Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Take TIME to read and digest this !

The Mayonnaise Jar

When things in your life seem, Almost too much to handle,

When 24 Hours in a day is not enough,

Remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class

And had some items in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly,

He picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar

And proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students, if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured

them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.

The pebbles rolled in to the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again

If the jar was full... They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand

And poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded

With an unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced Two cups of coffee from under the table

And poured the entire contents Into the jar, effectively

Filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

'Now,' said the professor, As the laughter subsided,

'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life..

The golf balls are the important things - God, family,

children, health, friends, and favorite passions –

Things that if everything else was lost

And only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter Like your job, house, and car;

The sand is everything else --

The small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' He continued,

'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff,

You will never have room for the things that are

Important to you.


Pay attention to the things That are critical to your happiness.

Play with your children.

Take time to get medical checkups.

Take your partner out to dinner.

There will always be time

To clean the house and fix the disposal.

'Take care of the golf balls first --

The things that really matter.

Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand

And inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled.

'I'm glad you asked! '.!

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem,

there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.'

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Remember to do the small things NOW that matters.

To those who are married, .. Not married .. and soon to be married


When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I've got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.

Suddenly I didn't know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce.. I raised the topic calmly.

She didn't seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?
I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away
the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn't talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Dew. I didn't love her anymore. I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.

She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Dew so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn't have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Dew.

When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn't
want anything from me, but needed a month's notice before the divorce.
She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal
a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month's time and she didn't want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked
me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day..

She requested that everyday for the month's duration I carry her
out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy.. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Dew about my wife's divorce conditions... She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully..

My wife and I hadn't had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mummy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. >From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don't tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn't looked at this woman carefully for a long time.. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me.

On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn't tell Dew about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me... she had buried so much pain and bitterness
in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it's time to carry
mum out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn't noticed that our life lacked intimacy.

I drove to office.... jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind... I walked upstairs. Dew opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Dew, I do not want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Dew, I said, I won't divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn't value the details of our lives, not because we didn't love each other any more. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart.

Dew seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.

At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I'll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I ran up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed - dead.......I cried and cried uncontrollably and carried her for the last time from the room to the hall with tears streaming down my face and gazing at my only son, his tears rolling from his eyes, they made me cry even more. I had lost my love, my wife and a loving and caring mother and nothing I could do now to put the clock backward. I had all the time now to look at her motionless body in detail but I knew it was going to be only for a short while until she made her last journey to the Lord......I held my son and wept again and again thinking of all the things I did not do for her when she was still alive.........and placed gently the flowers in her hands with my tears trickling on them.......she was gone forever, all my tears would not bring her back .

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank, blah..blah..blah. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse's friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Do you truly LOVE GOD ? -Read This and think again.

Lover or Prostitute? By David Ryser

"The Question that Changed my Life" by David Ryser

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this: Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise.

Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old–barely out of diapers–and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, “An enterprise. That’s a business.” After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, “Yes, Martha.” She asked such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?” I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, “Yes.” She continued, “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”

The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was, “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.” I didn’t dare express that thought aloud. God had taken over the class.
Martha’s question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her question at least once every day. “When a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?” There is only one answer to her question. The answer is “Yes.” The American Church, tragically, is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we love Him? We don’t even know Him; and I mean really know Him.

What do I mean when I say “really know Him?” Our understanding of knowing and knowledge stems from our western culture (which is based in ancient Greek philosophical thought). We believe we have knowledge (and, by extension, wisdom) when we have collected information. A collection of information is not the same thing as knowledge, especially in the culture of the Bible (which is an eastern, non-Greek, culture). In the eastern culture, all knowledge is experiential. In western/Greek culture, we argue from premise to conclusion without regard for experience–or so we think.

An example might be helpful here. Let us suppose a question based upon the following two premises: First, that wheat does not grow in a cold climate and second, that England has a cold climate. The question: Does wheat grow in England? The vast majority of people from the western/Greek culture would answer, “No. If wheat does not grow in a cold climate and if England has a cold climate, then it follows that wheat does not grow in England.” In the eastern culture, the answer to the same question, based on the same premises, most likely would be, “I don’t know. I’ve never been to England.” We laugh at this thinking, but when I posed the same question to my friends from England, their answer was, “Yes, of course wheat grows in England. We’re from there, and we know wheat grows there.” They overcame their cultural way of thinking because of their life experience. Experience trumps information when it comes to knowledge.

A similar problem exists with our concept of belief. We say we believe something (or someone) apart from personal experience. This definition of belief is not extended to our stockbroker, however. Again, allow me to explain. Suppose my stockbroker phones me and says, “I have a hot tip on a stock that is going to triple in price within the next week. I want your permission to transfer $10,000 from your cash account and buy this stock.” That’s a lot of money for me, so I ask, “Do you really believe this stock will triple in price, and so quickly?” He/she answers, “I sure do.” I say, “That sounds great! How exciting! So how much of your own money have you invested in this stock?” He/she answers, “None.” Does my stockbroker believe? Truly believe? I don’t think so, and suddenly I don’t believe, either. How can we be so discerning in the things of this world, especially when they involve money, and so indiscriminate when it comes to spiritual things? The fact is, we do not know or believe apart from experience. The Bible was written to people who would not understand the concepts of knowledge, belief, and faith apart from experience. I suspect God thinks this way also.

