Early Morning Coffee

I am in the hills of Ohio ministering and enjoying the beauty of nature. Out front where I drink an early morning coffee I see the rolling hills and the forest into which is nestled a few homes that in the summer cannot be seen because of the trees. It is certainly a beautiful area and one that I never tire of seeing and experiencing. Early in the morning the coffee is hot, smells great, tastes even better. The birds are all out singing and the squirrels and wild turkeys are scurrying about finding their morning meal. Did I mention the flowers? 

Most people are still asleep. And, this is good. I am looking for quiet during an early start of the day to reflect about life and ministry. I am looking for solitude to contemplate, read, and journal about the life journey that I am on. I am looking to grasp a wider Kingdom perspective as I sit, relax, enjoy the sights and sounds… uninterrupted by other humans for a few brief moments. 

It is here that I recharge. I sense God’s presence in a very real and tangible way. I experience His peace in both my head and my heart. My head is the hardest because my mind is always thinking, analyzing, and sorting. I sense and experience His power as I pray through some things that are fresh on my heart and need my attention today as I attend meetings and spend time with my host who leads the church here that I work with.

Being outside and alone in nature is refreshing. It is a time of solitude when I can connect with the Creator in ways that are not as easy when the weather is colder and the sun rises later in the morning and sets before the evening meal. The early sunrises and late sunsets allow for more time to connect with the God whom we worship and serve. Please note that I said that I am using the time to connect and not reconnect. This is because a believer should never disconnect in their relationship with the Lord and Giver of life. Thus if we don’t disconnect then we don’t have the need to reconnect. But we can always go deeper in our relational connection.

I use the summer to spend extra time in the early morning when the sun is rising and in the early evening when the sun is setting – time to spend deepening my relationship with the Lord. This means taking time to be still and know that He is truly God as the Psalmist stated so long ago. This means making sure I guard this time to be alone with Him – solitude. After all, even Jesus frequently went away by Himself to spend time in fellowship with the Father. It means being silent in His presence allowing Him to speak to me in my spirit. In this way I am sharpening my listening skills and taking the time to really hear Him speak to me about me and about us – His relationship with me.

And, in these special times in this slower season it is good to grow in my fellowship with the Holy Spirit as He is the One who is here to guide and direct me in all aspects of my life and ministry (2 Corinthians 13:14). So, I spend time focusing on my relationship with Him as I learn to be more sensitive to His voice, His leading, and His guidance in my life.

Early morning coffee – and an evening watching the sun set as I drink a mid-evening cup of decaf – during the slower summer season. A real blessing that we can all take advantage of and be thankful for.

Fully Engaged In Life

Most people do not fully engage in life. For many reasons, too many to write about in a brief blog, many people are unable to fully embrace life as it happens to them and engage in it fully. They are hesitant in relationships. They are not fully open to others so others never see the real person that they are. They have been hurt and so have withdrawn in all relationships and don’t let the mask down so that you can come to really know them as a person. They may even be afraid that if you get to know them you won’t like what you see and will reject them, leave them. 

A few months ago I read a book that gave some guidelines that help each one of us to leave the ‘hiddenness’ and embrace the real person that is seldom seen and often is not even known by you – because you hide you from you. These are guidelines that we all need to cultivate so that we can come out of the closet and be yourself when with others. 

1> Cultivate Authenticity. Letting go of what people think about you or might think about you if they ever do.

2> Cultivate Self-Compassion. Letting go of perfectionism. You can never be perfect so stop trying. Be present and not perfect as another book I recently read recommends.

3> Cultivate a resilient spirit. Letting go of numbing and powerlessness. Stop living life in a state of ‘no feelings’ and start taking control of your life starting with your feelings. Take ownership of your life and be responsible for what happens in life. 

4> Cultivate gratitude and joy. This means letting go of the feeling that you don’t yet have enough to be happy or content and also learning to no longer live with the fear that what you have may not be enough or that you may even lose what “little you have.”

5> Cultivate intuition and trusting faith. This means letting go of the need for certainty.

6> Cultivate creativity. Letting go of comparison and simply being yourself – and you are created in God’s image and He is the Creator so cultivate that side of your being.

7> Cultivate play and rest. This means letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as how you earn and recognize your self-worth.

8> Cultivate calm and stillness. Letting go of anxiety and worry as a lifestyle.

9> Cultivate meaning fun work. Letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to” as you no longer live by the expectations of others and the general society.

10> Cultivate laughter, song, and dance. Letting go of being cool and ‘always in control.’

