Doing the Impossible with God.

And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. Acts 10:38 (NLT)

God has called you to follow Jesus and given you the same Holy Spirit as Jesus had. As a Christ follower, can you can put your name in this verse?

God has anointed me with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then I go about doing good and healing all who are oppressed by the devil, for God is with me.

If you are reluctant, it is not God who is holding you back. This is how God longs to see his people thinking and acting. This is what Peter, John and Paul did in the Acts of the Apostles and not only the apostles acted like this but many others. Jesus encouraged us to be like this in the John’s Gospel.

I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” John 14:12 (NLT)

Have you reached this level? I haven’t either but this is our calling. The Apostle Paul himself confessed that he felt he fell short.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12 (NIV)

But Paul knew he was a New Creation with a high calling and he wanted to urge on and build up all believers to attain to their great destiny, to be like Jesus.

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you. Gal 4:19 (NIV)

So we want to release God’s healing mercy as Jesus did. Where do we start?

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. Jn 14:13 (NIV)

But many of us have tried but been disappointed. How do we go from failure to success?

Firstly, if you see yourself as a spiritual beggar, think again. If you are a Christ follower, you are a son or daughter of the living God, a brother or sister of Jesus Christ. You are a member of the Royal family of Heaven and you have the same access to God’s wonderful favour as Jesus had on earth.

Secondly, you must openly face the fact that you cannot do in your own strength what Jesus did but you have the same Holy Spirit who empowered Him and His miracles. The Holy Spirit lives in you and wants to work through you to do His work.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Phi 2:13 (NLT)

Jesus was God but he lived with human limitations and he relied totally on the power of the Holy Spirit to work His miracles and so can we.

And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. Acts 10:38 (NLT)

When Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit descended on Him from Heaven and only then did he start to work miracles. Before that, he appeared to be just carpenter’s son in Nazareth. That is how the people of Nazareth regarded him.

Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offence at him. Mark 6:3 (NIV)

You too may be just a nurse, an office worker or bus driver but you can ask God for His Holy Spirit to help you and He will not let you down.

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13 (NIV)

Das Unmögliche mit Gottes Hilfe Tun

Und ihr wisst auch, dass Gott Jesus von Nazareth mit dem Heiligen Geist und mit Kraft gesalbt hat. Er zog umher, tat Gutes und heilte alle, die vom Teufel bedrängt waren, denn Gott war mit ihm. Apg 10,38 NLB

  • Kannst du, deinen Namen hier hinzufügen?
  • Und ich weiß, dass Gott MICH mit dem Heiligen Geist und mit Kraft gesalbt hat. ICH ziehe umher und tu Gutes und heile alle, die vom Teufel bedrängt sind, denn Gott ist mit MIR.

Jesus hat uns berufen, IHM nachzufolgen, IHM gleich zu sein, so zu werden wie er und so zu tun wir er selbst.

Ich versichere euch: Wer an mich glaubt, wird dieselben Dinge tun, die ich getan habe, ja noch größere, denn ich gehe, um beim Vater zu sein. Joh 14,12 NLB

Hast du diese Ebene schon erreicht? Ich nicht, aber ich bin dazu berufen und du auch.

Paulus hat dasselbe erkannt.

Ich will nicht behaupten, ich hätte dies alles schon erreicht oder wäre schon vollkommen! Aber ich arbeite auf den Tag hin, an dem ich endlich alles sein werde, wozu Christus Jesus mich errettet und wofür er mich bestimmt hat. Philipper 3,12

Aber Paulus wusste, er war eine Neue Schöpfung mit einem hohen Ziel und er wollte auch die anderen Jünger anspornen und aufbauen, dieses hohe Ziel zu erreichen.

Meine Kinder, um die ich noch einmal Geburtswehen leide, bis Christus in euch Gestalt gewinnt. Gal 4,19

Aber wie können wir anfangen, so zu tun wie Jesus?

Ihr dürft in meinem Namen um alles bitten, und ich werde eure Bitten erfüllen, weil durch den Sohn der Vater verherrlicht wird. Joh 14,13 NLB

Aber viele von uns haben zaghaft versucht, das zu tun aber ohne Erfolg.

Was ist die Lösung? Wie kommen wir aus dieser Sackgasse?

