Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Correction = Rethink Your Direction

As a child growing up in a home with clear boundaries, my brother and I would often be corrected for attitudes or behaviours that violated those boundaries.  While we rarely enjoyed being pulled into line, we understood that our parents correction was an expression of love that came from a desire for our lives to reflect the values of our home.


As a father with teenagers in the house I now understand the tension between giving and receiving correction when strong personalities and opinions clash with parental expectations.  Yet, despite the inevitable conflict that arises, our children are secure in the knowledge that we want them to make wise choices for the direction of their lives.



As a student studying at a higher education level the work I submit is subject to correction by my lecturers.  Their comments and marks are designed to assess my comprehension of the subject matter and to provide me with feedback to help raise the standard of my work.

As a Christian who has committed my life to Jesus Christ and who has a desire to develop a godly character and pursue God's purposes for my life, I accept that "all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

However, correction from any source of authority has become increasingly unpopular in a post-modern society, bringing into question forms of absolutes that attempt to guide or govern human behaviour.  From this standpoint correction is interpreted as a judgmental or prejudiced perspective that heightens a feeling of inadequacy or rejection.

Clearly there are people in society that do not have our best interests at heart and a high degree of discernment ought to be exercised when responding to the motive and method of correction.

Alternatively, when correction comes from a place of relationship where there is a foundation of trust it offers an opportunity for personal development and growth.  It invites us to reevaluate where we are and to reposition ourselves to where we should be.  In order to receive correction from this positive point of view we must be prepared to accept the source of authority from which the correction comes.  When my children accept my authority as a parent they are more likely to accept the correction that comes from my discipline.  When I accept the authority of the training institution where I study I will receive and apply the correction that is given by my lecturers.  When we accept the authority of Scripture we are more open to embrace God's correction of attitudes and behaviours that are out of alignment with His pattern and purpose for humankind.

Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever - the Spirit of truth.  The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you...But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth" (John 14:15-17, 15:13).

Correction = Rethink Your Direction


Thank you to Andrew McKerrow for the inspiration for this post through his cartoon from https://www.facebook.com/thinkupwards.  See more of Andrew's cartoons at http://www.pinterest.com/andrewmckerrow/cartoons-by-mckerrow/

Thursday, June 19, 2014

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES: Change Of Calling?

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES:  Change Of Calling? 
Whether your calling is secular or sacred it needs to be grounded upon a deep conviction that will remain steadfast through trials and resistant to the allure of other offers. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I'm Dreaming Of A Holy Spirit Revival!

Every time I sing the Brooke Fraser song Hosanna I am captured by the words, "I see a near revival, stirring as we pray and seek, we're on our knees, we're on our knees."  And when I hear the song Revival by Robin Mark my heart beats a little harder in sync with the rhythm as I sing the words, "I feel it in my spirit, feel it in my bones, you're gonna send revival, bring 'em all back home."

We are currently in a season of ministry where God is stirring a 'Holy Discontent' deep within our spirits and repositioning our church for a mighty movement of His Spirit!  In such a season a spiritual battle is raging personally and corporately as resistance to the work of the Spirit is being confronted and blockages are being revealed to make way for a Holy Spirit revival.  


We are being called back to submission to the authority of God's Word.  

 

We are being challenged to engage in passionate corporate prayer.

 

We are being confronted by the presence and power of Holy Spirit.



The other night I had a dream about a Holy Spirit revival that was so vivid: I dreamt that I was attending a large gathering at the Melbourne Town Hall where there was a loud commotion going on in the main auditorium.  Those gathered in the foyer were clearly concerned by what was going on inside and there were people trying to block the doors and prevent others from entering.  As I tried to get a look at what was happening I too was physically blocked from going inside.  I pushed my through the obstruction and forced my way past the person blocking the doorway into the commotion inside.  What I found was a hall full of people slain in the Spirit with many manifesting various other signs of the Spirit.  There was a loud noise and it became clear that there was a mighty movement of Holy Spirit going on!  As I progressed down the aisle I was overwhelmed by the presence of God and what was happening around me.  When I exited the rear of the building I was left pondering the meaning of what was happening both inside the auditorium and in the foyer by those who tried to prevent me and others from seeing this movement of the Spirit.

Normally when I dream, the details are sketchy and I rarely remember the dream beyond waking up.  There is conservative part of me that is even a little reluctant to read too much into dreams, but the Scripture clearly says, "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams"  (Acts 2:17).  Now, let me be clear - I am not an old man!  However, I did dream a dream that has left a strong imprint in my mind and on my spirit!  As I have reflected upon and prayed about this dream over the past 24 hours I believe it reveals our current spiritual reality locally and beyond.  In a season where God is wanting to unleash Holy Spirit revival, I feel this dream confronts me (us) with some powerful questions:

  • Who or what is obstructing me from seeing and experiencing Holy Spirit power in my own life?
  • Who or what is obstructing us from seeing and experiencing Holy Spirit power in our church/es?
  • Are we standing on the shores watching the wave of the Spirit pass us by or are we in the water riding that wave?
  • Who are those around us acting as gate keepers trying to contain the movement of the Spirit?
  • How hard are we pushing through that which is blocking this movement of the Spirit?
  • Do we really want to see Holy Spirit revival in our lives and our church/es?
 
My dream and desire is to experience the fullness of the presence and power of the Spirit and for a Holy Spirit revival to be unleashed in our church and across the entire movement of the Christian church!!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Spiritual Seekers

This weekend I had the privilege to again partner with The Salvation Army ministry team at the Mind, Body, Spirit Festival at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.  This is my second year of witnessing scores of people feast on a smorgasbord of spirituality in search of something to fill that 'God space' in their lives and my second year of witnessing miracles as some people allowed that space to be filled by an encounter with Jesus!

Amidst this melting pot of conflicting spiritual ideologies I felt something of the tension that the Apostle Paul might have felt in Athens:

"While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there." (Acts 17:16-17)

From the group of private school students on a class excursion and the wandering Christians uncertain about their faith, to the spiritually skeptical and curious, it was disturbing to see so many people looking in all the wrong places to fill their spiritual void.  But what an opportunity!  Like Paul we looked for points of connection and sought the Spirit's guidance to speak into the gaps in the faith journey of these seekers.

"Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.  For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.""  (Acts 17:22-23)


Into this space...

We proclaimed the name of Jesus.

  
We gave witness to the power of Holy Spirit. 


We spoke into peoples lives through prophetic prayer.  



As we listened to what the Spirit was already saying to those seeking we discovered an openness to a revelation of Jesus Christ.  

"When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject.""  (Acts 17:32)

Once again I find myself amazed at the spiritual receptivity of people who are searching for spiritual fulfillment.  And once again I find myself wanting to awaken the church of Jesus Christ to get on the spiritual wave of Holy Spirit movement and ride a tsunami of salvation towards revival in our city!!