Personal Thoughts on the Passing of Dr. Myles Munroe

Mick Turner

I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts on the passing of Dr. Myles Munroe, who died in a tragic plane crash on November 11, 2014. Dr. Munroe was a tremendous teacher, pastor, and leadership mentor. He will be sorely missed, not only by his congregants in the Bahamas, but by those who were touched by his books, tapes, and teaching.

I include myself among that number in particular. Dr. Munroe’s writings greatly impacted my walk of faith at a time that I was feeling especially vulnerable. The Holy Spirit brought his writings into my life in an unexpected way and part of what follows was also published in an article on LifeBrook back in 2008.

Back in the autumn of 2005, my wife’s business responsibilities necessitated that she make a three-week trip to China. Our daughter Salina was about 18-months-old at the time and Li (my wife) decided to take her along so Li’s parents could meet their new granddaughter for the first time. Although I remained busy with my work responsibilities, I had far more free time than normal during their absence. I figured I would do a bit of relaxing and also devote some time to reading, which is one of my favorite activities.

I visited one of the area book stores a couple of days after Li and Salina departed for China. I was looking for something to read that would be spiritually edifying and I searched the shelves, especially paying attention to what was available from a few of my favorite authors. After spending about an hour doing this, I didn’t really see anything I thought I might want to read. As scanned the shelves yet another time, I saw a book that looked somewhat interesting. It was by an author I was not familiar with at the time and, after discovering that the author appeared to be at least marginally associated with a few Christian teachers that I have major reservation about, I put the book back on the shelf.

For some reason, however, I immediately took it back of the shelf and thumbed through it again. Although I did not hear an audible voice telling me to purchase this book, I did have an undeniable impression from the Holy Spirit to read this book. Having learned from past experience to heed such impressions, I bought the book.

It is not an over-statement to say that I was completely absorbed in the book for the next two weeks. I read it straight through in about four days, then went back through it slowly, taking notes and making application of what I had read. This 14-day period proved to be one of those “watershed” times in my life – a time in which I experienced an accelerated growth and a deepening of my walk of faith. I thank the Lord for leading me to this book at just the right time and I also thank him for giving me the discernment I needed in order to benefit from reading it.

The name of the book: Understanding the Power and the Purpose of Prayer by Dr. Myles Munroe.

It is hard to put into words what this book, and later, other titles by Myles Munroe have meant to me in terms of my own spiritual formation and in my work as a writer and teacher. This is all the more remarkable in that I would have probably never picked up one of Dr. Munroe’s books on my own. A mystic at heart and a bit left of center in terms of my theology and my political beliefs, chances are I would have quickly judged the book by its cover and never give it a second thought. Again, I thank God for pushing me out of my theological comfort zone and, like he did with Jonah, insisting that I go to a place I didn’t want to go. In this case, encouraging me to read something I didn’t particularly want to read.

It is also not an over-statement to say that Dr. Munroe has had a major impact on my thinking, my Christian walk of faith, and my spiritual formation. Do I agree with everything he says? No. I have yet to find any author that I am in total agreement with. Do I agree with most of what he says? Yes, I do. In fact, in studying the works of this writer and teacher, I have come to see a number of things in a different light than I did prior to walking into that bookstore back in October, 2005. In a very real sense, Dr. Munroe has been a mentor to me.

I have had the opportunity to hear Myles Munroe in person on four occasions since that time. He is a gifted orator, preacher, and teacher. I have benefited each time I have had the blessing of attending one of his programs. I have met him, albeit only briefly, and also feel blessed by having the opportunity to ask him several questions about issues that I was unclear about. He graciously took time to answer those queries and, in fact, gave me more time than was expected.

The reason all of this has come to my mind is that I recently undertook a review of my last five years and, in doing so, discovered the depth of the impact of Myles Munroe on my life. In doing this review, I looked over my bookshelf at the books that I have read over the past five years and discovered an unexpected fact. In addition to Dr. Munroe’s book on prayer, the first of his books I had read, I have 14 other titles by him in my personal library. It was a surprise to me that I have read that many of his books. I don’t have anywhere near that many books by any other author.

