True Transformation

The fallen religious flesh in every man desires transformation, even if the desire is sourced from the depths of it’s own despair and dissatisfaction. This transformation may take on many different forms in a myriad of ways. But true transformation’s catalyst is not human will or religious fervor - it is an act of Spirit & Word of Grace.

Transformation begins with the spirit of the mind being renewed - Eph 4.23. That prompts us to present our selves as a living sacrifice to God being transformed via the agency of spiritual mind renewal - Rom 12.2. When we are transformed we begin to prove or manifest the will of God which is quite invisible to the world, the flesh and the atmosphere. 

Transformation takes place at the Cross, a daily Cross we take up where we surrender all our issues, hurts, opinions, juxtapositioning, and self-righteousness at the foot of that Old Rugged Cross. There we exchange our self life with Christ’s life and we experience a quickening spiritually and deliverance from the chains of sin and our fallen nature. In this transformation the righteousness of God is revealed from as we progressively trust Him in His Plan from faith to faith - Rom 1.17. We then are co-conformed to the image of his Son by the action of the Cross that we take up - Rom 8.29

It is crucial we understand that transformation is an act of the Word of the Cross. Because the fallen flesh in all of us desires change and to be God-like but with the exception of a Cross. The flesh has an aversion to the Cross. Lucifer desired transformation and God-likeness but without denying his angelic self-determination. He desired to “ascend the sides of the north” to be “like the Most High”. Yet his transformation was not through the catalyst of losing his own will but through his own self-determination. This led to deception and to his downfall - Is 14.14

Satan has transformed himself into an angel of light - 2 Cor 11.14. He has done so without a cross and this is the spirit of anti-chirst because it it denies the purpose and mission of Christ coming in the flesh - 1 Jn 4.1,3. Satan has his ministers of “righteousness” today in the world system who have transformed themselves into ministers of righteousness without the agency of the co-crucifixion with Christ - 2 Cor 11.15. These ministers do things in the name of Christ, they perform miracles, lead many people into deception and they themselves are slaves in bondage with no true freedom. They have an appearance of God-likeness yet deny the power of Christ - 2 Tim 3.5. In the end they will be rejected by Christ as He will say - "depart from me I never knew you” - Mat 25.41. Why? Because they refused the transformation power of the Cross of Calvary and mind renewal. They were disqualified due to the self-determination of the flesh - the flesh has one agenda, self preservation and self-exaltation and that is in direct opposition to God’s beneficial authority in this world. 

God’s transformational power is real. It is changing peoples lives today. Our ultimate purpose in this life is to be conformed (co-transformation in the Greek) into the the image of Jesus Christ. This is critical as we live in a evil world that desperately needs to see Christ and His transformational grace, love and truth.



May I challenge you?

This is in no way meant to be a guilt trip or sound heartless, nor is it something said because numbers are low or offerings are poor because neither are the problem here. But as pastors we often observe how people feel obligated or compelled to tell us why they miss church or meetings as if we are The Judge in the matter. It seems that some believe that by telling us reasons why they miss it in some way appeases their sense of regret and they've been excused as if they missed school. But we're not God. We do not judge but we as shepherds are heartbroken at times to see what people miss in God's Plan by making excuses to be MIA. We as pastors are not offended when people come 2 times a month because our joy and peace are in Christ alone. What do people miss? Answers. Peace. Wisdom for this weeks' problems and pain.They miss the encouragement by a group of people that are so excited to see them. They miss everything that they need. God waits to be gracious to you in the Body of Christ. There are things God will tell you in private without the Church but there are things He will only tell you in Church through His Body on earth. He has answers for you! Stop being a victim of your circumstances, stop living in what people have done to you in the past, stop complaining about your job, marriage, & personal situations. Stop being familiar with God, stop staying away because of people - draw near to Him, God is bigger than people - His Plan is bigger than your failures and unbelief. Expect great things from God for your life & come to be a part of the greatest and hottest thing happening on planet earth today - CHURCH!

Absalom Acts Out His Rebellion – From Inner Wounds to Conspiracy

522242_438110639533545_2070088432_nYesterday in our series on "The Life of David" we dealt with David's son Absalom, his wounding, shunning and his reaction that all led to the great rebellion Absalom led against his father. This is an eye opening study as there were 6 stages that leads to Absalom acting out his wounds. Here they are:

1. 2 Sam 13.1-19 - Amnon, David’s son thru Abigail, Absalom’s brother rapes his sister Tamar - incest and casts her out. 
The original wound = David is in a state of inaction over the incestuous violation of his daughter Tamar. Most likely because he has some what of a guilty conscience from his affair with Bathsheba.
2. 2 Sam 13.2-33 - David does not act to discipline Amnon so Absalom waits 2 years and conspires to kill his brother with his men and does so. The attempt to rectify = Absalom - a man with a type of a strong sense of justice as his father is deeply wounded for his sister. this wound festers for 2 years unhealed.  Finally Absalom takes matters into his own hands and with his men kill Amnon in vengeance for raping his sister. 
3. 2 Sam 13.34-39 - Absalom flees to his grandfather - the king of Geshur and lives there for 3 years. The festering wound = Absalom desperate for family connection in his pain and sense of justice less to his grandfather’s in Talmai. The separation from his father only causes a festering wound that is not being mollified. 

