Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Doing the Impossible--Part 4

This week, we wrapped up the “Doing the Impossible” series with a message on the importance of understanding who we are in Christ. Until we see ourselves as being worthy to be used by God, we will not be used by Him in the way He intends.  We examined an element of the building of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Specifically, we looked at the golden boards that made the walls of the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.  A quick note, the Israelite encampment was in the shape of a cross, with the temple at the center, where all the parts of the cross meet.  Remember that all the precious items used to build the temple were only part of their wealth, and were part of what Joseph ended up with because of his service to Pharaoh, as well as riches given them before they departed from captivity.  Just to build the temple, the Israelistes donated 2800 POUNDS of gold (which equates today to $74,233,600!).  They had plenty left after that, too.

These walls were made of wood. In the Bible, wood is often symbolic of man and his weakness and frailty.  Wood can be burned and needs to be protected from burning (thus the covering).  Wood comes from trees, which come out of and gain their nutrients from the soil – soil that is cursed.  Trees are limited based on the resources given it by the earth (water, soil quality, etc). This wood had to be cut down and disconnected from the cursed ground to be of use in God’s house. The wood was also to be acacia wood. Acacia wood was what Noah build his ark out of.  Acacia was also prevalent in the wilderness where God’s people were journeying to the Promised Land. Acacia was also symbolic of incorruptible humanity. We understand that only Jesus was the incorruptible. But, in Him, we become incorruptible – not because of anything we’ve done or what we don’t do, but because of what He did!

 Next, those wood boards were fashioned to fit into a silver socket.  In Moses’ day, silver was actually more valuable than gold. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers for silver.  Of course, we know Jesus was sold for silver.  Silver is also symbolic in the Bible of redemption (involving a purchase) or salvation. It is a picture that there is a price paid to redeem man – to redeem you and I.  The redemption is what lies between us (wood) and the earth to keep and preserve. It cuts us off from the curse. Jesus became a curse for us!   Based on today’s standards, the wood used to make the walls is valued at about $1, but the silver used to make the base is about $1000.  Additionally, the contribution used to make atonement offerings in the Israelite community was 1 shekel of silver each.  No matter how poor or rich you were, you gave a shekel, and only a shekel.  The price for each was set and not negotiable.  This was to be used for the service of the tent of meeting.  This atonement was temporary and something that had to be bought, but ours is a gift now for eternity.  Jesus’ death, and most importantly resurrection, purchases the removal of our sin from us forever.  The silver protects us from the earth.  It protects and preserves us.

 Next, the boards were covered in pure gold. Gold is symbolic of the divine nature of God and His righteousness. His divine nature is love and it is grace. SO, in order to complete the picture, we must allow Him to clothe us in HIS righteousness. Ours is as filthy rags, but His is everlasting and it is unfailing.  Lastly, the boards, fit in their silver sockets, are joined together, side by side in His house, with crosspieces going through to hold them together.  Gold always touches gold, and the wood never touches other wood.  We need to see each other through the righteousness of Christ and not through our own lens.  No one board is greater than the other. They are equal in stature and purpose and fit together. And when they are joined together they form a shining wall that literally reflects Jesus. The wall reflected the Ark of the Covenant which is representative of Jesus Himself.  2 Corinthians 5:1 echoes this idea.

 This is why it is so important for us to stay Christ-centered in all things – wrapped in grace and love. Then, we will be a more accurate reflection of Him in this world. Then we will be able to do the truly great things of God.


To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media. To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Doing the Impossible part 3

This week, we got deeper into what it takes to change the sub-conscious mind (of the heart of man). Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word will help reveal the thoughts and intents of the heart – the things that are causing you to continue to repeat the same patterns in life. Not only will it reveal these things, but the Holy Spirit will also show you HOW (and in what order) to fix them. You see, God is not going to reveal ALL your junk at once. He reveals what you need to work on right now. Matthew 3:12 says that Jesus (the Word) goes into your heart with a winnowing fork and divides the good from the bad. When you let Him do the dividing, it is less painful and more effective. You will get rid of things that truly need to be removed, and you will also clean up things that you might have thrown away otherwise. Sometimes the Word will show you that a quality about yourself is not bad but just needs to be refined and re-directed.  God knows the best way to move you toward your destiny in Him and the life He wants for you. 