So I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not know God–much less love Him. The root of this condition originates in how we came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what we were told He would do for us. We were promised that He would bless us in life and take us to heaven after death. We married Him for His money, and we don’t care if He lives or dies as long as we can get His stuff. We have made the Kingdom of God into a business, merchandising His anointing. This should not be. We are commanded to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christ–that’s pretty intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers. How can we love someone we don’t even know? And even if we do know someone, is that a guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or prostitutes?

I was pondering Martha’s question again one day, and considered the question, “What’s the difference between a lover and a prostitute?” I realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does what she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but only as long as you pay. Then I asked the question, “What would happen if God stopped paying me?”
For the next several months, I allowed God to search me to uncover my motives for loving and serving Him. Was I really a true lover of God? What would happen if He stopped blessing me? What if He never did another thing for me? Would I still love Him? Please understand, I believe in the promises and blessings of God. The issue here is not whether God blesses His children; the issue is the condition of my heart. Why do I serve Him? Are His blessings in my life the gifts of a loving Father, or are they a wage that I have earned or a bribe/payment to love Him? Do I love God without any conditions? It took several months to work through these questions. Even now I wonder if my desire to love God is always matched by my attitude and behavior. I still catch myself being disappointed with God and angry that He has not met some perceived need in my life. I suspect this is something which is never fully resolved, but I want more than anything else to be a true lover of God.

So what is it going to be? Which are we, lover or prostitute? There are no prostitutes in heaven, or in the Kingdom of God for that matter, but there are plenty of former prostitutes in both places. Take it from a recovering prostitute when I say there is no substitute for unconditional, intimate relationship with God. And I mean there is no palatable substitute available to us (take another look at Matthew 7:21-23 sometime). We must choose.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


NOTES:- This article reminds us the purpose for which Jesus came - to save and transform our life for God's glory, not for ours. We are to seek to serve others, not to seek self-gratification especially of the kind that appears spiritual, like what this article is cautioning us against. Jesus said in John 15:17 that we were chosen to bear fruit, such fruit that were last - endure inspite of difficulties - inspite of the cross. To those who are not into the charimatic stuff, consider how transform your life have been since you believed; if the Spirit within you point you to some issues, deal with that and be transformed. To those who are into the charimatic stuff, be warned of the dangers highlighted in this article - strengthen your foundation in the Word, for the Spirit will not act apart from what has been revealed in the Holy Scriptures. God bless.

Just Show Me The Stuff By Matt Sorger

I am witnessing an alarming trend in some of our charismatic circles and services. I travel full time on the road all across the United States and other parts of the world. Each week I am ministering in another state to a new group of hungry believers wanting to live in the fullness of God's Spirit. Several times in the last few months I have encountered a disturbing and grievous observation. Before I share it with you, let me give you some of my personal background.


I was saved at the age of 14. I am thankful to have been raised in a solid Bible preaching, Spirit-filled church. The word was always given a priority. An understanding of living a holy, sanctified life was always preached with conviction. I took my first steps of walking, living and ministering in the Spirit there. As a young pastor I was given some room to begin to spread my wings as the anointing and power of God began to move through my life. I took full flight when I launched out from pastoring six years ago to travel full time in a "prophetic revival" ministry.

My years before pastoring were spent seeking God as a young person, spending time in personal devotion and study of the word, as well as nearly four years in a great Bible school in Rhode Island where I served as class president during my time there. Upon graduation I stepped into the pastoral ministry. I learned many valuable things during those years that I carry with me to this day. Life experiences have a way of shaping you into the person God has called you to be.
I want to define to you what I consider "prophetic revival" ministry. For me "prophetic" means hearing and then declaring a true word from God, either through preaching and teaching God's heart as revealed in His word, or declaring and speaking forth an unctioned word from His heart. But even that kind of prophetic word will be solidly rooted and grounded in scripture. "Revival" holds a dual meaning for me. I see it as stirring up the church for a deeper passion for God and learning to live and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and then seeing that passion overflow through the lives of believers into the world around us. The power of God in the life of the believer cannot be contained by oneself. It must overflow and impact the world around us.


Now I must share with you an alarming trend I have witnessed taking place. I have even experienced it in my own meetings! Because this is hitting so close to home I can no longer be silent. I am a man of deep convictions. And it is time for me to share them with you. Recently, after a meeting I was standing near my resource table greeting people. A woman approached me to share of the wonderful overflow of the Holy Spirit she had experienced from the meeting the day before. She could sense a whole new level of God's presence with her. It was clear she had been deeply touched. But she proceeded to share something with me that caused me to raise a "red flag."

She said, "You know, when you started preaching, I thought, I have heard this before. I really came looking to hear something I had never heard before. But the presence of God in the meeting did have a profound impact on me, and I am not the same." I rejoiced over what the Lord had done for her, but at the same time I grieved.

