Breakthrough

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S (Scripture): John 10:37 (Jesus replied to the Jewish opposition) “If I don’t do the works of my Father, don’t believe me. 38 But if I do them, and you don’t believe me, believe the works so that you can know and recognize that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again, they wanted to arrest him, but he escaped from them.

40 Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had baptized at first, and he stayed there. 41 Many people came to him. “John didn’t do any miraculous signs,” they said, “but everything John said about this man was true.” 42 Many believed in Jesus there.

O (Observation): Jesus spends a lot of time and energy trying to convince God’s religious elite that He is God’s Son. The leaders who have studied Scripture the most might be able to connect the dots, but they have such tunnel-vision, that all they can do with Jesus is throw him into a category that makes him a heretic.

The crowds, however, likely didn’t know the Scriptures as well, and focused more on the signs / works Jesus was performing. Perhaps their attention to the present was helpful, noticing not only what God did in the past, but also what God was doing in the PRESENT!

A (Application): Does this all sound familiar? I hope so, because this is what we do as a Church nowadays. We miss God’s movement in the present. When we notice God’s movement, we can name it and call it a “kairos.”

Taking time to dwell in that moment (and even inviting others to chime in with their thoughts on your moment) is helpful. For when we discern and invite community to help discern, we make less of a rash decision and we can actually see faith forming before our very hearts. This is called spiritual breakthrough, and I wish for so many of you to find a way to be in the moment. See what God is up to right here, right now. See every moment of your day as a pregnant moment, filled with the anticipation of God’s presence in those moments.

From that moment and discernment, you will know what to do, in God’s name. Your moment will be a time of reflection AND a call to action.

May you see the kairos moments all around you today…moments both big and small.

P (Prayer): Lord, guide us into the moments and help us see you in them. Amen.

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…and Another Door Opens

  S (Scripture): Colossians 4:2 Be devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.  3 At the same time pray for us too, that God may open a door for the message so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may make it known as I should.

O (Observation):  Paul closes his letter to the church in Colossae, again seeking prayer and God’s grace.   This time, Paul remains faithful that God would open a door for him to walk through, so that he can continue to share the Gospel. 

Paul knows that only through the grace of God can his ministry continue forward.  And the best thing is that even though Paul is in chains, he knows that God can still open a door (maybe even literally : )

A (Application):  In the life of a disciple, roadblocks will exist.   Something will keep us from doing ministry.   Sometimes that is an internal battle…sometimes external to us, (I.e. Our surrounding circumstances).  

In any case, we don’t give up hope.  (Technically, GOD doesn’t give up on US.). In the midst of our frustrations, God is active and aware, and wants us to experience breakthrough.   And sometimes, that breakthrough can only come to us while faithfully watching for an open door.  

Mike Breen, author of Leading Kingdom Movements, reminds us:

This isn’t blind hope. God has a proven track record of being faithful. And so when he speaks something to me and I act, I know he will take me from frustration to breakthrough.

Perhaps Paul had this concept in mind, waiting for an open door.  

What door are you hoping to walk through?

I’m hoping for a door into campus ministry at Middle TN State University for us to begin some work with college students and professors.  I thought the door had opened up, but still discerning.  

P (Prayer):  Lord, help me remain faithful to your call.  Help me to see open doors all around me.  Amen. 

From Battle to Breakthrough

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S (Scripture): Acts 4:29 (Peter and the disciples pray…) “And now, Lord, pay attention to their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your message with great courage, 4:30 while you extend your hand to heal, and to bring about miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

O (Observation): The heavy hand of the enemies of the Lord (Herod, Pilate, Gentiles, etc.) are starting to bear down on the disciples. These enemies of the Lord are finding ways to keep Peter and John from proclaiming the Good News.

The interesting twist is that the request from Peter is this: “grant to your servants to speak your message with great courage…bring healing, etc.” My commentary points out the following: “The request is not for a stop to persecution or revenge on the opponents, but for boldness (great courage) to carry out the mission of proclaiming the message of what God is doing through Jesus.”

A (Application): My first move would probably be retribution against my enemies. In fact, we hear a lot of this in the Old Testament. Here, instead of retribution, we hear of a request to be strengthened for witness.

How many times have you encountered an external obstacle in your life? Maybe it’s in an area where you have an internal strength, but you encounter an external threat. Let’s call that “Battle.” What we hope for is to use the Strength we have in an Opportunity for public witness. Let’s call that combination of Strength and Opportunity “Breakthrough.” (So Breakthrough is the target we’re aiming for.)

When in a “Battle” situation, Mike Breen (church discipleship guru) suggests that the way forward lies in what only God can bring: “Grace.” Breen says, in his book, “Leading Kingdom Movements”: “We look for where the grace of God is already at work and mine that vein of gold from the place where it is at work” (Kindle Location 737). This is how we are led from Battle to Breakthrough.

We cannot achieve Breakthrough on our own, but what we can do is pray for strength and hope for the Lord to reveal the grace/gift of the path forward…just like Peter did. A great example for us.

P (Prayer): Lord, reveal to us your gift…your grace. Move is from Battle to Breakthrough, so that we can experience your Kingdom a bit more fully. Amen.