Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Glory of God is a man fully alive

Last night I had the privilege of sitting under the ministry of Greg Burson, a prophet from New Zealand who shared an incredibly impactful message about ‘becoming the Gospel,’ and I can still feel the vibrations of joy in the depths of my spirit.
In the Old Testament times, when a prophet was on his way into town, rumours of his coming swept through every home and social circle until the excited chatter of people eagerly awaiting the his arrival, filled every street corner. Similar rumours of excitement preceded Greg’s visit, as we heard that he is a man with a prophetic mantle that operates under the anointing to bring the words of God with sharp accuracy into the lives of individuals.
Last night’s service at Glenridge church was nothing short of amazing. As I walked into the building I could feel a thick atmosphere of expectancy that had begun to accumulate, and my spirit within me recognised the excitement in the hearts of the people that had come worship their King and hear the words freshly on his lips. Worship was glorious; it was a heaven-meets-earth experience. A large building full of passionate hearts lifted up fragrant offerings of praise to the enthroned God, and then experienced the atmosphere of heaven collide with that of the earth causing a sweet presence to settle over every person. Then Greg stood up and ministered in this atmosphere of expectancy and delivered one of the most gracious, freeing, spirit-filled yet simple messages I have heard in a while.
He spoke about becoming the Gospel message as Christians rather than preaching it at every person we encounter. ‘Conversation is the verbal act of hospitality,’ he said, and by simply saying hello or sparking off a real, down-to-earth conversation with a stranger, you are in fact,  through your life rather than your words, ushering the Kingdom of God into their lives and bringing the light of the Gospel to them. Gone are the days of reciting a memorised verse that tells a person what a rotten sinner they are and then leading them in the good old sinner’s prayer before walking off and patting yourself on the back for ‘winning a soul.’ God is not into stale religion, he is into conversation and he always meets us ‘where we are at’ and speaks to us in our language. God is a conversational God that likes to speak and is always speaking, after all, he isn’t called “the word” for nothing.  We as sons and daughters of the Most High, are invited with open arms to join in with the divine dialogue of heaven and the trinity. The Lord wants to share with us his deepest thoughts and vast mysteries, but he also wants to have a best friend relationship with his people whereby we are constantly and casually conversing with him always, not only when we are on our knees in prayer, for prayer is essentially about conversation not one-way commands and supplications. Greg then went on to fire off spot-on prophetic words into the lives of many people he had never met before and brought life, hope and the freshly spoken word of God into the lives of members of the body of Christ. Although I didn’t know many of the people he was prophesying over, I could help but gush forth excitement as I watched fellow brothers and sisters in Christ experience impartations of heaven into their lives. The gift of the prophetic is exactly that, a gift.
Over and above the preach and witnessing the Greg’s prophetic flair in action, I was truly blessed by his life. ‘The Glory of God is a man fully alive,’ and seeing an intimate lover and friend of the Lord share about his walk and let his love for the King overflow, was like a breath of fresh air. He struck me as a man ‘fully alive’ because he simply knows Christ and knows Christ unsurpassing love. I was so encouraged by this man’s life as he is not puffed up, pretentious or claiming to be something he isn’t, but through the knowledge of his identity that lies hidden in Christ, he is completely ‘himself’ as he is a man aware of his union with Jesus and has a beautiful ‘best friend’ relationship with the King of heaven and invited us all to partake with him in the divine conversation of heaven.
After the service, there was a buzz in the room, and I could see life, light and freedom in everyone’s countenance. Sometimes a harsh word is delivered and you can feel it in the air and see it upon people’s faces once the meeting is over, but last night’s word was beautifully adorned with the richness of Grace and freedom, not to mention being hysterically funny for 90% of the time, Greg is definitely a Kingdom comedian (Joy is the serious business of heaven.)
After the service last night, I truly feel as though my spirit has been enlarged with the atmosphere of heaven and I have received rich deposits into the depths of my being; deposits of freedom, encouragement and the love of God. I am once again in awe of the too-good-to-be-true message of the Kingdom and as I take a step back, I once again see that life as a Christian is full of excitement, fun, joy and supernatural activity every single day, and is everything but boring, stale, religious and condemning.
I cannot wait to see the fruit that is to be borne in the lives of everyone that was blessed by Sunday’s service as I feel as though it was a call of God back to the place of intimate relationship and conversation with him.
The fountain of joy has sprouted forth in my heart and I feel full of the goodness of my glorious God. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thought for the day

"He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for anything less."
- 2 Corinthians 5 {The Message}

The Kingdom of God {Part 1: Heaven and Earth}

This past week I feel as though the Lord has taken my brain and shaken it violently and caused a shift in all my paradigms and mindsets. He took my once ‘horizontal’ view on so many biblical truths and has elevated my perspective to a heavenly one, the kind of perspective I was created for…
 Sometimes I can go for weeks and I feel as though the revelation I get is so marginal that it hardly warrants a blog post, but this week has been far from average in the ‘revelation department.’

