There are times in our walk with God that we deny Him by sinning. The rooster in the song refers to the story
of Peter denying that he knows Jesus three times (Matthew 26:34, 69-75). We can also deny Christ by not living for Him, dropping
our own cross (see Bible study for Splinter) like we "deserve a little rest." Matthew 10:38 says that anyone who does not
carry his cross and follow Jesus is not worthy of Him. So when we get tired and choose to sin, we cause death to occur in
ourselves and cause Jesus and the Holy Spirit pain over our denial (Hebrews 6:4-6).
But because God is faithful and
just to forgive us, he does not hold our sins against us (1 John 1:9). See, a big part of what Jesus did by dying on the cross
and, more importantly, rising from the dead, was to make a way for us to come directly to God through him, so that the Father
sees his son Jesus when he looks at us. We who could not meet the righteous requirements of the law of God are brought in
fully by the blood and resurrected life of Jesus! In Romans 8:1 the Bible says there is no condemnation for those who are
in Christ Jesus! Those who are in Christ can come boldly to the throne of grace according to Hebrews 4:16. You can come freely
to God as you confess your wrongdoing and are in Christ.
So the question is asked, "Can we still come to God?"
answer is "You can."
Read the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 and see how Jesus describes
God's reaction to those who come to him. He is like the father who longs to take his son or daughter back into the family
and love them lavishly!
The first reality of knowing God is that he knows everything!
"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes
of him to whom we must give an account." (Hebrews 4:13)
I'm sitting with my heart out on the table every minute of every day, whether I like it or not. The question
that God wants to know is what do I want to do with it. When we first come to God, we want security. The ironic thing is that
we are both safe in God's hands and totally vulnerable. Because we are the light of the world, we are easy to recognize; we
are totally vulnerable because everyone knows we are in the kingdom of God. On the other hand, nobody can hurt us because
we are in the hands of the living God who holds the keys to life and death - and besides... we reek of gasoline! In other
words, he has consumed our hearts with his fire and we are permanently marked as a result.
God has destroyed who you
were and given you a new identity. You are now a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Galatians 2:20 says that you
have been crucified with Christ. If so, then you no longer live but Christ lives in you. Therefore offer your body as a living
sacrifice (Romans 12:1), and let Him soak you in gasoline.
More good stuff along these lines in Colossians
In Saturn, we are confronted with the very real situation of not seeing or feeling God physically
or feeling distant from God after having had an experience with Him. Or perhaps your life has not so quickly and miraculously
changed into a mirror image of Jesus as you had expected or possibly been told it would. This does not mean we can only conclude
that God is not there or not capable of doing this work in you, but that we see with very different and weak eyes the purposes
and work of the Creator. This is where faith comes in and what we will look at in this lesson. The Bible says we must "live
by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7)
What is faith?
According to the Bible, faith is "being sure of
what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1) Now, this means faith must have a direction, or an object,
to which it is directed. We can have faith in certain conditions or people but we are consistently let down by these things.
Having God, and more specifically Jesus Christ, as your object or person of faith puts you in a secure place, because He neither
changes (He is God, who does not change), nor forgets you (God made you and knows you), has power to change your life, and
desires to do so! Faith is also a gift (Romans 3) from God.
What other gifts does God give us that pertain to this
God has given Christians "everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called
us by his own glory and goodness." (2 Peter 1:3) Faith and hope for your life to be transformed by this gift of "everything
we need" is what you must patiently and continuously look for. You cannot will yourself through your power to change and be
like Jesus overnight. This only comes through the study of and obedience to Jesus himself, both in the Bible and through training
from mature Christians. By mature Christian we mean those who have an understanding of what God has done in each person that
professes Him as savior and surrenders his/her life completely to His control. If there is no change at all in your life,
you might question your commitment to follow God at all cost or to what understanding of the gospel you committed, because
God says here that He has given Christians everything for that victorious life!
God also gives the gift of the Holy
Spirit to every believer, which in the context of this song, we will simply say that this is the Spirit of God which gives
power to believers to live in faith, understanding, strength, newness of life, and accountability to spiritual authority.
It is God's grace that works in us for us to obey, not our human strength.
New creation is a gift of God! The Bible
talks about anyone who is in Christ as "a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17) You have
been "made alive with Christ" from your old life of sin and wrongdoing (see Ephesians 2:3-9) As in the song Saturn, when the
speaker is looking for the change and realness in his own life, God assures that He is working that out in him as he allows,
but that the change has already occurred at the time of confession of Jesus as Lord and that the Spirit of God will do the
transformation, not the individual under his own strength.
We need to hold on to the promises of God and know that
the Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit will accomplish what they have begun, that which we just jumped into at the time
when they pressed our lives hard enough for us to see the truth and desire it! Remember that we are relating to a God who
knew us before we were born and called us by His mercy and grace to walk in this transformed life! So, what is our response?
first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
My Beautiful Robe
We can get into a trap of seeing ourselves very differently from how God sees us. Such is the case
when we think our own good deeds and works for God (our righteousness the Bible calls it) are good enough in themselves for
God to be impressed or that our plans and ideas are more important than the things God has for us. Often, out of right motives,
we let ourselves become the focal point of our faith. Not good. For instance, in this song, the person wants to prove to God
how much he loves God, so he works really hard at things; things that arenıt bad, but are actually pretty good and Biblical.
However, he does them only to look good or prove himself to God, not to build Godıs kingdom. Not good. The second problem
is that he is not being obedient to God, but working for himself and his own satisfaction. The Bible clearly says that to
God ³obedience is better than sacrifice² (1 Samuel 15:22).
