Exposing the roaring lion of fear

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing will ever harm you.”   Luke 10:19

We have authority over him.

1 Peter – he prowls around seeking who he may devour – “may” not “can”. i.e. we’ve given him permission, an opening.

60% of believers don’t believe in the enemy – they have no grasp they’re being stalked.

Be sober, be alert … means stay disciplined.  The areas I let get out of control, are the areas where the attack will come.  He’s your adversary whether you like it or not.

He’s active. He’s coming to your territory trying to produce in you a mistake that will then give him an opportunity.  Do I fear him?  No.  But I should understand him.

Lions are nocturnal – you’re safe in the day but not at night.  It’s dangerous at night.  Darkness is the devil’s domain.  You’re safe in the light.  Sin is his domain and you can’t cast him off it.

Ephesians 5:9-15 (Instructions for believers)“Walk as children of light – for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth – discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.  Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead, expose them.  For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret.  Everything exposed by the light is made clear, for what makes everything clear is the light.  Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk – not as unwise people but as wise – making the most of the time, because the days are evil.”

Where two or more are gathered in His name, there Christ shall also be – i.e. don’t be a lone ranger.  Surround yourself with Godly people.  The devil will come at you but he won’t see you, he’ll see Jesus because they are in the spiritual realm.

You’re safe in Christian fellowship.  Satan is trying to provoke you to break off on your own.  Lions don’t attack the herd, they intimidate to try to get a weak one to break off alone.

Lions are territorial – don’t run from lions, they’ll kill you.  The purpose of the roar is to intimidate you so you’ll run away from his territory.

2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”  There is good fear – see a rattlesnake and fear appears, you heed the warning and move away and the fear subsides.  That fear is temporary, protective and circumstantial.  It comes, it goes, it protects you.

Bad fear is chronic and debilitating – that is not from God.  It is a controlling spirit by the devil to keep us off our promised land.  It’s not my emotion.  It’s a demonic spirit trying to keep me off what God has promised me.  Once I stop dealing with fear as my emotion and my weakness and I begin to understand that is a separate identity from me, I can begin to take authority over it.  It comes saying “you’re going to fail, you’re going to embarrass yourself…” it tries to intimidate.

So, when that spirit of fear comes, what are we to do?

“I bind you spirit of fear in the name of Jesus and every lie you’re telling me.  You’re a demon spirit and you’re on my territory.  You’re standing on my promised land.  Not only am I not going to give you this land, I’m taking it back from you.”

You have a promised land.  It is a God-given destiny and as sure as you have that destiny, there is an enemy standing on your land roaring at you, screaming, “you’re not good enough, smart enough … who do you think you are?”  He’s stealthy.  He implants this fear but doesn’t tell us it is him – he makes us think it is us.  I’m fearful of people, I’m fearful of failure, I’m fearful of what other people think, I’m fearful of rejection”NO, you are NOT.  God hasn’t given you a spirit of fear.  It’s an add-on from the devil to try to control you.

It is time to expose the roaring lion and understand what he is up to. It’s time to take our land back. We have authority over him. Don’t run. Attack him. Run to the roar. He’s already been defeated. Kick him off your promised land and live your life as God intended you to live. Make a stand against a spirit of fear.

Prayer to break the power of fear …

“In the name of Jesus, I don’t have fear.  I’m not going to run from you.  I’m taking my territory back from you right now.  You’re standing on my promised land and I won’t rest until I have it back and you’re gone.  I bind your voice.  I bind your lies.  I bind your influence and in their place, I pray for a spirit of love, of power, and of sound mind.  God give me a spirit of love.  I want to be motivated by love, power and your wisdom.  I declare victory right now.  The devil will not devour me.  I’m the child of Almighty God.  I’m invested with divine authority and wherever I go, you go with me Lord Jesus.  Help me fulfill my perfect destiny in You. From today forward, when I hear that roar, I will run toward it and take authority over it and claim my promised land in Jesus name.”

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here are the slides from today > Goliath 3

Run the race … What is slowing you down or tripping you up?  It is time to strip off everything that is weighing you down.  In life, you only get to run once, so run to win.  To avoid stumbling and losing the race, don’t look back.  You can’t change the past but you can learn from it.  Don’t be anxious for about the next lap, focus on the next step.  Older and wiser people have come to understand their burdens are of no real importance.  We waste our strength extinguishing fires that if left alone would burn out on their own.  Time is your most valuable resource.  Save it and you’ve increased assets and decreased liabilities.  Travel light.  Ditch the baggage of self-sabotaging habits and pointless fears.  There enough painful trials in life; why endure the ones you can strip off?  You can never know how successful you can be until you get rid of the things that slow you down and trip you up.