This is called “wholehearted living.” Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection with yourself and others to wake up in the morning and think: “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.” It is going to bed at night thinking, “Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

Wholehearted living is not earning your worth but recognizing that you are worthy just because you are you.


Guest Blogger – Bill Lewis, Apostle and Lead Pastor of The Connection, Butler, Ohio

Sometimes we feel like we are walking in the dark, totally unfamiliar with our surroundings. We hope we are walking in faith, but the darkness obscures any clues, markers, or clear vision. We are being guided by something internal, deep inside, hopefully we trust the leading is from the Holy Spirit and that voice is his.

When we read the scriptures and the faith voyage of our heroes, we just assume it was easy. We assume they were confident, never wavered, were on task all the way. Then, I come across John the Baptist asking of Jesus, “are you the one or should we look for another?” Wow, the guy was there when the dove descended and the voice spoke. He had the sign from God that he was told to look for. Yet, there he is with doubt. Circumstances had changed fiercely. He was in prison, hated for his message and stance for righteousness. His beheading would soon be the price for a lewd dance.

There are others who were obedient to the call, walked in faith, and wondered if they had missed God somewhere. In our Americanized version of Christianity with modern heroes jetting around the country with multimillions income we have come to belief if you are a person of faith, you get a pass from trouble, doubt, fear, and questioning. Americanized Christianity is little more sometimes than religious capitalism. So, when we face trials and question where we are, we have no one to turn to because often we get the glib answer of the rote phrases of churchianity that mean nothing.

If this is the case, we are doomed to isolation and loneliness. This is really the root of the accusation against Christians that they are all hypocrites. A hypocrite is an actor, pretending to be someone they are not.

One of the principles that has to be ingrained in this new move or as one author put it, the Remnant Movement, has to be honesty. This generation is crying for transparency which is another way of saying honesty. Even though we call and desire transparency, there is a trust level that has to be attained before that can happen because betrayal is so prevalent.

If we are seeking to walk in faith, we must find a new way that reflects Jesus. It is not a matter of confessing till you get something. True faith confesses what has been revealed, not what you want to extract from God. Sometimes faith is a journey of darkness with little being revealed. Sometimes faith is trusting God for the next clue, the next flash of light on the path, the next glimmer of hope generated by the Spirit within. Even Jesus had to have angels come and minister to him at times.

This New Covenant walk is serious. Lives are at stake. Eternity is in the balance for many. Faith will have to be discovered in a way that reflects the new covenant. Real, Transparent, Trust in God!


Guest Blogger – Bill Lewis, Apostle and Lead Pastor of The Connection in Butler, Ohio

Are we overstimulated? Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and a multitude of other platforms are calling us. Add to the choices we make for social media our smartphones and email addresses. Robo calls are daily interrupting, some days it is incessant. My list of blocked calls is longer than my contact list. Still, they keep coming daily. Everyday I clean out the spam and junk mail from my email accounts. When I empty the trash for the emails, sometimes it is hundreds. Going to the mail box creates another pile of advertisements that add to the trash. We are under an assault.

Driving down the road, I watch for distracted drivers. If you pay close attention, you will see many with their phone to their ears while driving. Even more dangerous are those with their heads down engrossed in their phones. We are being blessed with communication and cursed with communication.

Sometimes when I am preaching, I see people surfing on their phones and it is not just the kids. Our attention span is being reduced to brief moments as we move on to something else. Visual stimulation has overcome the mind. Listening, paying attention, absorbing thoughts, contemplating, and meditation are fading from the majority. If you are amazed at the trend, it is staggering to realize the first iPhone was released in 2007. In a matter of a decade we have been transitioned to reliance on our devices.

Now, I like my devices. They are great aids and tools. I like the technology. However, as in any invention, there are good and bad uses. When anything begins to replace basic human interaction and decency, we have to step back and evaluate. Children are being babysat by devices. Children are inside, on devices, in front of the TV. Playing outside, using imagination, role playing are sadly lacking.

You may think this is a rant by an old guy. Maybe. But I use the technology and like it. But I see trends that concern me, particularly, the spiritual implications.

Looking at the life of Jesus, he constantly had to refresh himself with solitude. He would withdraw for meditation, prayer, heavenly instructions. He also withdrew for physical replenishment. There is a power in reflection and quiet. There, in the quiet, we often find the presence of God. We can hear. The cacophony of sound, motion, pictures are removed. The visual makes a change to the creation of God, the sound changes to the surf pounding or the wind whispering or the thunderclaps and light show of the heavens.

