By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God's command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
Faith in the Almighty releases the heavy heart into the higher elevations of Divine Truth and Love where man is undone and made anew in our heavenly Father's transcendent and transforming Glory. Jesus The Christ!
By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God's command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
The secular does not determine the relevance of God's Sacred Word. When we as the church look to the world to determine the relevance of scripture and we dismiss the priority of sound doctrine in pursuit of what we believe works for us, we subscribe to a gospel of preference and convenience rather than to that which brings personal and corporate transformation into the likeness of Christ.
When reading the scriptures it is abundantly clear that God is not concerned with winning favorable online reviews and ratings and it is just as clear that the church's greatest concern is not producing winning style points.
There is a distinction between the Sacred and the Secular. The first transforms the latter and is not molded into its likeness.
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’
1 Thessalonians 2:13
13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
What doesn't defeat us becomes fertilizer for personal growth. We choose whether we live in defeat or allow our heavenly father to grow us.
2 Corinthians 4:7-11
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
Fear-mongering is a powerful and destructive force that preys upon those who make themselves susceptible to it by locking into a crushing embrace with a lesser faith and with cunning distortions of scriptural truth and authority. No matter how many variations of a lie that may be told in an effort to destroy personal faith, no matter how clever, audacious, or entertaining, they have no life and they have no power over a child of God. May those redeemed through the shed blood of Christ refuse to give Satan's lies, viability and certainly never the ability to reproduce among and infect others. In Christ's name, may we not be complicit in the propagation of those things which foster faithlessness, fear, and defeat.
Christ within, is always Greater and He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Nothing more is needed.
May Christ's church be so saturated with the Holy Spirit that Satan's lies are smothered under the anointing of Truth that resides in Christ. In Christ we win! John 14:6
We are in a war that our Lord has already won and our prayer is that through God's gracious empowerment and by faith in Christ, we all may live in that victory even when the darkness seeks to encroach upon that for which it has no legitimate claim!
14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
1 John 5:4
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.
AS ONE: MAY THE HOLY SPIRIT SHATTER
OUR LIMITED THEOLOGY AND LEAD
US INTO THE GREATER THINGS
“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled
together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit,
and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31
As Bethel bows its collective heart in anticipation of a very deep,
Christ exalting and Holy Spirit led engagement,
I Invite those in prayerful expectancy to join with me in agreement.
A. That we shall come together in scriptural agreement, spiritual unity,
for the Singular Purpose of exalting our God and Savior.
B. That we may embrace the call to repentance as shown
to us by the Holy Spirit that we might accommodate the full
impartation of what God purposes to pour out upon this church
C. That we set aside all preconceptions and expectations formed in
the penmanship of limited theology and that we may embrace the
fuller revelation that the Holy Spirit seeks to impart based upon the
D. That there will be a Saturation of the Grace of God through which
unbelievers will come to faith in Christ as savior.
E. That there will be a saturation of the Holy Spirit upon these
gatherings, that those who have not yet received the Baptism in the
Holy Spirit will (Acts 2:4; 10; 19:1-6) and that all believers will
receive a fresh impartation. May we not pursue a temporary infilling
but host an ongoing fullness.
F. That there will be both the manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s giftings
within the body and the burgeoning manifestation of the Holy
Spirit’s influence in the lives of believers.
G. That with the Baptism of Power there will be an immersion into
greater love, kindness, compassion, selflessness, faith, and hope.
H. That the Holy Spirit will launch Bethel into His higher view, greater
love, deeper passion, stronger commitment, indestructible bonds
of Christ honoring unity, and a more complete renewal of mind
I. That we may have a greater love and vision for reaching those
within our mission assignments, as we may be baptized into
our Missional calling at home and abroad.
J. That we may experience healing; receive fresh impartation;
deliverance; renewal; that marriages will be made stronger and
Godly relationships restored; and that the lies of the past would
be destroyed within the fellowship of those who drink the new
wine of God’s grace.
K. That believers will discover their true identity and calling in
L. THAT JESUS CHRIST WILL BE OUR FIRST LOVE, OUR SAVIOR,
AND TRULY OUR LORD!!
YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN IN AGREEMENT IN PRAYER AND FASTING.
There will be individuals gathering for a time of prayer this
Sunday, September 17 from 8:30 to 9:30 AM in the Atrium.
Anyone who would like to participate is welcome.
There will be ongoing Life Center classes.
Two great options for this Sunday!
1 Peter 2:9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
10 “Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”
Only your Heavenly Father can bestow upon you your truest identity and in Christ alone is your inheritance revealed.
In Christ, you are purposed to receive, to live, to move in, and to share from, the overflow of His exceeding abundance and transcendence, as is declared over, and poured into, your life through God’s Word.
In The Father's love you are not entitled to live with reckless decadence, but in His authority, to thrive in the unrestrained freedom and fullness of joy, a life not measured by its prohibitions but by our Father’s invitation into abundance through His Son.
You are infused with power and only conquered by confidence and occupied by inexpressible joy.
