Lord Spice Bodywash – I’m On A Donkey!

Ok, I love it when churches do stuff WELL!  Check out this take on “The Old Spice Guy” commercials…introducing Lord Spice Bodywash!

Helpful Prayer Model – Praying the 6 D’s (from DesiringGod.org)

PrayerI subscribe to the DesiringGod.org blog as the content they produce is always phenomenal. One of today’s posts was just something I had to share with my L2W (Live2Worship) readers. It’s from Jon Bloom on praying the 6 d’s. Check it out:

A few years back I wrote about the 5 “D’s” I pray for daily. Recently, I added a sixth: desperation. I need to feel continually my desperate need for God.

Whatever it takes, Lord, give me…

Delight in you as the greatest treasure of my heart.
Delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

Desire to know you, be with you, and seek your kingdom above all else.
Delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

Discernment that comes from a renewed mind that I might know your will.
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

Desperation because when I stop feeling my need for you I tend to wander.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. (Psalm 119:67)

Discipline to plan for what I discern as your will.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

Diligence to do your will with all my heart.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

How Well Do You Know Jesus – Better Questions, Better Relationship With Jesus

Jesus on Cross “Why me?”

You hear people ask questions like this all the time. Or…

“What did I do to deserve this?”

Maybe you’re even one of them?  I know I used to be and still lapse back into THINKING this type of thing every now and then when things get really tough.  But after reading a book by Andy Andrews called The Traveler’s Gift and digging into the Word a bit deeper, I’m convinced that the questions we ask ourselves not only set us up for failure or success in any given situation, but they also point to how we view and understand our relationship with God.  Let me explain by giving you some examples from scripture.

Our Questions Reveal How Well We Know Jesus

When Philip asked Jesus, “show us the Father…” Jesus replied…

“Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
(John 14:9)

See how Phillip didn’t fully understand WHO Jesus was and what His relationship to the Father was?  Jesus goes so far as to ask him “Don’t you know me, Phillip?”.  On the surface that seems pretty harsh, but even illustrates this further with “even after I have been among you such a long time?”.  While grace abounds, it’s clear Phillip asked the wrong question here based on Jesus’ response.

So does God expect us to know everything?  Nope.  That’s grace in action.  But knowing Jesus as well as is possible is the point.  Heaven and eternal life is not the point.  Eternal life with Jesus is the point.  Oh how I hope I’m wrong with what I’m about ready to say, but say it I will.  I fear so many people have said a prayer, started going to church, serving, singing and tithing thinking they are all set.  But while all those things are good, if done without seeking to make Jesus the all consuming passion and joy of your life, I fear some of them may be the ones he says “I never knew you” to.  I can’t think of anything more awful than hearing those words on that day and nothing better than “Well done good and faithful servant”.

Let’s look at some more examples.

Consider the woman at the well.

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  (John 4:9-14)

This is such a beautiful picture of so many wonderful things and so much can be said about this passage of scripture, but let’s focus on the questions.  She asks Jesus “How can you ask me for a drink?” thinking why in the world is this teacher even talking to me.  Jesus says [paraphrased] “If you knew who I was, you’d be asking me for eternal life”.  So let’s pause right there.  Jesus says “if you knew…who it is that asks you for a drink…”.

Do you see it?  She’s got the same problem that Phillip had but with a better excuse.  She doesn’t know who she’s talking to.  But notice, even though she’s still not clued in, her questions get a bit better cause she starts asking about who she’s talking to (in the “are you greater than our father Jacob” part).

Our Brains & Questions

Your brain is amazing.  And it’s because it’s so amazing that it does some slightly peculiar things.  One of those things is racing ahead and trying to constantly serve up answers to questions you ask or someone asks you.  But sometimes our brains can get stuck in a rut.  To illustrate this, try this easy test suggested in 101 Ways To Generate Great Ideas, Timothy R.V. Foster:

What do you call a funny story? – joke

What are you when you have no money? – broke

What’s another word for Coca Cola? – Coke

What’s the white of an egg? ——————–

So this is an easy one right?  Well it is if you said albumen.   It isn’t yolk, it’s albumen. Were you tricked? Most people are. The brain likes to race ahead, because it THINKS it already knows the answer.  You see your brain will always try to answer the question you ask it…even when the answer it serves up is wrong.