Erwin McManus’ new book is the called The Last Arrow – save nothing for the next life.  He reminds us in this video that too many of us have equated the word “faith” with safety.  Nowhere in Scripture are we taught that as followers of Christ that our life will be safe.  If that’s the goal, that’s inward thinking — that life and faith is suddenly about me, my life, my comfort, my safety, etc.  Faith in Christ is risky and yet full of adventure but it begins with steps of faith and great courage…

Too many of us are so afraid of death that we never live, so afraid of failure that we never risk, so afraid of pain that we never discover  how strong we really are.

For me, fear is rampant.  The very nature of my work is risky.  Many things I simply cannot control.  I am daily at risk of simply being wrong, at risk of a client saying, “Enough.  You don’t know what you’re doing.  I’m firing you”.  That fear has hung over me like a sword.  The overwhelming message I heard this past summer was on “fear”.  Fear is pervasive in our society and in religion.  It is the design of an enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy.  He’s trying to steal your confidence.  Kill your desire to live and destroy your life.

How about you?  How much fear is in your life today?  Fear of failing?  Of being “found out” as a fake and a poser?  Fear of reaching for that next promotion?  Fear that you don’t have what it takes?  Fear of your wife?  Dig deep here.  Ask Father.

How do we combat this?  By the Word.  Yes, I am pressured in every way, but I am not crushed.  I am perplexed but not in despair.  Struck down but not destroyed.  (2 Corinthians 4:7-8).

I KNOW the cost of the Cross.  God paid it ALL for me.  Christ emptied Himself … for me.  I KNOW what HE thinks of me … “fearfully and wonderfully made”.  I know He delights in me and that I am His beloved son.

Sure, I will make mistakes in my career.  Yes, no doubt, I will lose clients for a variety of reasons.  BUT … it does not define me.  What defines me is Christ.  He determines my worth, not man.  If I rest in this, trust in this, believe this then I have no fear.  Say it again, no man will define my worth.  Christ defines what I’m worth and to Him, I’m worth it all.

McManus asks us, “If you’re not where you want to be, why do you keep choosing to stay where you are?  If you know there is a future waiting for you, why do you choose to stay in the past?  It is time to move past what God will do “For you” and to what God wants to do “Through you”. 

It is time to stop being a lake that stores up all the resources for your consumption and instead to become a river that flows those resources downstream to rescue others.  It is time to LiveUP and LiveOutward (excurvatus) for others.  Once I no longer fear man, I can then go battle for man.  Jesus calls us.  “Don’t weep for Me!  Join Me!”  He poured Himself out as an offering.  We are also called to do the same.

Which man will you be…

Inward?  Bruised and deeply wounded, you curve into self, living by fear and addiction.  You move away from others.  Seeking gratification in all you consume, having your needs met and your pain medicated?

Outward?  Restored and knowing I am delighted in by Father, I move outward towards others.  I have no fear.  Self dies.  There is no need to pose anymore.  No need to medicate.  I am who I am.  I’m a river flowing life to others.

Which man will you be?

Harrison gave us a great testimony of what Authentic Manhood looks like.  He is leading his family.  One income, the budget is tight but there are no financial secrets.  He and his wife talk and are open about their finances.  He’s praying.  She is praying.  He heard Father saying “pick up your sword” and discovered that meant, give this money away, trust Me.  Bravely, he came home to tell Stephanie and she said, “Let’s do this”.  She trusts his leadership.  It’s beautiful.  Do you see why he talked this morning?  Fear, yes of course but it is temporary fear which he rose above by trusting Father.  Stepping up to lead his wife?  Yes.  Bold?  Yes.  Risk?  Yes.  Courage?  Yes.  THAT is faith.  It is NOT safe but it leads to beautiful, marvelous freedom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A triumphal warrior’s call

Subversive for the Savior
Devotional by John Piper      (my comments in orange)

When Jesus met the man filled with demons at Gadara, the demons cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29)

Demons learned a mystery here. They knew they were doomed. They knew the Son of God would be the Victor. But they didn’t know until it happened that Christ was coming before the time of final defeat.

