The Way Up is Down

Every living thing grows. If you are a born again Christian, God intends for you to “grow in respect to your salvation” and to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” and “to bear much fruit”. This implies spiritual growth, progress, and forward momentum.

One of our great challenges regarding spiritual growth is our carnal mindsets that tend to view godly virtues as something that we can attain through self-improvement for God instead of by partaking of God Himself. Nowhere is this more apparent (or spiritually deadly) than when it comes to the mysterious virtue of humility.

Let me illustrate. If someone were to ask you to teach them about humility, what would you say? What does humility look like, act like, etc.? Think about it. What comes to your mind when you think of humility?

For many, they think of a passive person, who avoids all conflict and becomes a door mat for all to trample. That is NOT genuine humility. Others think of a self-depreciating person. “Oh I’m nothing without God (as if you are ever without God… Hint: you’re not!).”

Before my own mind was renewed, I was trying so hard to be humble, every genuine compliment became an ordeal. “Brother Andy, we really enjoyed your lesson today.” Quickly I’d retort, “Oh, it wasn’t me. It was the Lord. He gets all the glory.” Hint: While it’s good to give God ALL the glory, 1) most people already know that you’re nothing special apart from His grace. They are just wanting to let you know that they saw Jesus working through you, and 2) God is just fine with using you and you enjoying being a blessing to others! That’s not pride. That’s joy! As the apostle John wrote, “we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” God wants us to enjoy being a vessel of His Kingdom!

So what is humility? Why is it important? And how can we grow in humility?

1) Humility is Jesus Christ! It’s Him, His very nature and essence. Yes, the very Jesus who is getting in the face of Pharisees and disciples to take on hell is the essence of humility! Jesus Christ knew who He was, knew His Father, and was ready to do the will of the Father from a heart of love and faith. That’s humility.

2) Humility is important because it is the only way to enter into God’s destiny for your life (which is to become like Jesus Christ.) James says, “Humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God, that God may exalt you in due time.” Many people are trying to bypass the cross and to reach their destiny without humbling themselves in God’s presence trusting in God to bring us to His destiny for our lives. Jesus could only enter into glory through the way of the cross. We must follow Him. We must be willing to set our concern for other people’s opinion aside and do the will of God even when it hurts and brings no immediate worldly benefit.

3) The way to grow in humility is to pursue Jesus Christ Himself. When we pursue “humility” as if it is something apart from Jesus Christ, it always results in frustration. It’s like trying to pick up mercury with your fingers. If you try to pick it up directly, it just squirts all over the place. The best way to pick up mercury is to put it inside of something and then pick up the container. Jesus Christ is the container that is filled with humility! Fall so in love with Him that you fall out of love for yourself. Embracing the path of following Him allows you to remain close to Him and to surrender your own personal rights in order to love God and love others in His power. That’s the path forward. The way up is down!

So humility is not some “religious virtue” attained by wearing drab clothing and becoming passive, spiritual marshmallows. It’s dropping our self-centered way of living to make Jesus Christ the center, source, and focus of all that we do. It’s what happens inside of us as we rise up to walk like sons of God in the power and love of Jesus Christ.

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The Path to Greater Things

Once a believer understands that Jesus actually knows what He is talking about when He said, “Whoever believes in Me will do the works that I have been doing and even greater because I go to the Father,” (Jn. 14:20), the adventure of walking in the fullness of Jesus Christ begins in earnest.

Now you believe that Jesus can do His works through you. So, if you don’t see those supernatural works that you were believing for, questions arise, such as, “Why didn’t we get what Jesus paid for in that situation? What is wrong? Is it me? The devil? God?”

Thankfully, in the Word of God, we have Jesus’ very own response to this very question from His disciples. Recorded for us in Matthew 17 and Mark 9, we have the story of a father who brings his son to Jesus’ disciples for healing. The disciples were unable to get the boy free but Jesus was able. So they asked Jesus, “Why were we not able to cast the demon out?”  In Jesus’s response to this situation and the disciples question, Jesus lays out to us the path to see manifestations of the Kingdom tomorrow that we didn’t see to day.

Here are several keys that lay out the path to grow in the supernatural manifestations of the Kingdom.

1) Don’t get it twisted!  When Jesus was approached by the poor boy’s father to learn that His disciples did not get this boy set free, Jesus groaned at the state of the hearts of His disciples, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you?”  We are so quick to get things twisted around when things don’t easily go our way. We can quickly assume that God is the reason for delays and hindrances to healing.   We twist things around. We overestimate our faith and underestimate God’s goodness. We wrongly assume that God has become the ally of sickness  against us. We make ourselves the victims, and in so doing, we make God the villain. That’s twisted!  So Jesus groans.  Even today inside of us, the Spirit groans.

2) Watch Jesus to see God.  Jesus didn’t allow Himself to stay frustrated. The groaning of the Spirit moved Jesus into action. Do you see how quickly Jesus moves on to heal the boy? That’s God. The disciples would have messed up if they had assumed that “it wasn’t God’s timing” for healing, or “sometimes God says no when we pray”.  No! God’s not our problem. He wants to use us to set people free. He’s not the source of the hindrance for healing. God is never our trouble. He’s our help in times of trouble. God wanted the boy healed, but God must do His work through a person. In Jesus, we see what God is able and willing to do through any person.