I could go on and on about his teachings, but I think I will just focus on one aspect of his work that has had a major impact on my thought, my faith, and my professional activities. I want to speak briefly on Munroe’s emphasis on “The Kingdom.”

Dr. Munroe has written what eventually came to be known as the “Kingdom Series.” The first book in the series, Rediscovering the Kingdom, was also one of the books that caused me to reassess my ideas about Christ’s mission and purpose. Subsequent titles in the series only deepened that process. The second book was entitled, Kingdom Principles, followed by The Most Important Person on Earth, in which Dr. Munroe discusses his take on the role of the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom. Recently, another volume was published, centering on the application of Kingdom Principles to daily life. I haven’t read that one yet.

For Munroe, everything he teaches is built upon the foundation of the concept of “Kingdom.” Without a thorough understanding of Munroe’s view of the Kingdom, we cannot begin to understand the depth of his teaching.

All that we have discussed before, the principles of potential, purpose, vision, and glory are worked out in the context of our primary mission as human beings. We are called to establish God’s Kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven. God created man for this purpose and, even though Adam and Eve disobeyed God and abdicated their dominion to Satan, God never relinquished his original goal, nor did he abandon humanity completely. Instead, the whole scope of God’s grand story of restoration moves forward with the original plot line, which was the manifestation of God’s kingdom on earth.

Munroe repeatedly makes a consistent point throughout his books related to the kingdom: Christ did not come to establish a religion – he came to establish a kingdom.

Each and every one of us is born with a divine potential, placed in us by God. We begin to realize that potential by discovering our own unique purpose or calling. This purpose or calling begins to move increasingly toward manifestation when we, with the help of the Spirit, connect that purpose with a specific vision. When we fulfill our potential by manifesting our purpose through our specific vision, we can be said to have “realized our glory.” Now, the vital aspect to understand in all of this is the fact that all of these elements are worked out in the context of God’s great purpose: establishing his Kingdom

Munroe’s concept of Jesus’ mission of establishing a kingdom rather than a religion leads him, at times, to take a rather dim view of religion. In fact, Munroe sees, and I agree completely, that religion can be a major stumbling block to the realization of the kingdom.

All religions are the same in the sense that they attempt to answer the questions of power and meaning. They all promise power to control life and circumstances and to explain life and death. They all claim to have the truth. They all claim superiority over each other. They all compare and compete with each other. They all demand adherence to their particular belief system while denying others. They all are motivated by contention and usually thrive in an isolated culture that excludes other segments of humanity. In fact, all religions seem to glory in a spirit of segregation and separatism. Rather than uniting humanity with common power and knowledge of purpose, religion has proven itself instead to be the great divider of mankind.

Munroe stresses the fact that Jesus’ central mission was to inaugurate and carry out the first stages of the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. It was Christ’s mandate and, as his followers, it is our mandate as well.

Everything Jesus said and did – His prayers, teachings, healings, and miracles – was focused on a kingdom, not a religion. Jesus was preoccupied with the Kingdom; it was His top priority, His heavenly mandate.

For Munroe, Jesus came not only to reconcile God and humankind, but also to restore something that was lost – the kingdom. And, by restoring the kingdom, help satiate humankind’s intense hunger for two things: power and purpose.

It is important to note here that when man fell from grace, he lost a kingdom, not a religion. He lost dominion over the earth; he did not lose Heaven. Therefore, mankind’s search is not for a religion or for Heaven, but for his kingdom. This is why religion can never satisfy the deep hunger in the heart of man. Religion is itself a search. No religion can substitute for the kingdom or fill the vacuum in man’s soul. The hunger of the human heart is for the lost kingdom.

The teachings of Myles Munroe in many of his other books, particularly his ideas about potential, purpose, vision, and manifesting “glory” in one’s life all come together under the rubric of the kingdom concept. All that we are and all that we are gifted with is to be used to carry forward God’s universal purpose: the restoration of kingdom rule on earth. This is not so much a call for theocracy in a political sense. Instead, it is a call for a personal rule in the believer’s individual life. Only then, can the kingdom become a corporate reality. In this regard, Munroe is clear on what he believes should be the primary teaching of the church in this age:

How important to the Body of Christ is the message of the Kingdom of God? Frankly, we have nothing else to preach or teach. The message of the Kingdom is good news, and the Church exists to proclaim it. If we are doing our job, everything we are about will be Kingdom-focused; every sermon we preach, every Bible study we teach, every ministry we perform, every activity we accomplish, and every worship service we celebrate….The Kingdom of God must be our highest priority. Jesus gave us no other commission.