You are created by a transcendent God who made you unique, and filled you with His Spirit, making you one with those whose names are inscribed in heaven by the signature of the Father, written in Holy blood. You are raised up in spirit to live beyond the reaches of mere and measured existence. You are empowered by the same Spirit, to be a World Changer and not merely an adherent to someone’s branding, bound to an assignment to that which is vain and soon extinguished. You are not a resident in the wasteland of mediocrity. You are led by God’s presence to still waters, green pastures, and life eternal, undeterred by the storms of life. Eternity lives within you, not in the distant future but from the moment of your spiritual birth in Christ, your days here were seamlessly woven into timeless eternity.
It never ceases to amaze me as to how God’s love draws diversity into unity and community. In Christ, the love of God transforms the heart into a spring of life and honor.
Those redeemed and transformed by saving grace have been positioned at the crossroads of the world as God’s elect and anointed host of redeeming light. There are so many strains of humanity with regard to ethnicity, cultural uniqueness, values, generational spans, and many other demographical distinctions. God loves every single one and the church is to show love to every single one.
In a world that is severely blighted by the blindness of hatred and where many are severely poisoned by drinking from the cesspool of depravity, the church is to be a beacon of that which is far more powerful, SPECIFICALLY, THE LOVE OF GOD!
The church is intended to be One and it is always strongest as such. When it is unified, it is so, because its members share a singular identity, shared purpose, and greater love for one another. Those within the Church community are many and yet in Christ, One.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14
12 For as the body is one and has many members,
but all the members of that one body being many,
are one body, so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -
whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free -
and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
Why and How We Must Grow as One
There are always intricacies and needs specific to the voluminous demographical distinctions that become part of the church community as ushered in by God’s grace.
Becoming One does not merely happen by sitting around the campfire and singing Kumbaya. It is the fruit of becoming and the evidence of spiritual maturation. We become One as we navigate our differences with the knowledge of who we all are, what we have been redeemed to be, and by loving as Christ within us empowers us to love.
Diversity within the church community is God’s billboard of redeeming love. It is not threatening and it is not the fuel of competing ambition within God’s church.
At times the church employs tremendous focus and energy as it strives to meet diversity with what it believes will effectively address the real or perceived needs of the diverse church community.
When attempting to scratch every itch, the currents driving that endeavor tend to carry leadership all over the map in search of the most effective path to integration and coordination of the entire church community. Unfortunately, at times, in spite of the most ardent attempts, those nets come up empty. At other times, the rigid and inflexible disposition of controlling spirits, serves as the culprits in this failure to launch that which God desires to take place within His church.
The murmurings and outcries of being misunderstood, undervalued, and disenfranchised, often form the mantra for those who have experienced personal difficulty activating within healthy church culture or among those who have chosen not to because of what they perceive to be an unhealthy church culture that overlooks them.
The church’s future rests upon the Christ-like development and fusion of scriptural, spiritual, and practical commitment from divergent points within its faith community. The compelling motivation in the pursuit of such will grow out of acceptable (to God) Worship and a genuine love for what God loves, namely those made in His image.
Our greatest need is to Worship God, thus inviting and accommodating personal transformation in the likeness of Christ. It is the single most important disposition and function that can, and must, happen to advance the local church. Without such we are hollow, anemic, and fruitless. With it the struggles that we have undertaken are surrendered to His workmanship as we together as One, enter into His fulness.
The Apostle Paul’s great desire for the Galatian community of believers was that Christ would be formed in them, meaning that their lives would take on the likeness of Christ. When that happens grace prevails, and unity and agreement become evident outgrowths of the Vineship of Christ in our lives. It is not the Christ that we form from our opinions or even our life experiences, it is the Christ as revealed by God, that authors our transformation in Spirit and in Truth.
It is vital that we (collectively) see how culture, ethnicity and demographics, though at times perceived as challenging, present great opportunities for the advancement of what God desires in His church. Unity and community are never obstacles to Christ, and when the church yields to His Lordship they are not obstacles to His bride either.
“What God desires” is often what most groups tends to claim intimate knowledge of, especially among the frustrated, the aggrieved, or among those who aspire to be in control.
In reality, the only way of knowing what God desires comes through a spiritual fusion with His heart and Spirit, through prayer, scriptural study and meditation, and Christ-like humility. In His Word, and through prayer, we are to center our view of, and interactions with, others in the light of God’s revelation knowledge. God always sees the field from an elevated vantage point and He is the very best at discerning real need and equipping His church to be a life-source from which all people can draw healthy water.
Why is it that we often have so much difficulty as believers when it comes to worshipping and serving God as One? Racial, generational, philosophical, and a variety of demographic differences are often errantly cited as justification for the formation of the deep divides that arise within the Body of Christ rather than being embraced as potential showcases of love greater than personal or corporate differences.
Worship that is acceptable to God is transcendent and consuming. It makes Him the focus as opposed to our personal preferences. Transcendence speaks of that which is of a high character. It lifts the focus of the church corporately as a single community and it consumes lesser impediments to such.