God gives him a cross to carry (see the Bible study for
Splinter) but he wants
one that looks better, so he can look more spiriual! He cuts down his own tree and makes a cross,
nails himself to it, sticks his head in a thornbush(like Jesusı crown of thorns), compares himself to his brother in Christ
and brags that the nails in his cross are longer. Not good. Do you see how the entire focus of his actions as a believer are
on himself? This is an exaggerated literalized picture of what we do as we try to serve God in our own way, not His. It is
also exactly what Jesus combatted in the religious people of his time (read Mark chapter 7). They concentrated on making themselves
look good and religious on the outside, but denied the inner heart issues that would make them more like God. Not good. Thinking
they served God best by their own righteousness, they ended up deceived and cruel. They, and many of us today, essentially
wear a robe (of righteousness) that we believe is beautiful and pleasing to God, full of sacrifice He didnıt require or desire.
God shows up on the scene and shows the real standing of this robe
we wear, best described in Isaiah 64:6: ³...all our
righteous acts are like filthy rags.² This is the filthy robe we all wear without the work of Jesus on His cross. As we try
to meet Gods requirements of righteousness on our own, we will fail (Romans 3:10,23), but through faith in Christ we have
complete righteousness before God (Romans 3:22). In Jesus is where we find total acceptance from God and through actions that
He commands do we find ourselves walking in true righteousness. Good.
Read Philipians 3:7-11 and compare
each point of Paulıs view of his life to the way you see yourself. Ask God to change your perspective in these things so you
might walk in obedience and righteousness.
This song is my testimony. When I was five years old, I gave my heart to Jesus. This
is when I first understood who he is and that he loves me; not because I was good enough, but because of his grace. As I began
having a relationship with God, I leatned what commitment was all about. "Yeah, I know it took some time " means that when
I was five years old, I did not have much opportunity to sin. But as I became older, it was easier to forget God's name. As
a result, sin crept into my life. God continued pursuing me, but I could not always forgive myself...I had a name for me-the
promise breaker. At this point in the song, I came to a place where I longed for God's forgiveness. I wanted so bad to be
removed from my sin that I tried promising it all out of me. However, in Ecclesiastes 5:5 , the Bible says that it is better
not to promise than to promise and not keep it. Therefore, on my knees for the last time, I promised God I would accept his
grace because God does not treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:10). I have repented to God and asked him to forgive me,
or if you will, to put them in his promise blender.
Paint deals with the slightly heady but beautiful concept of restoration of the first Adam by Jesus,
the Second Adamı. This is the real good news or gospel of Jesus Christ!
God created us to walk with him in close relationship,
as sons and daughters of
a wonderful daddy. Mankind spoiled this with an act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden (took
the bite). Now Jesus, who is the ³second Adam² or the fulfillment of Godıs original intention, has restored that break between
God and man so that we can once again partake of the divine communion with God. In the song, the speaker expresses the fallen
condition of man away from God: hunger, shame, racism. Then, he/she asks in desperation and frustration why we took that bite.
Jesus appears on the scene, taking a walk in our shoes as fully man and
living a sinless life which we could never do.
He satisfied Godıs wrath towards us and our sinfulness when he died on the cross as a sacrifice for us. He covers us and illuminates
our path to God, giving color to an otherwise bleak existence. The writer begs for Jesus to paint him/her into a colorful
expression of God himself, without the colors of a certain race (brown, pink, etc.) but derived from the blood of the Lamb,
Jesus, whose red blood paid for restoration to the Creator.
In the end, we can celebrate the painting of God in our
lives, as He restores our
mistake in the Garden to what was His original intention, which is more than even Adam and Eve
had experienced, being powerful agents of His eternal kingdom coming in the earth. We should see ourselves, if we are in Christ,
as no less and live as none other than the sons and daughters of the reigning and coming King.
Safe With You
In Colossians 2:8-10, Paul wrote "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,
which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness
of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority."
school and college, we are bombarded on every side by supposed 'facts' that are directly in conflict with what the Bible says.
One of the biggest areas we see this in, is the teaching of evolution, but this is not the only focus the enemy has used to
challenge God's Word. We see in Genesis that the first thing the devil says to Eve in order to deceive and tempt her was "Did
God really say..." (Genesis 3:10). He twists God's Word so that it sounds narrow-minded to be utterly convinced that it's
truth in all perfection. However, our societies are plain examples of how, by not taking God's word as absolute, the demise
of this world has taken place. It's time to take a stand and refuse to be wishy-washy in our convictions about God.
Not only are we being ripped off by failing to stand by God's Word, but it is also utterly conceited for man to
think that human wisdom is above God's, when all of our wisdom comes from Him in the first place (verse 36)! The wisdom of
Almighty God far surpasses even the questions of any philosopher (verses 19-20). How He must laugh at the wisdom of man, when
His wisdom is pure and infinite. Any wisdom that we can have is at most a reflection of a part of God's wisdom, and all foolishness
in comparison to His wisdom, in which He is perfect.
God's wisdom is the root to all truth, and by not adhering to
God's Word as absolute, we are on a gradual slope to atheism. This is because in saying that God isn't responsible for Creation
and all his works, His wisdom and sovereignty are nullified. Therefore, let's not be ripped off by the limited and contaminated
wisdom of man, but let's stick to the Word of God and encourage other Christians around us in these areas - as any unified
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful...Let us not give up
meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as we see the Day
approaching." (Hebrews 10:23,25)
Many times when people are asked about their relationship with God, their answers are not true.
We sometimes fall into the trap of believing that if we give the correct answers, everything will be fine. If there is no
love relationship with God, then the answers are never true.
In the pressure of answering the questions with the right
answers that will not give us away, we have a confused and nervous reaction that not only uncovers the truth in our hearts
but also causes us to avoid eye contact.