Are we overstimulated? I believe we are by the reactions prevalently displayed in the anger, taunting, and bullying of our current society which is being stimulated by video games, media reporting, video clips, cyber responses of hatred and racism. We need peace, quiet, reflection, and allow our hearts and minds to start healing.

Take time. Reflect. Listen. God is speaking to those who have ears to hear.

Is Jesus Really Enough?

I often ask the question, “Is Jesus really enough?” And, if He is do I live my life as if this was true?”

It seems to me that for many believers Jesus is not enough. They are not satisfied with just Jesus and their personal relationship with Him. It seems that they need Jesus plus something else. Jesus and a healing. Jesus and a miracle. Jesus and prosperity. Jesus and a new and better job. Jesus and an angel. Jesus and the power to heal. Jesus and a prophetic word. Jesus and….

In their daily lives these believers are seldom content with what they are experiencing in their walk with Jesus. And they are certainly not content with the situation in life in which they find themselves. So you see believers often striving for more money and thus a higher wage. They want a bigger house, a better car, better holidays, nicer clothes. They are looking for bigger, better, and more. They are discontent with what is. 

This is true in ministry as well. They want to have greater recognition as a minister of the Gospel. They want bigger crowds coming to hear them. A bigger church. Greater recognition. Being on radio and television, writing books and blogs. Recognition, authority, and popularity.

It seems that people today are simply not satisfied. And, as a result they are not thankful. Nor are they content or at peace with their life as it is. They are always striving and struggling. 

As a result they live unsatisfied lives. They are disappointed with the hand that life (or God) seems to have dealt them. They are discontented with life as they are living it. They are unfulfilled and simply not content. Surely Jesus wants them to have more and better so there must be something that they are doing wrong. 

I believe that this is a sign of a relationship with Jesus that is not healthy. It is lacking depth and substance. Jesus is not at the center of the life of these followers. He is an add-on. He is there for times of crisis and when things are not going as they think they should or as planned. If, and it is a big if, Jesus was at the center of their whole life then He would be enough and they would no longer be striving for more of anything. They would be trusting Him. And, they would be content and not discontent.

Paul states, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”        Philippians 4:11-13

Jesus is always enough. In fact, He is more than enough. And those who have a solid, in-depth, daily, ever-deepening, personal love relationship with Him are people who live ‘content’ regardless of their situation or the circumstances.

Here’s the question the Lord asked me a long time ago when these verses from Paul’s letter to the Church in Philippi first spoke deeply to me… “Content or discontent, which tent do you live in?” That question, these verses, changed my life, my priorities, and my perspective. I live content with what I have and what is happening because I am dwelling deeply in Him allowing Him to live His life through me.

Galatians 2:20 states, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

So, when we are content it is because we have a deep relationship with the Lord where we find satisfaction, fulfillment, and total acceptance. So, we can stop striving and pushing for more. Because, He is always more than enough. 

Up, Up, and Away!

Often, as believers, we appear to have it all together. We let people know by our words and our responses that things are really good when they are not. We put on the ‘right face’ for each occasion and wear the right mask to hide what we are really feeling and who we really are. We know how to behave in each situation and thus can be who we need to be even if it is not the true us … because things are not always what they seem to be.

No where is this seen more often than in most people Facebook accounts. You can post such glowing things about yourself. Hand select the pictures you want to post. Make yourself look better than you are. Actually portray a different you than the one that lives in the reality of day-to-day existing. Things are not always what they seem to be.

And in the Church you see the same issue on a constant basis. You think someone is a mature believer and has a great spiritual life and a tremendous walk with Jesus.Only to find out that they are living in sin and simply put on the Christian mask or their go-to-meeting face so as to be acceptable and to fit in. Things are not always what they seem to be.

To avoid this self-deception and generally experienced pitfall we need to know ourself fully (to real ’me’) and be fully known by one other person. 

Every year I create a statement that sums up what I am hoping to achieve during the year. A number of years ago I lived with the statement, “To know myself fully and be fully known.” It was a year when I asked myself a lot of questions. Why do you do that? What meaning does that have for you? Is this action (thought, attitude) linked to something in your past that needs to be dealt with? Why do you believe that? Should you continue to live like this? How do you feel about that? And, as I discovered answers to the many questions I shared my findings with a close and deeply trusted and confidential friend. 