3) See the path forward. When the disciples asked, “Why could we not cast it out?” this implies that the disciples had actually tried to cast it out unsuccessfully. Then they saw that Jesus had done it without much of a problem. But why not them? What was the difference? Was there anything they could do to see victory in the future, or was this just beyond the limits of what God would do for them? Jesus’s answer was intended to bring hope, not condemnation or shame. We should take His instruction in that light.  He is not rubbing our nose in the failures of the past. He is calling us forward, into His greater works.

4) Learn to release God’s power and act in God’s authority with confidence. Jesus said that their faith was too little, but then He says that faith the size of a mustard seed is enough. So which is it? Do we need more faith or just a little faith? In a way, faith is like gasoline in a car. If the car has gasoline, the engine works powerfully, but once it runs out, you’ll know. Nothing moves. The car doesn’t care whether there is a full tank or just some fumes. If there is any gas, the engine will work.  When faith is flowing, God’s power is released. Just a little will do, but it has to be real.

We don’t need more of what we think is faith. We need just a little bit of what Jesus calls faith.  In this situation, they reached the limits of their faith. It had been enough to get plenty of other people free, but in this situation, the “mountain” wasn’t moving. Why?  This is the point where most people assume the issue is God, which Jesus has already shown us is not the right way to look at this.

According to Jesus, faith actually releases the power of God.  Faith speaks with authority and mountains actually move. There is a spiritual reality to faith that is evident. There is real content delivered that impacts the situation.  Faith allows you to act in oneness with God and God to act in oneness with you.  It’s more than acting on your belief system. When faith is really exercised, there is an actual spiritual release of God’s power into this world. This is the way forward for us.

5) Eliminate impossibilities. Jesus knew that the disciples had reached their limits in this situation. Their faith was too small.  I’m sure they believed that God could do it. After all nothing is too difficult for Him.  But this isn’t this issue. According to Jesus, faith would allow them to eliminate what seemed impossible to them. Faith brings us into union with God, so that what is possible for God is also possible for us because we actually see that we are one through Jesus Christ.  While it’s easy to agree that this is true because we see this truth in the Bible, we still need the reality of  operation of the Holy Spirit in us.  How?  If the path forward is this kind of faith, how do we get that?

6) Adopt a lifestyle of eternal communion with God.  In Mark 9:29, Jesus gives the disciples instruction about how to remove their unbelief, to untwist their heart, and eliminate the impossibilities that kept them from seeing the Kingdom manifested.  “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”   I don’t believe Jesus was telling them how to drive out a demon as much as He was showing them how to drive out unbelief and the things in them that were blocking the Kingdom.  Demons don’t block the Kingdom.  Twisted disciples do. Twisted? Yes. They had made their problems bigger than God. They needed eternal things to be more real to them. They needed more exposure to the radioactive power of God’s glory. Then they would glow. God wasn’t able to work through them to the degree that this situation required until God was more to them.  They didn’t need “more of God”, but God needed more of them. He needed to occupy more space in their hearts and minds.  These guys were all twisted up, doubtful, hesitating, defeated.

But the good news for them and for us is that no one has to stay there. There is a solution; prayer, real prayer, spiritual communion with God in eternal realms, gazing upon His glory, listening to His Word, being absorbed with His heart.  Wasn’t this the source of Jesus’ works? “The Son can do nothing apart from the Father.” “The Son can only do what I hear from my Father.” etc.

Brothers and sisters, we can learn to release God’s power by exercising faith. We can adopt God’s confidence in every situation. We can give ourselves over to God in greater ways. We don’t have to let what defeated us yesterday whip us ever again! When we give ourselves over to God in greater ways, then we will see greater works take place in our lives.  This is the path forward that Jesus has laid out for each one of us. May God give us the grace to walk it. Amen!

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Team Avalanche

TeamAvalancheFull Speed Impact is a proud partner with Team Avalanche, a global ministry dedicated to mobilizing believers to heal birth defects in Jesus’ Name. Founded and directed by Margaret Weishuhn, Team Avalanche equips parents and grandparents to minister healing to the loved ones who have been impacted with birth defects.   You can learn more about Team Avalanche at their website HERE

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Learning to Fly by “Training Prayer”

Track Training Struggle can be good.  No athlete arrives at top performance except by engaging in a constant struggle. A butterfly has to struggle to spread it’s wings or it will never fly.  Some struggling is a sign of growth.  The Spirit of God is always at war against our flesh, seeking to exert His dominion so that “those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:17, NASB)  We are called to manifest the reigning life of Jesus Christ that resides within us.  If it comes out spontaneously in a sudden burst of power and revelation, great.  If not, it’s time to fight!

I meet a lot of “fighters”.  I recently got an email from someone who came to one of my Divine Healing Training conferences.   She wrote, “ I am struggling with fear of asking people to pray with them and what they will think. I was wondering if you could tell me how to get over that and work through it.  I really fully believe in it and I feel I am lead to be doing it, pretty much everywhere we are…”

Do you see the fighter insider of her?  Inside you? I see wings are waiting to be unfurled so that we can fly!