Therefore we can say great and positive things about our relationship with
Jesus and be extremely absurd in our disposition. However, to a Christian who understands a love relationship with Jesus,
it is no surprise when the lives of these people are inconsistent with their words. A man is recognized by what his life produces
(Mt 7:18-20) and his life proves his convictions.
This song brings into focus the fact that God is more than just outside of you and
more than just inside of you, but rather that the Spirit of God flows freely through those who are of Him, being both the
indweller of men's hearts and the Spirit which exerts influence on the whole earth.
In Genesis, we see the picture
of the Spirit of God hovering over the waters of the earth, being God's creative force in the universe (Genesis 1:2). This
Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, was released onto and into the first Christians at Pentecost, just as Jesus personally had
promised them in Acts 1:5. This story is given in Acts chapter 2 and following. The followers of Jesus and all the new converts
shared a dynamic life, full of activity very similar to that ofJesus: healing, preaching, teaching, and growing in God by
the Holy Spirit (read Acts!). There is no reason to assume this way of life ended with them, as millions of Christians worldwide
experience this kind of ministry today.
Here are the characteristics and actions of the Holy Spirit:
every believer (Matthew 3:11, Psalm 51:11, Luke 11:13, Acts 2:38, 2 Corinthians 5:5) 2. Empowers us to do acts greater than
that of Jesus (Romans 8:26). 3. Gives the peace of God. He is the Comforter (2 Peter 1:21). 4. Enables the believer to understand
the Bible (1 Corinthians 2:10, 14). 5. Acts powerfully and specifically in the lives of Christians, at specific times for
specific reasons and purposes (2 Thessalonians 2:13, Galatians 5:22). This is a re-filling, which happens consistently as
we allow it. 6. He is the Counselor (John 14:26).
1. Love - action word describing affection, desire for another's
commitment to someone 2. Joy - deep contentment and happiness that is not dependent upon circumstances 3. Peace -
calm resolve that everything will be okay and work out for the best 4. Patience - waiting without desperation or freaking
out 5. Kindness - acts toward others that benefit them 6. Goodness - desiring good things for self and others, not bad 7.
Faithfulness - true to one person or God without wavering 8. Gentleness - not abrasive, demanding, or selfish in action or
word 9. Self control - able to keep from doing wrong and able to do right things
Yikes! Big list of what we all need,
eh? Ultimately, these traits are what every
person in this world wants to have and to be shown to them. If this were to
happen, we'd live in a new world. Let's begin with ourselves! This lasting fruit is only possible through the Spirit of God,
the Holy Spirit. Use the definitions provided above for these nine things and ask God to begin to work them into your life.
Some of them come by hard trial and determination with cooperation with God, so don't be discouraged. Find a mature Christian
that displays these things and ask them to help you walk it out. Read Galatians, especially chapter five, and see how the
early church did.
This song covers one area of splinteringı in each of itsı three verses.
1. The pain of taking
up your cross 2. The pain of mentally being unable to figure things out 3. The pain of Jesus as the church body divides itself
up Your Cross Daily
Read Luke 9:23 and Matthew 10:38-39.
What is your cross? What does taking it up mean?
cross you bear is the place where you daily give your desires and your way of life over to the direction and control of Jesus.
You essential die daily to the old self that would try to raise up and do things like your former way of life. See, when you
become a Christian, God takes the old person away and gives you a completely new nature. However, we must submit to the Lord
constantly and receive this new life as part of our thinking. Sometimes we will want to return to old ways of doing things,
but this is the cross where, although it is painful, we lay down ourselves and take on the new nature of Jesus that God has
placed in us. If we are baptized in water into Jesus, which is a fundamental tenet of Christian faith, we are buried with
Jesus into his death and resurrected with Him into new life (Romans 6, Colossians 2:12). It is a truth, not a feeling, and
taking up your cross is a way of seeing this dying in our daily lives.
The Mind of Christ
Having the mind of
Christ simply means thinking like Jesus, putting on the
thoughts of the most Holy and perfect man of all time, so in
tune with God that you act like Jesus did. This is a process of your will turning to Godıs will more and more and a transformation
takes place by the power of the Spirit (Philipians 3:19). See, our way of seeing things and acting prior to our conversion
to Christianity is always as ³looking through a glass darkly² (1 Corinthians 13:12). We may struggle to make sense of the
things of God but our natural mind is corrupt and deceitful in all its ways (Romans 8:6-7a, 12:2). We lay this struggle down
when we receive the mind of Christ and discipline ourselves to let Him rule in all we do.
Body of Christ
we do to break up the church, what God intended as the body or bride of Christ, to be spotless and without wrinkle for his
return. (Psalm 133:1)
1. Racial hatred (Galatians 3:28) 2. Denominational hatred and jealousy (1
Ephesians 5:30, 1 Timothy 1:5-7) 3. Slander other believers (Leviticus 19:16, Titus 3:2) 4. Too relaxed with the standards
of the Word (compromise on essentials) (2 Timothy 2:15) 5. Lack of prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
See, the church is
not a building or a service or even a single person as some
would define it. The church is the universal body of true believers
who move and grow together up into the head of the body, that is Jesus Christ! The church is the advancing hand of God on
our planet, destined for triumph and victory over darkness in this world and to usher in the light of the kingdom of God and
present a spotless people to the King and Creator!
Hey You, I Love Your Soul
God has called us as Christians to love the face of hate. This love has no bounds and cannot be swayed by
hate or convenience. Read Acts 6-7. This account of Stephen speaks about a love so strong that at the moment of death he can
ask God not to hold their sins against them! (Acts 7:60) This tells us two things: 1. Stephen was more radical than I am.
2. If we are to change the world we need to start with a strong, unchanging, radical love that won't fall in the heat of confrontation!