That same week a pastor I was having lunch with shared with me his thoughts concerning the meetings we were holding. We had only finished one day of meetings when he shared his thoughts with me. The night before I had preached a word the Holy Spirit had placed on my heart. After the preaching of the word I proceeded to be led by the Spirit in calling some folks out from the audience and prayed for them with a clear demonstration of God's presence and power. I left the meeting rejoicing.

The pastor didn't quite feel the same. He said to me, "You know, if the preaching of the gospel could have gotten the job done, it would have been done a long time ago. What we need are the signs. I just want to see the stuff. I don't want you preaching. Preach just a few minutes. We want the miracles." Only once before had I had such pressure put on me to "perform." It became apparent very quickly to me that what they were really wanting was a charismatic show. They wanted the "signs following" with no preaching of the word. I'm sorry; but I am making an announcement to the world. I am a WORD preacher.

I see an alarming trend. In the prophetic movement, it seems we may be unintentionally cultivating a mindset where the truth of the power of the cross and blood of Christ are no longer good enough. We need signs, signs and more signs. A life transformed by the power of God's amazing word is no longer enough. "Let me hear and see something new. Something I have never heard or seen before, something that will wow me!" So we have hundreds of hungry believers fascinated by and following stories of supernatural encounters that have been, at times, exaggerated by charismatic personalities. Trust me when I say I have seen stories stretched and exaggerated to be something they never originally were. And I have seen people eat it up like popcorn and cotton candy.

I want you to hear my heart in this. I am all for supernatural encounters. I have had many myself and I know of others in ministry that have had some beautiful, real, life-changing supernatural encounters with God. But I am not into charismatic hype or manipulation. Just say it like it is. Don't exaggerate, add to or blow something up just to make a good story or to sell a bunch of CD's. I am not being negative. I am seeking to bring balance back into a movement I am so proud to be a part of -- a movement that didn't just want to hear empty words, but wanted it backed up with real substance, power and glory.

I want the real thing! I want the real manifest presence of God. I want the real miracles, the real signs and wonders, the real angelic encounters (as God chooses to give them to me.) I don't want a hyped-up version. I don't want to just hear something new and different, just for the sake of hearing something I have never heard before. I want my everyday life encountered in a real way by God's word and anointing. I want to hear something that I can apply to my life. I want the fullness of God's word to renew my mind, change me from the inside out and fill my life with real power and glory.

People who only want to hear something they have never heard before are in serious danger of opening themselves up to a gospel that is different from the one we find in scripture. If you are running around only looking for a new revelation without first putting into practice the hundreds of revelations given to us in God's word, you are looking in the wrong direction. God has not called us to be flakey. He has called us to be solidly grounded in Him, to preach the gospel in season and out and to impact the world around us as salt and light.

I love the prophetic. I love the supernatural. But the moment we start wanting signs without the word of God, we are in trouble. And this is what I have been seeing. Recently I had two pastors in different parts of the United States both proceed to tell me that they wanted the preaching of the word to be kept to a bare minimum with an emphasis placed on the signs and the wonders. I need to set the record straight. Signs FOLLOW the preaching of the word. If you become a sign seeker apart from the word of God, you will become ungrounded and will reproduce that in your ministry. It will build an unhealthy and weak foundation in people's lives.


The sign I am most after these days is the sign of a life transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to see people hungry to truly apply the word of God to their lives and not just want to hear something new, but put into practice what they already know. I want to see people walking in love. I want to see people living righteously. I want to see people knowing who they are in Christ so the devil can't continually beat them up. I want to see people experience the abundant life Jesus came to give them. I want to see people preaching the gospel in power, laying hands on the sick, casting out demons and raising the dead. But we can never forget that the power of the gospel is revealed through the foolishness of preaching. Not just preaching our good stories, but preaching the word of God with power and authority. A sign without the word points nowhere.

I want to encourage the body of Christ in these days to evaluate everything you have believed and be sure it is pure gospel. Go back and read the New Testament from cover to cover and ask the Holy Spirit to write upon your heart the full counsel of God's word as revealed in the New Covenant. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth and to be sure your foundations are strong and solid. Never neglect God's word. It has the power to change your life. As you soak in God's word and in His presence, you will truly live a Spirit-filled, Spirit-empowered life that will make a real difference in the world around you. Go and be the salt and light God has called you to be. And always remember, there is power in God's word and in the Holy Spirit to give you power for life!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This beautiful story was written by a doctor who worked in Central Africa .

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died,leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator). We also had no special feedingfacilities.Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst(rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). And it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways. 'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm.'