So when you ask self defeating or God limiting or earthly prospective (vs heavenly perspective) based questions like “why me”, you’re brain is going to work hard to serve up an answer.  But if it’s the wrong question to ask in the first place (and as a christian it most certainly is because of our knowledge of God), your soul, mind and heart don’t really WANT an answer to THAT question.  As a matter of fact, in general, they take your focus completely off God and put it squarely where it doesn’t belong…which is onto you.

Peter asked Jesus in John 21:21 “Lord what about him” in reference to how another disciple would die based on Jesus, one verse earlier, telling Peter how he was going to die.  His focus was completely on himself and not on Jesus and His perfect plan.  By the way, in the next verse Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

How much better it would be if we set our brains on a quest to answer a question with a heavenly perspective…such as, “Lord is there something I need to learn from this”, or “Lord, can you teach me how to make you my all consuming joy and passion in life”?  The brain would be on a quest to find the answer to empowering questions that bring life.  See the difference?

Pilate asked Jesus what is truth when “it” (Jesus) was standing right in front of him.  The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” Martin Luther King, Jr.

So instead of asking the self defeating or God limiting questions like  “Why me?”, train yourself to begin asking “Why NOT me?  Adversity is preparation for greatness”.  Just remember that when you ask Jesus a question His focus is on you fulfilling His purposes and will not your own.  As we live our daily lives as believers I pray your focus and mission would become one with His for your life.  Then and only then will we truly live.

Open Your Heart To the Love of God

Open your heart to the love of God“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.”
–William Temple

I try really hard to not OVERUSE the statement I’m about to make.  I try to not HYPE anything that I feel God is doing or might do and if I’ve ever fell victim to that, then I publicly as God to forgive me, but…

I believe that God wants to do way more than we as Christians are asking from Him and He is going to do some amazing things in the near future.  As I’ve been praying about it, I truly have faith for us to see God in new and fresh ways very soon.

Please do me a favor.  I’m going to ask you to consider doing some stuff and pray about some things below.  I guess all I’m asking is to consider what would, what could, what MIGHT happen if all of us who have laid down our lives to ENJOY making Jesus the all consuming passion of their lives EXPECTED, ANTICIPATED and PRAYED for God to move in mighty ways.  Just consider it.

OK, here we go…

  1. Pray…Seriously Pray. Make a quiet block of 5 to 15 minutes out of your schedule today and for the next week and daily pray about your next worship gathering.  In other words, and I’m going to be bold here, don’t do what I’ve done for so many years which is to intend to pray about something and then not, or just as bad, pray about it without fully expecting what you’re asking for to come to pass.  Let’s pray for opportunities to heal people, let’s pray for opportunities to get prophetic words to uplift the body, let’s pray for teaching to reach deep into peoples hearts and boldly guide them into living with more Holy Spirit power in their lives, let’s pray for our own lives and walks with Christ to be pushed to the next level and that as leaders of the church (if you’re actively praying like I’m suggesting you’re a spiritual leader in your church even if you don’t have the earthly title) that we would be in prayer for more of God in the church and event.  Let’s pray for all these things…and then expect God to act on them.  More on expectancy in a separate post…this one was getting kind of long.
  2. Live & Die On Scripture…All Of It. Words without faith and action is incomplete.  We all need our faith to be increased (I’m speaking to myself too) so we can be more effective at both winning souls to Christ, walking out our faith daily doing all He has planned for us, and living with increased Holy Spirit power!  I would propose to you that there is a point at which things we read in the bible stretch our faith to or even past the breaking point.  At what point do we struggle to believe anymore…Prophetic words?  Supernatural discernment of spirits?  Tongues?  Healing (the blind, lame, deaf, mute, dying and sick)?  Buildings shaking with the overwhelming presence of God?  People being raised from the dead (just lost a lot of you right there didn’t I)?  I believe faith starts with a decision. Let’s decide that nothing in that book is out of reach.  Let’s decide that when Jesus himself said in John 14:12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these,…“ that He really meant even greater things.  Where’s your breaking point for your faith and will you decide to stretch it farther?  If so, go to BibleGateway’s topical search tool and type “raised from the dead” or some other topic that stretches your faith or go here.  Then pray that God would increase your faith in His perfect way and time.
  3. Get Fired Up! If you wanna see God doing some cool stuff, and you should want to, check out these videos with John Wimber doing a Holy Spirit – Signs & Wonders conference in 1985.  There are 4 videos and they show God doing some amazing stuff both with prophetic words and also with healing.  Also, he’s using this as a teaching tool that I think will be beneficial for us all as we step out in faith at our churches.