4. 2 Sam 14:1-24 - David allows Absalom to return to Jerusalem to his own house but not to see his face. The rejection = David reacts to amnion’s murder and shuns his son for 4 years while he is in Talmai with his grandfather. This compounds the pain as now Absalom has two wounds - the second being that he is rejected by his father. 

5. 2 Sam 14.33 - David finally allows his son who is highly favored and loved by many in Israel because of his winning personality and good looks - to come into his presence but only on a formal filial level. The festering continues with no reconciliation = The festering wound in Absalom grows as he is gravely disappointed in his meeting with his father. He was wanting more. 

6. 2 Sam 15.1-12 The conspiracy begins. The final blow = Finally after he has his moment to see his father - with no reconciliation seals the inner poison bomb.

Absalom had a wounded spirit - Proverbs 18.14 - The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear

The writer of Hebrews writes describing the destructive power of bitterness and unhealed wound and how it destroys those closet to us - Hebrew 15.15-16 - "Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord. Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it—That no one may become guilty of sexual vice" - (Ampl)

The wounds Absalom has were bitterness due to sexual vice - when Amnon his brother raped hi sister Tamar. 
What was Absalom to do? When we are wounded and victimized by life, people and situations we must learn what to do with those wounds. Otherwise they cause a root of bitterness and defile many that we love. 
The answer is this: we take "all our stuff", our anger, all the reasons we are hurt, what people did to us, how we were mistreated, how we were betrayed, how we failed and all of it - and leave it at the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ. There we find Jesus took it, He took it 2000 years ago, and crucified it at the cross. It is no longer ours to remember, to poses to us as our crutch or chip on our shoulder. There we are set free from it and we can be healed by the love and forgiveness of Christ.

Friends, this is our only option. Lest we stop receiving grace and a root of bitterness springs up hurting many around us.

7 Characteristics of True Friendship

We've been teaching on a series of the Life of David which has been a rich journey. We are now on the subject of Jonathan & David's Covenant Friendship. Here are a few points on our message.

The most sacred relationships are friendships that have gone through the Cross. Many people do not have real friendships because they haven't allowed their relationships to go through the Cross. When a friendship goes through the Cross, the flesh and self is crucified and buried, and Christ is risen within the spiritual souls of the individuals.

The Bible says in John 15:13 that the greatest friendship is manifested when someone lays down his life for a friend. Jesus said to His disciples, “You are my friends if you do what I tell you. I will no longer call you servants, for a servant doesn't know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have told you every single thing that My Father has told Me” (see John 15:14-15). 

Jesus was the greatest example of a friend - a friend of publicans and sinners!” (Luke 7:33-34). Think of it! Jesus Christ knows everything about us. There is not one thing hidden from Him; yet, He desires to be our personal friend - 1 Jn 3.20. This is our great confidence - “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24b)


7 Traits of Godly Friendship

1. Godly Friends Love Sacrificially - 1 Sam 18.1-5
John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends 

Let God chose your friends for you. If we choose our friends based only on what they have to offer, or what we need - we'll rarely discover the blessings of a genuine friendship. Need based relationships become a curse and an end in their own. Philippians 2:3 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 


Being fufllled in your relationship with God means you approach your relationships full and not from deficit producing toxic relationships. By valuing your friend's needs above your own, you'll be on your way to loving like Jesus. In the process, you'll likely gain a true friend.


2. Godly Friends Love Unconditionally - 1 Sam 19:2
Proverbs 17:17 - A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. God loved Peter out of his failure. Jn 13 "Loved you till the end" - Telos - completion of His work in you

We discover the best of friendships with brothers and sisters who know, love, cover and challenge our weaknesses and imperfections. A true friend tells the truth. Only your enemy would not tell you the truth because he wants you to be just like him.

