Get Your Glory

Recently, I was spending some time in prayer. Actually, I was spending some extended time in repentance. The Lord had me repenting of my sins, my family’s sins, our church’s sins and the sins of Western North Carolina. So, as you can imagine, I had plenty to repent for.

 

As I was praying, I felt the Lord say to me. “Don’t forget to repent for robbing me of my glory”. I paused and said, “Lord, I will repent for anything you convict me of. But, you are going to have to help me understand where I have robbed you of your glory. I don’t feel like I regularly take credit for what you have done”. He replied, “That is not what I am talking about. You have robbed me of my glory by playing it safe. If you had walked by faith and done all the things I asked you to, do you know how much glory I could have received from your life? You have robbed me of a lot of glory.”.

 

I was stunned. I had never considered the amount of glory (and joy) that I had robbed from God because of my disobedience or lack of faith.

 

I started thinking about my life and where I came from. I thought of my unique story that no one else has. I am average in intelligence, looks and giftings. As I think back over my life, where I came from and my unique story, I realize if I had let the Lord do extraordinary things through me, He would have gotten ALL the credit and a LOT of glory.

 

All of this is to say, I don’t want to be a man that looks or acts like everyone else or achieves the same things. If I produce merely what I am capable of, then God gets no glory from my life. But, when I trust Him and walk by faith, He works through me and something remarkable can happen. If it is remarkable enough, He will get the glory He deserves from my life.

 

God gets glory when ordinary men do extraordinary things and give God the credit!

 

So, I repented of robbing God of His glory. And that day, I made a commitment to spend the rest of my life letting God get His glory out of my life! It is not too late for you to do the same. If you have breath, there is still time. Don’t play it safe. Let God get His glory.

 

For more on this subject go to http://www.newcovenantchurch.com/resources/media/sermons/get-your-glory!.html

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Transform Your Mind

“We see the world not as it is, but as we are” is a famous saying attributed to the Talmud. The Talmud is a huge collection of Jewish doctrines and laws that were compiled before the 8th Century A.D. It has become the basic book of Jewish Law.

 

Many famous people have repeated this ancient quote in addition to other quotes like, “looking at life through rose colored glasses” that allude to the same principal. Why are these quoted so frequently? Because, there is timeless truth found in them.

 

I believe there are truths that apply to particular seasons and present circumstances and then there are timeless truths that never change.

 

Our education (formal or informal) and personal experiences form a belief pattern in our brain. It becomes a filter by which we make all our decisions. We have the capacity to weigh new information and solidify our filter and we have the ability to discount any contrary information because it doesn’t fit. Some of us are constantly growing and challenging our filters. But some of us have allowed those filters to become so rigid that we don’t accept new information.

 

I have a friend and Christian counselor, Dr. Jim Marks, that says, “Grape Kool-Aid. With some people no matter what you put in, all you get out is grape Kool-Aid. You can put in any information you want and the conclusion will always be grape Kool-Aid.”

 

We find proof of this in such statements as “all men are dogs” or “everyone is only out to help themselves” or “everyone is out to get me”. Those statements may be true…for you. You set your filters and attract things that justify your belief. Why does someone watch Fox news for 10 hours a day? It is to get information that justifies what they believe. You find like-minded people and then fill your filter with agreeable information. The same goes with watching CNN or BBC. It is just different filters.

 

It has been said; “anyone who only drinks from only one stream is going to end up weird, and it doesn’t matter what stream they drink from”. I agree.

 

The Book of Romans says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. I have not yet experienced everything I need to about God and His creation. As I experience Him in new ways, I come to a “better” understanding of him,

 

I challenge you today to ask God to help you open your mind and drink from His wells and to challenge those filters that are not godly.

 

For more information, http://www.newcovenantchurch.com/resources/media/sermons/ezra-3.html

 

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How Healthy are the Bones of Your Relationships?

In an effort to honor a deal I made with God to help others by being transparent with both my successes and failures, I am sharing a concept I learned from my good friend Steve Sawyer. It is out of Ezekiel 37 and it is God’s process to bring something to life or to rebirth something dead. I won’t share the whole concept here. I just want to share one small revelation. Before I do though, I have threatened Steve and am doing it again here, if he doesn’t write a book about this whole revelation, I will!

 

We all have bone, tendons and muscle. While they serve specific functions, let’s look at these in a spiritual sense.

 

Bones represent our systems, structures, rules, laws and boundaries. They are the firm things in life that everything else hangs on.

 

Muscle is the engine that turns energy into motion. It is the unique genius in each one of us. It is that thing that we do gracefully and better than others. It is our anointing, calling and passion. When our muscle contracts (it always pulls, it never pushes), it pulls on the tendon, which pulls on the bones and our whole body begins to move.