    Listen in the above video as he talks about how we have westernized and secularized the church. He says that we’ve almost eliminated the supernatural from our perceptions and that we’ve come to a place we don’t anticipate God to operate as God among us. Where we think that study is an end in itself. But word without actions is incomplete. Hearing without doing is incomplete. We need the word and the works. To say that we believe the Bible in it’s entirety and then not operate as such in faith with great anticipation on what the Holy Spirit is going to do among us is incomplete.

Finding God In Tough Times – 7 Biblical Facts To Lean On When Things Get Tough

  1. Finding God In Tough Times God is all powerful, all knowing, all encompassing.
    Nothing gets by Him, nothing surprises Him and nothing catches Him off guard.  While there are things that disappoint Him, we must never forget even when He’s disappointed, He’s not surprised.
     
  2. He is Creator God.
    He created the heavens and the earth which we call the universe and everything on it, in it and around it…put simply, He created EVERYTHING.
     
  3. He loves every single person He created.
    He knows them intimately even to the cells of their body and the hairs on their head being numbered.  That includes us.  He loves us more than we love ourselves or even more than we love our own children.  He loves our children more than we love them.  His love is unimaginable.  We should reflect that love to others.  In doing so, we fulfill what we were put here to do; glorify His name by making Jesus our all consuming passion.
     
  4. He wants the best for us.
    This is a natural outpouring of number 3.  He isn’t always going to make our paths easy (in this world you will have trouble), but he will make them straight (Proverbs 3: 5-6; but make sure you read what your/our part is in that one…it’s critical).  Another even clearer scripture is this one:  “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” – Jeremiah 29:11 Make no mistake the Lord loves us and wants the best for us even when we can’t see it.  Our problem is how we define “best”.  We think of best in earthly perspective; money, health, fame, riches, happiness because of our circumstances.  God defines best as how much glory your life, even in and through your suffering at times, brings Him.  In other words, the best He can give us is Him and when your happiness comes from Him DESPITE your circumstances.
     
  5. We have a part to play.
    Sometimes I think Christians fall into the temptation of thinking that all they have to do to be in good standing with God (and be an effective Christian) is avoid sin, go to church and tithe.  I know I have before and still struggle sometimes with feeling vindicated or good enough or entitled.  But the question is What does God require? Hopefully you’ve read Worship by Joseph Garlington that I recommended a while back, but if not, I HIGHLY suggest you get it and read it.  In the beginning he reminds us of an old testament scripture where God told the people; no worship, no rain.  I’ve quoted this several times on stage.  There are conditions sometimes for provision.  I think sometimes we forget that about God.  Don’t misunderstand me, we could never EARN our way into heaven that’s what being saved by Grace is about and we should all be thankful for that one.  BUT, we should ask…What Does God Require? We should all be asking ourselves that question every day.  For that day, for that situation, for that hour, for that time, for our lives, for our family, for our church, for our team, for our FILL IN THE BLANK HERE.
     
  6. He is God, we aren’t.
    Sometimes as believers, we seem to outgrow our “britches” as my grandma used to say.  See, our kids don’t always know why we’re having them do something or endure something or wait for something or go through something, but we’d NEVER hurt them or subject them to pain unnecessarily.  Neither would He and even more so.  And finally…
     
  7. Is my focus on the earthly aspect or heavenly aspect?
    It’s good to refocus and re-align every now and then and especially at cross roads like you find yourself and I find ourselves in at times.  But always, all the time, in all ways, in every situation, with every person, our focus should be sooner rather than later the heavenly aspects of the thing.  The question I always ask here is God what do you want me to learn here?  What do you want me to see here and how can I affect the Kingdom positively in this thing.
     

Do We Love Our Life Too Much?

love earth too muchI used to fear the return of Christ.

