So Jesus figures it’s time to send you out on your own to do some ministry. So He gives you Power and Authority to go kick some demon butts and heal some sick people. That's all you need and you're set to go.
But then Jesus gives you one final instruction that blows your mind. It just seems too hard. Too crazy. Get this - Jesus commands your team to take NOTHING for the journey:
• no stash of peanut butter or any food at all…no bueno
• no Northface backpack with built in compartment for a sleeping bag
• no visa card or even any local currency
• no change of clothes…
Read it for yourself in case you think I'm making this up:
He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. (Luke 9:3,4a)
Hmmm. This is one is hard. I mean, you’re going to need a change of undies at the least, surely!?!
Before you write this one off as simply too tough, let’s grapple with it for a moment shall we? Here's my suggestion of how to understand what Jesus is doing here:
In stripping yourself of the basic resources, Jesus is forcing you to rely completely on the local resources of the villages you visit as you do ministry. (and they have virtually nothing, definitely no extra undies)!!!!!
Jesus is forcing us to empower local people by our posture of dependence. Matthew put it even more clearly:
“Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for a worker is worthy of his food” (Matthew 10:9-10).
This is actually an incredibly IMPORTANT principle.
You see, bringing outside resources to help solve problems, without the ability of local people to copy that same strategy is the opposite of empowering – it’s immensely DIS-empowering. It sends the clear message that problems can only be solved by well-resourced outsiders!!!
Sure, your own resources will make an immediate difference. They WILL solve the problem. For now. But what happens the next time those people face a similar problem? They will be forced to turn back to you (or someone like you) for help again, thus setting in motion the inevitable patron-client relationship that we all know and love to hate.
So, Jesus is laying a foundation for an approach to ministry that is built entirely on working within the limitations of local people and encouraging reliance on God rather than us.
from "Partnering with a poor church" by Craig Greenfield
Remarkable Miracles and the Effects
Luke 1:46 Passion Translation…….Mary’s Prophetic Song
46 And Mary sang this song: My soul is ecstatic, overflowing with praises to God! 47My spirit bursts with joy over my life-giving God! b 48For he set his tender gaze upon me, his lowly servant girl.c And from here on, everyone will know That I have been favored and blessed. 49The Mighty One has worked a mighty miracle for me; Holy is his name! 50Mercy kisses all his godly lovers, From one generation to the next.d 51Mighty power flows from him To scatter all those who walk in pride. 52Powerful princes he tears from their thrones And he lifts up the lowly to take their place.
Game Changers! Miracles are game changers! Mary knew miracles. But what do you think?? Once you see blind eyes opened, would it change the game for you? Just sayin’,for me it totally changed the game.
And Papa God continues to do that in His Power and might. Hebrews 12:29 For Our God is a consuming fire.
Mexico changed the game once again.
The miracles started and didn’t stop.
Every night topped the previous one.
Every night God grew our WOW. Wow God Wow. Even now, I stop here right now to cry, still crying, laughing and amazed at how God works. Still amazed.
Wednesday night, July 8th, GAME CHANGER. Dan and I both got up and shared a message……we spoke so many times during the 2 weeks neither of us remember what we spoke about……that’s really significant because it doesn’t matter what we say, it only matters if Jesus shows up and heals.
Jesus did show up and heal. He changed the game for everyone that night. We recorded 15 major healing that night, that’s all we could remember collectively. So many. So amazing.
We all remember when the Spirit fell. all at once we all felt fire fall in the room. it was already hot, no aircon and prob 107 that day, and we were in a concrete 10X30 room with a tin roof.
It was hot.
Suddenly, it got HOTTER in this little room….… an 80 yr old man Dan is praying over, Victor, falls out in the Spirit, at the same time Raul who we are praying over begins to scream in Spanish “I AM ON FIRE” while crying and laughing intermittently. Next to him is a lady throwing up blood, pure blood, getting delivered. 2 ladies have their blind eyes healed. Backs healed, throats healed, ears opened , knees healed, cramps in legs removed, heaviness lifted, pain in entire body healed, knee able to bend for the first time in 7 years, swelling left body.
Ps 84:10 “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else”.
David found being in the presence of the Lord was the key. It was a game changer for him. It opened the doorways for him. Everything in the spirit is a learned process.
You are a game changer. You see, if you are in Christ Jesus you have a role to play that no one else can do. Did you know that?
I may be processing yesterday for the rest of my life.
”Ridiculous Faith brings ridiculous Favor!!
Even those closest to me sometimes voice their disbelief in my life, “How is this possible?” Most of the time I really don’t believe it either. Like yesterday, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was actually awake. I was. Yes, it was all happening right in front of my eyes.
You know that I am in Africa, completely surrounded by lack. In the past 4 weeks I have had maybe 10 showers as we have been without water more than we have had water. What does "lack" look like? Do we ever go without? Did you know that you can actually see it and feel it. And God's love is so thick and tangible. Anyway, I am getting off track, I am talking about impossibilities and overwhelming abundance of God that is not tangible..........
