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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Healing the “Inner Healing” Movement

gumhair3_lSometimes pain can grab hold of our emotions and won’t turn lose, like bubble gum that gets stuck in our hair. In our day, it’s become common for people to be raised in horrid sorts of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Countless soldiers are returning from war with PTSD. These people are broken emotionally, mentally, and need our help to get free.

Thankfully, God does not leave the emotionally wounded and broken without good news. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God’s promise to send the anointed one who would to “bind up the broken hearted” (Is. 61:1). The gospel promise that “by His stripes, we have been healed” (Is. 53:4-5) applies to the whole person, body and soul. The gospel promise, that we can walk in the Kingdom of God, which is “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:7), is valid even to those who have been broken emotionally. God’s solution, which is the best and only real solution, is clearly revealed in Jesus Christ and the gift of new life in the Holy Spirit.

rearviewmirror1The modern “inner healing” movement is popular because God’s people have a great desire to see hurting people made whole by the gospel. However, the “gospel” practiced by the “inner healing” movement is a complex combination of Biblical ideas, Freudian psychology, and “prophetic” visions substituting itself into a vacuum created by a failure of the church to grasp the fullness of God’s provision for us in the gospel. But even though many are receiving some help, like much of our medicine, the side effects of this new mixture can have serious long term side effects. Although it’s not ALL bad, it’s the 1% arsenic that eventually kills the rat.

Al. Because there is great sensitivity to “emotional pain” in the church, the modern inner healing movement has gained significant momentum among charismatic and evangelical circles. we’d do well to remember that although we want to heal the brokenhearted, we are not just looking for “anything that will work”.  Drugs and alcohol will take the edge off of emotional pain.  False religions “work” to some degree by substituting new and more pleasant lies for the old painful lies.  Even witchdoctors get some of their patients well.  But we’re not just looking for any `ole way to help the emotionally broken.  There is no question that Jesus DOES heal the emotionally broken today. We’re seeking to understand how Jesus Christ heals the emotionally broken through us. So it’s important that we test every spirit by the standard of the Lord Jesus Christ as He’s revealed in Scriptures.

The question we must answer is, “How did Jesus Christ and the apostles deal with mental brokenness and heal emotional pain? What does the gospel offer to those who are badly wounded? What should we do to help them? What did Jesus do?”

Jesus encountered one of the most broken, emotionally tormented people imaginable when He crossed paths with the man possessed by the “legion”. This man was in constant anguish and torment by the demons infesting his soul. It’s difficult to imagine what could bring a person to this state. Whether it was the result of trauma, abuse suffered as the result of religious rituals, or something else, the end result is a man so broken he was now the host of a legion of demons tormenting his inner person. Yet Jesus was able to set him free.

BN7How? Did Jesus spend the next few months in “inner healing sessions”, walking the man through his traumatic experiences and speak truth into his formative experiences? If the “inner healing” teaching were correct, we’d expect this would be Jesus’ approach. But it was not. Jesus recognized that this man’s current condition was created by demons. So He took authority over the demons that were holding this man’s mind and emotions captive and commanded them to leave. By exercising the authority of the Kingdom in the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus gave the man back his “right mind” and did so without any investigation of past experiences nor speaking any words to bring “light” into the darkness of the man’s past memories. When people were being overrun by demons in their soul, Jesus simply exercised His authority and power over demons to set them free.

Jesus ministered to other people experiencing emotional issues who didn’t need to be set free from demonic oppression. They had their “right mind”, but still needed to be set free from lies and false systems of living in order to enter into the joy and peace of the Kingdom. For example, the lady caught in the act of adultery was publicly humiliated, embarrassed, and ashamed until Jesus restored her heart, removed her shame, and restored her hope, dignity, and destiny by revealing God’s grace. In another instance, Martha was “worried and bothered” as she prepared food for her guests alone, but Jesus showed her that her emotional problems were a caused by a worldly understanding of hospitality and not truly understanding the priority He placed on fellowship with His people. Another time, Jesus warned about the negative results of unforgiveness when he told a parable of a man who was “handed over to the torturers” when he adopted a stance of unforgiveness towards a friend who owed him money.

embracegrace So, when it comes to addressing emotional wounds, Jesus used one resource (the Kingdom of God) with two approaches: casting out demons and revealing the gospel. For those whose minds were oppressed by demons, Jesus exercised Kingdom authority and power to cast out the demons and restore people to their right mind. However, a “right mind” is not the same thing as a “renewed mind”. So to those who were in their “right mind” but experiencing emotional turmoil because of false mindsets, Jesus revealed the Kingdom of God which always required faith and repentance, a change of mindset. Jesus knew that only a Kingdom mindset imparted by the presence of the Holy Spirit can establish God’s order in human emotions.