Erstens, wenn du dich als einen Bettler siehst, musst du dich anders sehen. Wenn du zu Jesus gehörst, bist du ein Sohn oder eine Tochter Gottes. Du hast Anspruch auf Gottes Reichtum und Kraft, genau als wärst du Jesus selbst.

Zweitens, du musst erkennen, dass du nicht machen kannst, was Jesus angewiesen hat und versprochen, dass heißt nicht du, sondern Gott in dir.

Und doch ist es Gott allein, der beides in euch bewirkt: Er schenkt euch den Willen und die Kraft, ihn auch so auszuführen, wie es ihm gefällt. Philipper 2,13 HFA

Jesus war Gott aber er wurde konsequent Mensch und lebte als Mann auf der Erde. Er verließ sich ganz auf den Heiligen Geist um das übernatürliche zustande zu bringen.

Und ihr wisst auch, dass Gott Jesus von Nazareth mit dem Heiligen Geist und mit Kraft gesalbt hat. Er zog umher, tat Gutes und heilte alle, die vom Teufel bedrängt waren, denn Gott war mit ihm. Apg 10,38 NLB

»Der Geist des Herrn ist auf mir, weil er mich gesalbt hat, den Armen frohe Botschaft zu verkünden; er hat mich gesandt, zu heilen, die zerbrochenen Herzens sind, Gefangenen Befreiung zu verkünden und den Blinden, dass sie wieder sehend werden, Zerschlagene in Freiheit zu setzen, Lk 4,18 SLT

Als Jesus sich von Johannes taufen ließ, kam der Heilige Geist auf Ihn. Vor dieser Zeit war Jesus scheinbar nur der Sohn von Josef und Maria der als Zimmermann arbeitete. So haben die Leute in Nazareth gesagt, als Jesus da predigte.

Er ist doch der Zimmermann, Marias Sohn. Wir kennen seine Brüder Jakobus, Joses, Judas und Simon. Und auch seine Schwestern leben alle unter uns.« Sie ärgerten sich über ihn. Mk 6,3 HFA

Du bist auch nur eine Krankenschwester, eine Beamtin oder ein Busfahrer aber wenn du gläubig bist, kannst du um die Kraft des Heiligen Geist bitten und in Seiner Kraft auch dienen und glauben, wie damals Jesus.

  • Denn wer bittet, wird erhalten. Wer sucht, wird finden. Und die Tür wird jedem geöffnet, der anklopft. 
  • Gibt es einen Vater, der seinem Kind eine Schlange hinhält, wenn es um einen Fisch bittet? Oder wenn es um ein Ei bittet, reicht er ihm dann einen Skorpion? Natürlich nicht!
  • Wenn aber selbst ihr sündigen Menschen wisst, wie ihr euren Kindern Gutes tun könnt, wie viel eher wird euer Vater im Himmel denen, die ihn bitten, den Heiligen Geist schenken.« Lukas 11,10-13 NLB

The Old Life Dies and New Life is Born

God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning–the first day. Gen 1:5 (NIV)

Night. I suppose the evening was mentioned before the morning, because the evening existed first – before the morning was spoken into being.” Jeanette Green, Binocular Vision.

One day must die before the next morning can be born.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24 (ESV)

Something must die to prepare for any new birth. When a man or woman is converted and born again, he or she no longer belongs to himself or herself. A true Christian is married to God. You die to your earthly independence, you die to your bondage to religious traditions and rules, you die to your bondage to selfish desires, all so you can live in the love of God, all so you can become the wonderful person God made you to be.

When a young woman becomes pregnant, she is bent out of shape, she is changed for ever, she will never be the same. She dies to her old identity. She is no longer a girl, she is a woman and a mother. Something must die to make way for new life.

When Jesus came to our earth to open the door of heaven for us all, he took on a new shape. He became a human baby. God became a human being. The Son of God was changed for ever. He was always God and will always be God but from the time Jesus was conceived in the body of Mary, she became not only a young woman but also a mother and He became not only God but also human.

And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favour of God was upon him. Lk 2:40 (ESV)

How can God grow in wisdom?