Christ is not going to wait until the atom bomb drops to end the war. He has begun to lead a subversive force into the territory of Satan. He has trained a “life-squad” (that’s us boys) to perform daring rescue operations. Christ has plotted many tactical victories before the time of the final strategic victory.

The resulting wartime mentality is this: Since Satan’s doom is sure, and he knows it, we can always remind him of it when he tempts us to follow him. (Remember … “Lake of fire, Lake of fire”.  When assaulted, remind the foul one of his final destination!)  We can laugh and say, “You’re out of your mind. Who wants to join forces with a loser?!”

The church is the liberated enemy of “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). We are the guerrillas and the gadflies. We are the insurgency in the rebel kingdom of “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2).  (Big AMEN to that!)

It is not safe. But it is thrilling. Many lives are lost. Satan’s forces are ever on the lookout for our subversive activity. Christ has guaranteed resurrection for all who fight to the death. But he has not guaranteed comfort, or acceptance from the world, or prosperity in enemy territory.

Many have gladly given their lives behind the lines running errands for the Commander. I can think of no better way to live — or die!

How can I possibly forgive?

How many times should I forgive?  Seven?  Jesus replied “Seventy times seven”.  Forgiveness is a continual thing.  It’s not about keeping count, it is a way of living in the grace of God.

Parable of the ungrateful servant –  Matthew 18:23-25.  Man owed 10,000 talents.  That was 10x the GDP of the region.  An unpayable debt.  “Be patient with me” he pleaded to the master “And I will repay”.  The debt was completely forgiven and he was let go.  Immediately he went out and found a man that owed him a day’s wage.  He grabbed the man and choked him demanding full repayment.  “Be patient with me”.  He refused and had him thrown in jail.  The master heard about this and asked him, “Shouldn’t you have mercy on him just as I have had on you?”

David and Bathsheba –  2 Samuel 12.  He took Bathsheba and ordered, in effect, the murder of her husband.  His heart was so hardened, he couldn’t see his own sin.  God raised up Nathan to confront him.  Nathan tells David the story of two men – one of them rich with a large number of sheep and cattle.  The other had just one small ewe lamb.  It lived and grew up with his children, drank from his cup and slept in his arms.  It was a like a daughter to him.  The rich man had a guest coming for dinner and couldn’t bring himself to kill one of his own sheep and he took the poor man’s lamb for the meal.  David heard this story and was infuriated saying “this man deserves to die”.  Nathan saying essentially, “David, you are this man in the story.  You have everything and anything you could want but it wasn’t enough.  You took Bathsheba – all that Uriah had – and you had Uriah killed.”

How many of us live our lives like that ungrateful servant? 

How many of us are like David?  God has given us so much and yet we just take more.

How many of us need a Nathan?

Let’s go back and read Galatians 5 but this time from the Message …

It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community.  I could go on.   (please don’t!)

This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know.  If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.

But what happens when we live God’s way?  He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.  We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.  We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

The first part is more than a man who fears God should be able to hear.  I personally was convicted hearing that list in this paraphrase.  Whoa.  All of us are guilty.  All fall short.

Most of us have also been the victim of this.  We’ve suffered loneliness at the hands of others.  Cutthroat competition might have cost us our job.  A parent with a brutal temper might have harmed us as children.  We’ve come from divided homes, fractured lives.  We’ve lived with family members with uncontrolled addictions.  For many of us these things have come down on us from above – a coach, a parent, a boss, a spouse.  For some of us, a perhaps an even deeper pain, it’s come from below us, from our own children.

It costs us.  It grieves us.  It brings great, great pain.  Either from our own doing or things done to us, we’ve all picked up some scars along the way.  More on that in a minute.

How do you forgive?  How possibly can you forgive?

First, realize that I’m the ungrateful servant when I have received the Father’s grace and blessings but I refuse to forgive those who have sinned against me. I owed a debt that could not be paid and He sent Jesus to the Cross.  Jesus forgave me of an unpayable debt.

Second, know that there is a consequence of unforgiveness – There is a vital connection between receiving God’s grace and forgiving others.  If I’m unwilling to forgive, it says something about my ability to receive God’s grace.  Refusing to forgive = a life of collecting debts.  We refuse to live free.  We run around collecting debts thinking it will fill the void in our life.

When I refuse to forgive, I am the one who suffers the consequences of unforgiveness.