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who choseto gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother haddied. During prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. 'Please, God' she prayed, 'Send us a hot water bottle today. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.' While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?'As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say 'Amen'? I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that therewas a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the porch was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixedraisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the..... could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new,rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly,too! 'Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully- dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, 'Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl,so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?' 'Of course,' I replied! That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whoseleader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'that afternoon'.'Before they call, I will answer.' (Isaiah 65:24)When you receive this, say the prayer. That's all you have to do.. No strings attached. Just send it on to whomever you want - but do send it on Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost, but a lot of rewards. Let's continue praying for one another. This awesome prayer takes less than a minute.Heavenly Father, I ask you to bless my friends reading this.I ask You to minister to their spirit.Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy.Where there is self doubting, release a renewed confidence to work through them.Where there is tiredness or exhaustion,I ask You to give them understanding, guidance, and strength. Where there is fear, reveal Your love and release to them Your courage.Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders and friends to support and encourage them.Give eachof them discernment to recognize the evil forces around themand reveal to them the power they have in You to defeat it.I ask You to do these things in Jesus' name.Amen..

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's your CHOICE - we can always CHOOSE


Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good moodand always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, hewould reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a natural motivator. If an employee was havinga bad day, Michaelwas there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michaeland asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How doyou do it?" Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, 'Mike, youhave two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in abad mood.' I choose to be in a good mood. "Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I canchoose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. "Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept theircomplaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side oflife." "Yeah, right, it isn't that easy," I protested. "Yes, it is," Michael said. Life is all about choices. When you cut awayall the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. Youchoose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood."The bottom line is: It's your choice how you live life." I reflected on what Michael said. Soon thereafter, I left the towerindustry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I madea choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a seriousaccident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery andweeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed inhis back. I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how hewas, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through hismind as the accident took place. "The first thing that went through my mind was thewell being of my soon-to-be- born daughter," Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on theground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I couldchoose to die. I chose to live." "Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Michael continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I wasgoing to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions onthe faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'He's adead man.' I knew I needed to take action." "What did you do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big burly nurse shoutingquestions at me," said Michael. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I tooka deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity.' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I amchoosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead'." Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of hisamazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to livefully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

Operate in FAITH, Not FEAR

FileNote: Easier said than done. But how true - the more we operate and make decisions in faith, we walk in the light of God's counsel and wisdom. If we are not careful, we often will let fear creep in and subtly dictate our decisions, which will surely lead us down the path of ruin and destruction. Let us therefore encourage one another in our FAITH. Read the testimony of Kathi Pelton and heed the warning and the lesson.

Kathi Pelton: "Removing Roots of Fear" By Kathi Pelton
"Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident." Psalm 27:3
I am always amazed at God's dealings with me. I never cease to be surprised at how He can take me places that I would not go apart from His love and leading. God's recent dealings with me began with personal crisis. Like many of you, our family has been hit hard by the trouble in the economy. My husband's sales have dried up, my oldest son was laid off from his construction job last month and I lost my salary at the beginning of January. But, as "mature Christians" our posture was in faith and not fear...or, so I thought.
We handled the first months of our "crisis" as we watched God provide in ways that were unexpected and unique. But as the months have moved by and our bank account has dwindled to nothing (and no prospects for jobs appeared), I began to move into some fear-based actions even though my words continued to be those of faith. Of course, I did not do this overtly, but took a "composed" posture of fear. I began to ever-so-gently pressure my patient husband to get his resume' out to more and more companies. From there I began to drop subtle hints of things that he could do (and in my opinion should do) to get us out of this crisis.
Your Fear Is Not Subtle to God
Last Saturday morning, I woke up to my husband making us a nice breakfast. But rather than allowing myself to enjoy the blessing, I sat down at the table and began to question him about what he had accomplished during the week in regards to my rescue plan. But rather than give me a detailed accounting, my husband looked at me and said, "Maybe we shouldn't talk because we don't seem to be getting along very well right now."
I was shocked! How could he say such a thing? Wasn't I merely asking about a very real issue? I was merely trying to help my family make responsible decisions in the midst of crisis, right?
Right away the Lord began to speak to me about the motivations of my heart in trying to get my husband to do all the things I had suggested (actually, I wanted to demand, not suggest). The Lord asked me if my suggestions were from His leading or from fear. Well, of course they were from fear, or I wouldn't have needed to cloak them in hints. The Lord then said, "Your hints have not been subtle to your husband or to Me. We both know that you have moved into fear."
I had abandoned two values that my husband and I walk in. The first is that we will never initiate for God, but always wait for His initiation before we act. We wait not only for His wisdom but also His timing. The second value is to know each other by the spirit, not only by the flesh. Spirit to spirit is the way we want to connect with others. Due to the fear that had surfaced in my life, I began to initiate out of my knowledge and timetable rather than waiting for God's wisdom and timing.
I also forgot that my husband knows me "by the Spirit," therefore he could feel the fear and control coming from me even though my words sounded right. These subtle hints I was releasing were like the sounding of an alarm to both my husband and God. They screamed: "Do something just in case Jesus doesn't come through for us!"
Learning from My Writings
The irony in all of this is the title of my article last month called "Peace Be Still." I wrote all about peace and trust in the midst of life's storms. One thing that has been consistent in whatever subject I write or teach about is that I must also learn from them. Releasing it does not exempt me from the truth that needs to be lived out. I often find whenever I write, I am about to be tested on, so that it also becomes truth in my life.
As I realized there were still roots of fear deep in my heart, that dictated to me thoughts of abandonment during difficult times, I knew I needed to allow God to deal with them. As I asked the Lord what to do, His first instruction was to fast (abstain) from any actions that were fear-based. This was in all relationships: husband, children, friends and especially, Him. Having five teenagers who are all embarking on adulthood can really challenge this.
I could now see that even some of my "counsel" for my teens was more fear-based rather than faith-based, and I needed to begin to speak only God's counsel. I needed to turn my children over to the One who loves them even more than I do. I cannot always keep them from the hard lessons of life, but sometimes I need to take a posture of prayer that would back them up rather than try to lead them.
I have never viewed myself as a controlling person, but as the root of my actions have become clear to me, I now realize that fear almost always provokes controlling and manipulative actions. Though these may be "subtle" to others, they are not to God, nor are they to the enemy who is not fooled by our religious masks that try to cover them up.
Remember...Don't Light Your Own Torches!
"But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment." Isaiah 50:11
Ten years ago, I was going through another difficult time. During that time God was walking me through some deep inner-healing from issues in my childhood that were affecting my adult life. As some of the pain and wounds surfaced, I would attempt to find relief from the pain by trying to find my way through it on my own. Though I never made any headway in this effort, it did leave me with a bad case of insomnia that lasted for months.
During one of these sleepless nights, I was searching the Scriptures for some comfort, when I stumbled across the verse in Isaiah 50:11. I immediately realized this was what I had been doing. I was lighting my own torch and trying to find my way apart from His light. As a result, I had lain down each night in torment.
As I repented, things began to improve. Though they didn't change overnight, I began a process of allowing the light of the Lord to lead me through the darkness that I was facing. Now a decade later, though this is a very different circumstance, I am once again facing this truth. I cannot go back to walking in the light of my own torch, but I must wait for the Lord to lead our family through this dark time. Once again I find myself repenting for leaning on my own understanding.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
"Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son He delights in." Proverbs 3:5-12
He is Forever Faithful
I have settled it: "I don't understand God's ways!" I have also decided that "God is forever faithful, even when I don't understand!" When He says that He carries me (and you), it is the truth.
"There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place." Deuteronomy 1:31
"He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11
He is our Father, He is tender, He is gentle, and He does not leave us without help. His children are being prepared to walk without roots of fear ruling in their hearts and lives. We must respond to His love—both the love that carries us and the love that corrects us. Join me in fasting from every action that is based in fear. Let us allow Him to pull up every root of fear that ushers us into controlling, manipulative and frantic behaviors. He truly is our peace and we must trust Him even when we don't see any light at the end of the tunnel. Don't light your own torch even when all you see is darkness. It is not dark to Him.
"If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you." Psalm 139:11-12
We're in this together!
Kathi PeltonLight Streams Ministries