In my own life, both personally and professionally, I have made an earnest attempt to make these words a living reality on a daily basis. By the grace of God and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, I have made a degree of progress. I still, however, have a long way to go. As I press forward toward the prize, I am grateful that God took me by the hand that day in 2005 and, in spite of my own ignorance, led me to something that has been transformative and highly meaningful.

I do not mean to imply that everyone should hold the same view of Myles Munroe that I do. I suspect that for each of us, there has been someone, perhaps an author, a teacher, a preacher, or another instrument God has used to speak to us at a particularly critical point in our walk of faith. For me, it was Dr. Munroe.

© L.D. Turner 2014/All Rights Reserved

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Cultivating Sacred Character: The Role of Spiritual Disciplines (Part One)

Mick Turner

As Christians, scripture tells us that we are to increasingly grow into the character of Christ – in other words – become more Christ-like. Left to our own devices, this would be an impossible demand. Tainted by sin and mostly dominated by our lower nature, who among us could generate even a sliver of hope of emulating Jesus in thought, word, and deed?

Fortunately, scripture tells us that we have an omnipotent ally in this process of spiritual formation. The Holy Spirit walks along side of us, giving us strength to offset our weakness, wisdom to overcome our ignorance, and divine love to gradually eradicate our extreme self-centeredness. It is this promise of the Holy Spirit that gives us a reason to proceed down the road of spiritual formation and further, provides us with a legitimate assurance of success.

Still, we cannot fold our arms, lean back, and wait for the Holy Spirit to magically turn us into exact replicas of Christ. Over the centuries countless numbers of Christians have tried this approach with predictable results. Scripture is clear in stating that we have a part to play in the attainment of what we here at LifeBrook call “Sacred Character.” Sacred Character is based on the character and integrity exhibited by Christ during his mission here on earth. By studying the character of Christ, we can gain valuable insight into what it means to live our own lives from the sure foundation of Sacred Character.

As Jesus walked this earth, he revealed the character of God. “He who has seen me has seen the Father,” said Christ and in this statement he revealed a profound truth. Christ was so intimate with the Father that his character and his behavior were perfect reflections of his heavenly parent. Our goal, with the help of the Holy Spirit, is to live in the same intimacy with Christ as he lived with the Father. If you want to gain a deep and abiding perspective on this kind of intimate relationship, I suggest that you prayerfully read through the 17th Chapter of the Gospel of John.

In order to grow into this type of intimacy with Christ and increasingly manifest Sacred Character in our daily lives, we must engage in certain activities that foster spiritual development in a positive and proven direction. These activities have a long and valuable history in the Christian tradition. Here I am speaking of the classic Christian spiritual disciplines.

In some quarters, sincere believers become edgy just at the mention of spiritual disciplines. Steeped in the theology of God’s unmerited and unlimited grace, these well-meaning Christians believe that pursuing the practice of the classical spiritual disciplines is somehow “salvation through works.” This kind of thinking is both incorrect and unfortunate. It is incorrect in the sense that the spiritual disciplines are not related to salvation or the final destination of one’s soul. Pursuing spiritual disciplines is more concerned with placing ourselves in a position of receptivity to the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is about allowing the Holy Spirit to form us into the image of Christ. Although this spiritual formation is ultimately a work of the Spirit, we are told to do all that we can to assist in the process. As the great Quaker writer Rufus Jones once said,

“The grace of God is like the wind blowing across the Sea of Galilee; if you want to get to the other side, you have to raise your sail.”

The notion that practicing the disciplines is “works” is also highly unfortunate in that this misguided belief has prevented countless Christians from availing themselves of the very thing they need in order to foster the deeper, more effective walk of faith. I am of the belief that the great “faith/works” controversy of the 16th Century, although beneficial in many ways, gave birth to a trend in Protestant Christianity that resulted in pews filled with believers that were both powerless and confused. This tragic trend continues even today.

