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We tend to celebrate Peter’s declaration of Jesus as the Messiah (Matt. 16:13-20) based on the idea that he was the first one to solve the mystery (or maybe to have the gumption to boldly declare such a thing).  But Jesus’ excitement wasn’t as much about the content of the revelation, as it was in where the revelation came from.  He said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.”  I’d like to suggest that when He said, “upon this rock I will build my church”, He wasn’t just talking about a people who recognized Him as the Messiah, but also a people who listened for the voice of His Father.  A few passages later (Matt. 16:21-23) we see the same zealous Peter making yet another bold declaration, as Jesus explained what needed to happen to fulfill His Father’s eternal plan.  Though Peter’s pledge that, “This shall never happen to you!” was rooted in love and concern for Jesus, he received the strongest of rebukes, “Get thee behind me Satan!”  Jesus explained, “you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns”.  There is little doubt that Jesus loved Peter’s passion and boldness, but in the bluntest of terms He told him that He needed to be mindful of the forces that propelled him.  A short time later, Peter failed this test, as the Temple Guard came to seize Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Instead of watching and praying as Jesus had instructed, he grabbed for a sword.  

Without a doubt, we live in troubled times, and our passions are easily stirred.  Those of us who call ourselves by His name can easily relate to the temptation to grab a sword.  But like Peter, unless we hear the voice of our Father, Jesus may well have to undo the destruction that we bring about.

It is a people who do not comprehend the sovereignty of their Heavenly King who desperately clamor for an earthly king

There is a significant difference between being right and being righteous. One is based on having accurate information, while the other is an attitude of the heart

The Question

The Answer:
What I see (& how it makes me feel)
What I think (& how it makes me feel)
What I’ve experienced (& how it makes me feel)
What I’ve been taught
What I expected
What I wanted
What I fear
What I thought was right
What I am confident that I know
What has worked in the past
My vision for the future
My pain
My anger
My disappointment
My offense
My imagination
*
The Question:
What is leading me instead of the Holy Spirit
(Prov 3:5, Prov 14:12, 2Cor 4:18)

How Long?

Hear the voice of the prophets echoing from their exile!

How long shall you waiver between two opinions?

Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?

Shall you continue to forsake your commission in some vain pursuit of happiness?

Shall you continue to sleep, but find no rest?

Shall you continue to cling to your comfort, while turning away the Comforter?

Whose banner is flying over you?

Whose words are on your lips?

Who will douse your burning barns?

From where shall your help come from?

How long shall you waiver between two opinions?

How long?

 

When I was in school, and I saw someone doing better than me, I assumed that they were smarter, more gifted, or that the teacher just liked them better.  But looking back, I can see that more often than not they were simply more focused, engaged and committed to the process.  Now that I am old, I’ve noticed that same dynamic in marriages, careers, families, faith, communities…

In recent weeks, as I sat amongst brothers and sisters who minister in places that are openly hostile to the gospel message (e.g. Indonesia, Afghanistan, Somalia…), I listened intently to amazing testimonies of God’s faithfulness and power. And while it was wonderful to hear of the manifestation of the Lord’s glory, it was hard not to be struck by the dramatic contrast with what we see happening in western cultures. In the midst of praying about all this, I felt as though the Lord said that the church in America is a lot like the rich young ruler, described in the gospels (Matthew 19, Mark 10, Luke 18). Like him, she is endowed with material goods (e.g. buildings, sound systems, video equipment, church vans…) and some vague sense of authority, but she is poor in spirit; unwilling to trade the illusion of earthly prosperity for the abundant life of the Kingdom. Just as it was then, He is calling us to let go of our temporal trappings, and to genuinely follow Him.

What often hinders us from receiving revelation are the things we’re convinced that we already know (Acts 10:9-16).  There are things that we’ve held sacred which are not sacred to Him; and things we’ve considered unclean which He calls redeemed.

It doesn’t matter how beautiful or ornate the structure, if it is built on a faulty foundation, it is compromised.

The change that needs to happen is not just to the setting, format or process, it must be a change of heart. The altars that need to be torn down & the idols that need to be smashed are not theirs, they are ours. We shouldn’t think that we are planning a graduation, we should be preparing for a funeral. (Jn 12:24)