“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).
I love the opportunity that Nick and I have to build the local church throughout the world. I love the diversity of the church – the differences in worship expressions, culture, tradition, music styles, people, programs and services. It would look boring and bland if everyone were the same everywhere, if there were only a single expression of God’s greatness.
No one denomination, tradition, church, ministry or tribe displays all of God’s greatness any more than one star reflects all the glory of God; but together we certainly reflect more than any of us do alone. The diversity of His church is breathtaking.
We must be very careful that we only speak words of life and hope about His bride. He is like any other groom, in that no groom would like anyone to make a negative comment about his bride, her wedding dress, makeup, perfume, character or personality; let’s ensure that we do not make negative comments about the way somebody different from us chooses to worship Jesus. Unity is not uniformity, and it is our differences that make Christ’s bride sparkle and dazzle.Let’s determine to love, serve and build what Jesus is building: His church.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead … (Philippians 3:13).
God has an amazing purpose and destiny for each one of us, but the degree to which we will fulfill our purpose on the planet is largely determined by the decisions we make today about our yesterday.
Every one of us has a yesterday, a past. For some, it was wonderful; for others, it was bad.
Paul reminds us in the passage above that he was determined to let go of everything that was in his yesterday (good and bad) so that he could be free to reach forward into his tomorrow.
We cannot grab hold of our future if we are still clinging to our past.
The key to moving on is letting go. We cannot change the past, but as we deal with it and move on, we can change the future!
Isn’t it interesting that the word appointment comes from within the word disappointment? I’ve often marveled at that, because I’ve seen again and again how disappointments take something from us: a dream, a piece of our hearts – maybe whole chunks of it.
But disappointment leaves something too: a gift, an opportunity, the possibility of creating change. This means we can move from the valley of the shadow of death to new horizons and bring others with us on that road.
If people have disappointed you or circumstances have not turned out as you had hoped or prayed, let me encourage you with this … know that God is with you, cares for you and loves you. He is working all these things together for your good right at this very moment.
There are many future God-appointments on the other side of this disappointment!
Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you. (Zechariah 9:12)
You know how it is when you’re expecting visitors at your house. You quickly tidy everything up for their arrival, throwing the kids' toys into any closet that isn’t already packed and pull out the nice toilet paper reserved for special occasions.
Then the visitors come, you all have a nice time and eventually they leave – and in no time at all, your house goes back to looking like it did before the company came.
This is how we can be with God a lot of the time. We clean the place up really well and invite Him in for a visit, but there is no lasting change and soon everything is back to normal.
I don’t believe God is into "visitations." My observation is that He is much more into "invasions." God wants to invade our lives and do the things that need to be done so that we will be set free and released into our purpose.
God doesn’t want to visit with us; He wants to move into our hearts, throw out the old and establish a whole new way of doing things!
Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. (Psalm 24:7)