Here’s my response her that I hope will help you.  “I’d like to suggest  you begin to do something I call “training prayer”.  Just add this to the arsenal of tools you can employ to unleash the Kingdom.  I’d like to suggest that you actually practice approaching and ministering to people when you are ALONE.  How?  Get before the Lord and  by faith begin to imagine a situation that is an opportunity for ministry.  But instead of allowing fear to close you down, you’re going to walk through this scenario victoriously before the Lord.  Begin to tell God what you’re going to do and say when you see someone.  SAY IT OUT LOUD.  Step by step, walk and talk it through.  Allow the Holy Spirit to “train your hands for war”.  I know it may sound weird, but it can help you get used to yourself allowing the Holy Spirit to act boldly and heal the sick.   You need to learn how to dance with your Divine partner.    You guys are co-workers and it’s important that you learn to work together.

A training session might go something like this… “Thank you Father that you are with me wherever I go.  As I’m shopping (you’re imagining yourself out shopping), you are with me.  I’m never just a consumer.  I’m an ambassador of Jesus Christ.  (Imagine seeing someone with a cane) When I see a sick person with a cane, I know that you’ve given me the authority and power to heal the sick.  Thank you Jesus for your compassion for them.  You’ve accomplished a completed work of healing for them.  You live inside of me so I walk over to them in your compassion expecting you to heal their bodies through me.  I’m not worried about possible rejection or what they think of me, because I know what you think of me.  It’s not about me.  It’s about you and your love for them. I’m glad to be a vessel of your Holy Love for this person.  Like the Father ran to his prodigal, I go to them with grace and kindness, and say, “Hi. How are you today? I noticed your cane. Are you in any pain?  As they speak to me, I listen.  Even though they are not used to talking with strangers, I reassure them as you lift up your countenance upon me.  You are my peace.  I say to them, “I believe God loves you and wants you healed, so I’d love to pray for you briefly.  I’m going to put my hand on your shoulder and God’s going to touch you.  Thank you Father, that when I touch them, you touch them.  Pain must go as your Holy SPirit rushes into them.  I speak the word of faith and say, Right now, body be made whole.  All pain Go! In Jesus’ Mighty Name.   And I tell them to move because I want them to see what you’ve done.  They move and the pain will be gone!  I praise you for healing the lame through me.  I praise you for healing those oppressed by pain through me!”  Praise God in advance for healings, salvations, etc. Rejoice that God is using you for this all around your city.  etc.

Once you’ve done this a while, this is also good place to look ybutterfly-emergingour fears in the face and make them bow the knee to Jesus.   Pray through through a scary “what if”.   What if they say, “No!”  What if they aren’t healed immediately?  What if they think I’m weird? etc.  You’ll find out in advance that “No” really doesn’t hurt, their opinion is NOT my identity.   It just shows you that their soul is bound in fear and darkness, so you can intercede for them.. These hurting  people are worth the risk and it’s a good thing to join in the fellowship of sharing in Christ’s suffering, etc.”

Speaking in faith leads to walking in faith.  “Train yourself for the purpose of godliness”  Put this into practice and you’ll be flying in no time!

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Become Like Children to Live Like a Son

I don’t believe the disciples liked one another very much. Before the cross, they were following Jesus, but they still wanted to “climb the ladder” so they could be the boss over the others in the Kingdom. They were extremely competitive and fought frequently. This was a primary source of their ongoing conflict, “Who’s the greatest?” They wanted a title, a recognized position that gave them the right to have “more say” by virtue of the fact that “I out-rank you.” children3

Whenever Jesus addressed this issue with the disciples, He would usually pull a child or a baby out of the crowd as an object lesson. He’d put the child on His lap and tell His power hungry disciples, “You’ll have as much rank as this child. Unless you are willing to become as “rank-less” as a child and a slave you won’t even enter into the Kingdom of heaven.”
Spiritual authority carries no “rank”. It’s is not based on hierarchy, title, or position that entitles you to have “more say” than others. Jesus forbids this kind of system in His Kingdom. Instead, He called people to spiritual authority which functions by the influence of your life based on your willingness to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, deny yourself, and serve His interests in other people without rank, title, or special privilege.

Handing-out-foodTrue spiritual authority looks like people taking the responsibility to serve others in Jesus’ Name. After the disciples went out two-by-two healing the sick and casting out demons, they returned to Jesus with a great multitude of people. When it was time to eat, the disciples wanted to send everyone away, but Jesus rose up and said, “You give them something to eat!” They were looking for authority, but God was requiring them to take responsibility. To walk in authentic spiritual authority, you must become “waiters and waitresses” and surrender all you have to fulfill Jesus’s mission. Instead of giving us a higher rank, Jesus gives us more responsibility, more people to serve. It costs us more time, more work, and what little we had stored up for ourselves. But the power of God follows those who get their eyes off their limitations and surrender to God’s heart to reach the world with His love. As you become like children, you’ll walk like sons.

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