Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Don't Have Ugly Feet Part 1

Last Sunday we began a new teaching series called, “Don’t Have Ugly Feet.” The Bible says in Isaiah 52:7 and restates in Romans 10:15 that beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news. In Romans 10:14-15, Paul says that no one will know the truth of the Gospel unless they are told. How can they? How did you first learn about Christ? One person, or multiple seed planters, waterers, and harvesters did their jobs along the way.

Many Christians believe that it is the job of the church evangelism team or those “gifted” in witnessing to share the Gospel. Maybe it is the “preacher” who has the responsibility. But all of us have been issued the Great Commission. However, each one of us will share the Gospel in vastly different ways. Some are gifted at one-on-one, scripture-by-scripture leading. But all of us have the opportunity to live the Gospel and display it for others to see.

In that verse in Romans it says that the message must be preached. See, it’s the preacher’s job, right? The word “preach” in Greek is kerysso, and it simply means to publish or proclaim openly something which has been done. You don’t have to be a preacher or pastor to do that! Then we also need to know what the “good news” is that we should preach. That phrase is the Greek word, euggelizo. It means to instruct men concerning the things that pertain to Christian salvation.  We each have certain people with whom we are meant to share the Gospel.  Each person will do it differently and reach different types of people in different ways.

In Isaiah 52:7, where this quote came from, the Hebrew that it was originally written in gives us even more insight. The word good (as in good news) is the Hebrew word towb. This is the same word that God used in the Genesis creation account – and the Lord saw that it was good. It means good, excellent, rich, valuable and present.  It is made up of three Hebrew letters – tet, vav and beyt. In the ancient Hebrew these letters were pictures and had meanings and concepts attached to each letter. When we look at those we see a really neat picture of what is “good” to God.

The letter tet represented a clay basket or mud enclosure. Our flesh is our dirt and mud enclosure. The letter vav represented the tent peg used in the tabernacle to attach the curtains together – the curtains that formed the walls of the mobile sanctuary. Then beyt represented the household or the house of God. So, we see a picture that shows us that it is GOOD for our “dirt” to be attached and connected to His house.  It is true that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Many think that this means the church is no longer relevant. However, towb shows us there is another part that is important to God – that our flesh stays connected together in His house. Our spirit is renewed the moment we receive Christ, but our dirt needs to spend a lot of time learning and growing.

When we look at the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, we see that Jesus’ command is consistent with how God assigns tasks. First, He blesses – all authority in heaven and earth are given to me. Why is the authority given to Him if we are the ones who have to go? When the authority is given to man directly, he messes it up. The authority is given to Christ. He purchased it. But we have been made joint heirs with Him.

Remember that the blessing is always about equipping for purpose. In Genesis 1, God blesses man and then gives and assignment. In Genesis 12, God blesses Abraham and then gives Him and assignment. In Luke 1, God blesses Mary and gives her an assignment. And here in Matthew 28, Jesus blesses us and… gives us an assignment. We are to go and make disciples of all nations. After the assignment He reminds us again that we have Him and His power and authority available to us to complete the task – I am with you always.

He also tells us how to do it. He said we are to teach the things that He taught. Jesus did address sin and wickedness, but it you were to break down by percentages, what Jesus spent His time teaching, you would find that 75% of what Jesus taught was love (for God and others), power and authority. I think the problem we have had in spreading the Gospel is that we’re gotten our mixture wrong. The Body of Christ as a whole has put too much attention on sin and wickedness and not enough on love.  The greatest tool for us to spread the Gospel is to love people around us. That love will open up doors to share in ways that will be much more natural and effective.

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

He Said She Said part 3

This week, we wrapped up the series, “He Said, She Said.” Pastor Tammy and I taught together about the design and purpose of woman. It is very important to understand that all of the things we talked about are not designed to be stereotypes that you are supposed to line up with. Each of us is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” The things we are discussing relate to the nature of man and woman. But a lifetime of “nurturing” will cause that nature to manifest differently in each of us. No one is saying there is anything wrong with you if you don’t seem to fit these molds. In reality, you might fit them, but you simply might express that nature in a different way than others.  In your heart, you come from the blueprint God made (which may not fit into worldly stereotypes), but you might show it in different ways.  Tammy and I do not fit many of the stereotypes, but we still fill certain God-given roles for man and woman in our own ways.  If Satan, however does turn things around and pervert (turn around backwards and undo purpose) and put you into the opposite sex’s role, we need to see that and turn it back the right direction.

In I john 4:12 we get one explanation for why it is “not good for man to be alone.” We find that it is impossible to know and love God until we can love someone else. To be an imitator of Him, who pours His love out on us, we must have someone to pour our love into.

1 Peter 3:7 is the passage that commands men to honor women (some translations say “dwell with understanding” and to treat them as a weaker partner (or vessel) so that nothing will hinder our prayers. This is not saying women ARE weaker. We, as men, complete a picture when we love, honor and cherish women. Jesus, our groom, loves His bride so much that he laid down His life for her. When we do things to honor and love women, we complete the picture. It is also important to look at the word “vessel.” In Greek, the word was skeuos and related to the physical body. Generally speaking, men have bigger and stronger bodies than women. But that is where the strength difference ends. Genesis 1:26-27 shows us that God made BOTH man and woman in His image and blessed THEM. In spirit, we are identical! 