 

Tendons are our relationships. It is our connectivity. Without tendons, muscles can contract all they like and there will be no movement of our bones. It is vital we walk in healthy relationships to move towards our destiny and goals.??

 

Until recently, I didn’t make a connection to my growing up without the normal relationships of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and my learning to manage life through mostly surface relationships.
Because God has made me a very passionate, decisive and a visionary person, I tend to lead many endeavors. But, because of my lack of tendons (relational quotient), people who have partnered with me, have sometimes felt one of two extremes. They either felt like a cog in the machine (bones or boney), where they experienced the very sterile side of being in a system. Or, they have felt manipulated, used or “pulled on” by the muscle side of my gifting. And let’s be frank, who wants to feel manipulated or part of a machine?

 

I regret that people have experienced these two extremes with me and have spent a good amount of time trying to redeem these seasons and restore my relationships.  Machine or manipulated, it wasn’t maliciousness on my part, but stemmed from my lack. I’ve resolved what I can, and now desire to relate and connect with others…not solely for the purpose of motion, but just to connect.

 

For more information on the beauty of bones, tendons, and connectivity, go to http://www.newcovenantchurch.com/resources/media/sermons/how-to-move-from-red-to-green.html

 

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Whipped by Jesus???

As a child I received spankings, they did me good. I was never abused but I was disciplined thoroughly on numerous accounts. Honestly, no other form of discipline worked for me. And when I say discipline, I mean discipline and not punishment. There is a huge difference between the two. Discipline aims to correct behavior in order to bring out the best in someone. Punishment seeks to get even or levy revenge. Most punishment takes place when someone is angry and therefore the goal is destruction, not instruction.

 

The Bible says we are to be angry, but sin not. Anger is not a sin, but what we do with our anger can easily become sin. Jesus was angry once. Look at the story here in the Gospel of John:

 

John 2: 13 – 15 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. NKJV

 

Yep, Jesus got angry and went and gathered some cords and patiently crafted a whip to take to the synagogue! Can you imagine seeing Jesus buying supplies at the store and asking Him, “Jesus, what are you doing”? And Him answering, “I am making a whip for church tomorrow”. That picture just isn’t congruent with the picture most of us have about our Savior. But, it happened.

 

Jesus was angry that the god of mammon (the greedy pursuit of gain) had moved into the house of the Lord. He was angry that the moneychangers were profiting off of the people of God. He was angry that the religious crowd had put the extra burden of the Law on the people and had not done anything to help them with the burdens they already had.

 

Jesus exhibited anger towards injustice. And in His anger, we do not see anyone hurt or wounded, but we do see the system that brought bondage overturned.

 

Pray about how God might lead you to join others hoping to ‘overturn’ systems that have placed people in bondage or ways to help and offer help to those in need.

For more information, go to http://www.newcovenantchurch.com/resources/media/sermons/are-you-color-blind.html

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Has Your Sensor Gone Bad?

If we think for a minute about the lights on the dashboard of our car, we can get a picture of the warning systems that God has equipped us with. Each of the lights on our dashboard is tied to sensors under the hood that warn us when something is starting to malfunction. When the light comes on, there is a problem. But, rarely if ever is it the light bulb itself. It is either something legitimately wrong under the hood, or the sensor is going bad.

It is our job to protect and maintain our “sensor” from becoming overloaded and worn out. If your sensor is worn out, it cannot warn you about legitimate problems, and we can walk in deception.

I walked for a season in deception due to a bad sensor in two areas of my life.

The first was when someone took the liberty to criticize me about something. Of course, the criticism was unsolicited, but I listened anyway, because I want to be teachable. I want to grow even if I don’t like what is being said or I don’t like the person who is saying it. As I listened, the Holy Spirit spoke to me, “You don’t have to listen to this”. I responded, “It is the mature thing to do. I need to know what I do not know, so that I can grow”. And then He reminded me, “Conviction is from the Holy Spirit. Criticism is not”. With conviction, comes the grace from God to change. Criticism does not bring grace with it. So, while we may have 10 areas that we need to grow in, if God isn’t dealing within an area, and releasing His grace for it, we cannot change.

The second way my sensor has malfunctioned in the past is in a season of euphoria. Have you ever seen someone fall in love and lose all common sense? Sometimes we can take one good thing that is happening in our life and ignore every other bad thing our sensor is trying to warn us about.

God gave us our sensors. Let’s take good care of them and listen to what God is trying to say to us through them. For more on this subject visit http://www.newcovenantchurch.com/resources/media/sermons/does-your-warning-light-work.html

 

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