Then, at some point later in my walk, the fear of His return turned into resistance for lack of a better word.  In other words, I had (and have) a great life here on Earth and so while I would have told you I loved Jesus dearly (more on that a bit later), I wasn’t quite ready for Him to come back.

Looking back, I do believe that a large part of it was that I wasn’t well versed in scripture and had always heard about all the “bad stuff” in the book of Revelation.  So I figured there would be a lot of “bad” before we got to the “good” of Jesus returning.  However, this lack of biblical understanding and being infant in my faith so to speak wasn’t the only factor.  I now believe I suffered from then an addiction of sorts.  An addiction to “the good life” here on earth I had built for myself.

This is going to be a short post and as such, let me throw out some tough scriptures that the Lord is allowing me to chew on these days.  Scriptures that I’ve both read and heard HUNDREDS of times before now, but somehow I’m just now recognizing a HUGE blind spot in my life up until now.  Let me openly confess that I have asked God to forgive me for any willful disobedience to His word and any continued resistance even now as I wrestle out what they mean to me, my family, and how we live.

I want to make sure that no one that reads this blog ever feels any condemnation from me or anything I post and I wanna also remind you all to follow Christ not Jason Koeppe.  Scripture is what guides our lives not what some blogger or even a pastor says.  HOWEVER, one of the reasons I started this blog was because I felt deep in my spirit that I/we were and are being called to more and that there are, as a result, a LOT of sleeping Christians (not sure that isn’t an oxymoron) who think they’re ok (translate saved and going to heaven) because they prayed a prayer, go to church and tithe.

Anyway, here is the question I pose to you with these scriptures…”What Does the Gospel Demand”?

Luke 9:57-62

Luke 14:33

Matthew 10:37-39

As I walk through and unpack all I can in these and other verses in scripture, I’ll record what God is doing in my life as a result.  The question is simple, but the answer might take us places we have never been.  Here’s the bottom line…

Do I/YOU believe the Bible?

May God give us ears to hear and eyes to see the truth found in His word.  I pray God that I nor anyone who reads these posts would ignore them or willfully disobey them but rather be transformed by them and let it completely change the way we live.  More to come…soon.

How to Relate to Evil

Last night my daughter asked my wife and I some great questions about Satan. For example:

  • why did God create someone so evil?
  • didn’t God only create good things (in Genesis she pointed out that God looked at all He created and said “it is good”)?
  • why doesn’t God just “get rid of” Satan? She also pointed out that He was going to do it someday anyway so why not now?

In trying to answer these questions biblically, I found an article/sermon by John Piper that I thought might be timely and helpful for some people.  Below is a snippet with a link to the full text of the sermon where you can also watch it in it’s entirety.  Check this out:

How should we think and feel and act about Satanic evil—the death of little Zach at the attack of a pit bull? The deaths of three more miners trying to save their buddies? Five hundred dead in the Peru earthquake? The evil you confront in your own lives? Here is my summary answer. Eight things to do with evil. Four things never to do.

  1. Expect evil. “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).
  2. Endure evil. “Love bears all thing, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7; cf. Mark 13:13).
  3. Give thanks for the refining effect of evil that comes against you. “Give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Romans 5:3-5).
  4. Hate evil. “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9).
  5. Pray for escape from evil. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).
  6. Expose evil. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).
  7. Overcome evil with good. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
  8. Resist evil. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

But, on the other hand:

  1. Never despair that this evil world is out of God’s control. “[He] works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).
  2. Never give in to the sense that because of random evil life is absurd and meaningless. “How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! . . . For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever” (Romans 11:33, 36).
  3. Never yield to the thought that God sins, or is ever unjust or unrighteous in the way he governs the universe. “The Lord is righteous in all his ways.” (Psalm 145:17).
  4. Never doubt that God is totally for you in Christ. If you trust him with your life, you are in Christ. Never doubt that all the evil that befalls you—even if it takes your life—is God’s loving, purifying, saving, fatherly discipline. It is not an expression of his punishment in wrath. That fell on Jesus Christ our substitute. “The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:6).

When we renounce the designs of the devil and trust the power and wisdom and goodness of God through Christ, we fulfill God’s purpose in letting Satan live. We glorify the infinitely superior worth of Jesus.

