them than just resting in knowledge of their eternal end. I believe this could be a downfall mentality for many that could even cause the falling away that the bible speaks about in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
Matt 7:13-14 NKJV
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Jesus was teaching about 2 gates. Notice He prioritizes that we should enter by the narrow gate! Wide and broad is the gate that leads to destruction. Here is what this says to me…
First, you will have an abundance of liberty through this way. The gate stands wide open, so broad that there are no checks to our lusts or passions. Because the way is so broad, there are also many paths to choose from through the way of that one gate. We can walk that way pretty much doing and living any way we want to. To much liberty is not good, especially when you consider the 3 sins of the world… (1)The lust of the flesh, (2)the lust of the eyes and (3)the pride of life as found in 1 John 2:16!
Secondly, there is an abundance of company. if we follow the multitude, it will lead us to do evil. If we go with the crowds, it will lead you the wrong way. It is natural for us all to follow the sin nature of mankind and this leads to an incline. One man said, “…but it is too great a compliment, to be willing to be damned for company, and to go to hell with them, because they will not go to heaven with us: if many perish, we should be the more cautious”. This lifestyle leads to eternal destruction but there is another way. It is not the way of the average!
Narrow is this gate to a holy lifestyle and an eternity with God and difficult it is to follow through it. To be a Christian that will finish strong, self must be denied, the body kept under subjection, corruptions never allowed to linger, daily temptations must be resisted and our walk must go against that sinful nature that comes so easy. It is not strange that there are just a few who find and choose this way! There is a lie that circulates about the easiness of being a Christian. It is one of the most difficult challenges of our life but it is so worth it. The life of faith and righteousness in my Father has changed the direction of my life so very much. I wouldn’t trade this lifestyle for nothing.
Those that are going to heaven are few compared to those who will choose to go to hell. This is extremely difficult truth to swallow but it is truth none the less. My prayer is that all who have received Christ as the Savior from their sins will continue to choose to live a life that is pleasing to Him. There is nothing mediocre about this road to life abundance.