As the Body of Christ moves forward in this challenging age, establishing ministries focusing on vibrant, dynamic discipleship is of paramount importance. Unless the church develops consistent ways to grow its members deeper in the faith, it runs the danger of becoming, at best, irrelevant to the contemporary culture, or at worst, dead.

To begin, I think it is critical that we come to understand just what a disciple is. From all evidence, it would seem the church at large has lost touch with a crucial element of its mission – disciple-making. Just prior to his ascension, Christ did not tell his inner circle to “go and make converts.” No, he told them to go and make disciples. It is obvious that constructing a workable definition of a disciple is a high priority. Margaret Campbell gives us a great jump-start:

A disciple of Jesus is a person who has decided to live in attentiveness to Jesus. We live in attentiveness in order to become like Jesus on the inside and, thereby, able to do what Jesus would do on the outside. As maturing disciples we progressively learn to live in attentiveness, adoration, surrender, obedience, and thankfulness to God, and all of this, without ceasing. Through the hidden work of transformation, God writes his good way on our minds and hearts and this is very good. By his grace, our hearts are divinely changed. We are progressively conformed to be like Jesus in mind and will and soul and word and deed. What we say and what we do more consistently reflect the glory and goodness of God.

If that isn’t clear enough, let’s listen to George Barna:

True discipleship is about a lifestyle, not simply about stored up Bible knowledge. Often, churches assume that if people are reading the Bible and attending a small group, then real discipleship is happening. Unfortunately, we found that’s often not the case. Discipleship is about being and reproducing zealots for Christ. Discipleship, in other words, is about passionately pursuing the lifestyle and mission of Jesus Christ.

From these two definitions it should be clear that real discipleship, the kind of Jesus-following that makes a difference in a person’s life and the life of others, involves more than wearing a “What would Jesus Do?” bracelet.

(To be continued)

We Are Christ’s Ambassadors

Mick Turner

Although there are many factors that seem to contribute to the general impotency of many Christians in terms of manifesting a deeper walk with Christ in daily life, it has dawned on me that one of the central problems is a lack of understanding of just what Christ has accomplished through the cross and resurrection. Further, we fail to truly understand and appropriate who and what we are in Christ. This lack of understanding leads to a lack of power, power that God intended for us, his earthly ambassadors, to have.

And that is just what we are called to become – Emissaries of Christ.

Over the years, I have studied just about every religion you could imagine and probably a few you couldn’t. With some spiritual paths, I have waded only in the shallow end and that was more than enough to discover there was truly no depth at the other end. In others, I have plunged deeply and found some things of value that have served me quite well in navigating this often tiring conundrum we call life. In still yet other spiritual paths, I have skirted the periphery but, like a moth hovering about a source of light, never landed. I don’t think this was so much out of fear of being turned into tinder, but instead, I found nothing to really land on. I think you may understand what I mean.

I guess these experiences with other faith systems have taught me two significant lessons. First, religions or systems of faith, whatever term you want to use, will not get us to God. And, at this risk of alienating many readers at this point, I include Christianity in the above statement. Institutional Christianity has accomplished many things and has more positive qualities than I can count. Yet helping a person truly find God is not one of them. In fact, I have discovered that Christianity, as it is commonly understood, often poses a great obstacle to advancement in spiritual matters.

Why is this?

I think this is true for many reasons, perhaps too many to detail in the context of this article. Still, I feel compelled to offer a few of the factors that I believe have caused traditional Christianity, in its liberal, conservative, fundamentalist, and charismatic traditions, to fail in its mandate to make disciples. I have come to believe that the institutional church has many times become more of an obstacle to genuine spiritual formation than its advocate and facilitator. I know this is a heavy charge to levy against the church and I do not make this charge lightly. Still, if one takes even a cursory look around at the goings on at most congregations, you will find little more than lip service paid to the importance of growing deeper in the faith. Granted, we can begin to witness a certain amount of change in select churches, but my impression is that this is the exception and not the rule. Further, research, especially many of the fine studies carried out by George Barna, validate what I am saying.