I have been listening to a series of teachings by Jason Westerfield who I had the privilege of getting to know whilst I was in Sydney last year. I can honestly say that I have never met a person who is as close to ‘doing the works that Jesus did and greater.’ In the four-or-so days that I spent with Jason and his team, I learnt more about the Kingdom of God than I had known my entire life, as they all just exude revelational truths that gush out of their mouths like a river. Being around these men of God was as refreshing as a glass of ice cold coke on a summer’s day.

The 3 part series that I worked through last week is entitled ‘The Kingdom of God.’
You know those sermons that you enjoy at the time, but as soon as the guy stops speaking you hardly remember one thing he said? Well this is not one of those sermons. The revelation I got whilst working through this series has revolutionised my way of thinking and my mind is still reeling, days later, with heavenly downloads and just sheer awe at the vastness of our God and his incomprehensible goodness.
I could potentially write a million word post on everything I have learnt about the Kingdom of God but I’ve decided to sum it up as best I can into one post (which is already looking quite long and I haven’t even got to the juicy bits.)

THE KINGDOM OF GOD {Part 1: Heaven and Earth}

If you want to know the first thing about the Kingdom of God, rewind back to the very beginning when it was founded, right in Genesis Chapter 1:1.The ESV says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
It is so easy to jump past that verse in search of something more ‘life changing’, but if you dissect that very first verse like a skilled surgeon you will find life altering, fundamental truth about the Kingdom of God and the unseen realms.
We know that God is an uncreated God, not spoken into existence by anyone or anything. He is the God who was and is and is to come and through him and by him all things were created. In verse 1, we see that out of God, the heavens were created. The ‘heavens’ here refer to the unseen eternal realm. The Lord God made the heavens out of himself; he created them so that he could become a king, for what is a king without a kingdom to rule over?
Psalm 89:11 says “The heaven’s are yours,” so we see that first God made himself a Kingdom over which he had dominion and authority and he made this from himself. Out of the very being of God, heaven was made and it thus reflects his nature. Everything that happens in the unseen realm first happens in the person of God and nothing that happens in heaven happens without God himself allowing it, for he has complete rulership over this realm in which his everlasting throne is established.
First the heavenly sphere was made, and then the earth followed. Now earth was created second and it was created from the heavens. God created the heavens out of himself and then created the earth out of the heavenly unseen realm. We know that nothing happens in heaven unless first in the person of God as he is superior to it, likewise the heavens are superior to the earthly, seen realm in which we live, and nothing (and I mean nothing) happens upon the earth without first happening in the heavens. This is quite a vast truth to wrap your head around, but if you can get this revelation it will impact the way you view ‘life as you know it.’
In 2 Corinthians 4:18, Paul clearly shows the superiority of the eternal realm over the temporal as he says “So we look not to the things that are seen but the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
As human beings that have to use our 5 natural senses to help us through each day, we are more than accustomed to how these work that we seldom realise that there are plains of existence that we cannot reach with our mere senses for they are spiritual spheres that must be spiritually discerned. This verse appears to be an oxymoron by nature as Paul is telling us to ‘look’ at something we cannot ‘see.’ However, he was not referring to a ‘looking’ with the eyes but rather with the spirit, for unseen things can be “seen” only with the spirit.
When God first started to open this up to me early last year, it took some major adjusting to, for the notion that there is an entire ‘world’ beyond what we can see, touch, hear is a bit much for the brain, let alone the fact that everything we know in ‘our’ world was created from another dimension that contains far more glory than anything we could conjure up in our human imagination. The Lord then showed me that in order to get a grasp on the unseen realms you have to discern these truths with your spirit first, letting your brain follow, for the things of the spirit (which make up the entirety of the heavens) can only be spiritually discerned.