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Breakthrough or Burnout ?

FileNote:- Certainly worth reflecting where we stand, so we may do what's necessary for us to have more breakthroughs and less burnouts. God bless.
Twelve Signs that Show Whether You Are Headed for Breakthrough or Burnout – Joseph Mattera

Introduction As a pastor for more than 25 years I have seen many people serving in ministry burn out in the name of Christ, then fall away from their purpose. This is even very common among senior leaders but it can be avoided. In the past several years, I have personally experienced my mind being tired, requiring me to pull back for several months lest I burnout! The following are signs that show whether you are on the verge of burnout or breakthrough:

I. When in breakthrough mode you can’t wait to start the day. In burnout you can’t wait for the day to end.

I know from my own life when I have pushed myself too much I have dreaded all the work I saw in front of me. However, when I am living out of the overflow of the life of Christ in me I can’t wait to tackle the greatest challenges in front of me.

II. In breakthrough mode you are ministering out of the overflow of Christ’s life in you. In burnout you are ministering purely out of your natural giftings and spiritual anointing without a fresh infilling from the Holy Spirit.

Those heading for breakthrough are ministering out of a fresh word they receive daily from God (Isaiah 50:1-4). Those headed for burnout are depending only on their natural wisdom and abilities that God anoints, just like the Corinthian Church who operated in the gifts of the Spirit but were moving in the flesh and were not spiritual (1 Corinthians 3:1-4).

III. In breakthrough mode you have passion to serve. In burnout you have passion for pleasure and relaxation.

Those in breakthrough mode have an excitement and exuberance regarding their ministry, while those on the verge of burnout continually attempt to medicate themselves with entertainment, overeating, and are in danger of falling into vices meant to deaden their pain, or have a sense of being trapped.

IV. In breakthrough mode you are living within set boundaries that enable self-renewal. In burnout you constantly feel like you are living outside of the measure of God’s grace for service.

In breakthrough mode you are able to stay within your limitations so there is a proper equilibrium regarding time with your family, self-care, ministry, and time off. Those on the verge of burnout have no set limitations and are often out of sync with their bodies, their families, and with God’s will for their lives. V. In breakthrough mode your mind is constantly being renewed with fresh ideas, creativity, and vision to conquer. In burnout your mind and emotions are worn out and you are in maintenance mode.