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:5-7 (ESV)

How could Jesus as a young boy in Nazareth “grow in wisdom” if he retained the ability to think with perfect omniscience, knowing and understanding all things without needing to take even a few minutes to think anything out?

He “emptied himself.” Some theologians try to make it more complicated but I cannot see it any other way. Jesus did not just live as God (with all God’s power and knowledge) in a human body. Jesus freely chose to retain his character and identity as God but to restrict himself to the limitations of a human soul and a human mind. Jesus was not God in a human body but God as a human being. A big difference. He became man, he became human, he became one of us.

Something had to die, so something new could grow up.

Of course Jesus never stopped being God. What He laid down, He took up again when He ascended into heaven after he returned from the grave.

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. Jn 10:17 (ESV)

And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. Jn 17:5 (ESV)

When He was a man on earth, Jesus laid aside His own glory, his own unlimited power and his own unlimited knowledge, so that he could point men and women to the glory of the Father.

Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Jn 12:28 (NIV)

The more Jesus emptied himself, the more he appeared in shame, the more he glorified the Father.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! Philippians 2:8 (NIV)

As I understand it, Jesus on the cross demonstrated the character of God. He showed that the love of God even takes precedence over His majesty and power. God is great and almighty but above all else, God IS love.

 

Must a Husband also Submit?

If a wife must submit to her husband, must he also submit to her?

21 submitting to one another in the fear of Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, Ephesians 5:21-22 (HCSB)

There is some uncertainty about whether the word HYPOTASSO (submit) is repeated in verse 22 or not. The fact that the earliest known manuscripts do not repeat the word in verse 22 does not impress some (good) scholars because some good conservative scholars are critical of the manuscript tradition that comes from Alexandria and is used for most modern translations.

But suppose the HYPOTASSO is repeated in Verse 22, that is still a powerful rhetorical signal that the two verses are part of the same passage and cannot be legitimately dealt with separately. Preaching on both but in separate sermons is not legitimate exegesis.

Verse 21 tells all Christians to be willing to yield to all other Christians, not to be doormats but to be considerate, respectful and flexible.

If verse 21 does not apply to husbands in marriage, then we have the absurd idea that a married man must be willing to submit to every other Christian but not his own wife. Obviously complete nonsense.

Mutual submission is a key doctrine in the New Testament but it is often overlooked by Bible teachers who are obsessed with the idea of theocratic hierarchy.

Theocratic hierarchy was an essential element of the Law of Moses but when Jesus fulfilled the Law, He established a new order, the New Covenant, based on Faith in the Blood of Jesus.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2 (NASB)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. Romans 5:8-9 (NASB)

This is a personal covenant between each individual believer and the Son of God who died for him or for her.

In the Old Covenant, the Prophets, Priests and Kings were the go betweens, like mediators between God and the Covenant People.

Many Christian leaders today want to perpetuate this concept by making the Pastor the Mediator between God and the lay believers, who must unquestioningly obey the preacher. They also want to make the husband the priest or mediator between God and his wife, who must not question her husband’s priestly authority.

This is dangerous falsehood verging on heresy.

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,  1 Timothy 2:5 (NASB)

If Jesus mediates between God and MEN, what about the women? Do they need a father, older brother, husband or pastor to tell them what to do and be their priest and mediator?

Not at all. The New Testament was not written in English but in Greek. The Greek word which is translated here as MEN, is ANTHROPOS, which means HUMANS.

So to return to our original question, is Christian submission based primarily on hierarchy or mutual respect and flexible consideration of one another?

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others … James 3:17 (TLB)

In addition, I have compiled a list of verses that teach mutual submission.

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. John 13:14 (NIV)

“A new command I give you: Love one another. .. John 13:34 (NIV)

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10 (NIV)

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13 (NIV)

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:2-3 (NIV)

Are All God’s Instructions for Ever?

The Bible does not explicitly say we should oppose slavery. In fact, several Bible texts command slaves to obey their owners.

The leader of the campaign to abolish slavery in the British Empire was William Wilberforce, an evangelical Christian. A prominent pioneer in the anti slavery movement in the USA was Charles Finney, the Billy Graham of his day. However, the slave owners righteously stood on the Word of God and accused the abolitionists of rebelling against Holy Scripture which they fervently quoted.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Ephesians 6:5 (NIV)

If you study the spiritual principles of the Bible, it should become apparent that God intensely dislikes slavery.

