A Tiny Verse – A BIG Message!!!

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Yes, John 5:41 is a tiny verse but it truly packs a punch.  Jesus was speaking, and He said, “I do not receive glory from men;” Read that again and chew on it for a few moments. 

If there was a man alive at that time who deserved “recognition”, “honor”, “glory”, etc. it was Jesus.  Lives were healed, changed and transformed after encountering Him, and people therefore began following Him.  Yet, He says, “I do not receive glory from men.” Why?

First, He knew WHO He was while on earth.  Earlier in the chapter in vv 19-20 in tells the people that He doesn’t go anywhere or do anything unless the Father tells Him to.  He walked in dependency upon His Father, because He understood it was ALL for His Father’s honor and glory…period.  He was His Father’s Son, and it was His Father’s life He lived by.

Also, notice He made a choice.  He decided to not let the glory “stick.”  If someone gave you a gift, you don’t HAVE to receive it.  You can simply say, “That was kind, but not thank you.”  This is precisely what Jesus did while here on the earth.  He knew that He couldn’t control the actions of others.  He knew He couldn’t stop their choice of wanted to glorify Himself, but He COULD make a choice; to decide to take upon Himself the glory due His father.

Sadly we as humans do the exact opposite.  Whether you are leading a family, teaching a Bible study, on staff at a church or ministry, pastoring a church or whatever, are you willfully accepting the praise and glory that is due Jesus?  It is HIS life, His ministry, His love, His blessings, His wisdom…….HIS GLORY!!!

So, the next time someone mistakenly tries to GIVE you glory first believe that it really is NOT about you and then next simply say, “You are so kind! Isn’t Jesus wonderful?  Our Father loves us so desperately!” (or something like this) Thereby, you will be deflecting the praise and glory to our Father!

Now read the whole passage from John 5:41-44 from The Message Bible:

“I’m not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda. I came with authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking you rivals and ignoring God.”

LIFE CHANGING MESSAGE!!!

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I just finished listening to another life changing audio recording of another sermon by Paris Reidhead.  WOW! It and was absolutely stirred in my spirit. The message is entitled The Normal Christian Life.

I truly believe this message needs to be heard in every church in the United States.  I also believe it has the potential to be truly life changing!!!

Please….listen to this message!  I believe that if you pray before listening to it & listen with a teachable spirit, God will impact your life!  My only desire and motivation is that HIS body is edified & strengthened.

It is 1 hour in length, but as I said very, very well worth it!  The first 4 minutes & 24 seconds is nothing but a choir singing.  You can fast forward it if you desire.

Grace & Peace to You!!!

“10 SHEKELS & A SHIRT”

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Below is an e-mail I sent to everyone in my address book, and I wanted to pass it on to you as well.

Greetings,
I hope your week is off to a great start!  Last night I “accidentally” came across an audio sermon entitled “10 Shekels & A Shirt“, and I wanted to pass it on to you.  It is by Paris Reidhead who lived from 1919 to 1992 and was a Christian missionary, teacher, writer, and advocate of economic development in impoverished nations.

He preached this message around 1965; 20 years after leaving the Sudan, and it is considered probably his best-known recorded teaching. This could be called one of the most influential sermons of the 20th century.

I want to strongly encourage you to prayerfully listen to this.  I prayed that you would be stirred and convicted in your heart, and that God’s “eternal purpose” might be manifested in your life.

If you’d like to check out other wonderful audio messages check out this site:
http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/

Grace & Peace to you!

We EACH Need REVIVAL!!!

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My dear brother & sister in Jesus may your heart be stirred by the Spirit as my heart was stirred. Jesus MUST reign SUPREME in each of our lives for HIS glory…ONLY and for HIS good…ONLY!!!

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CENTRALITY & SUPREMACY OF JESUS CHRIST

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WOW! I had to share with you below an excerpt from a blog entry entitled Confessions of an Ex Clergy Member by David D. Flowers on March 26, 2009.  Brother David nails it as he explains the true heart of Christianity. You can click on the above link to read the entire article.  It is fantastic!!!

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Conclusion-The Centrality and Supremacy of Jesus Christ
It has been almost three years now that my wife and I have ventured off into uncharted territory with the Lord. I must say… Christ has been faithful. He has provided our every need and so much more. We are blessed with great jobs, wonderful friends, and a Christ-centered church fellowship.

The last two years have been a tremendous time of rest from the many trials we endured over the previous few years. For the first time in our lives… there is little to no burden of religion upon our lives. It is in this time now… that Christ is purging me of my old pursuits. The Lord has been setting me free from religion’s chains. He has been working in me the natural faith of Christ.

What is the natural faith of Christ? It is life born out of being instead of doing. Christ’s life is burden free! He said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:30) Be careful that this verse has not fallen on deaf ears or become cliché to you. If your faith is causing you anger, frustration, disappointment, depression, burnout, or suicidal thoughts even… this is not Christ’s life. You are not being Christ. You are not drawing life from his Spirit within you. Instead, you are doing things, which you intend for Christ, out of the mortal “fleshly” life you have apart from the eternal Christ. I call these works born of the flesh… religion!