Jesus' love was like this and is the first account of someone strong enough to ask God to forgive those who were killing
him. (Luke 23:34) The awesome thing is, it's you and me that he forgives, because it's our sin that he died for! The best
part of all this is that God does not hold our sins against us! (2 Corinthians 5:19) Even though we beat him, spat on him,
whipped him, tore the flesh off his back, placed a crown of thorns on his head, made him carry his own cross, and nailed him
to it, he loves our soul and calls us his children. Our God is truly beautiful and amazing!
Skillet do: Pray this
from your heart: God, I pray that I can be deep enough and strong enogh to love like you do. Help me change to be more like
The song Deeper talks about a person that is trying to keep the hurt and anger in his/her life from God and
just bury it in their own power. This person is lying to him/herself in the fact that you cannot just hide things inside and
expect them to heal themselves and not affect your life. The Bible says in Hebrews 4:13 that, "Nothing in all creation is
hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." That
is the chorus line, "Everything I bury gets exhumed," in other words, it gets dug back up by God. We have to deal with our
pain and give it over to God or it destroys us inside. God knows this and is gracious enough to not let us hide things from
Jesus himself said, "For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will
not be known or brought out into the open." (Luke 8:17) In the song, the person has to realize that this complete openess
to the truth of Jesus and the searching heart of God is the real strength, not the burying of weakness. We should substitute
our weakness for God's strength. See 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, in which Jesus says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power
is made perfect in weakness." And Paul goes on, "I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power
may rest on me. When I am weak, then I am strong."
This is the giving over of our emotions and weaknesses and hiding
in God that Deeper talks of, turning the idea of burying our feelings inside ourselves to burying ourselves in God.
Your Love [Keeps Me Alive]
Read Psalm 63. To thirst for God - is it something we want to drink merely for pleasure or entertainment,
or to pass time? Certainly not! We thirst for God because without him we will die. We thirst for God because he is all that
can satisfy our parched lips. Everything else is salty water. Do you want to be a man or woman who thirsts for God? Do you
want to be a mighty person for God in your generation? Or just another Christian T-shirt-wearing Christian who may know the
Bible but isn't passionate about Jesus?
I want to thirst for God's love like one who knows that if I don't get it
I am going to die because this love is the reason I live. Why do you live? I challenge you to live every day thirsting for
God - your life will change if you seek him like you would seek water in a desert. To find him is to find his love and that
is real life.
I can remember when my mom died (I was 16) and I faced the question of whether I would blame God for
it or not. My whole world seemed to crash in all at once; my foundations, my understanding, and my reason. Still I never got
angry at God because above all I knew one thing for sure-God is good. Even though everything is falling, He stands strong
because He is faithful! His faithfulness is such that King David says, "Your love reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness
to the skies!" (Psalm 36:5)
The apostle Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 3:11 that no other foundation can be laid besides
Christ because it will crumble. Also, in Matthew 24:35 Jesus said that, "heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will
never pass away." This shows that we should build on the faithful foundation of Christ-the only one that will never pass away!
The foundation of entire belief is that we have life through Christ's death and we must believe in God's faithfulness
to save us!
Skillet do: Read Psalm 89:1-29. Declare to yourself and to God your trust in him because he is faithful.
Why don't you sing along with Skillet as we worship God?
Many Christians are not willing to pour out their whole lives to Jesus. It is a sad thing because these people
are always miserable. Maybe your life is that way. Read John 12:1-11. In this story of worship, this woman poured everything
that she had saved out onto Jesus' feet. If your jar is filled with everything that you are, are you willing to pour it all
out at Jesus' feet or not?
I believe that it is our most beautiful worship to God that everything - completely everything
that we are - is emptied out at his feet and in precious, intimate movements we continually bring our lives to be poured out.
This is why it is our loss and gain, because our loss is our giving to God but what we gain is so much more than we could
imagine or possibly deserve! To gain freedom, life, peace, joy, and eternal life, it's no real loss. (Philippians 3:7-11)
Suspended In You
Suspended in You presents the big picture of God and Jesus being the center of the universe and our coming
into God as being a streching experience rather than a confining moment.
The hugeness of God is shown so many times
in the Bible, but a couple of great scriptures are Isaiah 6:3 ("the whole earth is full of his glory") and the whole beginning
of Psalm 104, which talks of his stretching out the heavens like a tent and holding up the entire world in his majesty. Definitely
read these fully.
The part we sometimes forget is that we are given fullness of life in Jesus when we are born again
in him (John 10:10). That is no small thing. We become one with the one who created the universe, who holds it all together!
Check out this incredible portion of scripture as interpreted in The Message:
"We look at this Son and we see the
God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, above and
below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels- everything got started in him and finds its purpose in
him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes
to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body. He was supreme in the beginning and-leading the
resurrection parade-he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So
spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the
broken and dislocated pieces of the universe-people and things, animals and atoms-get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant
harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross."
That says it all-we are suspended
in Jesus, stretched to fit in our place in his kingdom, or government, of the universe, not pushed into a corner where we
Philipians 2:12 says, "...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." As we get serious
about our walk with God we continually become more aware that our lives are not our own. God asks for it all, and sometimes
we don't want to give it all!
My prayer is for the Lord to take everything of mine that I call "mine" and not his and count
it as a sacrfice to him! Romans 12:1 says to offer our body as living sacrifices to the Lord, that we will be transformed.
As we offer our lives up to God and he brings fire to them, then all that remains is him.
Our salvation requires that
everything that isn't pleasing to God be burned away. The more that is burned the more we can see who God really is! This
is the good news-that Christ died to give us true life. Even though we didn't taste death as Jesus did, we taste a spiritual
death by killing our old self after we give our life to Jesus. (Phillipians 3:10)
Skillet do: Reread Phillipans 3:7-11
and Romans 6 and the lyrics to Take and examine your life.