The most powerful person in your life is the person you refuse to forgive.  They may be dead but they still control you, your thoughts and your emotions.  When you think of them, you’re bound up in unforgiveness, bitterness or hatred.  This person is controlling you.

Want a humorous look at this?  —> 

That person you refuse to forgive?  They live right there, rent free, in between your eyes and Satan is having a field day with you.  Much of my brokenness is from the sins of others against me.  If I am unwilling to forgive, it’s going to cost me greatly.  I will be tormented by the thoughts and pain of what was done to me.  Healing/Wholeness starts with forgiveness.  It is a means of living grace.

Let me give you one more powerful way you can forgive.  You can share your story

“When we share the scars of our story, our wounds transform into weapons of light”.

more on that in another post…

A call to Awaken

As we kicked off Manschool, Keith challenged us as men to AWAKEN.  It is a call to the “more”.  It is easy to become complacent.  It’s easy to come to Manschool and drift away or to come and just “sit”.  We all have time.  We don’t think we do.  In fact, one of the primary excuses we use is “I’m just too busy” but now really, think about that.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the ESPN app exist … if only to prove … that we do indeed have time.  We waste so much of our life scrolling through the internet but have “no time” to go after relationship with God?  No time to invest in our faith?  No time to come to Manschool and engage in community?

We are in a call to Awakening.  To be awakened to the greatness of God and the knowledge that the Creator of the universe loves us deeply.  He cares.  He absolutely loves me as a child.  He knows me, claims me and delights in me.

To be awakened to His Lordship – that you were bought at price and belong to Him.  You are not made to live independently.  It is one of the traps of manhood, we think we’re supposed to be tough, fierce and independent.  No, you are designed to be dependent … dependent on Him, dependent on community.

Awakened to Holiness – the true state of our soul is one of brokenness.  Fear, anxiety, loneliness – these are symptoms of this life in this culture.  Holiness calls us to more.  It calls us to be fully alive.  That the very Glory of God is man “fully alive”.  The fully alive man rejects compromise.  He will not compromise his integrity.  And awakened in Boldness – the fully alive man has had the chains come off, is confident in his Father and is enabled to Rise UP.  That man will become bold in his leadership and we need the men of this church to lead.

Lastly, that we’d be awakened to the needs around us.  The truth is, most men you know are completely lost.  They are blind to how bound up they are to things of this world.  Our task is to go get those men and get those men into our midst so they experience Tribe and the beauty of what God is doing in our group.  That is Excurvatus Ex Se – a life live outward.

Let me say this – Manschool is a privilege.  There are men all over this country that long for a group like we have.  50-60-70 men a week experience Manschool and clearly, God has moved and blessed our Tribe.  Fight for this.  Don’t take it for granted.  Don’t let complacency set in.  This is a privilege, it is a blessing and it is quite special.  Fight for it.

Lastly, Keith reminded us the name Adam means “remember”.  God named him knowing what was to come, knowing the challenges he’d face and the enemy he’d battle.  God’s call was to “remember”.  Chaos is going to come to your life.  Trust me.  I’m living it right now in mine.  Some of you are too.  You’ve got stuff flying at you from all over and it is easy to find yourself not knowing which end is up.  You’ll stop investing in your faith as you put fires out and instead of being proactive, you’ll become reactive.  The enemy, at that point, has you back on your heels with your back against the ropes.  You’ll withdraw from community and bunker yourself and in so doing, set yourself up for the knockout punch.  Adam failed to “remember” and he let Eve take a bite.  Every one of us is like Adam.  We go passive and then we hide.  It’s time to be bold and step out of the fear of the unknown – the fear of leading our wives spiritually, the fear of leading in the market place.  For us to be the men God intends for us to be, we’ve got to fight through our brokenness to get through to the Truth.

There is tremendous power in doing this together.  There is power in Tribe and getting to the place where we know, “I can’t do it without them”.  We need you to Rise UP.  Come along.  We’ll do this together.

The call to the outward life

You can watch this talk from Erwin McManus on iTunes.  Go to iTunes.  In the search box type “Mosaic”.  Scroll down to the podcasts and pick “Mosaic Erwin McManus”.  This talk is from September 13th “A Voice in the Wilderness”.  You can download the video or the audio.  I suggest you save this so you’ll have permanent access to it.  Here are the notes from today…

Read Mark 1:1-8 and John 1:1-12 and 19-28 in preparation for this.  Pick the Word up.  Engage with it.

