Archives For Random chatter

Are you In-Tune?

June 28, 2011 — 1 Comment

In 1995 I was sent to Kiev, Ukraine, with YWAM, as a missionary. In our first week there we found an apartment to move into for our stay. It was customary to have the church leader come over and pray over the new home or space. It can be compared to what we do in the US called a house-warming or house-blessing. We decided to invite the assistant pastor, of the church we were working with, over for dinner.

That night as we were preparing a typical meal of eggs, potatoes and ham there was a knock at the door.

It was the assistant pastor.

“Come on in” we said after a brief hug.

He stepped in and instantly froze. We were surprised of course by the abrupt interruption. He didn’t move and judging from his blank stare seemed to be engrossed in thought. The he looked at us.

He said in Ukrainian…”something is wrong here”.

He slowly walked into the apartment and towards the bedroom. He then proceeded to get on his hands and knees and reach under the bed. When his hand came back out again we were amazed to find him holding an occult book of some sort.

I was floored. Actually my whole team was.

I was at a loss for words and in awe of the power of the Holy Spirit.

How could he do this? Was this man was so in tune with the Holy Spirit that he could sense when things were not of God in a room

This story is a perfect example of how vital it is to stay connected with the Holy Spirit.

In 2 Corinthians 13:14, it says:
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all, amen.”

Staying connected with the Holy Spirit also gives us a third party. A tuning fork if you will for life that keeps Christians united to the same key. This is the importance of Christian Community. If the same Holy Spirit that leads me leads you as well we can walk together in agreement.

Getting in tune with the Spirit is a daily process. A few steps to this are:

Identity – getting rid of your old identity and finding your identity in Christ

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Prayer – Continuous prayer and putting God’s will first in your life

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Sacrifice – setting aside your own life

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8

Listening – too often we pray and never listen to God speaking or answering. Distractions can get overwhelming and it is simple to say “be still” rather than to actually be still.  The Spirit can help quiet the noise.

“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

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Questions to ponder:

How in-tune to the Spirit are you these days?

Have you ever been able to hear from the Spirit like the assistant pastor could?

Which of the 4 steps do you need to work on and why?

An excerpt from a book I am writing with Adam Fagan-Kela and Jack Osteen

For all of those who stuck by me while I was in blog limbo; Thank you! For all of those who didn’t or never knew this blog existed; I still love you.

It has indeed been a while and I have done so much since I fell off the face of the wordpress planet. So I thought I would hold an informal interview with myself so you as the reader can get a glimpse into my brain…

JK1: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today Joel. I want to start with a simple question. Where have you been?

JK2: It is an honor to be back and thanks. In Sept 2009 my beautiful daughter, Morgan Nicole, was born. It was then that blogging took a back seat to my fascination of having a little girl to take care of. I had a ton of experience with 3 boys in the house, but being handed a princess changed everything. Suddenly there was so much more pink in the house and my blog took a hit because of it. I have threatened many times to start again and my ADD side kicked in or I was suddenly hit with many things to do.

JK1: Congrats! She is so cute! I guess that brings me to: What have you been up to?

JK2: HA! Yeah she is the cutest baby I have seen. I have been up to so much in the last year and a half. I have been busy with work. I am a graphic designer by night and a stay at home dad by day. I have also been leading worship in my church and working on equipping and mentoring other leaders. God put in my lap great friends who I worked along side of to create The Forge Conference which we held last year in Ocean Grove, NJ. We are currently working on the second one for this Sept. I have also been really pushing and involved in trying to create unity between churches through worship and prayer in my area. It is a very exciting time.

JK1: That sounds amazing! It sounds like God is doing some great things in New England. Do you have any other sites you are writing for in addition to this one?

JK2: How did I know you were going to ask that. As a matter of fact I do. I have written for many sites that I adore like The Worship Community, The Joint Review, and a few others. One site I am very excited about unveils this week Where I will be co-writing with my wife about being married and having 4 kids and still being mentally sane. My wife is an amazing woman and I am very excited that she has agreed to open up this can of worms.

JK1: Well, I know you are busy and have to pick up kids from school in about 15 min so I won’t take any more of your time, but let me be the first to say: It is great to have you back and I can’t wait to read everything you will be posting.

JK2: God has been good the last 2 years and I can’t wait to tell you what he is doing. Here is a teaser… New England is poised for a revival! BRING IT!

I find the words contentment and restlessness to be very difficult to distinguish between.

The definitions are:

contentment: Desiring no more than what one has; satisfied. (lack of contentment would be of course wanting more than you have or not satisfied)

Restlessness: characterized by or showing inability to remain at rest: arestless mood; unquiet or uneasy, as a person, the mind, or the heart.

What I find odd is that we as Christians throw the word “contentment” around quite flippantly. It has become this “buzz” word that is vague to most people. What does it mean to be content in the Lord? If we go with the definition doesn’t that really suggest that we should be just happy with what we have and not really interested in wanting more. We are satisfied with what we have been given and it’s good enough for me.

I have given a lot of thought to this lately. I think ultimately we need to be content in God and thats it. I think placing too much stake in contentment for anything else either sets us up for disappointment or paralyzes us from being creative or forging ahead with dreams.

That’s where the word restless comes into play. Sometimes we find ourselves in life no longer content with what or where things are going. No longer satisfied with our location, money, church, job, etc. So we go back and pray that God would help us with our lack of contentment.

This is a good thing because we do want to drill into our heads that everything is but a vapor and in the end God is sovereign. It is also a bad thing, because sometimes it is not a lack of contentment that is the issue it is restlessness. