The Power of One Prayer

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Have you experienced the power of one prayer, which has the ability to transform your life?

That was the question that I posed to everyone at Illumination Church this past weekend, and for many reasons.

Unfortunately and all too often people will approach prayer like they do with brushing their teeth: they’ll go through the motions once or twice a day without really giving much thought to what they’re doing, why they’re doing it or the rewards of such an activity in their lives.  It’s just what they’ve grown up doing, but don’t really put much thought or intentionality into it.  Learned behavior?  Necessity? Whatever the case may be, prayer if and when it takes place is often just what it is, something that we do.

There’s good news in all of this!

Your prayer life doesn’t have to be like this.  No!  Instead, you can experience the power of one prayer that Jesus prayed, which radically transforms how you and I can approach prayer and in how we come to God.

 

Matthew 6:5-13 | NIV

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.  truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our FATHER in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.  
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we 
also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.”

Four questions from this weekend:

There are four questions from this weekend that I think is imperative that we address in our lives, specifically as it relates to our faith and how we view prayer.

1. What motivates you?

Jesus addresses the issue of motivation with prayer before he ever teaches us how to pray.  Jesus is incredibly clear on the things that we’re not to do when it comes to praying: “do not by the like the hypocrites…”
You see, the Pharisees were infamous for being dramatic in their public prayer life for their own benefit and personal gain.  Their motivation was on what others would think of them and what it could do for their political gain and personal power.  It had nothing to do with honoring God nor focusing on a right-relationship with Him.

In light of Jesus’ warning about how we ought not pray based on motivation, we must then ask ourselves and address this question in our personal prayer life – “what motivates me?”

If our motivation for prayer is anything other than growing in our relationship with God, honoring Him through obedience in worship through prayer and fixing our eyes on Him, we need to address matters of motivation and set our priorities straight.

2. Are you intentional in your prayer life?

The pagan practice of Jesus’ day was incredible – thousands and thousands of gods whom would receive useless babbling as “prayers” – people saying the same phrases over and over again in an attempt to somehow gain an advantage in their personal prayer life.  Heck, even the Pharisees were ridiculous in that they would keep a running record of who prayed, how long they prayed, what words they used, how the words were used, if they prayed the right way, etc.

This approach to prayer isn’t intentional at all.  In fact, it seems that it’s just the opposite.  Useless rambling that amounts to very little other than wasted breath and empty hope.

When we come to God in prayer, Jesus calls us to be ever-intentional about how we come to God; that we pray on purpose, with a purpose and for a purpose.

 

3. Are you into religion or a relationship with God?

According to Miriam-Webster’s Dictionary, religion is: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods.  All too often people confuse the practice of “religion” with a relationship with God.  We ought not make any mistake about it.  These two (religion and relationship) are worlds apart from one another.

Jesus was concerned with people who were just going through the motions of the ritualistic prayers and religious practices of the day, when he completely flipped the way people view prayer and can approach God in what I consider the power of one prayer.  You see, Jesus, when he taught his disciples how to pray, started off by addressing God as Father.  In Aramaic, which was the language Jesus would have used, the literal word used here is “Abba”, which when translated means, Daddy.  Only 14 times throughout all 39 books of the Old Testament was this term used (Hebrew: pater) for Father and it was only ever used in a National sense, never as an individual addressing God as Father.  In the New Testament, Jesus uses this type off address in prayer to God on 60 different occasions and in all but one of his prayers.  While this may not mean much at first glance, the significance of what Jesus’ did here is incredible.  He took something like prayer that was a part of religion and he made it personal, an opportunity to experience intimacy with God on our own as our Father; no longer needing to approach God through rights and rituals, through Levites and Priests.

In light of what Jesus did for us through the power of one prayer, we must be all the more intentional about how we come to God – as a relationship and not merely something we do as a part of our religion.

 

4. Is prayer a part of everything in your life?

In Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica, he calls us to pray at all times or to pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17).  Jesus’ teaching on prayer includes 6 petitions as part of the way we are called to pray along with many other components.

Consider this: “Our Father”, takes religion out of prayer and places the emphasis on a relationship

Consider this: “Hallowed be your name”, places the focus on how hallowed or holy our God is, that He is worthy of praise and adoration in all things

Consider this: “your kingdom come”, encourages us to keep our eyes fixed on the things not of this world (money, job, cars, etc.), the things that we are tempted and often consumed by in our lives, but to place our treasures in heaven and our thinking on the things of God, which are eternal

Consider this: “give us today our daily bread”, takes the pressure off of focusing on the things of tomorrow and equips us to worry about the things that we have in front of us, here and now, today

These are just a few samples of some of the ways that Jesus calls us to make prayer a part of our everyday/all day life.  He shows us how to pray and include God in the good things that are going on as well as the petitions for what we need.  What’s more is that Jesus’ prayer and instruction for us teaches us to draw near to God in all things.

Prayer is NOT about religion.  It’s about a relationship with God and relationships only grow when we intentionally and purposefully invest in them, spend time with them and make them a priority in our lives.

I pray that you and I might experience the power of one prayer this week in our lives.

To help us put prayer into practice, might I suggest one or more of the following:

  • Set aside a designated time daily for you to get alone with God (put it in your calendar and make it happen)
  • Keep a prayer journal
  • Read through various prayers throughout the Bible (start with Psalms)
  • Share your prayers with others
  • Be intentional about praying in every situation…make it a habit…a lifestyle

~ Pastor Andrew

 

 

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Monday Morning Mind Dump – 5.19.2014

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This past week was phenomenal in so many ways!  It’s hard to believe that it’s over as fast as it came, but our church was able to host the first-ever Mobilized2Action ministry conference.  It was both humbling and incredible; so many pastors and people gathered together under one roof for a time of intentional growth through critical and creative thinking.  I’m thrilled that we were able to be a home for such an amazing event!

We had an incredible Celebration Service yesterday with Pastor Jeff Maness brining the message.  God moved through Pastor Jeff and in the life of our church in a challenge to consider the power of one invitation.  I’m so grateful to be able to do life and ministry with an amazing person, pastor and leader like Jeff.  

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I loved getting to pray over the names of the individuals that God laid on your heart to invite to Illumination Church.  We’re looking forward to praying over those cards again at our staff meeting this week.  We’re trusting God to move in mighty ways through you as you step out in faith and invite your friends to join you at Illumination Church – “The Power of One Invitation!”

I’m reminded week in and week out what an incredible church I am a part of.  I love doing life and ministry with you here at Illumination Church!  I absolutely love it!!  What’s more is that I’m so proud of how you continue to step up as a church to further reach after seeing the mission and vision of Illumination Church (change the way people view God | real and relevant in reaching people with the light of Christ) fulfilled here in our community.  Keep it up, church!  The best is yet to come…

-Pastor Andrew

Monday Musings (4.28.14)

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This last week we picked up in our “The Power of One” series and looked at The Power of One Step.  Here are a few thoughts that I’d like to revisit from yesterday’s message:

  1. In order for us to experience the power of one step, our steps must be intentional. (Mt 14:22,23)
    Jesus modeled a life and relationship with God that included times of solitude dedicated to prayer.  This was never more pronounced than before any major event, happening or event in the life of Jesus or his ministry.Before we make decisions and take steps toward what we feel God might be calling us to, we absolutely MUST make time with God, seeking His face, a priority in order for us to really be intentional about each step we take.
  2. Fear is the number one reason that people don’t step up or step out in faith. (Mt 14:24-30)
    Money, reasoning, opportunities, etc.  These are just some of the barriers that stand in our way and keep us from pursuing the God-sized dreams in our life.  The reality is that these all pale in comparison to fear.  Fear is the biggest setback we often face when it comes to taking our first steps toward anything.
    In order for us to be effective in stepping into what God is calling us to, we must both address and choose to overcome our fears.
  3. As long as our eyes are fixed on Jesus, the impossible becomes possible. (Mt 14:31,32)
    Seriously?!  Peter walked on water.  That’s impossible according to the standards of this world.  Yet we serve a God that isn’t confined by the finite thinking of humanity.  No!  We live for a God who is all about the possible in the impossible.
    As long as our eyes are fixed on Jesus and not on the things of this work, anything becomes possible in and through Him!

So here are 3 questions that I think we ought to be wrestling with this week:

  1. What “mile” (opportunity) is waiting for you to take the first step?
  2. What storms of life have you allowed to hold you back from stepping out in faith?
  3. What step do you need to take right now, today, in this moment, to begin the journey that God has in store for you?

“The journey of every mile begins with one step.”  There IS power in one step!  So go on and step out in faith today!!