And extravagant overwhelming love doesn’t make sense. Moses parted the Red Sea and I will bet people were thinking “No way this is happening!” and what about Noah, he build an ark for 120 years and people were probably saying “It’s NOT gonna rain” “Look at the beautiful skies”. Here in Mozambique, we see the blind receive their sight. we watch the deaf receive their hearing, we actually get to see God grow limbs out!
Here is the thing, I want BIG things from God. I really want big things from God and then I think it is strange when He asks me to build an ark or grow a leg out or pray for a blind persons sight. I am asking for big things from God! So really I am not amazed at the craziness of my life. Every morning I wake up with some impossible task in front of me and I know that God will meet it with impossible strength and love. I serve a God who used a murderer to part the Red Sea and He used a prostitute to deliver the land of Israel into a new generation of leaders.
This is my life. My real life. Most people don’t understand the favor that each one of us walk in. You have it too. It is what we say and believe. It’s in our words. Remember the movie, Rush Hour, where Chris Rock says to Jackie Chan, “Do you understand the words that are comin’ outta my mouth?” I believe that God says that to us sometimes........He tells us that our words are life or death, that our words can move mountains and that Our words are so very powerful and our faith can actually move mountains. After all, God spoke creation into being.
I have a God who looks at me in my weakness and says “You can have the impossible”........You can do the impossible........Just be with me and we will do it together!
More about yesterday....late
There is a freedom in not being in control. When that something that is God's heart is coming after you. It's exciting and really challenging. When you feel like you are in the middle of a violent waterfall and your raft has gone sideways and you really want to bail and at the same time you know that you have to stay the course or you will miss something BIG. I am learning how to release, to not defend myself, to not act as my own protector.
WHY? is the wrong question........a better question is "Why does it matter?" James Dobson says "it is not your responsibility to explain what God is doing in your life. He has not provided enough information to figure it out. Instead, you are asked to turn loose and let God be God. Therein lies the secret to the peace that transcends understanding."
Turning loose is part of preferring the bottom, it's an unexpected front door to peace. But it is legitimately hard. It requires conscious decisions to abandon formerly vital things like reputation, perception, position, control.
It is something entirely different to adopt the mind of Christ. That's when we don't just act lowly.....we are lowly. The decisions you make non a low position are completely opposite this that are made in a high place. The people you seek counsel from are different. The way you move forward is different. The way you trust is different. The rules at the top are different from those at the bottom and visa versa. and at the bottom we are free from adhering to the top dwelling rules. Make sense. it does to me. it actually is not just a positional change that affects you today..... it affects every decision and relationship you have in the future when you dwell at the bottom.
Living at the bottom you have nothing left to protect, no position left to defend, no reputation to guard and no one else to please. I'm turning loose.
Choosing the Beauty of First Love
an article by Graham Cooke
We did not choose God; He chose us and set His love upon us, as a seal over our own heart. We are to be governed by His passion for us in Christ. Choosing love above all else enables our hearts to be captivated by the Father’s very real affection for us. Our relationship with Him is founded on what He has made available to us in Christ.
As always, when we are talking relationally about being with God the issues of performance; identity and self-worth are prevalent. You can always tell the Christians who come from an impoverished spiritual tradition because they operate in the ways of the world rather than the pattern of the Kingdom.
Many Christians act as though being in Christ has no value in terms of the affections of God. Everything they receive comes to them through how they live rather than from Grace and their placement in Christ. They have little or no concept of “this grace in which we stand.”
Being loved by God is everything. Becoming the Beloved of God is a major part of our story and journey. No one loves us like God. No one understands us like God. Nothing can separate us from that love because His love never fails.
The Father has provided us with a double portion. Not only are we in Christ, but also Christ is in us, giving us an expectation of glory. Powerful things can happen when our identity is firmly established in who Christ is for us. Strongholds are broken; minds renewed; our spirit is restored and our lives are transformed.
There is a talk I gave called “Remodeling” from the Art of Thinking Brilliantly. It is concerned with getting people to think as God does about their circumstances. When we remodel our perceptions of life in line with Christ in us then a very different way of being with God opens up for us. For example, when we “consider ourselves dead to sin but alive to God” (Romans 6:11), something must shift in the way we view ourselves. Remodeling is a way of perceiving that repairs and rebuilds our way of thinking to empower us to be restored to God in His fullness.
One of my favorite conferences was called "The Missing Piece". It's probably one of the best events I have done on the love of God. One powerful message, “Connecting to God’s Passion”, is about returning to first love. This is the love that existed before Genesis 1:1. It is the love between the Father and the Son. It takes God to love God because only God can love God fully. Everything we give to God must first come to us from God (1 John 4:19). Life in Christ is about learning to receive from God. There is no performance required. The pattern of the Kingdom is that all of our experiences come from who God wants to be for us.
We do not become a new person by changing our behavior. We discover the person we already are in Christ and we behave accordingly. Being restored to First Love means returning to a lifestyle of allowing yourself to be wonderfully loved! We therefore need to repent of our focus on our own performance and be restored to a life of responding to God’s passion for us specifically!
Choosing First Love should mean everything to us. Our starting place guarantees the outcome. Keeping ourselves in the love of God means that we choose for ourselves what the Godhead has already chosen for us. We must choose to be the Beloved always, then all the benefits of God’s affection for us will set us free to release all those with whom we connect.