First of all, Christianity as a formal religion was not what Christ called us to. He did not call us to a religion; he called us to a Kingdom. Myles Munroe speaks clearly to this issue when he says:

Misunderstanding Jesus has caused Muslims to reject Him, Hindus to suspect Him, Buddhists to ignore Him, atheists to hate Him, and agnostics to deny Him. But it just may be those who claim to represent Him the most – Christians – who have in fact misunderstood and, therefore, misrepresented Him the most…..Christians have misunderstood Him as the founder of a religion and have transformed His teachings and His methods into customs and His activities into rituals. Many even have reduced His message to nothing more than an escapist plan for getting to heaven and His promises as a mere fire insurance policy for escaping the pains of a tormenting hell…..And yet a simple study and review of His message and priority reveals that Jesus had only one message, one mandate, and one mission – the return of the Kingdom of Heaven to earth.

Don’t get me wrong. I value the church. I sincerely feel the organized Body of Christ has contributed greatly to the advancement of the cause of Christ around the world and it is my fervent hope that it can and will continue to do so. However, my fear is that it will not. Does that mean the church is dead? No, I don’t think so. Does that mean that the Christian religion, institutionally practiced as we have known it in the last couple of centuries is dead? You betcha! You can get on board with that or you can get left out in the cold. The fact is my friend, the train is leaving the station and more than a few say it has already left.

Lest you think what you are reading is the raving of some lunatic on the fringe of the Emergent Church movement, you need to understand that Christian teachers and leaders from every denomination and every stripe and sounding the same clarion call. And believe me folks, these are not religious basket cases wandering around dressed in loin cloths and eating bugs. These are sincere, educated, and insightful Christians who have had their ear to the ground for many years and have heard the train coming. As an example, let’s listen to the noted and respected Charismatic pastor Rick Joyner:

Radical change is coming, and those who are not discerning enough to see it, and become part of it, will not survive much longer. This is not a slam against the church as it is, which has been effective in its time and a powerful salt and light in the earth in its generations. The church is also the mother of the great, last-day ministry which is soon to emerge. However, just as Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin (see Genesis 35:16-19), the last son born to Israel, the same will happen to the church when the last-day ministry is born.

Joyner goes on to say that the church, as we know it, has served a great and useful purpose. However, it has now outlived its mission and it is time for the next corporate manifestation of the Body of Christ to be birthed. Like anything else, however, when we try to hold on to something that has outlived its usefulness, that very thing we grasp so tightly becomes an enemy, not an asset.

Over the centuries the church has drifted far from the original moorings put in place during the Apostolic Age. This drifting was in many ways unavoidable and to be expected as believers became increasingly removed from Christ in terms of distance and time. As a result, the Body of Christ not only lost a great deal of its vitality and purpose, it gradually began to replace divine revelation with man-made truths. Space here does not permit a detailed analysis of all the ways in which this has occurred, but the following brief list is just some of the ways in which the institutional church has gradually drifted into stagnant waters that are bereft of wind – what is so appropriately called by sea-farers “the doldrums.”

Domestication of Jesus

Faith/Works Controversy

Ignorance of the Holy Spirit

Reliance Upon Professional Clergy

Overly Focused On The Salvation Half of the Gospel, to the Exclusion of the Empowering half.

Deification of Scripture

One other area of drifting needs to be mentioned and that is the tendency on the part of the church to offer a “comfortable, watered-down gospel.” Now please, don’t misunderstand me here. I am not talking about preachers who espouse positive thinking and positive living. I firmly believe in what these folks are saying. Without a positive focus, nothing can be accomplished. What I am talking about is the fact that few churches ever really get down to the nitty gritty of what a person has to do in order to become a productive disciple. In a word, they have to die!

Jesus told us this and we can take him at his word. Paul echoed these teachings, as did John and Peter, each in his own way. Friends, we are now moving into an age in which it will be increasingly difficult to be a Christian. In America, chances are we won’t have to die for our faith, but we can count on increasing isolation as the culture becomes more Post-Christian in orientation. Moreover, if we are going to become the kind of Christ-followers needed to meet the challenges of the coming years, we have to get down to it. We have to become gut-level honest with ourselves about the seriousness of our commitment to Christ.