If we're easily offended or hold on to bitterness, we'll have a hard time loving people. No one is perfect. We cannot be looking for idealistic relationship. People make mistakes. If we take a truthful look at ourselves, we'll admit that we bear some of the blame when things go wrong in a friendship. A true friend is quick to ask forgiveness and ready to be forgiving and when you are in trouble, Not a conditional friendship


3. Godly Friends Trust God Completely for you. 
The Bible says that in order to have friends, you need to show yourself friendly (Proverbs 18:24a); showing ourselves friendly goes beyond the niceness of friendship. Hebrew play on words - friends "ra'ah" but friendly "ra'a" meaning the "h" falls off. There is something we lose in friendship. There is vulnerability. Risk. Chose to trust. Trust is the currency of relationships.


4. Godly Friends Keep Healthy Boundaries - 2 Sam 1.26
1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy ... Soul power relationships. Phileo vs. Agape love.

David and Jonathans friendship went beyond the physical and soulish but was grounded in something spiritual. Godly friendships set people free - not putting them in bondage. If you feel smothered in a friendship, something is wrong. Likewise, if you feel used or abused, something is amiss. Recognizing what's best for someone and giving that person space are signs of a healthy relationship. We should never let a friend come between us and our spouse. A true Christian friend will wisely avoid intruding and recognize your need to maintain other relationships. It is not possessive or controlling, manipulative. It is not cliquish or party spirited.


5. Godly Friends Give Mutual Edification - 2 Sam 1.20 
Proverbs 27:6
Wounds from a friend can be trusted ...
True Christian friends will build each other up emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Mutually encouraging in the faith walk and growth. Proverbs 27:17 means when it says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Does this friendship encourage me to grow in my calling?


6. Covereth a multitude of sins - 2 Sam 1.20
Proverbs 17:9 says, “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a
matter separateth very friends - Proverbs 10.12, 17.9 - 1 Peter 4.8 - Friends do not repeat people’s sins or gossip. Mat 18.15 - They go alone to a friend to deal with a matter. They forgive AND forget.


7. A Covenant Friendship - 1 Samuel 18:1-3 & 2 Sam 9.1
Jonathan's soul was knit with David's soul. Jonathan recognized the anointing in David's to be king and gave him the kingship. Because he loved him as his own soul, Jonathan made a covenant with David - 
- This will cause a knitting of souls and hearts in friendships.

The Covenant Friendship between David and Jonathan lasted after Jonathan’s death and Jonathan’s family continued to receive the love and benefits of the covenant love with crippled Mephibosheth being the recipient 

Inner Healing - Some thoughts on a Damaged Soul

Recently observing a dear person I began praying for their "soul situation" and asked God for insight to help. Here are a few musing on the subject which are not by any-means exhaustive but something that I'd like to study more preach about this month of February.

Isaiah 1.6 - From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it [the soul]; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. - (brackets mine)

It’s unimaginable the pain and suffering people have experienced in their lives because they were victims of prevalent evil in this world. The depth of the damage that has been caused deep in people’s souls can be described in Proverbs 18.8 as "wounds that go down into the innermost parts of the emotions (belly)”. This injury hurts and causes the most destruction to the innocent soul when it is caused by people we love in circles of trust and safety. The greater question though is how the damaged goods are healed rather than the wallowing in the pool of the injustice that is done; which can be so consoling and oddly satisfying. Because of the  "wounds that go down into the innermost parts of the emotion” are not healed than the following verse applies in verse 9 - passivity and paralysis comes into dominate the hurting soul and the "Waster of Souls” wins.

When there is no “mollification” - no healing ointment then what substitutes the healing is protectiveness and an underlying drive in some cases to lash out or campaign against the injustice done to them. This reaction continues to grow and fester in Isaiah 1.6 resulting in an inner motive that affects all other parts of a person’s soul. It may even manifest itself in a religious endeavor or a self-justifying cause looking to others for support in their self-righteous movement.

The true problem is they need desperately to be understood in their suffering and they want to be heard - someone to feel their pain with them though they may fiercely refuse it because of an advanced state of bitterness. We know that there is only One who has suffered untold loads of pain and suffering and that is mankind’s Savior Jesus. When the Spirit of Jesus and the Words of His comfort are allowed deep into the injured part of our soul via identification, compassion and understanding, then inner healing and “mollification” begins and the damaged soul can heal to become a very effective person in ministering to others. At that point a vision can come into the once paralyzed soul and a capacity of faith can enable with the motive of God’s Love. 

People cannot self-heal. The self-healing is a substitute for true healing. What is needed is to allow the process of the Spirit of Comfort and the Word of His Healing to be allowed to go deep and recreate the ruins of the soul and make a person a brand-new creation. They need to enter into a Body of Believers that are Christ-centered, Finished-Work thinkers that create an environment of love, faith and safety where they as Lazarus can slowly have the death-bandages taken off that still linger binding them though they have been spiritually resurrected from the dead.