The supernatural realm is real.
It is God’s place of power and promise for all believers.
But it is not enough to just sample God’s provisions for his children. He wants us to develop a lifestyle of walking in the supernatural Kingdom of God.
We all start from a place of ignorance. Quite often, we just don’t know what we don’t know. But when we master the basic spiritual concepts, we build a foundation and gain confidence to move forward.
As we prepare to engage in ministry, let’s examine five distinct steps which lead us into a pathway of perpetual power. Each successive step moves us towards a lifestyle of supernatural service.
5 Steps to Perpetual Power
1. Knowledge. This is the first step. We begin by recognizing that we are somewhat ignorant! It’s not that God’s ways are complex; they are simple. But sometimes we need instruction because the kingdom of heaven functions differently than the world in which we live.
In the natural realm, we know that if an apple drops from the tree and hits the ground, it illustrates the Law of Gravity. But do we recognize that although they are unseen, God has created spiritual forces and they are also at work?
Many of us have not grown up in a Christian culture where the power of God is normal; it is not second nature to us. Discovering true spiritual knowledge reveals possibilities that were foreign to us. Sparks begin to fly!
If this is new to you, don’t be discouraged. Even the first disciples needed training. They lived alongside Jesus for a period of over three years. During their training, they grew to understand the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why” of service to their Lord. Not only did Jesus teach them, but he allowed them to gain hands-on experience along the way. They observed. They ministered. They grew. Knowledge laid the foundation for their future actions in ministry. They understood who they were in relationship to Christ.
For several years, I trained traveling teams for a collegiate Christian ministry. Each weekend, these teams traveled across the Southeast preaching, leading worship, and inviting their audience to respond to the message. The ministry team would then pray for those specific needs. After one training seminar, I had the opportunity to observe the group at a local youth outreach. The ministry was amazing! The students didn’t hesitate to boldly pray with power and authority. Many were saved, immersed in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and received healing. The training had catapulted these young men and women into a new dimension of ministry where they were confident of their ability and position in Christ.
In addition to the nuts and bolts of practical knowledge, we must also “know” our Lord. We must become familiar with his nature and his word which dictates his will. We may need to ask ourselves the familiar question, “What would Jesus do?” How can we answer, if we aren’t familiar with the compassionate nature of our Lord? As we grow in understanding and the knowledge of him, we will gain insight into his ways.
2. Confidence. The second step is confidence. The practical and spiritual knowledge we gain gives us the courage to step out of the proverbial boat.
Remember Peter’s experience walking on the water? He had seen the miracles of Jesus and was confident of Christ’s power to uphold him on the waves. Yes, Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink, but he was the one disciple who ventured out of the boat and actually did defy natural law. Peter actually walked on the water!
As we develop confidence in who we are and what God has invited us to do, we are no longer wondering whether we should or even could offer spiritual assistance. We become assured of what we know, and now have the certainty to proceed forward. Our faith is energized and that confidence produces action.
3. Action. With a foundation of knowledge and confidence, we become Christians in motion, active for the Kingdom of God. We are able to pray with others whenever and wherever the Holy Spirit prompts us. Ministry isn’t always confined to a church setting. In fact, God is on the move within our community, workplace, school, and neighborhood.
One day in Border’s bookstore, I was simply sipping coffee and flipping through a magazine to pass the time. A young lady sitting to my left began to share about an upcoming operation, and I could tell she was distressed. I used the opportunity to pray with her and asked for God’s peace to surround the situation. The effect was immediate. He was faithful to answer my prayer and respond to her need. I left Border’s encouraged by the fact that God had used me. She walked away knowing there is a God who loves and cares for her every need. It was a divine appointment.
As we become more in tune with our Heavenly Father and his will, our actions become consistent and reliable. We move from the active phase into the fourth step. Consistent actions produce positive habits.
4. Habits. This fourth step is a result of faithfully responding to God over a period of time. It generally takes about six weeks of consistent behavior for any new physical action to become a habit. Spiritual habits are developed in a similar fashion. With commitment and practice, our ministry habits will last a lifetime and touch the lives of countless hurting people.