Those on the verge of breakthrough are filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual knowledge and wisdom (Colossians 1) and are continually being fed fresh strategy from the Holy Spirit. Those on the verge of burnout not only lack fresh ideas but they don’t even want to receive them! Their minds are set on survival; they are happy if they merely maintain what God has already given them to do in ministry and life.

V. In breakthrough mode you are walking in the fruit of the Spirit; in burnout the fruit of the flesh.

One of the symptoms of walking in breakthrough mode is that you are enjoying the present, enjoying life, and are walking in the joy of the Lord in the midst of your weakness and trials. Those on the verge of burnout find themselves constantly complaining, grumbling about their responsibilities, and are often in a bad mood or grumpy.

VI. In breakthrough mode you have time for soul care. In burnout you only have time for serving others.

Those in breakthrough mode make time to care for themselves because they have a good feeling about who they are. Those on the verge of burnout often neglect exercise, proper diet, and sleep because they lack the motivation for self-care.

VII. In breakthrough mode you envision great expansion of ministry. In burnout you dream of retirement and contemplate leaving the ministry.

Those in breakthrough mode are constantly dwelling on the vision God has given them, while those on the verge of burnout are constantly dreaming about what it would be like not to have all these responsibilities and live a normal life without the pressures of ministry and community service. When a person lives for retirement or vacation they are either slothful or on the verge of burnout.

VIII. In breakthrough mode you proactively spend time with key relationships. In burnout your time is spent reacting to relational problems.

Those in breakthrough mode proactively prioritize and spend time with those people who mean the most to them and their ministries, while those on the verge of burnout often find themselves busy dealing with putting out fires because of troubled relationships.

IX. In breakthrough mode you are in faith; in burnout you are living in fear.

Those on the verge of breakthrough have entered into the rest of God through faith according to Hebrews 3 and 4. That is to say, they are believing God to control their situations and order their steps because they are flowing in the will of God. Those on the verge of burnout are not sure if what they are doing is God’s will, and are anxious about the future.

X. In breakthrough mode you are refreshed in spite of your stress. In burnout mode you are depressed because of the stress.

Both those in breakthrough and burnout mode will experience great stress in their lives; this is par for the course for all leaders. The difference between the two is that those in breakthrough mode are walking in the power of God’s Spirit in the midst of stressful situations, even as Paul did when he ministered out of his weakness so that God’s grace could be sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:1-7). Those on the verge of burnout can’t handle the pressure and are depressed because of the stress.

XI. In breakthrough mode you sense clarity of vision and purpose. In burnout you experience confusion regarding your purpose.

I have seen folks on the verge of breakthrough; one common denominator with all of them is they have a strong sense that what they are doing is significant and based on the will of God. Those on the verge of burnout have lost their way and are questioning whether or not they are doing what God has called them to do, even if they are generally in the will of God. (The enemy takes advantage of us and puts seeds of doubt in our minds that make our attitudes worse when we are worn out and on the path to burnout.)

In summary, if any of the signs of burnout fit your situation, it is not too late to begin to change course and avoid a complete collapse. You can start with something simple like forcing yourself to meditate 15 minutes a day on the word of God, worship God every morning, doing aerobic exercises a few days per week, and getting enough sleep. The word will renew your mind and impart faith, worship will fill you with a renewed sense of hope in your spirit, exercise will release chemicals into your body that will give you a better sense of self, and getting enough sleep is absolutely necessary for your mind and emotions to function on an optimum level.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Taken at face value, what Rick Warren did was a great reminder for us to live our life with our eyes fix heavenward. What we experience on earth is but temporary. If you go to a foreign land and live in a hotel, your perspective is not the same as living in your home in your land of birth. Think where really is your true spiritual home. If we are too at home here on earth or wants to make it so, then indeed we will have much sorrow and pain when reality confronts us when we have to depart to meet our God and account for what we did while on earth. Think about what Rick Warren reminds us of: WHAT'S YOUR PURPOSE ON EARTH? WHAT ARE YOU LIVING FOR? HOW DIFFERENT ARE YOU FROM THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN YOUR GOD?
You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having 'wealth' from the book sales. 'Purpose Driven Life ' author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said: People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven. One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense. Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ li ken ess. This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer. I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.. You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems: If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.' But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others. We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her- It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people. You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy. It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.. So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72. First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit.. We made no major purchases. Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church. Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation. Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free. We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)? When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings. Happy moments, PRAISE GOD. Difficult moments, SEEK GOD. Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD. Painful moments, TRUST GOD. Every moment, THANK GOD. If you do not pass it on, nothing will happen. But it will just be nice to pass it on to a friend....just like I have done... God's Blessings…

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Poverty - Roots and Fruits

What I like about this article - Calls us to be proactive, do our best, and believe in the goodness of God, as opposed to being passive, grumbling and complaining, waiting for others/God to do something for us.

What I dont like about this article - Suggests that success is always in the plan of God for all, so long as we keep trying and not give up. Disasters and failures (akin to poverty) seem to have no place in the theology of this article. But the bible clearly teaches about the poor and poverty. Did not Paul say that he had learned how to be content in all circumstances, in poverty and in abandance.