Here is the link to the full article/sermon.  I highly recommend you check it out for a greater perspective of God’s love for us and desire for our joy in His glory.  As always, share your thoughts/comments here.

One World Order, Illuminati & One World Economy. Far Fetched? Watch this…

Paul McGuire - End Times Video

Duration: 25 mins 48 sec

Bible prophecy expert, Paul McGuire is back in the hot-seat with Rory & Wendy after his intriguing input in the series last year. He continues to expose the New World Order, Illuminati and One World Economy. A professor at King’s College & Seminary, Paul is also a commentator on Fox News and CNN and has written such books as: ‘Are You Ready?’ and ‘The Warning’.

Amazing Biblical Prophecies Being Fulfilled in Israel – Proof of His Soon Return

Manna Fest with Perry StoneAmazing Prophecies Being Fulfilled in Israel – Proof of His Return

Perry Stone

Manna Fest Show

The Goal of God’s Love May Not Be What You Think It Is

Do people go to the Grand Canyon to increase their self-esteem? Probably not. This is, at least, a hint that the deepest joys in life come not from savoring the self, but from seeing splendor. And in the end even the Grand Canyon will not do. We were made to enjoy God.

We are all bent to believe that we are central in the universe. How shall we be cured of this joy-destroying disease? Perhaps by hearing afresh how radically God-centered reality is according to the Bible.

Both the Old and New Testament tell us that God’s loving us is a means to our glorifying him. “Christ became a servant … in order that the nations might glorify God for his mercy” (Romans 15:8-9). God has been merciful to us so that we would magnify him. We see it again in the words, “In love [God] destined us to adoption … to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:4-6). In other words, the goal of God’s loving us is that we might praise him. One more illustration from Psalm 86:12-13: “I will glorify your name forever. For your lovingkindness toward me is great.” God’s love is the ground. His glory is the goal.

This is shocking. The love of God is not God’s making much of us, but God’s saving us from self-centeredness so that we can enjoy making much of him forever. And our love to others is not our making much of them, but helping them to find satisfaction in making much of God. True love aims at satisfying people in the glory of God. Any love that terminates on man is eventually destructive. It does not lead people to the only lasting joy, namely, God. Love must be God-centered, or it is not true love; it leaves people without their final hope of joy.

Take the cross of Christ, for example. The death of Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of divine love: “God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Yet the Bible also says that the aim of the death of Christ was “to demonstrate [God’s] righteousness, because in the forbearance of God he passed over the sins previously committed” (Romans 3:25). Passing over sins creates a huge problem for the righteousness of God. It makes him look like a judge who lets criminals go free without punishment. In other words, the mercy of God puts the justice of God in jeopardy.

So to vindicate his justice he does the unthinkable – he puts his Son to death as the substitute penalty for our sins. The cross makes it plain to everyone that God does not sweep evil under the rug of the universe. He punishes it in Jesus for those who believe.

But notice that this ultimately loving act has at the center of it the vindication of the righteousness of God. Good Friday love is God-glorifying love. God exalts God at the cross. If he didn’t, he could not be just and rescue us from sin. But it is a mistake to say, “Well, if the aim was to rescue us, then we were the ultimate goal of the cross.” No, we were rescued from sin in order that we might see and savor the glory of God. This is the ultimately loving aim of Christ’s death. He did not die to make much of us, but to free us to enjoy making much of God forever.

It is profoundly wrong to turn the cross into a proof that self-esteem is the root of mental health. If I stand before the love of God and do not feel a healthy, satisfying, freeing joy unless I turn that love into an echo of my self-esteem, then I am like a man who stands before the Grand Canyon and feels no satisfying wonder until he translates the canyon into a case for his own significance. That is not the presence of mental health, but bondage to self.

The cure for this bondage is to see that God is the one being in the universe for whom self-exaltation is the most loving act. In exalting himself – Grand Canyon-like – he gets the glory and we get the joy. The greatest news in all the world is that there is no final conflict between my passion for joy and God’s passion for his glory. The knot that ties these together is the truth that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Jesus Christ died and rose again to forgive the treason of our souls, which have turned from savoring God to savoring self. In the cross of Christ, God rescues us from the house of mirrors and leads us out to the mountains and canyons of his majesty. Nothing satisfies us – or magnifies him – more.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Originally published in Dallas Morning News.