We find ourselves thinking, “If God exists, He should make himself readily available to us.”   We think God is silent but we just keep losing Him in the noise that haunts our brains.

John is sent as a voice from the wilderness. “I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord – just as the prophet Isaiah said.”

When John appears, there had been 400 years of silence between God and humanity.  Zechariah, his father, was a priest and had been selected to go into the Holy of Holies … his one chance at performing that ceremony.  In there, he is approached by Gabriel telling him that his wife was going to have a son named John.  Zechariah questions this – “how is this possible, my wife is old?” and he is struck silent because he did not believe.

If we are going to have a voice in wilderness, we have to commit to shatter the silence.  It is not that God isn’t speaking, He speaks through His people and they’ve lost their capacity to speak to the world.

John came as a witness to the light.  His job was to make sure the people recognized the light.  Our job is not only to shatter the silence but to dispel the darkness.

The light of God isn’t condemning – though people think it is.  When we stand in the light, we see things that had been hidden.  We blame God because He caught us naked.  We think the light made us naked.  It didn’t.  We were already naked just hidden in the dark.  The light exposed your already hidden condition.

When you step into the light, you realize it was never about revealing your brokenness but bringing your healing.  Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing if people looked at you and me and they saw us pointing to a light that freed us from a life of guilt and shame?  Freed us from judgment and condemnation so they could trust the light because they trust us?

That’s why McManus calls his community Mosaic because they openly acknowledge they are broken and fragmented people – irregular, sometimes perceived as worthless pieces – brought together by the Masterful artist to create something beautiful when His light shines through them.

When the light and life of God dwells in us, we become a work of art and a guiding light to those who are desperate to find hope.

John came to point to the light, not the darkness.  A barbarian in the wilderness came and spoke to the people, not some pious priest from a temple.  John – in all of his dirt, grit, animal skin, eating locust and honey – could speak to the people and say “repent” and they’d listen.  The “perfect” priest from the temple could have no such effect on people as a man who’d come from the desert, where the evil spirits lived.  He’d seen battle and grit and darkness and he pointed to the light.

People don’t need you talking about God in the comfort and convenience of your safe lives.  They need to know if we can step into the darkness and come out stronger than when we went in.

It is the power of your testimony.  It is the power of “real”.  It is “authentic manhood”.

The human spirit seems drawn to domestication and away from the mystery of a life filled with adventure and risk.  Jesus didn’t save you “from the world”.  He saved you “for the world”.  The church isn’t supposed to be a hiding place to protect us from the rest of humanity.  If you believe, you do not need a safe haven.

Isaiah 40 predicts Jesus – “A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert.  Every valley will be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will be leveled; the uneven ground will become smooth, and the rough places, plain.  And the glory of the LORD will appear, and all humanity will see it together, for the LORD has spoken.  A voice was saying “Cry out!” … the grass withers and the flowers will fade but the word of our God endures forever … God is the creator of the whole earth.  He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to his understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless.  Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men will stumble and fall, but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and now grow tired; they will walk and not grow faint.”

God is saying to you – “I know you’re weary.  I know you’re tired.  I know you’ve stumbled and have fallen.  I know you are broken and that you have weaknesses but I will pour strength into you in times of weakness, pour hope into you in times of despair.  I will pour life into you when you are nothing but death warmed over.  I don’t get tired.  I will put my strength in you and you will soar like wings of eagles.”

As believers, we know this to be true.  We are to be salt and light.  We are a mosaic of broken and fallen men but we have been restored by the Father and as His light shines through us, other men want this.

God did not save you for a cushy life.  He saved you to be a warrior in His battle – to rescue the hearts of others by the power of your testimony of what God has done in your life.

There is no greater call OUTWARD for us.  There is no greater cure for “incurvatus” living than to pour your life out for others to point them to the LIGHT.

The new LiveUP logo

Harrison Mills stepped UP.  He took the step of saying, “I have gifts and skills that I can use to make a real contribution to this Tribe” and he boldly tackled the redesign of our logo.

I love this on so many levels.  He has sat and listened and taken in what has been shared.  He’s grabbed the vision.  God is clearly moving on his heart and he took the risk of saying, “Hey, maybe I can improve some things and make a contribution”.  Amen and Amen.  Bold.  Creative.  Willing to risk.  Dreamed.  In so doing, he was LivingUP.

If you want to see it … here ya go

liveup-logoredesign-presentation-1

We’ll be redesigning the website to incorporate all of this.