Lesson Summary

The last two chapters of our current study, The Way of The Warrior, focused on thinking like Jesus and praying with authority. As we approach this historic election and as we look at the sad state of affairs – in our homes, communities and in the world, it is even more obvious to me that Christians need to take seriously the ‘warrior’ aspect of our Christian walk. It’s not a pretty topic. It’s not a touchy-feely subject. But it is critical that we recognize the nature of our battles and engage!

The following are highlights from the discussion.

–    Jackson writes that the church has abdicated a great deal of its authority because of ignorance and fear. (85).  The Church is called to be the light of the world.  Believers must engage the culture. That means being engaged in the political arena, in our schools, and in our communities.  He teaches that in order for us to claim our authority we must think like Jesus.  Jackson teaches that Jesus had a clear and reliable foundation, maintained a laser beam focus on God’s will, evaluated all information and experiences through a filter that produced appropriate choices and acted in faith. (87)
–    We were taught three kinds of biblical, Christian meditative thought: verbally reciting God’s word, deliberately focusing inwardly on God’s word and worshipping using music.
–    When we are confronted with serious issues, often we attempt to battle the issue before we deal with the root – our fears.  Many of our problems require strategic, authoritative prayer.
–    When we are going through a major illness, problems with our children, work or spouses, we have a tendency to focus on things we cannot control. God wants us to focus on that which we can control – our attitudes, motives, restoring broken relationships, and taking personal responsibility. When we deal with those issues, we release ourselves to be more in tune with God and more able to hear God’s direction.
–    God often puts us on display for God’s ultimate purpose. None of us wants to be on display when we are hurting. Yet, it is most often those hurts, those tests, that become our greatest tool for building the kingdom. Our task is to lean into Jesus, trust God when we are on display and recognize that anything God brings us to, God will bring us through. We learn to trust God for the outcome. And we realize that those victories become the weapons we use to defeat the enemy in someone else’s life.

–    Jackson teaches three foundational points from the Lord’s prayer that will help believers pray with authority: praying for our daily bread, forgiveness of people who have hurt us and guidance away from personal temptations.

Check Mate

I’m not a chess player and beyond what my husband attempted to teach me when I was a young bride, I know little about the rules. What I do remember as a major frustration was the fact that chess required strategic vision- the ability to think beyond the next move. It occurred to me, as I prayed for a young woman who keeps getting caught in ‘drama.’ that a lot of life is much like playing chess in this regard. How many times is the battle lost because of an unwillingness to think beyond the next move? Single Moms get angry with the ‘baby-daddy’ and react in a way that accelerates instead of diffuses the drama. She doesn’t think beyond the next move!  A young man meets a girl who stirs his passion (read this lust) and starts a relationship. He ignores the fact that she is a heavy drinker, drug abuser or that she treats him like he’s dirt. He doesn’t think beyond the next move. And though my examples use young people, those of us in the summer, autumn or winter seasons of life are not exempt. Every day things happen that require us to think beyond this moment. Scripture teaches that there is a way that seems right but at the end is the way of death (Prov. 14:12). Implicit in this scripture is the admonition to think beyond the next move.

I recently wrote, ‘Nothing I do surprises God though I’m sure much of it breaks God’s heart.’ We have the ability to stop seek God’s input so that we intentionally think beyond the now. In fact, exercising this ability is absolutely critical. There is much more at stake in life than in a game. If you blow a game of chess, you lose nothing really. However, wrong decisions rarely, if ever, impact the decision-maker alone. Every decision we make – good or poorly-informed – will impact other people, innocent by-standers who become unwitting actors in our personal dramas.

So, my friends, take a moment to think and pray before you react. Move. Counter-move. Move.

Herding Geese

I just finished a day and half in a wonderful retreat with the other associate ministers from Omega Baptist Church where I serve. As I was walking through the beautiful grounds at the Cox Arboretum (no relation, unfortunately), I saw a sign that captured my attention and through which God spoke. Posted along one of the walking paths was a sign introducing one of the park employees, a Border Collie. His job is to herd the geese that inhabit the park. He is trained to herd them – without hurting them. The Lord immediately drew a parallel between this Border Collie and those of us in the ministry. We are like this little dog. We are called to herd people, to lead them where they need to go. We are called to preach a word that nips at their heels. We are to deliver a word that urges people into flight. And, we are to do it without hurting them.

This is the challenge of ministry – delivering a word that challenges, rebukes, encourages, exhorts – without causing harm. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to herd the geese.

Pack your bags! We’re going to the Bahamas!

For information, please download the attached pdf.

bahamas-flier

Preparing for the election

As we get closer to November and this historic election and as we take note of the economic condition of our country, I feel compelled to ask believers a simple question.  Are you prepared for the election?  I know that both camps are sending information and racheting up their ad campaigns so that everyone knows where they stand on important issues.  We are bombarded with information. But my question is not about whether you are reading the missives, listening to the commercials and debates. My question has nothing to do with whether or not you own an Obama tee-shirt or McCain pin. The preparation I’m talking about has to do with the believer’s responsibility, especially in 2008, to participate in the election at a deeper level.

2 Chronicles 7:14 reads “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Our country is facing serious issues, some of which I do not fully understand. What I do know is that America, once the greatest and most powerful country in the world, is at a crossroads. And neither Obama nor McCain is going to be able to pull it out UNLESS believers do what the scripture above says. We’ve got to humble ourselves and pray. We’ve got to seek God’s face and turn from the wrong that we are doing. It is our willingness to fall on our faces before God, our acknowledging that it is ONLY God who has the ability to prosper this nation, it is only through our own repentance that we can expect sins to be forgiven AND OUR COUNTRY HEALED.

America is definitely in need of healing, my friends. Take a look around. We are in trouble. Our country has been ill for a long time and for just as long Christians, as a group, have argued and fought instead of engaged in spiritual warfare. We’ve turned our heads. We’ve looked to political figures to do what only God can do. But the word is both a promise and a call to action. We have the power to make a difference. So while you are campaigning for your favored candidate, seek God, the only one with the authority and power to make a change possible.

We can make this election count in a very important way.

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