The key to Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4, ESV) Continue reading “The key to Pentecost”

The true POWER of the Kingdom

Luke 8 lays out several areas where Jesus demonstrates his authority. The Kingdom is powerful over nature, demons, death, and sickness.

Then, in Luke 9:1-6, Jesus tells them simply to go repeat what they’ve seen him do.

They obeyed.

Here’s our challenge: Don’t argue yourself out of a victory. 

If Jesus said, “Go do this. The authority is yours. I’ve shown you,” it’s not the time for a philosophical argument. It’s time to listen and obey.

The beauty of a jealous God

Deuteronomy 6

Obedience and fear are huge words and growing up they always sounded “demanding.” It’s only in the last few years that I’ve really come to understand them as loving and what God is calling Israel to is more like a marriage covenant than some list of demands.

Obedience and fear are “demanding” in that there ARE rigors of a covenant relationship. Marriage should be a covenant relationship and even those words are helpful in describing the deep covenant underpinnings that will truly keep two people together.

We have a God who is incredibly jealous for us. He is consumed with passion for us. All he asks is a return on that attention. Instead, we are consumed too often with ourselves and what this “wonderful” God can instead do for us. 

Deuteronomy 6 is a wonderful passage of delight. It is a call to obedience, but who would NOT want to obey a loving God who provides all we need for abundant living? Too often we want abundant living without the obligation. It just won’t work that way.

Why should I not be consumed with knowing this loving God?

Why should I not be consumed with the written Word, longing to understand the most obvious place to know this loving God? Why would I want to explain away this treasure? Why would I hide this written Word from others, or from my children? Why would I NOT be consumed with the Word and talking about it all time?

We are so consumed with so many other things and we do not mind talking about them! We talk about our favorite shows, movies, music, people… and we talk about what we hate in those categories as well. And it’s normal. 

But start talking about what you’re learning in the written Word and you get, “Oh, there you go again! Being condemning! Being ‘holier than thou!'”


It’s about being consumed with a Savior who is consumed with passion for me. I am longing to know him as he knows me.

This jealous God is a beautiful God and I want to know him!


The silence of God isn’t always the approval of God

We really make a mistake when we make an argument for silence on behalf of God. We think it means… well… whatever we want it to mean. Because, quite frankly, we may not know. 

But we may be in danger of living “on the edge” in disobedience and find out the silence of God has an end point… and that end may not be so pleasant:

You’ve done these things and I’ve kept quiet.
    You thought I was just like you!
        But now I’m punishing you;
        I’m laying it all out, right in front of your face. (Ps. 50:21, CEB)

We really need to gauge our actions and our motives more by the standards of the Kingdom instead of guessing that God is just like us and rolling the dice.

I had not planned on raising the dead today

What level of obedience ARE we willing to go to with Jesus?

7 He called for the Twelve and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority over unclean spirits. 8 He instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a walking stick—no bread, no bags, and no money in their belts. 9 He told them to wear sandals but not to put on two shirts. 10 He said, “Whatever house you enter, remain there until you leave that place. 11  If a place doesn’t welcome you or listen to you, as you leave, shake the dust off your feet as a witness against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should change their hearts and lives. 13 They cast out many demons, and they anointed many sick people with olive oil and healed them. (Mark 6:7-12)

Most of my mornings… okay, all of my mornings… really consist of, “Dear Jesus, please let me find the coffee pot quickly.”

When I listen for instruction, it is usually in relation to who I meet that day, or the people I will run into… but usually just prayers that say something like, “Just make me a blessing.”

But heal the sick?

That one doesn’t usually make the list in the course of praying through the day.

So… why not? 

Lord, help me to be more awake to your Spirit!


Gut Level Obedience

I find myself desiring too many other things. Success. Significance. Someone just noticing something I’ve done.

But that is not my call. Obedience and duty are my call.

“Would any of you say to your servant, who had just come in from the field after plowing or tending sheep, ‘Come! Sit down for dinner’?  Wouldn’t you say instead, ‘Fix my dinner. Put on the clothes of a table servant and wait on me while I eat and drink. After that, you can eat and drink’?  You won’t thank the servant because the servant did what you asked, will you? 10  In the same way, when you have done everything required of you, you should say, ‘We servants deserve no special praise. We have only done our duty.’” (Luke 17:7-10, CEB)

I am SO not there. 

The Journey to Obedience

I commented the other day about the move from success to significance to obedience and how there aren’t many leadership books on “obedience.”

While that is true, and it’s probably true because generally we only want to read about “successful” people, I think there are some great examples.

The problem is obedience has such a high cost, we have examples we can read, but we don’t call them “leadership” books. Also, we read them and often say, “What a great example,” and leave it at that. We don’t actually want to go DO what those folks DID!

Some great examples:

Henri Nouwen. His incredible obedience to leave high profile academic positions to take care of mentally disabled adults is a powerful story. Nouwen’s writings are considered “contemplative,” not “leadership,” but there isn’t a better “leadership” book than In the Name of Jesus. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Many Christians have read The Cost of Discipleship, but we aren’t so ready to face the issues of our day like Bonhoeffer faced in his day. He died for his cause.

Adoniram Judson. Missionary to Burna. Lost his wife and many of his kids to disease on the mission field.

Calvin Olson. Never wrote a book. Pioneered churches in one of the hardest Muslim areas of the world.

Come to think of it, maybe we don’t have as many “leadership” books on obedience because so many people just go OBEY. Maybe they write later. Maybe they are written about later.

The place of obedience just isn’t our highest priority at times. Yet, that is where you find the presence of God.

Henri Nouwen