Your sub-conscious does not know the difference between what is real and what you are choosing to truly believe in the conscious mind.  This is not just confession, although it starts there, but it also involves true belief of something new.  This means we start visualizing and picturing ourself doing the things God’s word says we are going to do.  This is a big key to this change.  You need a massive amount of new information (the Word getting in you), in order to get out of the big “ruts” you are in and form new ones.  We need to develop a new path to the way the Word wants us to think and act. 

In Romans 7, Paul talks about the struggle we all face to change from the sinful nature that causes us to do the things we know we shouldn’t do and that we don’t want to do into the nature of the Spirit that leads us in all truth and goodness.  Paul is clear that the sinful is not us but is simply with us as we seek to do God’s will and follow Him in our lives.  When you read it closely you find that it is the mind in which the desire for the sinful nature resides. The mind is what needs to be renewed. You ARE Spirit when you are born-again. But you still have a sinful nature that is trying to control things. It is your mind, the sub-conscious mind, that is automatically making wrong decisions for you. Renew THAT and the battle is won!

 In 1 John 3, John talks about how, if we keep on sinning, we cannot be children of God. We know he can’t be talking about any and all sin because then none of us could be considered “saved.” In verse 10 he shows us the sin that is most critical – it is that which is in relation to loving others. You see, when religious people try to use this scripture to point at someone’s sin and call them “unsaved” or claim they must have never been saved, they are defining sin using a very short list of behaviors, like smoking, drinking alcohol, or going to R rated movies. But, if we read what John said, we find that the one who is making that judgment is in a more precarious position than the one they are judging, since their sin involves not loving someone else. Ouch!


Then we went back to Romans 8. Paul reminds us that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. If the only way to be in Christ was if you had no sin, then you would have no need to worry about feeling condemned, would you? Otherwise, even Paul would not be considered to be saved. He just got done admitting he continues to sin.  It is not the sin so much that God is concerned about, but the junk it produces in our lives.  He wants the best for us.  Sin will not produce the abundant life He wants for us.  When we set our minds on the Spirit, then we will change the sub-conscious.  We have everything we need to change our hearts and sub-conscious mind and move forward from it.  What is important is to be led be the Spirit. You may still sin from time to time, but you do your best. When you fail you realize, as Paul did, that it was not YOU (Spirit) that sinned, but your old sinful nature. And the mind that allows itself to be controlled by that old nature is being renewed.

 How is it renewed? By constant input of the Word. The sub-conscious seems strong, but it has an Achilles heel. You see, it cannot differentiate between reality and what you speak and believe. Just saying the Word over and over will not change the heart. That will only happen when you truly believe what you are confessing. It may take a lot of confessing to get to that point. When you do, look out! Change is coming. You will begin to automatically make good decisions and produce good things in your life.

To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media. To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Doing the Impossible--Part 2

We continued the “Doing the Impossible” series this week. We talked about how we have two “minds” that need to be brought into agreement in order for the Word to truly work in our lives. We have a conscious mind and a sub-conscious mind. Usually the sub-conscious is where our problems come from.  Experts say that 70-80% of our decisions are made automatically from the sub-conscious. We have beliefs, attitudes and perceptions about ourselves and life in general that mold and shape what we say and do. Those thoughts and actions will continue to produce the same results. 

In Judges 6, God speaks to a man named Gideon about leading His people. Gideon was hiding from the Midianites, who were oppressing the Israelites.  He calls Gideon a mighty warrior, which is what the name Gideon means. There are many other places where God would change someone’s name in order to help them change the way they looked at themselves. In this case Gideon just needed to be reminded who he was.  That is what we sometimes need. You see, we are Christians. We are IN CHRIST. Sometimes, other ideas and thoughts have taken hold in our sub-conscious minds that cause us to end up living a far cry from the life God wants for us.  Gideon’s response was to question what was said to him.  The God simply gives him a command and didn’t even dignify his accusations.  God doesn’t want us to live in fear.  He wants us to live in line with His word.   Why doesn’t this always happen in our lives then?

The word of God is not the most powerful thing in the word.  The most powerful thing is belief in the Word.  The Bible is potential energy until it is believed (and acted upon per James).  We looked at Ephesians 1:18 and Mark 6, which resonate the fact that without faith God can’t do anything.  The conscious mind sows seeds into the sub-conscious, and then the sub-conscious makes numerous decisions based on what we have experienced in the past, without any conscious sense that they are being made.   Once something is in the subconscious, it will keep going until changed.  In Genesis 1:11, God established that things produce after their own kind.  So we have to change our “kind” in order to produce different results.  2 Corinthians 4:18 encourages us to focus our “vision” on the things of God rather than our circumstance.