Poverty - Roots and Fruits – John Garfield

The Sound of Poverty - I want to suggest a simple axiom that will help us understand why it's hard to let go of poverty in both theology and practice. "If we believe we're inherently sinful it's nearly impossible to believe that God would want us to be successful in promotions or finances or influence or mountains." Success would simply be a platform for greater levels of sinfulness. To make this point stick, I want to share a couple of paragraphs I received in a newsletter this week. Listen to the tone.
Worshipping Success - Though you may find it hard to believe, there is an addiction more subtle and more powerful than either drugs or pornography. It’s older than prostitution, more prevalent than alcohol, more addictive than cocaine. It doesn’t discriminate between male and female, black or white, young or old, rich or poor. Its strength is greater than all other addictions combined. It’s as rampant in the Church as it is in the world. It leaves the body unscathed but destroys the soul. The vast majority of people addicted have little if any understanding of its power or perils.
The history of the worship of success dates back to Lucifer, the rebellious archangel who wanted to relegate God to a subordinate role and take the ‘top gun’ position for himself. This desire for success soon spread throughout the earth like a cancer, reaching its pinnacle with mankind seeking to build a tower and to make for themselves a name. What a contrast in attitudes we find between Genesis 11 and 12. Chapter 11 exposes man striving for recognition, while chapter 12 we find God promising humble Abraham that He would make his name great.
We could also add a verse:
People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap ! and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Tim 6:9-10 NIV
Why Choose Poverty! - Both the exhortation in the paragraphs and the Paul's warning have their place. However, what we've received in our hearts from an overemphasis on those warnings produced a foundation for poverty in our lives. Those words are so strong that we would never risk success at the possible expense of our salvation. We view ourselves as too sin-oriented to ever trust ourselves with success. We dial our initiative back to just waiting for God (or someone else) to do something so we can flow with it. Our only goal is to stay in the boat - no walking on water.
Responsibility is Key to Spiritual Success - We've often heard that it's easier to get God's people out of Egypt than to get Egypt out of God's people. It's very true. Israel wandered 40 years in a desert that could have been crossed in a couple of weeks at a leisurely walk. The "slave mentality" left the people wanting others to do everything for them. They wouldn't take responsibility; they stuck with their programming to: 1) do as they were told, 2) expect someone else to take care of them, and 3) complain about the whole process.
Slaves will not fight for themselves or for God; they cannot be trusted in spiritual warfare. Although Israel was armed with the weapons for battle when they left Egypt they didn't have the mind for it. Sadly - that describes the present, passive state of many believers today. We have the armor, but not the attitude.
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle. Ex 13:17-18 NIV
Caleb had a different spirit. He was willing to take responsibility to inherit his land. He was anything but passive. He didn't expect anyone else to fight his battles for him even when he was 85.
But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. Num 14:23-24 NIV
So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. Josh 14:10-12 NIV
Maturity Is? - Contrary to popular belief, spiritual maturity comes when we are willing to say yes to success. We're not called to be monks; we're called to take mountains! We not only have to agree to the possibility of success, we have to take the steps to make it happen ourselves. This may surprise you, but God will not hand your inheritance to you until you have the stomach to kill some giants and the ability to manage finances. Yes, it's yours in the will of God, but God is waiting for you to show some initiative. That's how real spiritual maturity works. The idea that God does it all while we believe and pray and obey is simply a false concept rooted in poverty theology... Good for slaves - bad for Kings.
It's your responsibility before God to manage your inheritance and make your dream come true. Slaves will wait and murmur and try to sound spiritual doing it; you cannot. You are a steward of the dream in your heart. God expects you to use wisdom, management, finances, business plans, and take some risks to make it happen. His favor will follow your initiative. You won't get guidance on every detail. God has left many decisions to your free will. How specific is, "Be fruitful and multiply"? You're created in His image to have dominion over the earth and you carry His will in your heart.
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion... Gen 1:27-28 NKJV
PS: You're going to experience a few setbacks along the way. It's OK. Keep going. Learn from your mistakes. Take responsibility for your success in the Kingdom.
John & Sue

Church As Family, A Communiy, Not A Corporation

Church As Family by Frank Viola

Surprisingly, the Bible never defines the church. Instead, it presents it through a number of different metaphors. One of the reasons why the New Testament gives us numerous metaphors to depict the church is because the church is too comprehensive and rich to be captured by a single definition or metaphor. Unfortunately, our tendency is to latch on to one particular metaphor and understand the ekklesia through it alone. But by latching on to just one metaphor—whether it be the body, the army, the temple, the bride, the vineyard, or the city—we lose the message that the other metaphors convey. The result: Our view of the church will become limited at best or lopsided at worst.

The Chief Metaphor
Do you know what metaphor for the church dominates the New Testament? It’s the family.