Here’s what I’m excited about from this past week…

  • An amazing community! It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly welcoming and friendly the people here at Illumination Church are.  Just blows my mind!
  • IC volunteers are second to none.  I am so incredibly blessed by the way the people of our church step up time and again to give of themselves; their time, their experiences, their gifts and more.
  • The way the Spirit of God is moving in and through Illumination Church.  It’s absolutely outstanding to be a part of what God is doing both in spirit and in breadth.

Here’s what I’m looking forward to this coming week…

  • I’m looking forward to this weekend’s message; a message focused on the power of one meal.  I can hardly wait to experience communion for the first time in our new Burnsville campus.
  • I’m excited to spend time connecting with our volunteers and leaders as we dream of ways to continue to execute our mission and vision within our new community.
  • I’m thrilled to spend time reading, processing and praying.

May the grace and the peace of God be evident in your life as you seek the face of God and desire to grow in knowledge, in understanding and in your relationship with Jesus this week!

-Pastor Andrew

 

Monday Musing (4.21.14)

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Yesterday was AWESOME!  Seriously, I can’t think of much better than celebrating an empty tomb and a resurrected Christ.  What’s more is that I can hardly imagine experiencing this celebration any other place than with Illumination Church.

Here are some of my reflections from yesterday:

  • The tomb is EMPTY!
  • Jesus is ALIVE!!
  • In Him we, too, are made ALIVE!!!
  • 7 people responded to the gospel and gave their lives to Jesus!
  • 9 people in all responded to commit or recommit their lives to Christ!\
  • I’m totally excited about our new, now current series, “The Power of One”
  • One choice can change everything! (from yesterday’s message)
  • We moved to 2 services: 9 & 10:45
  • The band was phenomenal in leading the church to a place of reflection and worship.  Never hurts to kick things off with a little Journey, “Don’t Stop Believing”.
  • IC has the most incredible volunteers and leaders!
  • I’m reminded once again that one of the things that sets IC apart is the people; an amazing community that takes doing life and ministry together to a whole new level.
  • Healing.  For many, yesterday was a day of healing in many ways.

Here are a few of the things that I’m looking forward to as a church this week:

  • The message this weekend, “The Power of One Step!”
  • IGNITE kicks off on Sunday night (a practical and hands on look at the Bible) – Sunday night from 6 to 7:30 @ our IC Cafe
  • Connecting with and getting to know some of the many new faces and families here at IC.
  • Continuing to connect with the community around our new campus in Burnsville

I’m praying that the presence of the Holy Spirit and the power of God in our lives will be evident this week both in word and deed, that people might see Christ in and through us as individuals and as a church.

Until all hear,

Andrew

What Is The Reason To Celebrate?

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What is the reason to celebrate?  

This is a great question and a pretty loaded one at that, you know?!  There are so many incredible things deserving of celebration and not the least of these the mere fact that it’s Christmas time; the time of year where we recognize and focus on the gift of God through His Son’s birth.  That’s worth celebrating!

While there are many, many reasons to celebrate, the purpose of this blog is to celebrate how God is at work in regards to our new building in Burnsville (12156 Nicollet Ave, Burnsville).  

Five reasons to celebrate our new building:

Reason #1 – This past week, Wednesday, the City Council lead by Burnsville’s Mayor, Elizabeth Kautz, voted in favor of our church taking up residence in Burnsville.  The City Council issued us our CUP (Conditional Use Permit).  This was the last step in allowing Illumination Church to take up residency in the city and begin the buildout.  Burnsville, Savage, Bloomington and Eagan (4-corners) as well as Prior Lake, HERE WE COME!!!

Reason #2 – The property owner has agreed to invest $80,000.00 This money will go toward the demolition and reconstruction of our Worship Center as well as our Fellowship Hall.  What’s more is that the property owner has agreed to invest an additional $30,000.00 of his money into a mandatory covered trash and recycling receptacle, a necessity in order for our church to take up occupancy.  That’s an invest of $110,000.00 from the owner that he is willing to spend in order for our church to be there.  That’s worth celebrating!!

Reason #3 – Having our own facility will allow us the opportunity to facilitate the ministry that we believe God has been calling us to, ministry that is real and relevant in reaching the lost for Christ as well as changing the way people view God.  We will have our own space to worship in, to host community events, a place for our children and youth, a facility to use for various ministries, and a place to pursue the people that God has called us to with a concentrated effort week in and week out.  No more set up and tearing down means more time and energy invested in the community and the body of believers.  That’s reason to celebrate…especially if you’ve been a part of the set-up and tear-down crew ;0 

Reason #4 – Multiplication.  This is always something that we’ve seen in our future as a church.  By securing our own space we will be able to multiply the amount of worship experiences we are able to offer.  Instead of being limited by time and space on a Sunday or mid-week, we will be able to have more Celebration Services as well as various other programs including SONshine Kids, FireLight Youth, Ignite classes, community ed., counseling, weddings, funerals, baptisms, dedications and much, much, much more.  Volunteers who were once limited to either serving or attending service, but never both, will now have options and can do both.  That’s a reason to celebrate!