Many of our emotional difficulties stem from a lack of revelation, faith, and repentance. For example, what if you came home from a trip to find your house being demolished? How would you feel to see your home broken into a thousand pieces? I’d venture to guess that it wouldn’t be a pleasant feeling. Then imagine the change of emotions you’d experience when you saw Ty Pennington and the Extreme Homemakover bus pull around the corner. Your dump was being demolished so that they could build you a mansion… for free. Our emotions follow our mindset. With a new mindset comes new emotional responses.Home Demolition

Jesus Christ knows that our “homes” in this world are sometimes “demolished”. Our bodies can be violated. Our personal value is often assaulted. Our possessions can be stolen and destroyed. Jesus says “in this world you will have trouble.” But He’s come around the corner in his “Extreme Life Makeover” bus to bring us out of this world into a mansion called the Kingdom of God. By the gift of His Spirit, Jesus enables our inner man to dwell inside of God and God Himself to dwell in us. God’s own inner strength and personal presence have move into our inner person, so that we can participate in God’s own emotions, His perspective, His reality. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” “Take heart, for I have overcome the world.” Whatever trouble, pain or difficulties we may experience, Jesus Christ is able enable us to experience His very own peace of mind and heart.

How about the apostles? How did they address emotional brokenness? In the gospels, the disciples followed Jesus’ pattern of exercising authority, not only to heal the sick but also to cast out devils afflicting people’s souls. Jesus indicated that this ministry of casting out demons would continue among all those who believed in the apostles message. (Mark 16:15-18) Unfortunately, western Christians have largely forsaken a Biblical worldview and have a difficult time recognizing demonic oppression or exercising their authority as believers in Christ.

Even though the church was born in a bloodbath of persecution, where followers of Jesus Christ were regularly captured and killed, and many believers experienced the savage death of a loved one at the hands of demonically inspired persecutors, the apostles never advocate modern “inner healing” practices of processing our memories with guided “prophetic revelation”. Instead of attempting to heal emotions, the apostles preached a new heart through Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit which gives us a brand new identity and a new heart. Through the cross, we’re set free from this world, already dead to our time/space life, and alive to God in Christ, partaking of divine life by participating in God’s Spirit living inside of us.

Happy Baby Instead of revisiting the past to heal emotions, the apostles set people free from their past by the work of the cross and brought them into the experience of the Holy Spirit.  They revealed the good news that human beings can now experience the reality of heaven by the presence of God and the power of His Spirit, which enables us to overcome all pain and trouble we face on the earth. As people learned to partake of their identity as sons of God, their hearts were renewed by the experience of God’s heart for them. More than that, God gives us the gift of “the Spirit of the Son crying out “Abba Father” in our hearts“(Gal. 4:6) so that we can experience and express the fellowship of the Father and Son in our own hearts. Wow! Talk about emotional wholeness! To the apostles, Christians didn’t need inner healing because Jesus Christ was the life of every Christian… and Jesus Christ doesn’t need inner healing! The apostles taught believers to patiently help one another to discover and live by the life of the Spirit of the Son of God in their hearts. By doing this, they were able to establish every believing heart in “love, joy, peace, etc.” The traumatized, abused, and emotionally damaged are no exception. This works for them too.

When we insist that believers must continually look into their past, even to help people “get inner healing”, we are unwittingly saying that the old is NOT gone, that we are not free, and failing to grasp the significance of the finished work of the cross. “The old is gone” must be established in our lives in order for “the new has come” to be established in our life. So if we see people crippled by their past, we don’t ignore it, or bury our head in wishful thinking. We preach the fullness of Christ, the finished work of the cross, and set the captives free… truly free.

Jesus and the Apostles used the authority of the Kingdom to cast out tormenting devils, proclaiming the truth of the gospel to set people free from lies causing emotional pain, and the power of the Holy Spirit to give people the power to experience God’s heart, resulting in mental and emotional transformation. So, since Jesus Christ didn’t practice modern “inner healing”, nor did Paul, Peter, John or the other apostles, the church should abandon these sorts of non-Biblical “inner healing” practices. But more than that, let’s return to exercising our authority as sons of God to cast out demons from those who are being oppressed and tormented within to restore them to their right minds. And let’s preach the fullness of the good news of Jesus Christ to the “right-minded”, so that they can be “renewed in the spirit of their mind” and learn to live by the life that the Spirit of God supplies within.holy20spirit20fire
The good news of the gospel is that the old is gone! Brothers and sisters, because of the power of the cross, you’re no longer in bondage to the power of your past experiences. You are free to walk forward in the power of the Spirit with the mind of Jesus Christ. When it comes to past hurts, we forgive. When it comes to past wrongs we’ve done, we recon the old man to be dead… so we’re not even the same person that did all those bad things any more. We’ve been made new.

Unlike the modern inner healing movement which is constantly insisting that believers revisit their past to “process their memories”, we should help one another remember that “the old is gone and the new has come!” The gospel is not merely the message of our sins forgiven through Christ.  It is the power of God for the salvation (which includes healing of hearts and bodies) of all who believe because it gives us a revelation of our new life in Christ that can be made substantial, tangible, and experiential by the power of the Holy Spirit.macchiato But because most believers have not had a sufficient revelation of the reality of Jesus Christ dwelling within them as their new life, they start sorting trying to sort their their past hurts using modern “inner healing” methodologies, “Hello and welcome to Churchbucks! Here’s your Decaf-Neo-Christian-Freud-a-phostics-machiatto. That’ll make you feel better! See you again soon!”  Let’s help one another find our true life, healing, and wholeness through the gospel, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”.