Over the year and the following three or four years (all of which had different slogans to be fulfilled) I continued to discover the real me that God had created. He was buried under life demands, social pressures, expectations of others, cultural baggage, the daily grind of life, and religious teachings that were not biblical. So, I continued to tear down and uproot the old me which was not the real me. Then after a season the real me began to come to the surface. I realized that things were not always as they seemed to be in my life. And, I was discovering the real me for the first time.

After the season of uprooting and tearing down came the season of planting and building. These seasons are, by the way, mentioned in Jeremiah, Chapter One. I began to build and then reveal the real me to my confidential friend and Christian brother. As he accepted this new me and the new ways I was expressing this new person he too realized that things are not always what they seem to be. And, he really encouraged me to keep digging, adjusting, changing … as I planted and built. The new me was slowly emerging and life began to be integrated and I was beginning to walk with serious integrity. 

Well, I am now at the time when I am ready to fly. To make public the “new me” I have been working on understanding, embracing, and bringing forth for the last five years. I have brought who I am on the inside to the outside where others can see, hear, and encounter this new person who no longer has to wear masks as he worried about being received and accepted. He is now strong enough and understands himself well enough to live a life that has integrity and is integrated… holding together seamlessly being the same on the outside as he is on the inside. 

Over this season of five years or more I have tried a number of times to “fly free.” But, I was not ready and it failed every time I tried. This past week I flew free for the first time since this major remake began. I and walking with a tremendous assurance of God’s love, a new confidence in what God is doing in and through me, and a tremendous boldness to simply be me and to minister in that simplicity and freedom.

You may not recognize me when we meet next time. But, I will be sure to introduce myself. You see, things are not always what they seem to be. But, in my life the masks are gone and the only face I put out there to be seen is the real me … I am now living on the outside who I really am on the inside – the new me has risen and the season of tearing down and uprooting, planting and building have almost come to an end and it is time to experience the freedom that only Jesus can supply and fly free in both my personal and professional life. 

Life Is a Journey of Discovery

I am on a journey. It started 9 months before I was born and still continues today. The journey is called “life.” And, on this journey the only constant is change. To journey you must always be changing, growing, stretching, maturing, and moving forward. Real life needs to be lived and is not something you can handle in a passive manner. Life should never happen to you – you would always make life happen.

So many people simply wake up in the morning, do their morning routines, go to work, perform well at their job, come home to a fairly standard evening routine, go to bed and wake up to begin another day. In my mind that means they are living to work and God wants us to work so that we can live. And, life is something we need to grab hold of and live for all it is worth. Each day. Every day. 

I fall asleep at night having maximized each day and given every event, person, and activity my best effort and full focus. I live each day to the fullest and work hard not to waste time as it is in such limited supply and needs to be used wisely. You can do three things with time. Waste it. Spend it. Invest it. I work hard to invest my time wisely and to the maximum benefit of others. 

That is what Jesus asks us to do and what He will hold us accountable for when we stand before Him on our judgment day. To invest your time means to invest your life. To invest your life you need first to come to know yourself  – who you really are. To come to know yourself means entering the journey, your journey called life. It means you can’t be passive and just sit there letting life happen to you.

Coming to know the real you that God planned and created is not easy nor quick. For most people the real “you” is buried beneath societal norms, family expectations, the demands of life, and the hurts and disappointments of the past. So, you will need to dig the real you out from under all that ‘garbage’ that keeps you from knowing you. 

God said to the prophet Jeremiah that he was to uproot and tear down. Then he could build and plant (Jeremiah, Chapter one). This is what must happen in us and with us as we journey to discover the real you that God created. It is not easy. It takes time. But it is the foundation of a life lived in such a way as to please God. It is the only way to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. 

Most people, including most believers, have not taken the time to discover themselves. Life is not a journey for them. It seems to be a destination and they feel like they have arrived. So, they don’t change and are not growing, developing and maturing. To be honest, they are boring – seriously boring. They focus on themselves and all that has and is happening to them and constantly share their issues with others who will listen. They are not seeking help. They are not seeking to be understood. They are simply seeking to be heard. At the best, they are seeking sympathy. And, these people don’t have room in their heart for others because they are totally self-focused and self-absorbed. Thus boring and ‘dead.’ No journey. No discovering of self. No growth. No change. No life.

Those who are on a journey of self-discovery are exciting to speak with. They are seriously other-focused as they want to enter into other peoples lives so they can hear new things and enlarge their perspective. They love listening to others. They look for new adventures, new things to become involved in. They always have something fresh to share, something exciting. Yes, they may talk belfry about themselves but it is always how they are growing, what they are learning, where they are planning to go, what the Holy Spirit is speaking to them today. And, they share to encourage others to join with them on the journey.