In the song Coming Down, we are offerred a view of the world and the kingdom of God unlike anything we have
ever imagined. A world totally regenerated in Christ, full of peace, judgement of wrong, unity of the church and all nations
and people under the head of the creator, and a deep filling of ourselves in the purposes of the king of the universe. It
is an offer we cannot ignore, because, as the song says, it IS happening! It is not for the future only, God is moving in
his plans now on the earth, and the children of God are at the center of it!
Specifically, racism cannot be a part
of God's government (1 Corinthians 12:12), the harvest of people being made ready for God's goverment is ripe (Matthew 9:27,
John 4:35), and the people of God have been given the "keys to the kingdom" now. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus says we have been
given the keys and that "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed
in heaven." This means we have a responsibility and purpose in our world-to do the things the Father does, being in all ways
Christ-like! We have power to bring God's rule to our lives and those around us!
But the key is in the chorus, as
explained further in 1 Corinthians 12:13, "...we were all given the one Spirit to drink." The Holy Spirit has the power to
make the change in our world through us. Jesus himself told us, "...whoever drinks the water I give him (the promised Holy
Spirit) will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
So the drawing of the Spirit of God into ourselves, the calling upon of the gracious power of the Living God for his life
and purpose, makes us open the way to see the universe act out the plan of the creator, not just in the future but in our
Over and over God reveals his kingdom to us in the Bible. It is for us to see, to grasp, to act, to celebrate
the goodness of the God who made us all!
Imagine that on any fine day, unexpectantly clouds and massive winds began forming and came to sweep your
world away! In the song Whirlwind, God is described as this powerful force, and we have to deal with the imminent coming of
the storm. As the whirlwind approaches I begin to fear. Although fear is not normally looked upon as a positive reaction,
it is necessary for comprehending truth. (Proverbs 1:7) The truth is that when we come into contact with God, we come into
contact with someone so much larger than ourselves that we should be terrified.
The whirlwind is not, however, just
about fearing God, but it is about trusting in Him alone. It's about freely jumping into His capable hands and knowing that
He is in control. If we can believe that God created the universe with words from his mouth, then surely we can believe and
trust Him with our lives. Trusting God means that you'll stop running from Him, fall on your knees, and surrender your life
Skillet do: Read Hebrews 12:23-29.
Dive Over In
Dive Over In is a simple call to give all of yourself to God. There are basically two issues in this song:
fear and abandonment, or loss.
The fear is broken in the seeking of the Lord (changing the thinking) as in Psalm 34:4
(you might note verse 5 as well!). In this seeking we find our loss of our lives and the gain of life in Jesus is the return
for giving up our fears. Jesus said, "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will
save it." (Luke 9:24) Now, this "loss" is nothing like we think of loss. Anything surrendered to Jesus will bring good fruit.
The apostle Paul beautifully describes this loss and gain in Philippians 1:20-26, as also described in the song Pour.
believers, we receive a new life in Christ unlike anything else in the world. Our old way of doing things and being HAS passed
away. We simply cannot continue in old patterns of life and "stand on the edge" of all God has provided for us in himself
and expect to be fulfilled. We were made for completing in Jesus, let us dive over in and be made whole!
In what areas of your life are you "standing on the edge" of what God would have you do or be? Is fear holding you back? Lack
of discipleship? Pride? Search your heart and give up anything in you that doesn't agree with what God says about you in the
Bible. Now, dive over in!
Scarecrow is a three part look at a Christian life allegorically using the scarecrow image. First, the scarecrow
is separated from God by sin (dirty clothes) as we all are (Romans 3:23). Like everyone, the scarecrow must count the cost
of following Jesus (Luke 14:28) and let go of fear of approaching God and even comfort and safety of what he knows as the
"normal life." He does in fact open up to drink the Spirit of God (see 1 Corinthians 12:13) and God leaves nothing unchanged
in him, instead giving him fullness in his self.
In our own lives, we can see apprehension at letting God have all
of us, but we really cheat ourselves in this, because God is so ready to give us a life full of joy and peace and equip us
with the divine power to live a life of godliness and sinlessness. (See 2 Peter 1, especially verse 3)
scarecrow sees God moving but simply watches, living his life on the sideline. In the final verse, he is on the tree, next
to Jesus on the cross and knowing his own hatred and unforgiveness toward people, is amazed at the words of Jesus (who had
so much more reason to hate his accusers) from Luke 23:34, "Father, forgive them, for do not know what they are doing."
this final realization he cries out for the fullness of life in God and submission to serve Jesus, as he has seen the one
person in the whole world that was willing to serve man unto death for all the sins and complacency and separation from God
that he could do. For only such a man as Jesus is worth giving your whole life for.
Its so exciting to think that even though our stores are filled with books, music and clothes that contradict
Gods word and fail to bring glory to Him, that Gods kingdom continues to advance! Sometimes, we can look at the world we live
in and feel like its a lost cause. The influences of mans selfishness and hunger for self glorification seem to have infested
every aspect of life - how will God be glorified through all that seems to be going on? Answer; through you and me invading
the earth in the authority of sons of God. Awesome!! When we look at the world we do not lose hope. In fact, we must not lose
hope because only by realizing that Gods kingdom is truly advancing, will we be confident in fearlessly marching to reclaim
Gods turf. The truth is that the earth is the Lords, and everything thats in it, the world and all who live in it; for he
founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. Our confidence in Gods word will motivate us to live the life
God predestined for each and every one of us to advance His Kingdom rule! Our generation will be like an army of committed
soldiers who realize that the whole world is Gods and He shall rule it, just the same as He rules heaven. This is already
true, but we long to see the evidence of this awesome reality in our families, friendships, communities and the whole earth!