Community is not nearly as much of a struggle when we are being transformed. Only the Holy Spirit can bring the church community into Oneness. Community suggests commonality and unity. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Rather than thriving in healthy relationship, unified in Christ and in His Word, we often live in a sterile arrangement, shackled to ideological, cultural, generational or ethnic differences. We fire accusations and grievances across the bow toward those whom we deem to be responsible for our displacement and dysfunction. The arrangement is not God’s handiwork but rather the result of prideful self-centeredness. As such, acknowledgment of one another becomes token, awkward and obligatory. This grieves the heart of the Father.
The church, with all of its beautiful diversity, is even more spectacular when it is corporately transformed by all that Christ is. When Christ is formed within that which bears His name and professes to reflect His likeness, the church’s primary identity is not racial, it is not about warring genders, and it is not generationally divided. God’s church is One!!
27 For as many of you as were baptized into
Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is
neither slave nor free, there is neither male
nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed,
and heirs according to the promise.
We are not a church that receives its identity from its racial composition! We are not a Traditionalist church, a Baby Boomer Church, a Generation X church, a Millennial Church, or a Generation Z church! We are the One in Christ Church! We are the church bearing the name and likeness of the One who lives, and was dead, and behold, who lives forevermore! We are the church against whom no weapon formed against shall prosper! We are the church that the Gates of Hell cannot thwart! We are the church, the bride of Christ, made in His likeness for His Glory! We are the church of the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the One who gives of the fountain of the Water of Life freely to him who thirsts! That’s who we are! Our heavenly identity is conceived and birthed in who He is and not merely according to our race, ethnicity, or any other demographic!
From the one of a Worshipful heart, and the one from whose lips flow His praise, Jesus Christ is his/her identity and the Holy Spirit makes all others in Him, family.
16 No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘In the last days,’ God says,
‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
18 In those days I will pour out my Spirit
even on my servants - men and women alike -
and they will prophesy.
May we truly become One together as God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit are One!
Thoughts that were dropped into my heart during mediation that I wish to pass on to my friends:
It is my mission to love where love is absent, to lift up those who have been knocked down, to show kindness without condition, and to be generous from the best of that which I have been made steward. All of these are impossible without Christ being formed within me. Christ in me makes me what His character is, and the Spirit of God makes that functional, relational and effectual in and through my life (Galatians 2:20.)
Christ is revealed beyond the pulpit and not exclusively from behind it. He is revealed through personal transformation as I allow Him to advance such in my life. The man behind the pulpit must be a product consistent with God’s workmanship in the life of the man behind closed doors and among others on the avenues of life.
The stage of ministry and life is not a lofty platform designed to showcase human vanity. The stage is worldwide and encompasses every opportunity, that Christ may be elevated among everyday people through the Holy Spirit’s workmanship in my life.
The platform of ministry is not a man-made soapbox but is constructed upon the revelation of God’s grace and redemption raised up upon the Father’s love.
God’s Love is a love which perseveres and always prevails. He has no struggle loving, even as He hates the darkness of sin that enslaves those trapped in the fallen nature of sinful man.
A Prayer and Declaration - May I desire and hunger for more of Christ in my life. May He be my passion, my hope, and the foundation upon which daily transformation is brought forth in me. Without Him I can do nothing. Without Him I would be trapped in the web of lifeless and vain religion. In Christ I have been reborn that I may be established in His highest and best for I have been created to know, to experience, and to excite others to discover for themselves.
Christ in me offers esteem rather than contempt to those existing without a sense of personal value, purpose, and promise. He has anointed me to introduce real hope to those whose worldly fantasies have lured them to emptiness and hopelessness.
This is a powerful gospel that transforms me at the deepest level. It serves as a crushing rebuke to the tormenting whispers of the enemy concerning past sin and the condemnation that belongs exclusively to the sinful nature which no longer owns me, as a child of God.
I am called to Love without pretense. It is not my mission to define Christianity, as God has already done that through the Word and by His Spirit. I have been called to declare what He has made known through His Word.
If my neighbor does not know the love of God, within my highest calling and purpose, I am appointed by God to share that with him.
This life is very brief and eternity is much too significant that I should not see the connection between the two.
Almighty God, make me in your image that in my life others will see the reflection of your only begotten Son, and that I may do the Works of My Father as my Savior and Lord has done, for the Father’s Glory. I am not God, but He transforms my life into His likeness of His Son and empowers me by His Spirit to serve at His bidding.
In him (Christ) lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
The tallest of mountains do not rise to infinity, the darkened ocean depths are never fathomless, and grief is never inconsolable.
God is always infinitely higher, His knowledge is always fathomless, and He is always our consolation!
A Believer's Declaration:
God is always Greater and He is my Father.
Jesus Christ is my Redeemer and my Lord, in Him I am always more than a conqueror.
7 “Can you solve the mysteries of God?
Can you discover everything about the Almighty?
8 Such knowledge is higher than the heavens--
and who are you?
It is deeper than the underworld -
what do you know?
9 It is broader than the earth
and wider than the sea.
Bethel Assembly of God
1125 Frederick Pike
Littlestown, PA 17340