Altogether New Life #2 – Gather Your Resources

green_leaf_buds_and_dew_closeup_highdefinition_picture_169119When you are on and adventure, it is crucial that you prepare for danger and take the right resources with you. Here’s an example of a real warning sign at Fort Steele Campground in British Columbia:

Due to the frequency of human-bear encounters, the B. C. Fish and Wildlife Branch is advising hikers, hunters, fishermen, and any persons that use the out-of-doors in a recreational or work related function to take extra precautions while in the field.

We advise the outdoorsman to wear little noisy bells on clothing so as to give advance warning to any bears that might be close by so you don’t take them by surprise.

We also advise anyone using the out-of doors to carry “Pepper Spray” with him in case of an encounter with a bear. Outdoorsmen should also be on the watch for fresh bear activity, and be able to tell the difference between black bear feces and grizzly bear feces.

Black bear feces is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur.

Grizzly bear feces has bells in it and smells like pepper.

You need to file that information in the “Good to know category!”

Look at this promise in God’s Word: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. . .” I Peter 1:3

Christianity comes with the promise that our Father will supply all of our needs according to the full inheritance that has been given to His Son, Jesus (Philippians 4:19). As has been already described in this booklet, four of the most important resources that God will supply are the Holy Spirit, prayer, the Bible and Christ-like friends. Let’s take some time to explore these precious resources. My hope is that as you read and share together in the coming days, Jesus will help you to gather all the resources you need!

The Holy Spirit

This is what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit:

“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth” (John 14:15,16).

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:12,13).

When you received salvation, you received all of the Holy Spirit. You were born of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5). You were sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). And you were baptized into the family of God by the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13). God’s goal for you is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Here is the offer: If we give God our all, we can experience His all! That’s amazing, isn’t it?

So the question is not “Do I have all of the Holy Spirit?” The question is “Does the Holy Spirit have all of me?”

Over 30+ years of ministry, I have had the privilege of traveling to a lot of places to preach. I have stayed in more homes than I could ever count. In almost every home, the owner would say the same thing to me: “I want you to make yourself at home.” I am convinced that people don’t really mean that. They don’t really know what I am like at home! OK, let me just speak for myself. I don’t mean it when I say it. I mean: “There are certain parts of this house that have been set aside for you. Here is your room, the bathroom you can use, your towels, etc.” I don’t mean that you can come into the master bedroom. I don’t mean that you can fiddle around in our dresser drawers. I don’t even mean that I want you to sit in the recliner, that’s my chair. And if we are watching TV, I certainly don’t mean that you can hold the remote!

You are a guest and I really expect that you will act like a guest.

That’s what most of us do when we come to Jesus. We welcome Him into our lives and tell Him: “Jesus, make Yourself at home.” But we really don’t mean it. We mean that there are certain places in our lives where He is welcome and other places where He isn’t.

To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to allow the Spirit of Jesus to get into every room in the home of our life. Even more, it is to take the title deed to our life and sign it over! We give Him all that we have so that He can fill every last cubic inch of it. He can fill every room, every closet, every nook and cranny. When this happens, we are filled. We can have the mind of Christ, the character of Christ and the power of Christ. We can have a spirit of wisdom and revelation, the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit for ministry.

Prayer

Right now, as you read this, someone is using Google to search billions of websites in a matter of seconds. That’s right, I said billions! But do you want to see something that is even more magnificent?

The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”  2 Chronicles 16:9

God is initiating the possibility of prayer in each and every one of us right now. He’s searching for you, because He wants to strengthen your heart. We have only scratched the surface of what God intends for us in prayer. But things are changing. . .

God is establishing a movement of prayer all over the earth. Jesus declared that His Father’s house (the Church) would be a house of prayer for all nations (Mark 11:17). We will become what Jesus declared us to be. And many are giving their lives to see that we become a praying Church.

Why do we pray? It works. Righteous prayers are effective and powerful (James 5:16). We pray because it deepens our intimacy with Jesus. In Ephesians 2, Jesus invites us to be seated with Him on His throne of intercession. Isn’t the intimacy of that imagery beautiful? We are seated with Him, close enough to hear His whisper. But do you know the best reason to pray? Jesus is worthy! If we never received another healing or gift from Him, if we never heard another word from Him, He is worthy of our night and day prayer. Oh the beauty of this Man.