We talked about some of the key contrasts in how a woman operates versus a man. Men bond through activity (sports) and experiences together and tend to discuss facts. Women bond through conversation and discussing feeling and emotion. Women value relationships and use both sides of her brain at the same time.  When women talk they are actually working through the problem themselves as they talk. Remember that we said last week that it is incorrect to say that women are emotional (as opposed to men being logical). In reality, women are relational. They equally operate in both the right and left hemispheres of the brain, while men are generally left-brain dominant.  Sometimes men don’t step into the role of priest in their home because they are afraid to compete against the flowery prayer of a woman, but there is power in men’s spiritual leadership over the house and them taking authority over things.

Men are programmed to be providers and women helpers. Man providing does not mean that women aren’t allowed to produce toward provision. It simply means that it is the responsibility of the man to make sure all needs are provided for. Mom may write out the bills – but it is not supposed to be her responsibility to make sure there is enough provision there to pay them. She is not designed for that task. She needs to bring that concern to her husband and let him decide how to deal with that.  If you are a single woman, rely on Jesus to be the provider and remember you have church family to help!

The helper role can be perverted in two ways.  One way is to take on the worries and responsibility that should be the man’s as a way to help.  For instance, Tammy for a while took on the burden of making ends meet as part of paying the bills and it was not until I took that burden (not the bill-paying but the decisions if there are issues) that we started to see breakthroughs in our finances.  The other way to pervert it is to treat your husband like a little kid.  He needs to be treated as a man and the head of the house.

Men think about one thing at a time and women think about many things at once.  Men major on majors and women major on everything.  Women get value by what they accomplish and do and women more by who they are.

Men are seed planters, but women are incubators. Women are designed to receive seed, nurture the seed until full potential, birth it, and nurture it until mature.  This is not simply a physical illustration. Men can sow words as seed in women. You can plant good words (even if she is not a words person in terms of love languages—read Gary Chapman’s book if you have not), thoughts, dreams and visions and she will help you birth them. But when you plant bad seed, you get bad harvest. I would discourage men from venting about how horrible their jobs are. You may just be venting and then move on, but she incubates that seed and will produce a hatred for your job, your provision. This can cause many problems.

Genesis 2:7 accounts for the creation of man’s physical body. When it says God formed man, the word “formed” is a Hebrew word, yetsar. It describes a potter forming something from clay. In ancient Hebrew the letters paint a picture of man’s purpose – to work, to chase and hunt and to be the head of the household (yud—looks like an arm and represents doing work, tsade—looks like a map or pack and represents journey or chase, and resh—represents first man and household).

Then in verse 22, when God made woman, the action verb is a different Hebrew word, banah. This word is related to a master builder fashioning a house – a dream house. The ancient Hebrew paints a picture of woman’s purpose as well (the three letters represent a house with one entrance or tent, heir or seed, and grace).  Part of man’s purpose is to protect woman from any attack from the enemy.  Women are designed to be the house where the seed is sown to produce an heir to bring grace and redemption. Is that not what woman (Mary) did? It is a picture fulfilled every time a woman produces a child.  Part of man’s purpose is to protect woman from any attack from the enemy.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