The writings of Paul, Peter, and John in particular are punctuated with the language and imagery of family. (See Gal. 6:10;Rom. 8:29; Eph. 2:19; 1 Tim. 5:1–2; 3:15; 1 Peter 2:2; 1 John 2:12–13, etc.)
While the New Testament authors depict the church with a variety of different images, their favorite image is the family. Familial terms like “new birth,” “children of God,” “sons of God,” “brethren,” “fathers,” “brothers,” “sisters,” and “household” saturate the New Testament writings.
In all of Paul’s letters to the churches, he speaks to the “brethren”—a term that includes both brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul uses this familial term more than 130 times in his epistles. So without question, the New Testament is filled with the language and imagery of family.

In stark contrast, the dominating metaphor that’s typically constructed for the church today is the business corporation. The pastor is the CEO. The clergy and/or staff is upper management. Evangelism is sales and marketing. The congregation is the clientele. And there is competition with other corporations (“churches”) in the same town.
But the corporation metaphor has a major problem. Not only is it glaringly absent from the New Testament, it does violence to the spirit of Christianity. Because from God’s standpoint, the church is primarily a family. His family, in fact.
Most Christians have no trouble giving glib assent to the idea that the church is a family. Yet giving mental assent to the family nature of the church is vastly different from fleshing out its sober implications. It would do us well to look closely at the family metaphor and discuss the practical implications that are connected with it. As you read through each aspect, I want to challenge you to compare your church to each one. Ask yourself this question: Is my church living in the reality of being the family of God?

(1) The Members Take Care of One AnotherBecause the church is family, its members take care of one another. Think about the natural family (assuming that it’s healthy). Families take care of their own. Isn’t it true that you take care of your natural blood? And they take care of you? If your mother, father, brother, sister, son, or daughter has a problem, do you say, “Sorry, don’t bother me,” or do you take care of them?
A true family takes care of its own, does it not?
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14–17)
This passage puts a finger on the meaning of real faith. Real faith expresses itself in acts of love toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. To paraphrase James, “If you say you have faith, but you neglect your brother or sister who is in physical need … then your faith is dead.” The “action” James is talking about is not prayer or Bible study, but acts of love toward our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

(2) The Members Spend Time Together

Because the church is family, the members take time to know one another. That is, they spend time together outside of scheduled meetings.
Question: Do the members of your church see one another only during scheduled services? Are you in contact with them during the week? Do you share meals together? Consider the organic instincts of the Jerusalem church at work:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.… Every day they continued to meet together.… They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. (Acts 2:42, 46)
The early Christians had lives that interacted with one another. This was the church’s DNA at work. If we follow our spiritual instincts, we will have an innate desire to gather together often. Why? Because the Holy Spirit serves as a kind of magnet that organically draws Christians together. The Holy Spirit puts within the hearts of all genuine believers a desire for authentic community.
The Bible says that the Jerusalem church met daily. Interestingly, the assembly in Jerusalem wasn’t the only church that gathered together on a daily basis. Some thirty years later, the writer of Hebrews exhorts the Christians to “encourage one another daily” (Heb. 3:13). And yet today, in most contemporary churches, the only fellowship time that one gets is two minutes when the pastor says, “Turn around and greet the people behind you.”
On Sunday mornings, we clock in and we clock out. Granted, we may grab a little more time in the parking lot as we make a beeline to our car. But can we really call that fellowship? Let’s be honest: For many Christians, the church is simply an event one attends once or twice a week, and that’s all.

(3) The Family is Community not CorporationAgain, the New Testament writers never use the imagery of a business corporation to depict the church. Unlike many modern “churches,” the early Christians knew nothing of spending colossal figures on building programs and projects at the expense of bearing the burdens of their fellow brethren.
In this way, many contemporary churches have essentially become nothing more than high-powered enterprises that bear more resemblance to General Motors than they do to the apostolic community.
A great many churches have succumbed to the intoxicating seductions of an individualistic, materialistic, business-oriented, consumer-driven, self-serving society. And when everything is boiled down, the success of the enterprise rests upon the shoulders of the CEO—the pastor.

In short, the church that’s introduced to us in Scripture is a loving household, not a business. It’s a living organism, not a static organization. It’s the corporate expression of Jesus Christ, not a religious corporation. It’s the community of the King, not a well-oiled hierarchical machine.
As such, when the church is functioning according to its nature, it offers:
• interdependence instead of independence
• wholeness instead of fragmentation
• participation instead of spectatorship
• connectedness instead of isolation
• solidarity instead of individualism
• spontaneity instead of institutionalization
• relationship instead of programs
• servitude instead of dominance
• enrichment instead of insecurity
• freedom instead of bondage
• community instead of corporation
• bonding instead of detachment.

In the language of the apostles, the church is composed of infants, little children, young men, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers—the language and imagery of family (1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Tim. 5:1–2; James 2:15; 1 John 2:13–14).

(The above article has been adapted from Reimagining Church. Visit for details.)
Frank Viola is an author, conference speaker, and church planter. He is the author of Pagan Christianity? (co-authored with George Barna) and the new book, Reimagining Church (David C. Cook, 2008) which presents a powerful vision of organic church life that’s marked by authentic community, Christ-centerdness, and meetings where every member of the body ministers according to his or her gifts.