Consider how a sprinter trains.The runner exercises and develops his muscles, practices his starting stance, and perfects his running strategy for the upcoming race. When the starting gun sounds, he doesn’t hesitate or fumble off the blocks, but moves smoothly into the actions he has trained his body to perform. It has become second nature to him.
As representatives of God, our actions should become second nature as well. Of course, there will be challenges, missed opportunities, or seeming “failures” as part of the learning process, but it is habits…good habits performed over a lifetime…that birth the final step. We all desire to be successful!
5. Success. Jesus has sent us into this world to make disciples, pray for the sick, and deliver the oppressed. Success in the eyes of God embodies these characteristics. At the end of our lives, we all want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Ministry is no longer limited to the church and the altar. God is at work in neighborhoods, job sites, schools, and anywhere the Holy Spirit finds a need. Many of my future posts in this series will equip, guide, and assure you that you have a place in God’s plan. Follow the pathway to perpetual power. God wants to use YOU!
Look for the release of my upcoming book, Empower, which is a training manual for active ministry.
From Genesis to Revelation, God has always wanted connection and intimacy with his people. He wooed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He dwelt among the Israelites in the Tabernacle of Moses. Jesus lived his life among the Jews. And at the end of the Bible, God promises to once again reside in the midst of his people.
Connection and empowerment are two sides of the same coin. If we connect to God, his power will flow through us to others. Conversely, power is the product of a vibrant relationship with God. This is the beginning and foundation of all ministry. We act in cooperation with what heaven already wants to do.
When we walk closely with God, we begin to recognize his prompting and respond. Our hands and words become a channel of his goodness towards others. Without him, we can do nothing:
I am the vine; you are the branches…If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:5-7
Peter and John understood the power and authority given to them. They knew their assignment. One day as they approached the temple, they saw a man lame from birth at the gate called Beautiful. Peter spoke these words to the cripple: Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. Peter took him by the hand, helped him up, and the man walked, jumped, and praised God. (Acts 3:1-10)
When we connect to God, we become sensitive to the way he operates. We begin to see with his eyes, hear with his ears, and act with his hands.
In my experience, I have seen God respond to three things…faith, need, and expectation. When any or all of these are present, God is ready to act.
Faith is an important concept, a necessary component of effective prayer. It is the confidence of what we hope for and the assurance of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) Some believe that the person receiving ministry must attain a certain level of faith before they can receive from God. But that viewpoint does not agree with scripture.
In Mark 2, it was the faith of a few friends that prompted them to lower their sick companion through the roof. Many came to Jesus believing he could heal, but sometimes it was Christ’s faith that activated the power of God. Faith is an essential part of the process, but it is not limited to the one receiving ministry.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6
God also responds to Need. There have been times when my presence and ministry are an answer to someone’s prayer. A mother or father may have asked God for intervention, and I found myself as the vehicle that provided God’s reply.
When I worked as a tutor, I was called to assist a young man who was flunking his freshman year of high school. It was Spring and he had just broken his leg in a skiing accident. My assignment was to help him complete the school year. Although nothing was ever said, I sensed that his mother had prayed desperately for an answer to the dilemma. God answered by sending me. In just two months, God reversed the situation in a miraculous way. The young man finished his freshman year with A’s and B’s and went on to be very successful in high school and then college. The compassionate heart of God responded to the need and the heartfelt cry of a mother.
Finally, Expectation is the third component which triggers a response from God. When someone asks for prayer, they anticipate a touch from God. Their expectant hope becomes the connecting point to the power of God. It elicits a reaction and he moves on their behalf.
During times of ministry, I have seen firsthand the difference that expectation makes. Those who come forward with high expectations are much more likely to receive from God. When their hopes are centered on God as the source and not a person, he responds. Their confidence becomes the bridge that joins the natural to the supernatural realm.
And I pray that you…may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God…who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…Ephesians 3:17-20
Connection to God is the basis for all ministry. It makes us sensitive to his leading and empowers us to act. How do we stay connected? The Apostle Paul instructed the church to be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18) The verb tense here actually means to be continually filled. Once is not enough. When we connect to God and walk in his fullness, the overflow will impact the lives of others.
Woody Allen once said, “I don’t think my parents liked me. They put a live teddy bear in my crib!”