He Said She Said Part 2

Last Sunday we continued the series, “He said, She Said.” We continued out of last week, where we established that God created man and woman together as the same spirit and separated them later.  Our differences as male and female are merely physical.  In this second part we discussed the role that God designed for the man.  The main difference between men and women is a hormonal difference.  All children are female in utero until about the 7th week. It is at that point that, if the baby is to be male, testosterone floods the fetus and causes it to begin to develop the physical characteristics of the male. It also causes the mind to develop differently than that of a woman. As we pointed out in part one, this is all by God’s design.
The Word tells us that we are knitted and formed on our mother’s womb by God Himself. I believe we are created as either male of female based on the plans and purposes God has for each person. Philippians 2:7-8 and Hebrews 2:17 tell us that, because of His purpose, Jesus came to earth as a man. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to focus on God’s plans for His design for us.  Philippians 4:6-8 echoes this.
 The testosterone in man causes Him to develop with certain pre-programmed tasks that drive him. Basic among these are the desire to provide and protect. So, it is this purpose that causes man to develop physically different as well as mentally different. Generally speaking, men are a little bigger and physically stronger. They are also programmed to protect those they love.  I am personally not a “man’s man.” I don’t have a deep drive to hun,t and I don’t involuntarily grunt at the mention of football. However, if you come against my wife or my kids, you will see a different side of me really quickly! It is a natural response.
 Ironically, women do not receive value from men through provision and protection. That is just our responsibility. I counsel many couples and find that many problems come from men trying to provide and protect, but not stopping to truly love. A perversion of purpose can create a workaholic who thinks he is loving his family by providing more. We’ll examine this more next week as we work into the purpose of woman.
 Jesus gives us a great example of what a man is supposed to be. We looked at Philippians 2:6 and following.  He was aggressive and confrontational when He needed to be. He had it out with the Pharisees. He rebuked when a disciple needed rebuking. He became aggressive when men were harming His church. As a side note, have you ever noticed that Jesus didn’t become aggressive and confrontational with the world – only the religious zealots of His day? I believe this is partly because those in the world were His future bride!
 Jesus calmed storms at a moment’s notice. He marched into hell and took the keys of death from the devil. He did not quit until His job was complete (this is especially important to train boys to do as we raise them). He was intense. But He was also full of the Spirit. This caused Him to also be compassionate, loving and patient. You see, He showed us the balance of manhood. Be what we were created to be, but also allow the Spirit to balance us and make us complete.   As parents of young boys we must develop that desire in them to win and to finish what they start. But we must not allow the desire to win to be a desire to win at all costs. That is what the unchecked male soul will produce.   Men are to be aggressive at the right time, but not all the time or to excess.   Men are logical and task oriented by design. Women, contrary to popular belief, are not “emotional.” Rather, they are relational. Men need to remember the relational aspect when setting out to win and conquer. Jesus showed us that.
 Finally, we men must learn to be Spiritual leaders. It is part of what we were created to be. Ephesians 5:25-26 tells us that we are to love our wives as Christ loved the church. The wives are not commanded to love their husbands. God settled millions of marriage fights right there. When neither party feels loved, it is the responsibility of the husband to love first. We love Christ (as His bride) because He first loved us. We must also not allow the Spiritual responsibilities in the home to fall on the wife.
 Women seem more naturally “spiritual” because they are more naturally relational – which is what our spiritual walk is all about. But there is incredible power when man steps into His position as the priest of the home and initiates the spiritual direction. Let your wife find you up early in the morning reading the Word or praying and she will likely become more attracted to you – because you are walking in your purpose. It’s time for men to step into their God-given roles.   You may not pray like your wife prays or as long as she prays. You may be a lot more simple and, to be honest, short. But take the initiative and do it. You will be bringing Godly order to your home and you will see more Godly results to go with it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

He Said She Said Part 1

This week, we kicked off a new series called “He Said, She Said.” We will be talking about the way God designed mankind in general as well as the specifics of how He created man and woman to have certain important characteristics. Outside of the obvious physical differences, He intentionally wired our brains a little differently.  Getting hold of these truths will help all of your relationships. You will better understand yourself, your spouse, your co-workers, your children, your fellow church members, etc… This week jumps around a lot.  It is laying groundwork for us going forward in this series.

Remember that we now have the mind of Christ, a mind that knows and follows through to complete its purpose (note Christ in the mind of Christ means “the Anointed One and His Anointing”).   Joshua 1:8 says we should meditate on the Word in order to make our way prosperous and successful. The idea of meditating in Hebrew paints the picture of a cow that chews on its cud – swallowing it and bringing back up to get more out of it. It also describes a “muttering” or constant thinking about and dwelling on – to the point that it is just continually coming out of your mouth. The word for “successful” in Hebrew  prudent, circumspect, wisely understand, and prosperous.  The word for prosperous means health, wealth, joy, peace, and highly favored.  Psalm 1:1-3 echoes this as well.

The differences between the genders have been made to be negatives rather than positives.  Instead, we need to realize that they are strengths that God placed into the design of man and woman.  That is the world’s way of thinking that needs to be changed (Romans 12:2).   There are a lot of aspects of God’s Word that we must dwell on. Specifically, we should allow God’s view of ourselves and others consume us – instead of following our natural tendencies. Do you think Jesus allowed His mind to be consumed with all of the dumb things people around Him were doing (starting with His own disciples)? We know that Jesus saw the bigger picture. Even on the cross, He was asking His Father to forgive those who were crucifying Him!
 From the start, men and women were equal. In Genesis 1:27-29, God spoke to THEM. Man and woman were in the same spirit. It was later that God divided them into separate physical bodies. He never took back from the woman what He had promised to THEM. Galatians 3:26-29 re-states that, in Christ, there is no difference in gender. We all have the same purpose to be fruitful, multiply and fill and subdue the earth.

 After the separation of man and woman in Genesis 2, we find that each was made to bring different things to the table. But the purpose and call was the same. We talked about how the brain is divided into the left brain, more logical, and right brain, more creative.  We talked about how men typically are more strongly left-brained, and women are more strongly right-brained (in general).  Traditionally left-handed men were not allowed to be warriors, etc.  Also, men are sowers and women are receivers and multipliers.  This is important to know as a husband or as someone who works with women.  What you sow into women will come back at you, good or bad.

 We also talked briefly about the need to keep our thoughts about each other positive and in line with the Word. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says we need to destroy any thoughts and arguments that are contrary to God’s Word. Philippians 4:6-8 echoes this as well.  This applies in ALL areas – including how you think about others.    This is a biblical truth and it is reaffirmed in the physical body. Doctors and scientists know that dwelling on negative thought releases dangerous chemicals in the body. These chemicals cause fatigue, sickness, disease and…. Belly fat! Conversely, positive thoughts and attitudes release healing chemicals in the body that even cause fat and cancer cells to be dissolved!