Religion is nothing more than outward works of the flesh that temporarily satisfy the soul, but ultimately lead to an empty riverbed of hopelessness. We need to see that there is no way our Lord is pleased in this selfish life. This life eventually is depleted along with physiological strength. Obviously, life that is born of flesh will end in a fleshly grave. However, life that is born of the Spirit leads to real Christ-fruit and treasures stored up in heaven. It is this kind of life that is able to endure the cross.

Christ lived so that you can live. Paul said, “I no longer live, but it is Christ living in me.” (Gal. 2:20) We must draw from this life. This comes in time and through trial and tribulation. We learn “to live is Christ”, as Paul said… so that we may experience the gain of dying.

In this case, we are to recognize that the flesh (i.e. old unregenerate man) has been crucified with Christ! Yes… temptation, and fleshly desires, and pursuits are still very much real. However, Christ’s life has defeated this power so that we may now choose his life that brings freedom. The Christian life is Christ’s life. Until we commit to learning this… we have not truly chosen the road of discipleship.

My present struggles are tied to this. I personally need the Lord to show me his true nature after I have walked in the flesh for a spell. It is almost as if I didn’t even realize I was doing so… but looking back… I know that I simply was not being mindful of Christ. This is why Paul said,

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Paul, (Col. 3:1-3)

I gratify the flesh because I am not walking in step with the Spirit. (Gal. 5:16) I make matters worse by supposing that the Lord wants me to feel condemnation for my failure. Yet, I know this comes from the evil one. The Lord is on my side. He is for me indeed! He desires that I might walk in his life more and more. And instead of him feeling disappointed in me… his thoughts are fully set on me knowing the power of his resurrection! Christ and all of heaven cheers for me. For the Lord knows that his life is within me and that it is produced in every season that I face. This is the reason we are told to rejoice in all things. For in all things… Christ is there.

We must learn from Christ. All questions and concerns regarding our lives (i.e. family, work, play, etc.) and his church… are resolved in knowing him. There is nothing… and I mean nothing… that you should be pursuing besides Christ. Do you have a problem? Are you filled with many questions and very few answers? Are you trying to jump start your faith with 12 steps and “purpose-driven” products that are void of the centrality and supremacy of Christ? Maybe you are wondering what it’s going to take to see revolution blow through the church. Maybe you’re just trying to figure out what the Lord wants with you. Whatever the problem… Christ is the answer. Whatever the disease… Christ is the cure.

OK, you may be thinking, “I don’t even know what that means.” If any of you are left longing to understand how Christ can be the answer to all of our problems… then set your sights to learning from him. Learn of Christ through the Scriptures… learn of him through experience… learn of him through song… learn of him through trials… learn of him through study… learn of him through sorrow… learn of him through prayer… learn of him through community… learn of him through marriage… learn of him through work… learn of him through learning… learn of him in it all! Place all other pursuits aside. Let him be your one and only passion. Learn of the school of Christ. And this will equip you for every good work.

I pursued other passions in the past (e.g. teaching, writing, education, ministry, etc.) and I found that my heart was in the wrong place. I pursued these things instead of Christ.

“God shows us that our power is not a thing; it is simply Christ. Our power is not the strength to do things; rather, it is a Person. It is Christ who manifests himself in us, instead of our using Christ to display our good works.” – Watchman Nee

It was a hard thing to admit. Do I desire to replace Christ with a thing? By no means! Yet, this very thing became obvious to me. I found myself wanting and longing for everything but Christ and him alone. My life was a mixture of Christ’s life and works done in the flesh. My heart desired notoriety and a piece of fame. I had my way mapped out. I knew what I wanted and I knew how to get there. And the Lord interrupted my “passions” and held a mirror up to all the things I was pursuing outside of him. I was confronted with a question.

“Is it to some thing that I am devoted, or is it to secure for the Lord Jesus Christ His absolute centrality and supremacy?”
T. Austin Sparks

How long will we try to convince ourselves that it is Christ that we seek in all these things of men? When will we realize that Christ’s life is not found in things? The Spirit within us is reaching out for all things Christ! Yet, we attempt again and again to fill it with programs, passions, ministries, and movements. Will our purpose be something else besides knowing the power of the resurrection in Christ Jesus our Lord? Will we use up all of our mortal days attempting to fill our lives with dead things? Only Christ is living!

Therefore, those things, which are not born from the natural living faith of Christ, are born from the flesh and will only produce dead cold religion. Other religious people may admire you for these religious works done in the flesh, but the Holy Spirit is grieved. For he knows that you will only be satisfied in Christ.

The Apostle Paul’s purpose was not tent-making! It also wasn’t being a good itinerant worker and church planter. He writes of his purpose and leaves us with an example to follow.

