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Posts Tagged ‘Steven Furtick’

Two Angels by Peter Shor

Part of the mystery of God’s plan for the Messiah was that he would enter human life fully, and although he would be restored to that greater place in the Kingdom, he would first live among us, that life lower than the angels, yet full of potential for kingdom living.

Hebrews 2:5, 7-8a
It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking.
“You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet.” [Psalm 8:5-6]

Jesus spent his short but intense ministry doing everything he could to explain, describe, and illustrate the mystery of living and loving in the kingdom of heaven on earth. Undoubtedly, if all else fails, once we let go of our mortal bodies, a fuller understanding of heaven will manifest. And yet, I have to agree with Rob Bell in his latest book, Love Wins, that we are missing the opportunity of our lifetimes: to experience heaven now, to be fully present and responsive to the Holy Spirit now, and thereby, “draw all men [and women] unto Him” [John 12:32]

Currently, I am still reading Sun Stand Still by Stephen Furtick and was caught off guard by another aspect of this idea (which he has reworked from A. W. Tozer’s The Knowledge of the Holy), that our view of God drives how we live out our faith. If our God view is that of a disciplinarian, then we will work hard to “perform” well for God. If God is a dictator, then we’ll limit our actions to what we believe God allows. If God is loving and kind, then we will live freely and in confidence that we can make mistakes. “What comes into your mind when you think about God?” [A. W. Tozer]

If it’s true that God provided a Redeemer, a Messiah, to help all human beings “start over” and establish direct and intimate relations with God, the supreme and sovereign One God, then why bother? What are we supposed to be doing with this renewed relationship? Is it just a personal escape from the fires of Hell or are we supposed to be living out our lives more like the Christ?

We are still “lower than the angels” but I do believe that we are called to be higher, blessed and reunited through our life with the Holy Spirit.

How many times did Jesus chastise his own disciples for their “lack of faith?” [Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 16:8, to name a few]

“Whoever finds his [lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life].” [Matthew 10:39, Amplified]

What might that look like today?

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Empty Room by Tom Burke

Believing in a future is part of the faith package. We can’t know what that future will actually hold for us, but that does not preclude us from embracing all the possibilities. So much of tomorrow hinges on today.

Philemon 20
And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.

Paul believed he would be cut loose from prison. He asked his friends and his followers to believe the same thing, despite the circumstances.

I can function fairly well in this part of the equation, but I’m not so good when that future I had prayed about, asked for and even envisioned, doesn’t happen. I am disappointed. This is a trap for me.

Intellectually, I understand what it should be. I can preach about it and I can teach about. I can offer all kinds of advice, quotations, and scripture references. Honest, I get it. But the reality of living the other answer is not always my best day.

Instead of disappointment, when the alternate future presents itself, I need to joyfully envelop it and give thanks because God, all sovereign, heard my prayer and took my future onto a different way. When I don’t get “out of prison,” when I don’t get the job, when my kid doesn’t go to college, when my project is not accepted, when . . . when . . . when, it’s no less intentional from the God perspective.

I’m reading a book by Steven Furtick called Sun Stand Still. He’s a young, exuberant pastor from Charlotte, North Carolina, who planted a church that grew into the thousands in a very short time. He’s all about audacious prayers and expecting God to do impossible things. He has seen such prayers answered every day. His faith is infectious. He challenges his church to do the same, like Paul, he says, “do as I do, believe as I believe, trust as I trust.”

Have a I become too jaded in my walk to drum up this kind of enthusiasm? I don’t know. It’s not that I don’t believe God can do great and wondrous acts. God can and does. But I want to be able to walk on through despite the outcomes. I want to have a faith that isn’t wrapped around the answers. Because, quite honestly, my requests are not always in the best interests of the whole picture; I know that instinctively. I can only dream my dream and put my desires out there. But I could be way off.

When I was younger and went through those terrible years of barrenness, I came to a peace when I accepted the reality of my body. It was no less God’s plan and, in the end, we built a family through adoption, three kids who didn’t know that God had prepared a room for them here.

Everything is connected, every dream, every future, every room. Keep me mindful Lord, when I step into the room prepared for me today, that I don’t forsake it just because it’s not painted the color I had imagined or it’s not furnished with the expected furniture or populated by certain people.

Help me dream and even dream big still, but help me engage in today fully as well. Today is part of yesterday’s dream.

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