Reason #5 – Obedience is our success.  That’s a CORE value of our church and has been sense our inception.  We’re not bogged down by the standards of this world as tempting as it can be at times.  Instead, we believe that this is something that God placed upon our hearts and we want nothing more than to be obedient to what he has called us to.  It’s in obedience that we determine our success.  The fact that we are being obedient gives us reason to celebrate!

The work has just begun…

With the incredible opportunities that lie ahead of us, the work has just begun.  Though we’ve raised $38,337.00 to date and having had our first Serve Sunday at the new facility with many projects taking place, there is still a lot of work in front of us, and while some might be overwhelmed by the projects and money that needs to be raised, we are excited because this is an opportunity like never before for us to step up as a church and to go all in for what we believe God calling us to.  With that in mind, here are some ways that we still need to work…

  1. Prayer.  We need a lot of prayer.  Prayer for God’s will.  Prayer for favor in the community.  Prayer for the finances to come through.  Prayer that we don’t come up against any snags as we move forward with the building.  Prayer that people all over will be excited about our church and want to be a part of how God is moving in Illumination Church.  Prayer for our staff and incredible volunteers to be effective in sharing the gospel.  We need prayer!
  2. We still need to raise approximately $70,000.00 additional dollars to meet our projected budget for the buildout and building launch; money that is necessary in building the stage, buying chairs, furnishings, paint, building supplies, marketing and advertising, landscaping, signs, updated ProAudio (lights and sound), and more.  
  3. December 15th is our next Serve Sunday.  You can sign up to partner up with many others from within the church on this day to help build out the administration wing, to help demo (demolish) walls and ceiling tiles, etc., to help patch and paint, to help remodel bathrooms, to help with landscaping and more.  It’s a great way to connect with others and to serve the church and community.
  4. Spreading the word.  We NEED people like you to continue to get behind the work of God in and through Illumination Church and help spread the word.  We want to reach as many for Christ and it begins with one; the power of one person and one conversation and one invitation.  Who knows how God might use you as you get excited and tell your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers about what God is doing at Illumination Church.

So as you can see we have a lot of reasons to celebrate!  Will you join with us in celebrating and making an eternal difference in the lives of so many who need Jesus as we partner together through our SOS (secure our own space) initiative?!  

Pastor Andrew

 

“HEROES” – Week 2

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“Chasing Lions” – Sunday, November 17th, 2013

This past Sunday we picked up week 2 of our series, HEROES, an intentional look into some of the qualities and characteristics of a hero.  And while we understand and could all agree that a hero is readily defined as, “an ordinary person capable of extraordinary feats for the betterment of others”, there are some very specific attributes, which contribute to better understanding who or rather, what a hero is.

One key component of a hero is a lion chaser; someone who is willing to face their lions (fears) head on – not only face their lions, but chase them down into a pit and go to battle with their lions.

Check out the message, “Chasing Your Lions”, here…

There are really 2 main ideas that we need to remember when it comes to heroic attributes in terms of chasing and facing our lions:

#1 – Lion Chasers Acknowledge Their Lions
While most people are good with running from lions, even avoiding them all together, lion chasers are intentional about acknowledging the lions in their lives.  In this case lions are representative of the fears we have in life: fear of finances, fear of failure, fear of relationships, fear of faith, etc. and while it’s sensible for people to run in the opposite direction from man-eating lions, one of the characteristics of a hero is someone who is willing to face their lions head on, acknowledge their fear and be intentional about dealing with them, one at time.

What’s keeping you from acknowledging the lions in your life?

#2 – Lion Chasers Are Risk Takers
It makes sense that coming across a lion in the wilderness short of an intentional safari or without the confines of a cage inside some zoo, that coming face-to-face with a lion could be considered pretty unlucky.  Think about it.  Lions in their natural habitat are called “king of the beasts” for a reason.  Now insert man into the king of the beasts stomping grounds and it’s understandable how one might think this type of scenario to be pretty crappy.