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; Isaiah 61:1 (NKJV)

When the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt, God heard their cries and sent Moses to deliver them.
In the New Testament, Paul said slave traders would not be accepted in heaven.

…fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching. 1 Timothy 1:10 (NRSV)

Why then, did Paul tell Christians to treat their slaves kindly but not necessarily to give them freedom?

The New Testament is God’s manifesto for the restoration of God’s glory but also human freedom, equality and dignity.

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 (NRSV)

So does Paul not order all slaves to go free immediately? In the Old Testament and the New Testament God makes rules to make a bad society more equitable and humane but He does not step in personally and take over everything. That will happen in the future when Jesus returns to Jerusalem and rules the nations with a rod of iron.

In the Old Testament there are rules which are not nice at all.

No one whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off shall be admitted to the assembly of the LORD. Deuteronomy 23:1 (NRSV)

Surely God Himself is authorising cruel discrimination against victims of abuse. However, God’s purpose was to prevent this abuse happening in the first place. In the pagan nations surrounding Israel, people would castrate boys, because eunuchs could be promoted to prominent positions as pagan priests or government officials.

God’s laws were made to regulate a bad world to make it less bad but they often do not reflect the ideal will of God.

When the Jews were invaded and taken into captivity in Babylon, the ablest noble born Jews were enlisted to become government officials in the Babylonian Empire, however this involved compulsory castration. It is probable that the great prophet Daniel was a eunuch but he was blessed and honoured by God.

Isaiah 39:5-7 (NRSV)
5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD of hosts:
6 Days are coming when all that is in your house, and that which your ancestors have stored up until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the LORD.
7 Some of your own sons who are born to you shall be taken away; they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”

When God says: “Love one another” he is giving instructions now and for ever.
When God says castrated males may not attend worship, he is giving a temporary injunction to prevent abuse.
When God says: “Slaves obey your masters,” he was not permanently endorsing slavery.

When Paul says,
“And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.”
1 Timothy 2:12 (NKJV)

…why should we assume this must be a command expressing God’s permanent judgement and eternal will?

Charles Finney was the first evangelical leader in America to campaign against slavery and also to promote women as full partners in preaching, ministry and Christian leadership.
God’s agenda of restoring men and women it still a work in progress.

WHEN GOD CALLED MARY, SHE ALONE DECIDED.

When God chose a teenage girl to be the mother of His Son Jesus, He did not inform or consult Mary’s father, her fiancé, a priest or the elders of Mary’s synagogue.

…the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. Luke 1:26-27 (ESV) 

God did not send the angel to Joseph or Mary’s father but directly to Mary, a teenage girl. 

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. Lk 1:31

God did not ask Mary’s parents or fiancé for permission. 

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Lk 1:38 (ESV)

Young Mary made one of the most important spiritual decisions in the history of the world without consulting any man or older person.

What about Mary’s father? The Holy Spirit did not mention him.
What about Mary’s fiancé, Joseph? God told him after Mary was already pregnant. 

Mary’s response was magnificent. She made perhaps the most important spiritual decision in history all by herself, even though it meant losing her reputation for chastity, risking the loss of her fiancé and her prospects of marriage and making her a social outcast.

Perhaps you have been trained to submit important spiritual decisions to elders, pastors, fathers or your husband. Mary did none of these things and the Bible story commends her for her bold faith and her sacrificial obedience, obedience to God alone.

Suppose God is challenging you to make a decision which could lead to rejection by your church or even your family, is it possible the Holy Spirit wants you to follow the example of Mary?

If God is really calling you and you know your parents or church leaders would not agree, asking these same people to discern or confirm your call is not obedience, as you may have been taught but actually disobedience to God.

Sometimes it helps to discuss a decision with friends or wise elders but there are times when you have to step out in raw faith and suffer the consequences as well as reaping the blessings.

Law, Grace or Both. Paul and Faith.

Paul teaches in Galatians that we are not saved by keeping the Laws of Moses but by putting our trust in Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah).

But some say although we are saved by faith, we should progress in holiness and obedience to God by learning to keep more and more of the Laws of Moses. Is this what Paul is trying to say? I believe not.