J.I. Packer, the great theologian and Bible teacher, once wrote a great piece entitled “Hot Tub Religion.” In it he talked about religion that helped people to cope, to relax, unwind, and feel good. There is nothing wrong with this. We all need to do these things. But we need another aspect of spirituality as well. Whether you can see it or not, every day things point to increasing difficulties ahead, not just for Christians, but for everyone. The increasing tensions throughout the world and the economic woes we are experiencing are just the tip of the iceberg I am afraid.

I am not an alarmist nor am I a Doomsday prophet. But I am a realist and part of that realism sees the fact that we, as Christians, will have an important and unique role to play in the coming days. We have to be ready. By being ready I don’t mean politically discerning. What I mean is, we have to get back to brass tacks in terms of God’s call upon us. A major part of that call upon us is to be a “Holy People,” called to a special work. Each of us must ask in our heart of hearts, “Am I ready? Am I willing?”

No one can answer that question for you.

Just this morning I was over at the local high school talking to the football coach for an article I am writing for the paper. It is mid-July and this is the South. In a word, it is hot. The players were out running wind sprints, long races around the field, and drilling endlessly. These kids wanted to play and some of the marginal players just wanted to make the team. As I watched them, I was again reminded of the words of Rick Joyner:

To be called as an emissary of the King of kings is the highest calling that one can have on this earth. If we do not want our place in Christ more than an athlete wants his place on a team, then we certainly are not worthy of such a position…..One of the biggest thieves in the church today is called “the easy way.”

It is additionally imperative that we understand that the first realm of our unique work is with ourselves. We have to get down to a level of ruthless honesty with ourselves. God has called us to holiness and to nothing less. We have to work along with the Holy Spirit to remove the motes from our own eyes before we start trying to change the world for Christ. There are too many believers today that avoid the necessary internal change by focusing on the need for the world to change. Get this down deep: before the world can change, we have to change. The so-called culture wars are being fought by unprepared troops on both sides. Let’s forget the military metaphors for now and take an honest, hard look at ourselves.

As Rick Joyner says, there are no easy ways. Repentance is the first thing Christ called for at the inauguration of his mission. True repentance means to “turn around.” What each of us must ask ourselves is, “Have I really turned around?” If our answer is yes, we then ask, “Am I ready to assume the responsibilities of being an emissary of Christ?”

It’s time to take a stand with yourself, one way or the other.

© L.D. Turner 2008/2014/All Rights Reserved

Confronting a Double Mind

Mick Turner

These days I am increasingly convicted my own ways of being unfocused and uncommitted in my walk of faith. I am committed, don’t get me wrong, but I have my own unique ways of casting myself adrift. The Holy Spirit is rubbing my nose in this and I must say that although unpleasant at times, it is overall a positive thing.

Jesus tells us that a house divided against itself cannot stand and certainly an individual divided against himself or herself cannot stand, either. I am guilty in spades and confess that I am chronically double-minded. James (James 1:8) warns against this and says that a double-minded man is unstable in all ways. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, echoes the message of Jesus and his brother James when he says:

But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. (NLT)

Jesus words about a house divided and the passages cited by James and Paul all point to the dangers of double-mindedness. The Master says we cannot stand, but instead, will fall. James does not mince his words – he plainly tells us that this lack of commitment leads to instability in all areas of our lives, and Paul says that it leads to corruption and susceptibility to false teaching.

In another relevant passage of scripture, the disciples spot Jesus walking on the waves and Peter, in an initial act of faith, heads out across the water to greet his Master. At some point, however, the disciple discovers what he is actually doing, doubt sets in, and he sinks like a stone. Jesus, in his response to Peter, asks him, “You of little faith. . . .why did you doubt? (Matthew 14:31). What does this have to do with double-mindedness? Plenty!

Dr. Warren Wiersbe, in his commentary on this passage, tells us that the word translated as doubt actually has the meaning of “standing uncertainly at two ways.” Peter ended up with little faith because he saw two ways of proceeding and in that momentary paralysis, sank with the weight of uncertainty. This is a vivid example of the dangers of a double mind.