They are constantly growing and changing and so everything is always new, fresh, thus powerful and interesting. Because they are coming to know themselves better they are secure in who they are, confident in where they are at, bold with what they believe, and excited about all that is happening. They are living life. Engaged in life. Embracing life. Making life happen. They are happy and interesting people to know and be with. And, they will challenge you to join them and Jesus on the journey called discover life. 

So, this summer, take some time to begin your journey or renew your journey Take some time alone to think and pray as you look inward. Share what you are discovering with someone you trust, someone who is also on their own journey. You will learn so much more about yourself as you share your discoveries with them. And, you will get a different perspective as you listen to them share their discoveries with you. No two journeys are the same but you can journey together and help each other as you do.

The Oldies

Sitting here and it is early morning on a Thursday. It is cool and overcast but promising to be warm and calm. I am camping. Half way through 21 days of tenting, kayaking, paddle boarding, walking in the woods, and simply being away from people and relaxing. I have my best friend with me and he too is an introvert. So, there is often hours of quiet and little talk. Other times we share where we are at in our journey with Jesus. And, try not to talk “business” which is ministry and church. 

Yesterday and again this morning we were talking about songs that were meaningful when we were younger and that still speak to us today. And, even a fun one that brings back memories like Ralf Harris and “Tie Me Kangaroo Down.” But, mostly serious songs that spoke directly to our hearts. In my case, the song “It’s a Wonderful World” by Louie Armstrong. It is my life theme song. Every once in a while I post it on my Facebook page. Almost daily I play it for myself on YouTube. 

So, what are some of the songs that were and are meaningful … Yes, they date me. “In the Year 2525” by Zager and Evans; “The House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals; “Bye Bye Miss American Pie” by Don McClean;  “Piano Man” by Billy Joel, “Hotel California” by The Eagles and “Abraham, Martin, and John” by Dion. You may note that none of these songs are Christian and you would be right. But, they are songs that spoke to me and obviously to my generation and still do. Most Christian songs don’t speak to me because they lack depth and are often not biblical. I honestly don’t listen to Christian music when not in an assembly of believers. Don’t misunderstand, I love to worship but don’t believe that what we call worship today is really that. It is mostly entertainment. 

But, I digress…

It is good to sit back once in a while and think deeply about life and what events and situations formed whom you are today. It is good to revisit some of the things that spoke strongly to you “back when” and to think and feel through why the were so important and even why they still speak volumes to you now. Plato – an ancient Greek philosopher who lived long before Jesus was born – is quoted as saying, “An unexamined life is not worth living” and I totally agree with him. 

Some times it is good and refreshing to think back. Not to dwell in the past but to take the time to quietly review the past and what events, people, and songs brought you to the place where you are now and helped to create the person you have become. So, yesterday while walking up the hills with my friend and again this morning over fresh coffee made in a French Press while camping and waiting for the sun to come out from behind the haze – we are doing just that. 

And, it has been good. In fact, it has been very good. It has even helped us to know and understand each other better because, after all, we are from different generations and had vastly different upbringings. 

Summer is a good time to reconnect with one’s roots and your heart once again. To get away from the every day rush and busyness and reconnect with your feeling and, once again, become alive inside.

Living With Hope

A long-time and great friend of mine died last night. She had been fighting a valiant battle with a number of medical issues over the last year or so. Last night she won the battle. She was a solid, born again believer and the second she took here last breathe on earth she took her next one in the manifest presence of Jesus in heaven. We will miss her as she played a vital roll in our lives and we had many meaningful and even fun experiences together over the years. However, one day we will see her again when it is our time to leave this planet behind, leave time behind, and enter into eternity.

Paul states, “The message we preach is Christ, who has been raised from the dead. So how could any of you possibly say there is no resurrection of the dead? For if there is no such thing as a resurrection from the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, all of our preaching has been for nothing and your faith is useless. Moreover, if the dead are not raised, that would mean that we are false witnesses who are misrepresenting God. And that would mean that we have preached a lie, stating that God raised him from the dead, if in reality he didn’t.

If the dead aren’t raised up, that would mean that Christ has not been raised up either. And if Christ is not alive, you are still lost in your sins and your faith is a fantasy. It would also mean that those believers in Christ who have passed away have simply perished. If the only benefit of our hope in Christ is limited to this life on earth, we deserve to be pitied more than all others!