In John 7:38, Jesus says that out of man’s heart will flow the rivers of living water (or other things depending on what is in the heart). The heart of man is the same thing as the sub-conscious. It is the inner man. The King James Version of that scripture refers to it as man’s belly.  Sometimes we don’t seem to get the Word past the conscious level and get frustrated. 

Hebrews 4:12 says that the Word will reveal the thoughts and intents of the heart. You see, sometimes we intend to do the Word and become Christ-like. But, if the sub-conscious is not in agreement, it will continue to produce its thoughts and intents – contrary to what your conscious mind is wanting to produce.  So, what is in your heart? Listen to your words. Jesus said in Matthew 12 that the bad words that come out of your mouth are just a symptom of the bad heart. I’m not talking about cuss words. I’m talking about the way we talk about our life circumstances (especially bad ones, and especially when we are under stress).  Do you speak words of faith, or do your words and thoughts go to expectations of horrible things occurring? What is in your heart comes out.  We will stop attracting and perceiving rejection when our heart believes we are not rejected any more.  We will stop attracting abusive relationships when our heart believes it does not deserve to be abused.

So, we need to change what is in our hearts. Both need to be in agreement with the Word – no matter what you see. James 1:6-8 says that a double-minded man should not expect to receive anything from God. You may be making conscious decisions to connect to the Word, but if you don’t change the attitudes in the sub-conscious, you won’t see that Word produce.  James 1:5-8 shows us that if our conscious mind and subconscious are out of agreement, we are double-minded and still receive junk as if the subconscious and conscious agree to receive it.  Our subconscious is like a computer:  it has been programmed with information over time.  It can only do what it has been programmed to do.  We can’t expect it to do something else until we give it new information.  The subconscious initially thinks that new information contrary to what it thinks is a problem.  It sets up something like a firewall or virus program.  This is a problem when we are trying to change wrong thinking.  We need to click the “allow” button to begin to change the program in our subconscious.  It takes a very conscious effort to allow those things to plant in the subconscious. 

To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media. To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Doing the Impossible--Part 1

We began a new series this week entitled “Doing the Impossible.” I know that I want to do all God has for me to do in 2013. If it’s God’s work, it is impossible in my own strength. If I can do it alone, I don’t need God. But the things truly worth doing require God’s power to accomplish them.  We studied Romans 1:16-22.  We are not ashamed of the Gospel because it is power unto salvation for all who will believe. There is a lot to chew on in that verse. First of all, we should never be ashamed of Jesus Christ or the message of His love and redemption. That salvation is the conduit through which all of God’s blessing flows to His creation.    

Salvation is about changing our eternity, but it is also about changing our lives here on earth. Getting hold of the truth of all of salvation is paramount to us flowing in all the power God has made available to us. That word power in the Greek is dynamis.  The meaning of this word is “Power for performing miracles; strength; power; ability; inherent power, or power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature.”  Part of the definition of that Greek word indicates the power that is inherently part of someone or something’s nature, in this case God’s nature.  This power resides in God because He is who He is. 

The Greek word for salvation means “deliverance, preservation, safety and salvation.”  The Greek word for everyone means “each; every; any; all; the whole one; all things; everything.”  The gift of salvation is for everyone (and that means everyone), but it still has to be received.  We also looked at Romans 8:28-29 and following, and Ephesians 1:5.  How do we reconcile predestination with salvation being for all?  The Greek word really does mean predestined, so that doesn’t help.   There is a difference between predestined and foreknowledge in the Greek, so that’s not it either.  God sees from the beginning to the end.  Everyone alive at the time of Christ and forward were predestined to have salvation available to them, where as those before were not. 

Foundational to our faith is the idea that salvation is for all and not just a predestined few. A pre-destination viewpoint will always leave doubt as to whether you truly are loved and accepted by God. Maybe you are wasting your time trying to love and serve a God who pre-destined you to hell (both on earth and eternity).  If we believe only some are predestined to be saved, the enemy has a little wedge.  From this the enemy can convince us that maybe we are not one of those predestined to be saved and thus not loved by God.  But that is not true.   2 Peter 3:9 and 2 Timothy 2:1-3 echo this also.   I don’t claim to have been the one true wise man who could finally settle the argument, but I do feel confident in what God has shown me. And it sure removes the troublesome nature of those two verses for me.