Regardless of race, upbringing, past failures, or anything that the world uses to exclude people, God does no such thing.
He made us the way we are to slot into His amazing army, through which He will extend His rule all over the world.
Kingdom is not limited, nor is it out there in some abstract religious theology! Through sometimes small and gradual changes
in our attitudes, actions and words, as the Holy Spirit tweaks, Gods Kingdom gains more and more ground. Even something like
picking up litter is advancing Gods Kingdom because you are bringing His order. A helpful way to be an Invader of Gods Kingdom
is to look at the situation you are in and think, If this was a section of Gods kingdom, would it look like this? Would I
say this? Would I allow that person to be hungry when I have two burgers, even though I will never see them again? Gods Kingdom
changes the deepest parts of people. Its not just our surroundings that change, its the very hearts of our fellow man. Join
the army thats arising and invade the earth with the powerful rule of God!!
You Are My Hope
Throughout our whole lives there are things that happen that cause us to feel desperate, alone
or confused. Sometimes it can be the slightest change to what has always been the norm, or something that everyone else thinks
is small, but it throws our whole life out of whack. Those things arent small to God. God doesnt see the size of our problems
as an issue, but He does see our problems. Psalm 10:14 says, But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to
take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. One of the most amazing things about
God is that even though He is far above us and made this whole world, He still comes to us intimately and personally. He is
the hope of the whole earth... and the hope of every individual in it. It can be hard sometimes to remain strong and be in
faith when we feel like were sinking and there is no hope, but God is there. Hope is there. How reassuring to finally believe
that God knows exactly whats going on in our lives from every angle. No one else in the world can see what goes on inside
us when we go through difficult times, but God knows us better than we even know ourselves! There is no one else who we can
trust like Him or who will thoroughly understand like Him. Where we lack, He fills the gap. Not only is He there and able
to be our strength (and He really is our strength!), but as the Psalmist wrote, we commit ourselves and our problems to Him;
we keep holding onto Him. He is our hope in every circumstance, big or small and therefore when things happen and we find
ourselves in desperation, we need to run to God right away, even when we dont think its going to make any difference or we
are too upset. Its like being a child who gets a splinter and rather than going to their father who can tenderly and effectively
remove it, stands looking at their wound not able to do anything. We go to Him and throw ourselves in utter dependancy on
Him and believe that His strong fatherly hand will deal with whatever needs to be dealt with. God is more than able; He is
loving, trustworthy and strong. These are not just poetic, emotional words, God really does provide joy, strength, forgiveness
and hope every day as His right hand upholds us. We are His children and He loves us so much. We can stand firm as He guards
us in the hope He provides.
Skillet do: Examine your life and point out any areas where you're trusting in
and striving in your own efforts, where worry and stress are dominating. Take that focus off of yourself and what you can
or can't do and focus on the God through which all things are possible. Read some of your favorite Bible stories, such as
the accounts of David and Goliath, Moses parting the Red Sea, or Joshua at the Battle of Jericho-- and let's not forget the
ENTIRE book of Acts! Remember while you're reading these incredible accounts that the God who has made them so incredible
is the same God that you are priveleged to know and serve today. Awesome!
Eating Me Away
Everyone who has not put their faith in Jesus and been brought into fellowship with Him
has an emptiness inside. Though it is rarely identified for what it actually is, every person experiences this void before
Jesus saves them. Gods Word says that He has placed eternity in the hearts of men (Ecc 3:11). We all have this inbuilt desire
for life and permanence, we were created for eternity. People try in different ways to fill up the deep desire inside of them,
some in more drastic ways than others. Our generation is desperate enough to go further in finding this fulfillment than those
of generations before us. If they are honest with themselves and dissatisfied enough to express the fact that they are empty
inside, they begin on an adventure to discover what will satisfy this lack they know is eating them away. Gradually, as people
grow deeper and deeper into numbness, their desperation turns into anger at the world they were born into. The desire to be
accepted and fulfilled by anyone and anything grows and changes until what began as simply dabbling into new experiences becomes
an unbreakable pattern of life. They spiral down, becoming more and more desperate for the one thing that will satisfy this
yearning for something eternal.
There are so many young people who have been caught in the traps of drugs, addictions,
wrong relationships, and they all remain unfulfilled. People knowingly demolish their bodies for the sake of fun even though
the highs of the drugs dont outweigh the crashing come downs. They self-diagnose, explaining away their numbness in going
through abortions, their phobias and lack of motivation to live, all in attempt to redeem their sense of identity. In order
to find the answer, they fire questions about Gods existence to religious people, only to be met with condemnation and distaste.
To every new experience, they scream out, Save me! Save me from my life! Surely this cannot be my legacy, how did my life
end up like this? All day they are faced with others caught in the same web of depression and insignificance. Everywhere around
them they see destruction of, and yet need for, relationships. Even though they are still in their teens they speak about
their regret in wasting their life and yet fail to move out of it, for fear of the world in which they see people consistently
lacking just like they are.
Matthew 9:10-13 says, While Jesus was having dinner at Matthews house, many tax collectors
and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, Why does your
teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners? On hearing this, Jesus said, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the
sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.
The generation we were born into is screaming out for God and yet it is easy to become so focused on our own lives
that people experiencing this unfulfilment are pushed into the deepest corner of our minds. We feel intimidated by people
so different from us and yet claim to be Alien ourselves. Young people are making suicidal attempts every single day and we
have the answer. All it takes is an expression of love and acceptance to our peers and to boldness to step into their lives
just like Jesus did during his life. Jesus spent time with the outcasts, with the people who were steeped in obvious sin.