But the truth is, Christ is risen from the dead, as the first-fruit of a great resurrection harvest of those who have died. For since death came through a man, Adam, it is fitting that the resurrection of the dead has also come through a man, Christ. Even as all who are in Adam die, so also all who are in Christ will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-22 The Passion Translation)

As born again Christians and believers in Christ and His resurrection, we don’t live without hope. We believe in the resurrection of the physically dead back to life. We believe that, just as Jesus was raised physically from the dead on the third day after His death … so those who are born again believers are also resurrected from the dead and spend eternity in Heaven with the Lord. 

And, we believe that when we die we will be reunited with those who were true born again believers and who died before we did. That we will meet our loved ones again and spend eternity with them. So, Paul states that our hope is for more than just this life. It is anchored in Christ’s resurrection from the dead and thus guarantees us life after death if we are true believers in Him. If we are born again.

So, I live this life with tremendous hope for all that the Lord, the resurrected Christ Jesus, is doing in me right now and through me as His plan and purpose for my life are released and come to completion. AND, it is a big “and,” I live with hope knowing that when I die it is only the physical body that I inhabit that dies and I simply continue my life and existence in another world more real and certainly more beautiful than this one. It is this hope lived out now and the hope I have for a powerful future that allows me to live a full, satisfied life with meaning and purpose, direction and guidance, as I move forward towards the day when I too depart this life and enter into something far greater and more magnificent. There to meet with those who have gone before me – those who lived with faith and hope and died in the Lord.

I will see my friend once again and it will be like we just chatted a few minutes ago as time will have no meaning or purpose in eternity.

And, I am reminded: “Without hope in the future there is no power in the present.”

Wisdom, Revelation and Understanding

The Church that Jesus is building is built upon the ability to receive revelation. In Matthew 16 Jesus tells Peter that he, Peter, had received a direct revelation from the heart of our heavenly Father about who Jesus is. And, upon the ability to receive revelation that Jesus would build His Church. In other words, to build according to His plan and fulfill His purpose we must hear directly from the heart of God regarding each step that we take.

Matthew 16:17-18 “And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

I have been reading the book of Proverbs recently. It is speaking volumes to me as I am reading it in The Passion Translation. New ways to express familiar and established truths. And, it is hitting home. The writer of Proverbs states, “Wisdom is a gift from a generous God, and every word he speaks is full of revelation and becomes a fountain of understanding within you.” (Probers 2:6 The Passion Translation).

Revelation – hearing the voice of God, the Holy Spirit, for today – gives us godly wisdom on how to live life. But, more than that He gives us wisdom regarding what steps to take to build the Church that Jesus is actively involved in, moving powerfully transforming lives on a daily basis. The revelations we receive that bring us wisdom will lead us further into understanding what He is wanting us to do next and even why He is wanting it done. 

Paul, the apostle who wrote a substantial portion of the New Testament, continues this theme in his letter to the church in Ephesus. Here he writes, “I pray that the Father of glory, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would impart to you the riches of the Spirit of wisdom and the Spirit of revelation to know him through your deepening intimacy with him (Ephesians 1:17 The Passion Translation).

Paul is saying here that the deeper our intimate relationship with Jesus is the more revelation we will receive and the greater godly wisdom we will walk in. So, the key is to focus on and deepen our personal and intimate relationship with Jesus which all truly born again Christians have. And, as a result we will receive revelation which brings wisdom and understanding.

Ephesians 1:17 “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him…” (English Standard Version)

This is how the Church is to be built. The Church Jesus is building is not built by programming, worship teams, charismatic leaders, terrific preachers, or the best youth group on the planet. The Church Jesus is building is built step-by-step upon the revelation we receive as we walk closely and intimately with Jesus.

And, He only reveals the next step. There are no five year plans to build the Church. We are not a business and cannot build as the business world does. We simply listen, hear from Him what the next step is that we are to take, and then step out in faith and see what happens. No long  term plan built on good business practices. Location, location, location is not the key as some would have us believe. And, adequate parking is irrelevant. These are all worldly, business approaches to growth and success. These are not for the Church.

If we build as directed through revelation then God’s presence and the peace that passes all understanding will be present, available, and experienced. The power of God will be very evident as lives are changed and transformed. This is what we need. And, this is what we can have if we simply build an intimate relationship with the Head of the Church, Jesus. And, listening for His voice follow everything He says to us. Then we will be involved in the Church that He is building and no longer wasting our time and even our lives on building man’s ways – ending up with dead religion and even deader tradition.