Living Stones

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For Your name, heart and soul
My life is Yours a living stone
For Your glory, heart and soul
Surrendered all to build our home

– Hillsong Music, Mountain

If you haven’t already noticed, I love this song. It blares over and over in my car, home, through the headset, wherever, because it makes me feel alive. Passion comes to the surface and I am set alight. And now we’re heading into the good part.

1 Peter 2:5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.

Heart and soul, completely surrendered, a living stone. A life sold out to the cause of Jesus Christ. But a stone means I am part of a structure, a building. What building?

Jesus has always had a love affair with His church. We think she is disjointed and critical, but He loves her more than life. From the beginning Jesus said His church would be built on people. Disciple Peter was far from perfect, yet a worthy life on which Jesus would build the church.

That is why I am a living stone in the one thing Jesus said He would build once He was gone – the church. God’s beautiful, glorious church. More than a building, church is lives. Once broken, messy lives, who have come together to build a home. A home for the lost. A home for the hurting to be healed and restored.

Singing along to the lyric sends chills up my spine, not because I see what I can accomplish with Jesus. No, I see what we can accomplish together.

This hill becoming a mountain is not an individual life, it is many living stones, building a home. This is the Church Age. Come on. Don’t miss out. Make your mark in history and be a living stone in your local church.

Jesus: Fortress

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Your name
My hope
Fortress in the raging storm
My heart
Is Your home
Jesus let Your love take hold

– Hillsong Music, Mountain

Yes, I know I have blogged about the chorus of Mountain before. But we Pentecostals like to get as much mileage from a song as possible. So here’s another thought to bless your heart.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.

What name is above all else? What name holds power over sickness, sin, and even death?

The name of Jesus. The most beautiful name in all the earth.

Last week I read a post on incourage.me by Lysa TerKeurst. She shared this revelation about Jesus our fortress:

A fortress is a place that is built intentionally for the purposes of exceptional security. The Hebrew word for fortress is metsudah with one of its definitions being an “inaccessible place.”

God is not just a quick refuge from the storm but He’s the place where fear no longer has access to me.

The name of Jesus is a fortress. Inaccessible to Satan. When covered by the name of Jesus the devil can not attack. Accusations cannot penetrate in the fortress of His name. You are untouchable.

Satan is like your average two-year-old, he pushes boundaries. As with your own child, push back. He does not have an access-all-areas-pass when it comes to your life. He will press for an opening with fear and shame but kick him out. In Jesus Christ you are inaccessible. Deny the devil access in Jesus name.

When you feel threatened, call on the name above all names. The name of Jesus is a fortress of inaccessibility.

Run to Him.
Run to His name.
And be safe.

Life is Not a Mess

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The stone the builders rejected
Laid to ransom a fractured bride
A crushing weight on Your shoulders
We stand forever with arms stretched wide
– Hillsong Music, Mountain

I read a lot on the Internet about mess. The church is a mess. Marriage a mess. Life is a mess. A beautiful mess. But still a mess. And these thoughts come from Christians.

I have a problem with this theology. Jesus laid down His life for a fractured bride. Past tense. She is no longer broken but victorious.

Earlier this year my son fractured his elbow. It was supposed to be a textbook break and heal easily. It didn’t. He underwent two operations to get his arm working again. And it wasn’t cheap. I am not complaining. Of course you spend how ever much it takes to make your son better, but there was a price.

We did not pay for operations by a top orthopaedic surgeon for his elbow to remain fractured. My husband and I paid the price so he would be healed. And he is. Today, all you see is a scar. His elbow is completely whole again.

Jesus ransomed a fractured bride for a price. His life. Jesus gave His life freely for the world – you do anything for your bride. But He did not do it for her to remain fractured. He did not die for your life to remain a mess, even a beautiful one.

I have come so you might have life in a mess. (John 10:10) No, life in abundance.

You may look in the mirror and see a fractured life, a fractured bride. We have days like that. But it is not you. Behold, He makes all things new. (Revelation 21:5) You are new. The stone the builders rejected (Psalm 118:22) has not rejected you. He loves you, loves you with never ending love.

You can forever stand with arms stretched wide in worship because your life is not a mess. It is not changing from mess to beautiful mess, but glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18) Jesus paid the price for your health, your deliverance. You are healed. You are whole.

Waging War on Moderate Christianity

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Extremes of anything are not good. Extreme personalities are unbearable. Extreme relationships, toxic. Extreme weather, disastrous.

Then we have extreme faith. We all know what that can look like.

Compared to extremists, most people in the western world classify themselves as moderate. For a generation raised on terms such as diversity and tolerance, moderate life is standard. They own a moderate house, earn a moderate income, with moderate views.

It seems these moderate attitudes have crept their way into Christianity, creating a wish-washy mix of spineless believers. No faith, little hope, dull, and apathetic.

The Sunday School greats on whom we were raised were not moderate. They chose a radical life, not status quo. They pushed boundaries, and conquered kingdoms (Hebrews 11:33).

Yet in our comfortable, modern churches, with sermon notes on our phones, and a convenient, timed-to-the-second one- hour-fifteen-minute service, we then go about the rest of our week knowing we have given God the nod.

Our cookie cutter world would like us to stay moderate – Oh, you’re a Christian. That’s nice. Don’t let it offend anyone else. Fit in this nice little box like the rest of us moderates – but Christianity is more than ho-hum faith. It is power. It is fire. It is life.

So I say enough of moderate Christianity. Enough lukewarm living. Wage war on moderate in your life. There’s more. So much more.

It’s time to shake out of your moderate lifestyle. Yes, believer, I’m talking to you. You can change the world. Don’t tolerate moderate. You were created for more.

A bunch of radical Christians set out from the upper room to turn the world upside down. And they did. Now it’s our turn. Never doubt that a generation of radical, committed Christians can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Originally published as 3 Ways to Wage War on Moderation on crosswalk.com.

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