Galatians 2:19-21 (NIV)
19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

There are still Christians who say the 613 laws in the Torah are God’s perfect eternal plan and any departure from full obedience to all of them makes us less holy.

My observation is that strict observance of a rigid system of religious laws most often distracts people from humility and divine love and makes them less God like.

Galatians 3:1-3 (ESV)
1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.
2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?
3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

I asked God about it and I believe he gave me a little vision in my spirit.

I saw a building under construction surrounded with scaffolding.
God showed me the Laws of the Torah are the scaffolding He used in the initial construction phase of His Kingdom.

When a building is completed, the builders must remove the scaffolding because scaffolding contributes nothing to a finished structure but rather obscures the beauty of the building and may interfere with its function.

For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Hebrews 10:1 (ESV)

Just as the detailed system of animal sacrifices became irrelevant when Jesus died on the cross as the Lamb of God, so also the detailed regulation of behaviour becomes irrelevant scaffolding when you are born again as a child of God.

This scaffolding needs to be taken away, so that the finished work of Christ in us can be clearly seen.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Believers

It is often said that when God wants a great work done, He chooses one man to pioneer and lead.

It is not difficult to find examples in the bible or in history. It is easy to conclude that God’s operating principle is always to appoint a hierarchy and a clear chain of command. Most of our churches operate this way.
But when we read the New Testament, we encounter something new and strange. Jesus selected twelve apostles and He favoured three above the others, Peter, James and John. But there is something about the story which is so weird, that it is like something from another planet.

Jesus did NOT appoint one successor. Abraham appointed Isaac; Moses appointed Joshua; Elijah appointed Elisha and David appointed Solomon but Jesus did not appoint a supreme leader to take over after He returned to Heaven.

The Bible tells us a lot about the sins and faults of the Apostles and preachers love to make sermons about them.

A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.
And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. Lk 22:24-26 (ESV)

What were the Apostles disputing? Was each of the twelve claiming to be number one? That would be absurdly childish. I have never heard a group of men or boys being so silly.

What most preachers fail to notice is this. Jesus had not conformed to the perfectly reasonable expectation of any group of leaders. Jesus had not appointed a single successor to be supreme leader after His departure.

Peter was an obvious candidate but he could be impulsive and make mistakes. John was especially favoured and loved but he was the youngest. James was also a serious candidate.

But who was the chosen one? Since Jesus had not told them, they did what any group of men would do. They tried to work it out themselves.

After Jesus returned to heaven, Peter seemed to take the lead in Acts chapters 1 to 3. Nevertheless, the writer of Acts emphasises the collective leadership of “The Apostles.” In Acts 2, Peter preached the first sermon but the main emphasis is on the inspired and inspiring unity of all the disciples.

All this is not because of any neglect or forgetfulness of Jesus or the Father in Heaven.
Jesus declared a whole new approach to leadership in Matthew 23.

But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. Mt 23:8-10 (ESV)

This is so radical, that most Christians and most Christian leaders have not even begun to understand it. I have been a member of Pentecostal churches for 35 years and I have never heard any preacher, any teacher or any pastor seriously attempt to explain this vitally important text.

The mystery does not end here.

The first witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ was not an Apostle, or a Pastor or even an Elder.

It was Mary Magdalene, a woman with a sinful past and a testimony but no office or position in the church. When she told the Apostles, they did not believe her. Then Jesus came and rebuked the men of God for not receiving her testimony!

Leadership remains important but God’s way is somewhat different from what we normally expect in churches.

The founders of the first mission to the non-Jewish pagans were not Apostles and they were not appointed or sent by the Apostles.

Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews.

But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus.

And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. Acts 11:19-21 (ESV)

If all this raises more questions than answers, that is OK. The New Testament text does the same.
I am not preaching Christian anarchy. I really admire great Christian leaders and many inspired preachers. But Christianity is not all about priests and people or shepherds and sheep. Coaches don’t win football matches; the players do.
Jesus called a brotherhood of mighty believers who change the world. We must not rely on Pastors or leaders to do everything important and take all the initiative.