He went to those people confidently because He knew that through Himself he could set them free from their captivity. We have
to extend grace towards those who might put up a defensive front, and be willing to get our hands dirty sometimes.
have great news for our peers. Jesus came to seek and to save what was lost (see Luke 19:10). Jesus will forgive every sin
no matter how bad or shocking it seems to us. Sin is sin to God whether it is a lustful thought or a murderous act and Jesus
blood shed is enough to cover it all. We must tell people about this wonderful salvation and direct them to the Lord so they
can repent and receive forgiveness. God is more than able to heal any wounds that were caused in the past and completely restore
people to wholeness. So, lets not be exclusive in preaching the gospel but reach all people, whatever their lifestyle, leading
them to real fulfillment.
Kill Me, Heal Me
Have you ever noticed how, even though you are a Christian, there are still patterns
of wrong behavior that exist in your life? Even though we are born again as New Creations, all of us still struggle with the
flesh, old habits that still need to be dealt with as we daily pick up our cross and follow Jesus. Often, it is merely the
desire for comfort or an easy life that robs us of living obediently to God. Our western culture drives our generation to
live in convenience and ease, but this attitude of laziness and self gratification contradicts how God instructs us to live
in the Bible.
God is so gracious in His dealings with us, even though every single day we can fail to live full-out
for Him, because we don't want to deny our fleshy cravings. Praise God that He is full of grace towards us, He sent Jesus
to die for our sins and rise from the dead, our guilt has been taken away and our sins are forgiven. God placed the punishment
for our sins onto Jesus and removed all condemnation from us. We have been reconciled to God and all bondage to sin is demolished!
All this motivates us to want to live the life for which He has called us, as Alien Youth in the world. Just imagine how different
a people would be who are not interested in gratifying their flesh, but are fully committed to serving God all the time despite
the fact that their flesh screams out for food, for pleasure, for rest. Even though those things are fine, (we have to eat
and sleep, etc.) it is so easy to allow those things to become the steering force behind our lives, rather than our spiritual
hunger for God's Kingdom advancing. Our fleshiness is ugly next to Gods pure holiness. But when we come before Him with sincerity
of heart, He crucifies all that is of ourselves, cleanses us and restores us, not to the old way we were, but to be more like
Paul was an amazing example of someone who knew what it was to deny himself for the sake of the gospel. He
said, "...I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death
again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once
I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move....
I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food;
I have been cold and naked..." (2 Corinthians 11:23-29). Paul was a man who laid down all of his life everyday and put his
flesh to death so that God would be glorified.
We too are here for purpose and every day need to make the most of
opportunities to kill the flesh, (remembering that we were crucified with Christ and no longer live anyway) and motivated,
like Paul, by the grace of God, pressing on as if to receive first prize in a race. There's a bigger purpose for our lives
than we often acknowledge, and in order for God to kill everything in us that needs to die, our focus is not to be on ourselves,
but to be willing for the sometimes painful process of being broken... and then reset again. It is not to become righteous
that we live like this, because we were made righteous by the grace of God when we were born again. Our goal is that we will
decrease so that He will increase, that we become empty vessels so that all that flows out of us is Him, that as we live by
the Spirit, we will stop gratifying the desires of the flesh. Alien Youth will display Jesus through their lives more than
themselves as God kills and heals them continually.
The Thirst Is Taking Over
Just because we are Christians, doesn't necessarily mean we are immediately submerged into the
deepest depths of our relationship with God. Often, Christians just enter the water and never become thoroughly drowned in
His presence. But this absolute drenching is exactly what we need... continually. Authentic worship and tangible experiences
of God are so significant if we are to be Alien to this world. Knowing God in this way is our only real satisfaction, He is
our life source and without Him we cease to function rightly. In the Psalms, we see examples of those who continually sought
after God and declared their thirst for Him ("As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My
soul thirsts for God, for the living God, when can I go and meet with God?" - Psalm 42:1-2), expressing joy and gladness in
finding the One they ran after.
Before God submerges us deeper into Himself, we have to be thirsty for Him.
looks for people who are dissatisfied with the depth to which they already know Him and who have this urgency for more captivating
them. There is a longing for God that grows within us as we taste the goodness of His presence more and more. We realize our
complete weakness without Him and want Him to consume us, to extend within us and in pure desire, pant after Him until the
richness of His satisfying presence brings us to our knees. God is so faithful to those who recognize their need for Him and
who cry out to Him in complete repentance and desperation. He takes those people to new depths in Him.
To people who
reach to Him, He cleanses; to those who stop living to please
others, He redirects their focus; to many who have been in
a dry place, He restores passion. We need to pray for this thirst that cannot be satisfied by anything but God to increase.
Once we recognize that we were created to know God in this deep way, once we are obsessed by the beauty of Gods presence,
and Gods presence alone, we will be unable to do anything but live radically for our Lord.
Skillet do: Determine to
spend at least 20 min. with God today! Not just getting
into the Word and praying, though you should do these things as
well, but just take time out of your day to worship Him, to spend time waiting and listening in His Presence. Even if you
don't feel like it, just ask God to increase your thirst for Him. He will. He has a lot to say to you if you take the time
One Real Thing
I love that even though things in our lives are always changing, God stays the same.
As circumstances around us change, they move us to get to know God in new ways. We have all been through times when we tried
to look for the answer in different outlets such as magazines, other peoples advice or even just trying to figure it out on
our own, but nothing solves the concerns that we have - at least not on a long term basis. When we finally turn to God, He
always is the answer. In Psalm 23, David (a man whose life was riddled with inconsistent situations) expressed his security
in knowing God: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside
quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through
the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me...
knew that Jesus was the one real thing, in Matthew 16:16, he says, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God". He saw
Jesus meeting people in their needs wherever he went: healing the sick (Mark 7:32-35), driving out demons (Luke 4:33-37) raising
the dead (Luke 7:11-17), forgiving the sinners (Mark 2:1-12) and speaking life into people with no hope (John 4:7-26). Peter
realized that this man he was following was the one answer to every single human heart. Imagine what it must have been like
to walk and talk with Jesus and see him outworking the Father's will everywhere he went! Jesus calmed the storm, he caused
abundant fish to leap into the fishermen's net, he fed thousands of people with a meager portion of food. By his life on earth,
he demonstrated that he was the one real thing!