You are on an adventure. We have been given more than an AAA road map. We have something better than a GPS devise with an obnoxious voice that is constantly telling you to “make a u-turn if possible.” We have access, 24/7, to Jesus Himself in prayer.

The Bible

The Bible was written by people of diverse backgrounds: shepherds, farmers, fishermen, doctors and scholars. The writing spanned over a period of 1,500 years. And yet it has one uniting theme: a loving God who is reconciling man and His creation back to Himself. Lesslie Newbigin writes: (The Bible) is an interpretation of the whole of history from the creation to its end, and of the human story within that creation.”

The Bible is so much more than a history or interpretation. It is alive. God breathed it, or inspired it, and He continues to breathe through it today.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16

In Acts 1, we are called to be witnesses for Jesus. In the Old Testament, Israel was called to be God’s witness (Isaiah 44:8). It will be crucial that we stand in this role as we approach the return of Jesus Christ. To be a witness is not just being willing to share our faith. A faithful witness for God has a deep level of intimacy and a strong grounding in Scripture. A witness maintains a life of prayer and studies God’s Word. How tragic it will be to come to the last days and know the love of Jesus, but not be able to cross reference the truth of the Bible with the events of the evening news.

You must grasp this divine, inspired, authoritative resource as a witness of Jesus Christ. You must study the Bible to show yourself approved by God (2 Timothy 2:15).

Christ-like Friends

We live in a culture that prizes individualism and treasures privacy. We care more about how fast we can do something than who we encounter in the process. We are known for our “Drive Thru’s.” Did you know that we have drive thru funeral parlors now? It was reported in the NY Times! A tag line for the funeral home is: “Pay your respects from the comfort of your car!”

Something is terribly wrong. We are self-sufficient, but we are isolated. Our privacy is intact, but we are lonely. We get things done fast, but we are broken.

God never intended for it to be this way. I will focus a whole chapter on being committed to community. For now, let me just remind you of this: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). The original language of the New Testament is Greek. In those original documents, this verse is a little different. One word is missing. . . “only.” The literal translation is pretty radical: “Each of you should not look to your own interests, but even the interests of others.”

Wait a minute. Can that really mean that? What will happen to me if I don’t look out for number 1? What about being used? What about being a doormat? What about injustice? Are you saying that I am to be vulnerable?

Well, yes. You are to be vulnerable. But you are also meant to live this way in Christian community. And the community is meant to look out for injustice. The armor that we are given in Ephesians 6 doesn’t have any back gear. That is because we are meant to watch each other’s back in Christian community!

Larry Crabb writes:

When members of spiritual community reach a sacred place of vulnerability and authenticity, something is released. Something good begins to happen. An appetite for holy things is stirred. For just a moment, the longing to know God becomes intense, stronger than all other passions, worth whatever price must be paid for it. Spiritual togetherness, what I call connecting, creates movement: Togetherness in
Christ encourages movement toward Christ.
. . . Everything in spiritual community is reversed from the world’s order. It is our weakness, not our competence, that moves others; our sorrows, not our blessings, that break down the barriers of fear and shame that keep us apart; our admitted failures, not our paraded successes, that bind us together in hope.

This quote comes from a book with a truly great title: The Safest Place on Earth. What a great description of real spiritual community!

Find a group of Christ-like friends that you can be connected with. Together, explore the dynamite power of the Holy Spirit. Run to the Father together in prayer. Mine the spiritual gold of the Holy Bible. Together, you are a force to be reckoned with!

Scripture to study while listening to the Holy Spirit

In Luke 11:13, Jesus says that if earthly fathers know how to give good gifts to their children, how much more will the Heavenly Father give His Holy Spirit to His children who ask! As you study the following scriptures, believe that the Holy Spirit will give you wildly creative gifts to share with your mentor or your friends.

                  John 14-16

                  Ephesians 1, 3

                  Psalm 19

                  2 Timothy 1-4

An honest prayer from a fellow saint

Lord Jesus, we are silly sheep who have dared to stand before you and try to bribe you with our preposterous portfolios. Suddenly we have come to our senses. We are sorry and ask you to forgive us. Give us the grace to admit we are ragamuffins, to embrace our brokenness, to celebrate your mercy when we are at our weakest, to rely on your mercy no matter what we may do.

Dear Jesus, gift us to stop grandstanding and trying to get attention, to do the truth quietly without display, to let the dishonesties in our lives fade away, to accept our limitations, to cling to the gospel of grace, and to delight in your love. Amen.

Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel 

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