Not lion chasers.  No!  Instead, they lock eyes with the lion (fear) and actively chase it down.  Granted, this is a huge risk, right?  But what’s a greater risk: chasing down the lion and doing battle with it or remaining paralyzed for much of your existence due to the fear that holds you captive?  I’ll take my chances with facing my fears any day.  Yes.  Chasing lions is risky business, but in Christ all things are possible and we are not called to live in fear outside of the fear of the Lord.  All other fears are unnatural and learned behaviors.

God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but one of courage and love and sound mind.  It’s up to us to live in the fear of the Lord and the freedom that comes from knowing and living for Him.

What’s keeping you from actively taking a risk in the Lord?

Heroes Intro – Week 2

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A message from Pastor Andrew about this coming weekend. Check it out…

“We grow up with heroes in our lives, men and women that stand out above the crowd because of some super-human strengths or incredible abilities, strengths and abilities that are used to help and save others.

What are the characteristics of a hero? Where are heroes found? Do real life heroes exist? How about you? Are you capable of being a hero?

In our series, HEROES, we are going to examine the lives of some men and women that stood out above the rest; people that God used in significant ways to help or save others just like you and me. We’re also going to look at what we can learn from these biblical heroes and how we can apply their experiences and characteristics in our lives today.

You, too, have a hero inside of you!”

HEROES: A look at what’s coming…

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HEROES: We grow up with heroes in our lives, men and women that stand out above the crowd because of some super-human strengths or incredible abilities, strengths and abilities that are used to help and save others.

What are the characteristics of a hero? Where are heroes found? Do real life heroes exist? How about you? Are you capable of being a hero?

In our series, HEROES, we are going to examine the lives of some men and women that stood out above the rest; people that God used in significant ways to help or save others just like you and me. We’re also going to look at what we can learn from these biblical heroes and how we can apply their experiences and characteristics in our lives today.

You, too, have a hero inside of you!

“Living Life as an Underdog”

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This last weekend, God revealed to us the value there is in living life as an underdog.  If you weren’t able to be join us for our Celebration Service, I want to invite you to be a part of the message.  You can check it out online (here) or by going to https://vimeo.com/77942246.

UNDERDOG

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, one of the things that I looked forward to at the park was hitting the swing sets and having someone give me an underdog.  You know, someone getting behind you, loading up and running all the way through and under you while pushing you to great heights.  Man, that was an awesome feeling as a kid!

One of the cool things about being a dad is sharing experiences with my kids that I enjoyed as a youngster.  Just the other day my daughter, Tailyn, was sitting on a swing and called out to me, “Dad!  Can you come give me an underdog?!”  Man, that is an awesome feeling as an adult!

If I were to sum up an underdog beyond the act it would be helping someone achieve something that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to accomplish on their own.

Did you catch that?  Attaining something that we couldn’t otherwise reach on our own.  Sure, there are those that are skilled enough on a swing to pump their feet and to reach great heights on a swing in time, but never an underdog on their own; the speed, the velocity, the height, and all within a short period of time.  No.  An underdog is only achieved when someone helps us get where we couldn’t otherwise get on our own.

GIDEON, THE UNDERDOG

One of my favorite stories in the Old Testament of the Bible is of a guy named Gideon; an Israelite who had learned to live in fear of the Midianties and Amalekites because of their barbaric treatment of his people and the subsequent power that these powers from the east possessed.  If you’ve never read the story, it’s a doozy.  You can check it out in the book of (Judges 7).

The long and short of the story of Gideon is this – God took Gideon and the Israelites to heights that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to achieve on their own.  It was through Gideon that God spared the Israelites yet again.

Through the story of Gideon there are at least 5 lessons that we can learn.

LESSONS FROM GIDEON AND GOD

Lesson #1 – Direction
Throughout Gideon’s encounters with God, he was receiving direction from the LORD.  It wasn’t Gideon wandering through the desert trying to figure things out on his own.  Instead, God was specific with Gideon on what He had in store for him; what He expected from Gideon and was calling him to do.  What’s more is that Gideon was open to the LORD’s leading and receiving direction from God.  He wasn’t concerned about the inconvenience or the cost or the work that was required to follow God’s leading.  Instead, Gideon wanted to be certain that he knew God’s direction and asked God for a sign; three signs in fact, as a way of being sure of the direction that God was leading Gideon.