Going back to what was established earlier, we know that like a Russian Doll, the different realms that exist have come from within each other and are ‘mirrors’ of one another (well at least that is how they are intended to be). First God, second the heavens and then the earth.
As believers, our mandate is to establish the Kingdom of God ‘on earth as it is in heaven.’ When Jesus taught the disciples to pray by teaching them ‘The Lord’s prayer’ {Matthew 6:9} he demonstrated the heart of God and the priorities of heaven and then invited the disciples to position themselves through prayer to establish the father’s will which is ‘on earth as it is in heaven.’ God’s desire is to see the merging of two Kingdoms take place. God wants earth to be a mirror of heaven which is a mirror of himself, so that in all things his Glory can be made manifest.
We are given the authority to “bind on earth what what has been bound in heaven and loose on earth what has been loosed in heaven.” {Matthew 18:18} This verse shows us that there are things that are upon earth that are not in the heavens and there are things that are in the heavens that are not upon the earth. God’s desire is for the DNA of the seen realm and the DNA of the unseen realm to be identical as he has called us to partner with him in the uniting of these two kingdoms. However, in order for this divine union to take place, we the workmanship of God are to know his will and know Him through personal experience and encounter in order to establish this will wherever the soles of our feet tread. If we want to see the will of God done on the earth, we first have to know what this will is. If we want to see the things of heaven loosed on the earth we are to first know what is in the heavenly realms.
I have often wondered why the Bible says that ‘whatever you ask in my name, this I will do’ {John 14:13} and then when people pray for Ferrari's and Jet planes their prayers return to them void. This is because we are called to know the will of the Father and then pray in accordance with this if we desire to see a manifestation on earth. Jesus was a man in right-relationship with his dad and out of this right-standing that he knew he possessed, signs, wonders and more miracles than the pages of the bible could record flowed from his life.  Jesus spent time with his dad, he saw what his dad was up to {John 5:19}, knew what was going on in the heavenly realms and then we he spoke these things into being, they materialised in the earthly realms for he knew that if it was not in heaven it was not supposed to be on earth, and if it was in heaven then he had the power to speak it into existence. Jesus knew that there was no sickness in heaven so he rebuked it on earth, he knew that instead of poverty there were storehouses of abundance in heaven and so he multiplied bread and fish. Jesus saw that no demonic power had a foothold in God’s Kingdom so he cast out every demon and took authority over every power of darkness. Jesus knew, through relationship, the rhythm of his father’s heart and through love, peace, joy and kindness he walked to the beat of heaven’s drum.
Jesus also did only what he saw the father doing for he knew that if he attempted to do anything else there would be no fruit{John 5:19}. He knew that if he prayed for something to happen on earth that wasn’t happening in heaven it would not manifest for the power that he displayed came out of knowing God’s will.
If Jesus needed to know the Father’s will in order to demonstrate his Kingdom, then we definitely do too. We as Christians can pray for anything we want, a new job, a mansion on the hill, etc etc, but if these things are not in God’s will for us, if they are not already stored up in the heavenly realms for us, then we can pray and fast and pray some more, but we will never see these things come to pass. So then, we are invited to dwell in the courts of the King, gaze upon his splendour, know his heart, his flow, his desires and then align our prayer life with these and see the world around us transformed as the Kingdom of God begins to flow through our lives. When we speak out God’s will, creative power travels on the vibrations of our sound and we can expect to see in this ‘seen’ realm the outpouring of the unseen, eternal realm. The key is abiding in the Lord, John 15:7 says “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” From the secret place of intimacy with our creator, we will have his desires pressed on our hearts, we will have his will in mind and wherever we go, in whatever we do, his Kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven, in our daily lives as it is in heaven. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thought for the day

The beauty of grace is that it causes sin to loose it's appeal.

There is an argument that stands as many people believe that preaching the pure Gospel (which is a proclaimation of radical grace) will cause people to take this 'license to sin' and run wild sinning with every chance they get like enraged convicts after a prison break. Taking this view however, only serves to show that people who are skeptical of Grace in this way, have simply not had a spiritual revelation of the true Gospel and how vast, incredible and almost 'too good to be true it is.' I've heard it said many times before "be careful of that grace message, you don't want to have too much grace now, come on, have a balance." This I'm afraid will not do. Grace isn't a dangerous doctrine, Grace is my saviour, best friend and most intimate companion, Grace is Jesus. 
The beauty of grace is that is doesn't empower sin, quite the contrary, a true revelation of grace causes sin to completely loose it's appeal like a piece of chewing gum that has lost it's flavour. That's the beauty of grace. It is not the answer to sin, but the cure for it. 
Oh Lord that we would know the unfathomable depths of your grace towards us and the wide open fields of freedom we have in you!