I believe we must be confident in God’s nature, which is love for ALL. His salvation is a gift for all. Not all are saved, for there IS a qualifier in Romans 1:17 – all those who BELIEVE. The Greek word for believe is “to trust in Jesus or God as able to aid either in obtaining or doing something; saving faith.”  Faith is the connector between the power that is available and something happening.  You must have faith in the idea that Christ became sin for you and took on any wrath from God and made you righteousness – receive the gift. It is FOR all but not all choose to receive it.  The power not only changes our eternity but is meant to change our life here on earth.  When we settle in our hearts who God is, that His heart is always love toward ALL mankind, we will begin to be able to flow in the power of that salvation. That power is for our own redemption and to lead others to that same salvation for themselves.

Verse 17 talked about the power that comes by the gift of His righteousness (note that righteousness was originally translated right-wise-ness), which we will discuss next week. Verse 18-19 talk about the wrath of God being revealed to those who are wicked, because they suppress the truth. First, we must see that it is wrath that is being revealed and not poured out. It is a revealing of something that already existed. Isaiah 54 tells us that, because of Christ’s sacrifice, God is no longer punishing man.   The Greek word for wickedness is adikia which is a picture of the injustice of a judge. Understand that Paul had been a Pharisee or a judge of the law. So, in his context, this wickedness could be referring to those who know the truth of the gospel, but choose to continue to preach law and self-righteousness. 

For, in verses 19-22, a look around you at creation clearly reveals the power of God to do the impossible – redeem man or to provide a way to being right before Him. It should be clear that if God is powerful, then that power is available to us.  Romans 2:1 reminds us that we should not pass judgment on others (Matthew 7:1).  Romans 12:2 says we are supposed to not conform to the thinking of this world and be transformed by the renewing of our mind.  When we are born again, we have two routes we can take—apply the same grace we got to others or use it to judge others and become self-righteous.

To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media. To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas series part 4 reflections


This week we looked at keys to growing into the next season of our life.  We looked at the story of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson.  My encouragement for this year is that we deal with the junk that continues to hold us back and see God break us through to a new level. 


Jacob had some junk in his life.  His name meant “deceiver.”  In the day, children were born and were watched and then were named later.  There is rivalry between dad and mom regarding favor and love for their children.  Jacob then displays favoritism with his own sons as well.  His mom, and Jacob, worked consistently to make the prophecy that Jacob would rule his older twin brother become true.  Jacob deceives his brother and father out to get the birthright and blessing Esau has right to.  God wants to bring blessing to our lives without sorrow attached to it, but when we try to do it ourselves there is sorrow and fear attached.  Jacob got all he wanted, but now Jacob immediately has to run for his life (Genesis 27).  Any time we try to make God’s plan happen by means of our own (not necessarily deceptive, but just not God’s way), we end up with these kind of results.


God doesn’t punish us when we sow junk, but we do reap what we sow.  Jacob sowed deception, and then he reaped it when he was given the wrong woman in marriage by Laban’s deception.  Now Jacob finally in chapter 32, over 14 years later, goes back to Esau.  In verse 22 he wrestles with God.  He puts all his family and all his possession to the other side of the river and THEN wrestled.  He finally realized it was God’s blessing (and not anyone else’s) that he needed.  Jacob’s name is now changed from Jacob (deceiver) to Israel (God prevails).


A quick side note on Hebrew—the Hebrew language is made up of characters (aleph bet), all of which have a meaning of their own, as well as being put together to form words.  Also, while other languages have past, present and future tense, Hebrew tenses are complete (future) and incomplete (past).  The ancient Hebrew for this word comes from two Hebrew roots:  Ishra  and el (part of the name God).  For the first part Ishra, there are 3 characters.  The first character is symbolic of man’s works.  The second symbolizes man’s destruction.  The third symbolizes mankind.  Works (in the flesh, doing it our own way or by our own hands) bring destruction to man.  The first character in the el part symbolizes the power of God.  The second means to lead and looks like an upside down shepherd’s crook.  The picture hidden in this reveals how God can prevail in our lives—let God lead rather than trying to make it happen on your own.