While we all have a few harrowing experiences from our youth, most of us have fond memories of mom and dad. Parents teach us to smile, help us make wise choices, and endure all of the trying times that lead to adulthood.
A traditional celebration includes taking parents out for a meal, sending flowers, or purchasing a gift. As a mom who has celebrated many a Mother’s Day, I always appreciate the presents, but it is the heartfelt expressions that I remember most. What parent does not long to hear words of thanks or recall sweet memories of past times?
This year, in addition to the practical gifts we give, consider giving a creative expression of love. The following are a few inexpensive ways to remember your parents, but are nevertheless priceless in value. They are messages of love and appreciation for those who cared for us during our formative years.
1. Make an original card. Get the kids to contribute their artistic flair. Or purchase one of the recordable cards available at a local store. Record your voice telling mom or dad how much you appreciate them. It is a gift that will be played over and over.
2. Create an acrostic with the word M.O.T.H.E.R. or F.A.T.H.E.R. Use one word to describe each letter. If you create this on the computer, add photos, pictures, or graphics, and then print it out and place it in a frame.
3. Write a “Thank You” letter to your parent. List the unique qualities that make them a good mother or father or write the traits your parent leaves as a legacy in the family.
4. Publish a memory book. Include pictures and memories from the special moments in his or her life. There are a number of companies that offer this service for a reasonable price…Walmart.com and Shutterfly.com are two options.
5. Compose a prayer thanking God for your parent. Then pray the words over them on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Frame a copy of the prayer so they can read it often.
6. Act it out! For those families that have a dramatic flair, pick significant times from mom or dad’s past and act them out. Craft a cheer. Act out a play or memorable scene from their life.
7. Sing a song especially for them. Write your original words to a known tune or compose a new song. Belt it out with gusto!
8. Make a movie or other presentation with photos from their life. Set it to their favorite song or have family members narrate each picture.
9. Present a bouquet of flowers, but with a unique twist. Bring the flowers one at a time. Let each family member tell mom or dad why they are special as they present the flower.
10. Create a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day coupon book. Include a coupon from different members of the family who promise to perform a certain task when asked.
Finally, if you still need some creative inspiration, download a free copy of “10 Things I Want My Mom to Know” and “10 Things I Want My Dad to Know.” Each full-color printable has ten different questions with fill-in-the-blanks like “The best advice my Mom ever gave me…,” “The three words I would use to describe my Dad are…,” and “If my Mom had a superpower it would be…”
How important is the act of honoring our parents? God placed it in his top ten list. The fifth commandment states Honor your father and your mother. (Exodus 20:12) Let this holiday season inspire you to give back to those wonderful people who invested so much to you.
As the clock winds down to the appointed time of revival, my question has to be…are you ready for a move of God? God is working across the globe stirring the hearts of his children. I hear of churches in the most isolated of places coming alive. Worship is reaching new heights in Sunday services. People are being roused from their spiritual slumber and God is the one sounding the alarm clock!
Scripture cautions us to be alert during the upcoming harvest season. As the time for massive revival approaches, the church needs to awaken, arise, and then align with the plans and purposes of God. Proverbs 10:5 warns…
…he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.
In a famine, we gather food and store it ahead of time. During a financial crisis, we discover creative ways to barter and pay for goods and services. But how do we prepare for a spiritual move of God?
In many ways, we can’t. The manifestation of God’s power will be sudden, supernatural, and sovereign.
The answer is we cooperate with God in the preliminary stages and equip ourselves with the basics. In the very near future, there will be so many babes in Christ and a pressing need for spiritual parents. Each of us will be called into service and into a discipleship role. What is the best way to anticipate this surge of the supernatural? Familiarize ourselves with spiritual foundations and get empowered to minister.
Lighting a Spiritual Fire
As a former Camp Fire Girl, I built my fair share of fires. I remember the many twigs, sticks, and logs laid one upon another in some “teepee” or “log cabin” shape. From the littlest of branches to the larger limbs, each piece had its place in starting the fire. If I arranged the twigs correctly, I only needed one match to ignite the entire pile. In a matter of minutes, the stacked dry wood became a blazing inferno.