And if you find that when you proclaim the gospel, it isn’t truly “binding up the wounds of the brokenhearted” and bringing the wounded into a transformed life through the experience the power of His Spirit as their life by faith, you may need to consider the possibility that you’re not preaching the same gospel that Jesus and the apostles preached… at least not in its fullness.  Now to Him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed...“(Rom. 16:25-26)

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All Consuming

Sometimes ministries grow because they are blessed by God and recognized by the witness of the Holy Spirit in God’s people. Others grow through worldly popularity, tickling ears and accumulating followers of “like-compromise”. Funny thing is, even the “ear ticklers” preach from the Bible. So what are some distinguishing marks of a ministry that is authentically powerful through God? One distinguishing mark is this:an all-consuming revelation of Jesus Christ.

The world was not turned upside down by religious men teaching Bible verses. The world was rocked by people who preached Christ in all of His unsearchable riches and lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. They weren’t suffering persecution for teaching Biblical principles for success in business, relationships and morality. They were obsessed with making people partakers of God’s divine nature through Jesus Christ. Death, sickness, government oppression, corrupt religion, and all the hordes of hell had been completely defeated by this glorious Man to rescue a corrupt world. Through Jesus Christ, God revealed His redeeming love for sinners. By the Holy Spirit, the man on the cross was unveiled to be very co-creator, the fullness of God, the glorious ruler of heaven and earth who is offering forgiveness and the gift of His own Spirit as the identity and life of all who believe in Him. What was the result? The apostolic church rose to shout “We proclaim HIM!”

People with a revelation of Jesus Christ preach Him, not an “it”. They don’t preach salvation. They preach Christ who saves. They don’t preach on spiritual gifts. They preach Christ who gives one spirit with a diversity of manifestations to His body. They don’t preach on marriage. They preach Christ, the great bridegroom who dwells in men to empower them to lay down their lives for their bride even as He did for us on the cross. They don’t preach the Scriptures thinking that “in them we have life”. No! They preach Christ of whom all Scripture bears witness, so that people may come to Him and have Him as their very life.

Best of all, we preach Jesus Christ because He gives Himself to us by the Holy Spirit. This glorious Lord now dwells in us and live through us each day! Let Jesus Christ be magnified and the glory of God will be released through you for Christ in you is the hope of Glory!

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Cry Babies

The last time my wife and I slept in was over fourteen years ago.  That’s when we had our first baby.  Babies cry A LOT.  They cry when they’re hungry, or wet, or dirty, or uncomfortable, or afraid, lonely, gassy, sleepy, etc….  No one has to teach them. It’s what they do.

Babies are born crying.  While they may cry for a number of reasons, at it’s fundamental level, it’s a cry for just one thing… nearness.  Babies don’t think about it.  They come pre-programed to cry.

Why?  Because parents are pre-programmed to get up and take care of crying babies.

Our spirits have come pre-programmed to cry also.  As the Scripture says, “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts crying, “Abba, Father”.   Without the Spirit of Christ, we complain, boast, argue, grumble, analyze, strategize, criticize, whine… we do anything but cry to God for His nearness.  Our “old tapes” lure us into the darkness of self-protection with lies that we are alone and must take care of ourselves.  We are determined to be strong, but God wants to be our strength. So God puts the Spirit of His Son in our hearts, calling on His Name.

For all eternity, the Son of God has known nothing but the loving embrace of His Father.  He has always enjoyed the perfect security of His Father’s all-power and all-wise care.   The Son of God has tapes far older than our “old tapes”.   Because we are sons, He’s playing them in our hearts now by His Spirit.  We can “piggy back” on our elder brother beyond all our fears and doubts, and let Him carry us into our  Heavenly Father’s arms.

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Hungry for Love

This “baby” is a malnourished 3 year old. We found him abandoned on the streets. He is now in our orphanage in Honduras.

What the world needs…

FULLNESS: The answer to the emptiness of this world is the fullness of Jesus Christ.  If you are a believer, Jesus Christ is in you and you lack nothing to walk in love, power, and victory.  Every person can experience and express God’s fullness through Jesus Christ.

SPEED: The needs of the world are too serious to be complacent. Souls are perishing and orphans are dying in the streets. We must move out in the love and power of God to love the last, the least and the lost.

IMPACT: We transform lives to impact nations by raising litteral and spiritual orphans into the family of God as sons and daughters.  This “baby” is actually a malnourished 3 year old boy.  He was abandoned in the streets.  He is now in our orphanage in Honduras.  He flinches in fear whenever an adult approaches him.  He has never known love.  I believe God’s love can heal and restore Him.  One day he will become a man who is able to show mercy to others in the same way he has received mercy!

Full Speed Impact works closely with Impact Ministries International led by Tom Stamman.

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