In our lives, we need to know God in order to know His direction.  If we don’t know God, how can we ever know or understand His direction let alone follow His direction?  Some of the best ways to know God include reading the Bible, mediation, prayer, living in community with other believers, and actively living out our faith.

What’s keeping you from knowing God and understanding His direction for you in your life?

Lesson #2 – Worship
In light of Gideon’s encounter with God and at God’s faithfulness, he had but one response; to worship.  Gideon fell prostrate or flat on his face before God; a position of humility and respect.  It was a natural response for Gideon to worship God in light of their relationship and his understanding of the LORD in his life.

As far as body language and personal position, there is no lower position a person can take than flat on their face or prostrate.  This is an incredible display of the acknowledgment that someone (God) or something (God) is significantly greater than you are.  It’s a humble position, and yet, one of the most powerful positions a person can take.  It’s an attitude and application of worship and recognition that God is God and I am not; that He alone is great and worthy to be praised.  Falling on your face is an act of worship and display of love and humble fear.  We are called to worship like Gideon

What’s keeping you from worshiping God?

Lesson #3 – Strategy
After Gideon experiences worship to God, his next step in line with what God was calling him to was to develop a strategy in order to live out God’s commission in his life.  Gideon was a skilled man with a creative ability to make things happen; evident in how he separated the chaff from the wheat in an unnatural place and position.  His commission from God to take out the Midianites and Amalekites was no different.  Instead of barging in to the enemies camp with only 300 men verse their tens of thousands of men, Gideon knew that he needed to be strategic about how he would accomplish what God was calling him to.

While some in circles might suggest that strategizing is a lack of dependence on God, I couldn’t disagree more.  God has given us an intellect and experiences that we are to use in our daily living.  We need to be strategic – strategic about life, about our relationship with God and more.  If we are not strategic about accomplishing the things that God is calling us to or strategic about how we are growing in our walk with God, how does that honor God?  Let me tell you.  It doesn’t!  Instead, we must be intentional as well as strategic in an effort to honor God and live out his commission and calling on our lives.

What’s keeping you from being strategic about God in your life and the things that He has/is calling you to?

Lesson #4 – Obedience
Okay, so once Gideon has developed a strategy for how he is going accomplish what God was calling him to, his next natural response was to be obedient to God.  This is where the rubber met the road for Gideon and his army of 300 men.  The time for strategizing was no more and the time was upon them to do all that God had called and commissioned them to do.  The only thing left; to act in obedience and live it out.  And that’s exactly what Gideon and his army did – they lived out their strategy in an effort to honor God.

In our lives, we are usually pretty good about most things leading up to this point, but it’s when we are faced with the reality of action that we tend to stumble, back pedal or even run the other direction.  What good are all of the other steps if we aren’t willing to live out what God has/is calling us to?  We need to be willing to walk in obedience, to be intentional about living out that which God has commissioned in our lives.  It’s up to us to obey and we leave the rest of up to Him.

What’s keeping you from being obedient to the things that God has/is calling you to?

Lesson #5 – Commitment
Commitment.  This might be the toughest for Gideon yet.  He executes his strategy and God’s calling and commission in his life; he’s in the enemy camp with tens of thousands of soldiers drawing their swords and running around in complete chaos.  It must have been incredibly intimidating to know that at any moment the worst of what you thought imaginable could be happening to you.  The noise.  The panic.  The people.  The animals.  The campfires.  All of it must have been sensory stimuli to the max, yet in the midst of all of what was going on, when it would have been easier to cut bait and leave maybe watching from a distance, Gideon and his army STOOD THEIR GROUND and were committed to that which God had called them to.  It was that commitment that brought them ultimate victory over the armies that had kept the Israelites captive for the last 7 years and living in fear for their lives.

Commitment is something that mankind is greatly lacking, isn’t it?  It’s always great to get into something, but sticking with it in the heat of the battle can be exhausting, taxing, frightening and so much more.  How difficult it is to stand our ground in the midst of the battles that rage around us.  Yet that is exactly what God would have you and I do; stand our ground and stay committed.  It’s through the battles and the subsequent victories on the other side that we will experience the fullness of that which the LORD intends for us.

What’s stopping you from honoring your commitment to God and to the things that He has for you?

I pray that we may experience the direction of God like never before, that we would worship Him as a way of life, that you and I might become more and more strategic about how we execute what God is calling us to, that we would be obedient to the LORD’s commission in our lives, and that when the battle is being waged, that you and I might stand our ground as we trust and obey.

Until all hear,

Pastor Andrew