“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Paul, Colossians 2:2,3

May our Christ not be “ill-defined”… but may he come to full expression in our lives. Let your Christianity be more than mere acceptance of forgiveness of sin and works of men. Let us walk in the power of the resurrected Christ! Let us take serious his example given to us in the Gospels. Too many have stopped short of this life.

I am convinced… if we are ever going to experience the life of Christ and enjoy the Spirit he has placed within us… if we are ever going to see his Bride fully prepared for the wedding banquet of the ages… we must press on to everything Christ!

When we are beginning to learn of the person and work of Christ through being Christ in all things and in every situation… his works will then naturally flow from our lives. Works born of his Spirit will spring forth from the well that never runs dry. May we allow the Lord to break our will for the release of his mighty Spirit of life through our earthly tabernacles. May we find the way of the cross a most satisfying death to embrace. For out of this death will come Christ’s life.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Click on this LINK to read the entire article

REAL PREACHING

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GREETINGS!

I just stumbled on to a blog entitled “…the Centrality & Supremacy of Christ” by a precious brother David D. Flowers who is a freelance writer &David D. Flowers blogger.  David’s heart beats with the same passion to let others know of this wonderful Christian life which is nothing more (or less) than “CHRIST IN YOU!”

PLEASE, you MUST check out the whole entry.  Below is merely an small excerpt from an entry on January 5, 2009 entitled The Problem with Modern-Day Preaching :

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“How far Satan will go even in bringing about a kind of devotion to Christ, and promote a mystical, physical “Christianity” with elements of moral elevation, and yet hide within that very thing something which is of himself and, being of himself, savors of that which was in him from that time when he himself was hurled out of heaven, that thing which would take from the Lord Jesus the absoluteness of His place in the Godhead.”T. Austin Sparks, The Centrality and Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ, p.38

“If you listen closely, much of modern-day preaching is an attempt to fill the void in people’s soul by taking the back door approach to living victoriously. In the end, it undermines the absolute centrality and supremacy of Christ. Instead of preaching the depths and riches of Christ, his principles are taught in its place (not entirely of course, just those principles that fit our accepted cultural and theological ideas). To add to that… mix some new age self-help heresy in there and you completely lose anything that comes close to resembling Christ.

Christ has made a way for us to come to him directly. We should not concern ourselves with the effect (his living), until we begin with the cause (his life). Beginning with Christ will in the end give us those things that we see in his principles. We must concern ourselves with the being, instead of the doing. The doing will come naturally… after we have locked on to his Person and understand that knowing Christ in spirit and in truth is our only concern.”

JESUS OUR EXAMPLE!

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READ PHILIPPIANS 2:5-10

The Body of Christ is so busy playing church & “doing” church that we’ve ceased BEING……the church!  We’ve ceased being HIS living BODY here and now to a world that desperately needs Jesus.

This lost world is just as sick of religion as God is!  Floyd McClung who started a ministry called All Nations & has authored numerous books said this in a letter to my friend Jeff:

“The movement Jesus started was radically different from the religious legalism and control of his day. Religion has a nasty way of messing up relationship. Neither top down hierarchy nor rules that govern people’s behavior do not liberate people from the burden of sin nor does it introduce them to the goodness and loving kindness of God.” – Floyd McClung

So, how do we show a lost, dead world the goodness & loving kindness of our holy God?…….The same way Jesus did!

So, we see that when Jesus walked this earth, in all of His activities, in all of His words, in all of His reactions, in every step that He took and in every decision He made He did so as A MAN…even though he was very much God.

Jesus lived in perfect humanity just as we live in redeemed humanity, and that is in absolute dependency & availability to the Father!  Like Jesus who lived as a man, we too are to simply be available to Him like He was available to His Father.

The problem with most of us is that unlike Jesus, we want the exaltation with the obedience and death!!!

It was His Father who did the work through Him:

Jn 5:36 “…for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish–the very works that I do–testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.”

=> His works were God’s works

John 14:10 “…but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”

John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me…”

John 6:57 “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father…”

Acts 2:22 = “… Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst…”

=> God performed the miracles through Jesus’ perfect humanity.

Luke 10:22 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father,”

John 10:32 “Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father;…”

So, we see that ALL of Jesus activity here on earth as a man was His Father’s activity through the Spirit who gave His body to His Father.

Therefore, as fellow humans, we are to let Jesus do HIS work through us:

Phil 2:13 (Amp) = “[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.”

Eph 1:11 having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,…”

JOHN 14:17 “…but you know Him because He [Spirit] abides with you and will be in you.” => God through the Holy Spirit dwells in US now just as the Father abided in Jesus then!!!

Let us hear it from Jesus Himself in John 6:57 (Amp):

Just as the living Father sent Me and I live by (through, because of) the Father, even so whoever continues to feed on Me [whoever takes Me for his food and is nourished by Me] shall [in his turn] live through and because of Me

He lived His life with perfect humanity!  We live our lives with redeemed humanity.  Therefore:

We are to live our lives as Jesus did: in absolute availability and in loving, obedient dependency!

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