Jesus is the same today as he was in Biblical times, he is still able
to meet all of our needs and demonstrate his miraculous power in our day to day activities. God chooses to speak to us and
to be intricately involved with our lives. Sometimes, people cant believe that this fact is true for them and feel too worthless
to even imagine that God would want to speak to them or reach out to them and heal or forgive them. God loves everybody with
an equal love though, and His love is not just a puny trickle, it is a gushing, ever flowing stream! No matter who we are
or where we are from, God is the one true thing. If you feel far away from God, or that you dont know Him as your all sufficient
Lord, pray to Him and ask Him to reveal Himself to you in that intimate way. Those who know God in this close way still go
through hard times, but they know that God will bring them into peace, He will speak His word clearly and as they trust their
Shepherd, they will experience His great faithfulness again. They join with Peter in saying, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You
have the words of eternal life..." (John 6:68)
When God infuses eternal life into the spirit of a man, the man becomes a member of a new and higher
order of being. (A.W. Tozer)
When we put our faith in Jesus, we were transformed from mere men without power or authority
in the spiritual realms, to those whose lives are encapsulated in the Almighty, Sovereign, All-powerful God!
wrote in Colossions 3:1-3 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. He was saying, Let your focus be consistent with who you are and your view be in line with where you are.
Because this incredible reality has occurred in our lives, it is so important that we stop thinking like the old man, bound
by finite ideas and temporary concepts, and begin to think in accordance with who we are in Christ. Jesus was raised up above
every power and authority. We dont doubt that he has everything under his feet and yet, if we are with him in God, doesnt
this mean that we too are placed in a position of authority over the powers of this age? Yes, it does! We are alien to this
world because we are from another place, we are foreigners to the way this place is run and our characteristics are born out
of the place we are citizens: Heaven. Even though from the outside, our appearance might not be altered, inside something
amazing has taken place. When we gave our lives to the Lord, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead began to flow
through our veins.
But what was the purpose behind empowering people like us and what are we to do with it? To the
Ephesians, Paul wrote His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the
rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our
Lord. (Ephesians 3:10-11). Through the church, through us the Redeemed, God determined to display His rule over all things.
When Jesus died on the cross, he obliterated all the principalities of the enemy, totally disarming the devil. He empowered
us, giving us the incredible mandate to reestablish Gods authority throughout the world. We are stronger than the devil and
therefore when we resist him, he has to flee. For the creatures made in His own image, this was Gods intention right from
Creation (see Genesis 1:28). From the time when Adam and Eve sinned, Romans 8:19 says that creation itself has been waiting
in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed in this way!
So how do we begin outworking this truth in our
own lives? Before we can have authority, we must submit to God. The first time we confessed Jesus as Lord of our lives, the
transition of our being took place and we were plunged into this position of authority in Jesus. As we continue to walk our
lives out in submission to God, the things of the flesh that would usually distract us, cannot sway us, and natural fears
and uncertainties become negligible. We realize the awesome authority that God has given to us as joint heirs with Jesus and
start to walk in the intention God had for His Church right from the beginning. Ephesians 1:18-21 says, I pray also that the
eyes of of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his
glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of
his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly
realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age
but also in the one to come.
What exciting days to live in! We can know the incomparable power of the Spirit within
us, smash down spiritual strongholds with our prayers and live in the fullness of this glorious inheritance as sons of God.
Beneath our outer appearance of creatures lower than angels, in Christ, we have been raised above and can defeat the devil
in all situations, because we ARE stronger, reestablishing Gods authority in the universe. Let's do it!
Rippin Me Off
In Colossians 2:8-10, Paul wrote See to it that no one takes you captive through
hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head
over every power and authority.
In school and college, we are bombarded on every side by supposed facts that are directly
in conflict with what the Bible says. One of the biggest areas we see this in, is the teaching of evolution, but this is not
the only focus the enemy has used to challenge God's Word. We see in Genesis that the first thing the devil says to Eve in
order to deceive and tempt her was Did God really say... (Genesis 3:10). He twists God's Word so that it sounds narrow-minded
to be utterly convinced that its truth in all perfection. However, our societies are plain examples of how, by not taking
Gods word as absolute, the demise of this world has taken place. It's time to take a stand and refuse to be wishy-washy in
our convictions about God.
Read Job 38.
Not only are we being ripped off by failing to stand by God's Word, but
it is also utterly conceited for man to think that human wisdom is above God's, when all of our wisdom comes from Him in the
first place (verse 36)! The wisdom of Almighty God far surpasses even the questions of any philosopher (verses 19-20). How
He must laugh at the wisdom of man, when His wisdom is pure and infinite. Any wisdom that we can have is at most a reflection
of a part of Gods wisdom, and all foolishness in comparison to His wisdom, in which He is perfect.
God's wisdom is
the root to all truth, and by not adhering to God's Word as absolute, we are on a gradual slope to atheism. This is because
in saying that God isn't responsible for Creation and all his works, His wisdom and sovereignty are nullified. Therefore,
let's not be ripped off by the limited and contaminated wisdom of man, but let's stick to the Word of God and encourage other
Christians around us in these areas - as any unified army would.
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,
for he who promised is faithful...Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage
one another - and all the more as we see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:23,25)