Amazingly, I have seen God use the same technique in his church. In this case, however, the sticks that make up the fire are not pieces of wood, but Biblical concepts. When knowledge, understanding, and faith combine, it only takes one touch from the hand of God. A single spark from heaven ignites the spiritual fire within us!
My soon-to-be-released book Empowered offers both the raw material and the flint to ignite the spiritual flame. It is a compilation of the many seminars and training sessions I have led over the years. I have already used the concepts found within these pages to train church teams, ministries, and travelling collegiate groups in a variety of settings, age groups, and cultures.
As the second book in the Foundations of Faith series, Empowered equips the reader with fundamental Biblical concepts that lead to active ministry. I designed the book for use in one of two ways. First, it provides a solid foundation for the training of altar workers. I use this term to describe those people designated to pray for their congregation during ministry or prayer times.
Second, it is an introduction to practical ministry for every Christian who wants to be used by God. To those who hunger to see the power of God in their everyday lives, Empowered supplies the basic knowledge for activating that desire. For those of us who anticipate a sovereign move of God’s power, it becomes the catalyst for preparation.
Over the next several weeks, I will be sharing excerpts from my book. It is my hope that Empowered will advance the kingdom of God by preparing believers to act on their faith. My heart’s desire is to see the Church equipped, prepared, and fully functioning at its highest level of excellence.
Whether ministry occurs within the church, in the marketplace, or community, God is ready to touch lives and transform people. He is on the move. We need to be ready to move with him!
In this DIY age, we take pride in our ability to do it our self. But at some point, DIY becomes counterproductive and begs for a different solution. What is the #1 way to time and money? Hire a professional!
The DIY dilemma seems to raise its ugly head in many situations…business, ministry, and on the personal level. After I recent move, I had to decide if it was worth my time, effort, and money to single-handedly attack the organization of my new home. Should I recruit professional help for the daunting task of decorating, organizing, and purchasing furniture or wing it on my own?
Three weeks into this project, I was exhausted and my energy level was low. I became open to professional help and it came through two different sources.
The first professional was free! She was the custom drapery designer at a local department store. Lisa spent almost three hours with me choosing drapes, rugs, curtain rods and designed my entire family room and kitchen area. Plus, she found an additional 20% off the already low sale price. What a bargain!
My next experience for opting for professional help came after purchasing a desk and five bookcases at IKEA. I chose the delivery service and professional assembly. Omar and Ivan took less than one hour to construct five bookcases, their extensions, and a pull-out desk. Not only did they put them together, but they consolidated the bookcases into one unit and attached them to the wall. It saved me hours if not days of reading instructions, locating the appropriate tools, and assembly. Wow!
Yes, my recent experiences did cost a little money. But what I saved in time, effort, and sheer frustration was well worth every penny spent.
Why do we often choose to take the long, wearisome route when a shorter, convenient one is available?
How do we decide when it is more advantageous to let the professionals do it than handle things ourselves?
When I consider these recent choices and others in the past, I came up with several reasons why professionals are often the best choice:
- Professionals remove the burden. You can shift the responsibility to their shoulders. There is no shame in asking for help.
- Consultants can create an overall plan and direction forward. Often, they can implement part and then allow portions of it to be done yourself.
- Professionals save valuable time. Their expertise can be a short cut. By employing their skills, you are released to focus on the tasks that only you can do. I don’t know how many man hours I spent at the computer perusing websites. What a waste!
- Specialists limit frustration. What is the learning curve for your task? How much time will it take to struggle through the process? Give yourself the gift of grace and let someone else handle the problem.
- Authorities get the best possible results. I find that I am confident in my decisions and I am not second-guessing the outcomes. In the above example, my home is now ready for living instead of in a state of upheaval. The colors and selection appeal to me and I know they are up-to-date.
- Pros have a higher skill level and greater expertise. They can draw upon years of experience in similar situations. Ask for pictures or references from previous projects. Yes, you do pay for that expertise, but it can be well worth it.
- Experts come equipped. If your project requires special tools or equipment your professional will have access to them. You can forget the added expense of purchasing new tools.
- Specialists add value to your project. They already know building codes and which permit to pull. They can suggest ways to improve that you are not aware of.