YOU ARE UNIQUE

CS Lewis was an English scholar at Oxford University. He was an expert in ancient languages and old English Literature. He was also an atheist until he had a powerful conversion experience. What should a new convert like this do if he wants to win thousands of souls to Christ and save even millions from damnation? Obviously he should use his talents to study theology, Hebrew and Greek and maybe Chinese, so he could be a pastor, a missionary or an evangelist.

He did none of these things. He continued to write scholarly articles about old literature and then God raised him up to write paperback books to stimulate people to think about God and the truth of the Bible.

His books are nothing like the books written by pastors, evangelists or theologians. Thank God they are unique and different! CS Lewis’s unique way of thinking has drawn thousands or perhaps millions of people to Christ.

Supposing CS Lewis had been converted in his twenties. And just imagine he had suffered a terrible mental breakdown. Suppose he had been torn apart by trauma and suppose he had been mentored by disciples of Kenneth Hagin or CH Spurgeon or by this or that anointed ministry. Supposing this broken young man had laid everything on the altar for Jesus. Supposing he had abandoned his passion for literature and original writing. Supposing he had used his great talents to become a good imitation of Kenneth Hagin or Charles Spurgeon or some other gifted writer. HOW TERRIBLE!

Who are YOU?

If you belong to Jesus, you are a son or daughter of the Most High God. You are a representative of Jesus Christ on earth. But so are we all. I am these things and so are you.

But who are you?

Luke was not Paul but thank God they were different.

The great missionary who laid the foundation for the glorious Chinese church of today was Hudson Taylor. When he went to China, the missionaries lived in an English community separated from Chinese society. They won few converts and when a Chinese person came to Christ, he had to leave his people and become a second rate imitation of and English Christian. Hudson Taylor lived amongst the Chinese. He spoke Chinese and dressed like a Chinese man. He was criticised by both the Chinese and by the English missionaries but he sowed the seed for the mightiest national church on Earth, over 140 million Chinese Christians serving God today in spite of persecution.

Are you trying to fit in with the vision of someone else, a pastor, a parent, a Christian leader? If you never discover your unique personal calling and gifting, you will be devastated when you arrive in heaven.

Suppose you play soccer and you are gifted to be a wonderful goalkeeper. But your father and your coach was a great striker and you look up to him. You may waste your life trying to be a striker.

Suppose your father was a wonderful doctor but your passion is art or poetry and you have an outstanding talent. What if you waste your life trying to be a good doctor. How terrible!

Do you have the courage to be different? God created you to be who you are, not quite like anyone else.

Ask God who you are! Listen until GOD tells you! We often hear of VOCATIONS which means CALLINGS. You have a calling if you hear GOD CALLING! Ask and listen. Maybe you already know but you are not following your calling. Maybe you are following someone else’s calling. It is time to change.

Seek and you will find.

‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV)

Finding God’s Good Plan for your Life

There is no such thing as a normal person. The reason we think most people are normal is that we don’t know them well enough. We often think our family or especially our in-laws are strange because we know them better. 

A lot of Christians get brainwashed with a kind of virtual reality in which everyone is supposed to conform to some kind of stereotyped religiously correct life.

Each brand of stereotype is a little different of course, the Baptist brand, the Methodist brand, the Pentecostal brand and the Catholic brand but but when you copy other people and try to live up to the expectations of other people, you miss God’s plan for your life . 

What Paul said of the unbelieving Jews is true of many of us to a certain extent.

For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Romans 10:2-3 

Most of us are slaves to religious tradition and conformism much more than we think.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12 (NASB95)

Just find the path in life that GOD leads you into and HE will give you grace and help and guidance.

To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Luke 9:59 (ESV)

If you follow the path in life determined by the expectations of others, you will have frustration after frustration and your Christian life will be little better than hanging on until you get to heaven.

Find God’s plan for YOUR life at all costs!

Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. MY YOKE IS EASY AND MY BURDEN IS LIGHT.

It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others. Ephesians 2:10 (TLB)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

God knows who you are. You don’t have to hide your idiosyncracies from Him. He actually does not want you to be just like everyone else, not even like the best Christians you know. He made you different and he wants you to be you.

Find the good works that GOD has prepared for you!!! (Ephesians 2:10)

Go and find your destiny. Your destiny is written in heaven but you have to find your script and live it out. It is not automatic.