Held firm in our walk of faith by our firm commitment to Christ, we are encouraged to deepen our connection to the Master and in all things, to remain focused on Jesus, the author of our salvation and the Holy Spirit, the choreographer of our sanctification. In all these things, the implication is to avoid double-mindedness. Paul tells us:

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body (Col. 2:6-9 NLT).

In my personal walk of faith, as I have mentioned here and elsewhere, double-mindedness has been a consistent stronghold the enemy has built up over the years. The Lord has been faithful where I have been unfaithful and he, like the shepherd looking for the one sheep that left the fold, has come to fetch me on many occasions. I don’t mean to say that I have wandered into deep sin or anything like that. Instead, my unfaithfulness has been more in seeking spiritual solace in places other than the Christian faith. The thing the Holy Spirit finally helped me to see was that there is a huge difference between the person of Jesus Christ and the religion that bears his name.

Understanding that one simple truth has made a world of difference for me. Now, I find much comfort in the “God of All Comfort” and have come to understand that he is, indeed, with me always and at all times.

And as I have come to be less double-minded, I am much less a house divided against itself. I have become more spiritually mature and less likely to wander down some seemingly fascinating theological rabbit hole, yet I do admit that sometimes the temptation still arises.

And it is in this growth that I have discovered another salient truth about the Christian walk of faith. As we become more single-minded in our commitment to Christ, we do become more mature from a spiritual perspective. We become more stable (not unstable like James warned us about) and less likely to be taken in by what Paul called “high-sounding nonsense.” In Ephesians 4, Paul gives us further wise counsel:

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church (Eph. 4:14-15)

Double-mindedness, lack of focus, and inconsistent commitment are all counterproductive to an effective walk of faith. I hope in some small way this article has helped to illustrate that cogent fact. And without a doubt, the scriptures cited point to the need to address these obstacles if, in fact, they do exist in your life.

I would encourage readers to spend some prayer time over the next week, asking the Master to reveal to you any areas in your walk of faith were these issues may be lurking. Also, ask for power, guidance, and wisdom in addressing whatever may arise as you do this.

Think about it.

© L.D. Turner 2014/All Rights Reserved

Wise Words for Today

English: The healing of the paralytic : wall p...
English: The healing of the paralytic : wall painting in the baptistry of the domus ecclesiae in Dura Europos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

–>

Jesus
is like air to the lungs and water to a desert dweller. He is not a religious
artifact. He’s not dead. He is alive. He is engaged and engaging. He is here
now, changing lives all over this world this very moment. When He walked on
earth He changed everything for everyday, for all time. What started then
continues today. It can’t be stopped though many have tried. Jesus is the rock
of redemption and His church will prevail. He is here in this moment with you,
doing what He always does, calling you to a higher place, calling you to break
free from convention and stop going to church and start being the church
everywhere you go. Let’s be “Jesus people” again. Let’s be men and women whose
hearts are captured, redeemed, renewed, enlivened, ignited, set fee! Let’s
return to the revolution to be the change we want to see in the world!

David Foster

Wise Words for Today

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...
Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am convinced that as Christians we’re not about programs. We’re not about bigger or better blessings. We’re about responding to people who call for help because their world is falling apart. These individuals aren’t looking to be converted – – they’re looking for help! Being their help – – by being the presence of Christ in their lives – – is the only thing we’re about. Everything else we do is secondary and can even detour us from carrying out the true purpose of the church.

Jerry Cook

(from The Monday Morning Church)

Lord, I Arise

Beginning of 11th century
Beginning of 11th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Lord, I indeed arise and thank you that my light has come and that your glory has risen upon me.

Although darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the people, Lord you have risen upon me and placed the light of your glory over me. Because of the brightness of this new dawn over me, others can witness your love and glory through my thoughts, words, and deeds.

Lord, I thank you for this blessing and this opportunity to serve you in this dark and desperate age. May I be a positive blessing to those near me today.

In Jesus name,

(c) L.D. Turner 2013/All Rights Reserved