- Professionals save money in the long run. Mistakes can be costly. A sound expert can get it right the first time.
- Pros give peace of mind. If you give your input throughout the project, when the job is done you can relax.Time to move along to the next item on your list.
I am a DIYer at heart. I pride myself in being able to learn and tackle almost any task. However, do I really need to? If I hire a professional to do the job, I can rest easy knowing that it is done correctly. For me, when the to-do list seems endless, the choice is easy.
Life is full of transitions. They come in business, times of personal growth, relationships, and within organizations. Transition can be defined as the moving from one place, situation, or relationship into another. And for most, this can be a tremendously difficult time.
If you happen to be a mother, or stood by a woman giving birth, you will remember the birth stage of transition quite clearly. This last phase of delivery could be described with words like…
Transitions also carry those same characteristics. As we find ourselves leaving a position, location, or relationship, there is a letting go of the old. It can be a time of sorrow as the old begins to fade away. This period can be marked with emotional turmoil as we say goodbye to those things which we once held dear.
But it is also a time of new beginnings, a fresh start that brings excitement and adventure. As we envision the next phase on the horizon, our hopes begin to soar and new possibilities begin to emerge. We ride the roller coaster of emotional highs and lows.
Transitions remind me of crossing a no-mans land. When Paul and I traveled to the historic city of Petra, we started in Israel and crossed the border into Jordan. As we left the security gate of Israel and our tour guide, we had to walk about 100 yards before crossing into Jordan. It was strange. No guards. No nationality. We were literally between two counties. It was reassuring to finally pass through the border gates into Jordan and realize we had arrived.
That’s transition. A no-mans land between two states. The old is not gone, but the new has not yet arrived. Neither one is fully operating. The result can leave a person with a lot of uncertainty.
Since transition is such a common and perplexing part of life, how can we best handle it? Here are my suggestions for traversing this no-mans land of transition:
#1 Evaluate what will be left behind and what will continue as part of your life. Transitions are the time to weigh what part of our lives are truly necessary and beneficial versus what is expendable. T
hose things that remain the same offer stability during the new phase. Some parts of your life will shift according to your position, relationship, or location. Relationships may change because of a promotion. Friendships that were close may now have to stretch across thousands of miles. What do you want to hold onto and what will you let go?
#2 Be willing to release the old to embrace the new. I personally think this is the most difficult part, because of the emotional attachment and memories associated with the past. It may come down to simply making a decision. What can I release and leave behind? You may find yourself wrestling with a load of guilt, but allow yourself the freedom to embrace the next chapter of life.
#3 Discuss your change with those who might be affected. Be honest and sincere. Change will impact you, but more than likely your new position will affect others close to you. Plan ahead about how to bridge any gaps and diffuse any potential confusion. Discuss the positives and consider the negatives and how they might be diminished.
#4 Consider the open doors before you and what lies beyond. What are the possibilities? How will this new stage of life reward you? What are the benefits? Try to anticipate your reactions as new patterns, experiences, and associations begin to form. Life is an adventure…embrace it!
# 5 Stay flexible. In the midst of the ebb and flow of transition, try to find your moorings, but remain flexible. A boat tied to the dock rises and falls with the tide, but it is attached to a solid foundation. As for me, I place my faith in the one who never changes. God is the one fixed element in my life that is my anchor. As I sense the old patterns slipping away, I am determined not to allow fear to overwhelm me.
#6 Be patient. Easier said than done! We always look for the shortcut, but often there is just a long path meandering before us. As you experience a roller-coaster range of emotions, struggle with the physical tasks, and plot a new course forward, give yourself permission to rest. If you are like me, I am always wanting it done yesterday, and get frustrated whenever my timetable is not met. With this move to South Carolina, I face a garage full of bins and boxes. I must tell myself that it is OK to take a break and the unpacking, organizing, and decorating will eventually get done.
#7 Enjoy the journey. Life is a journey with many stops and a few unexpected side trips. The best we can do is to find peace through God and celebrate each and every step along the way. Take full advantage of the perks!
Transitions characterize our lives. Don’t run from change, but learn how to appreciate and use it to your best advantage. For many, it is right around the corner.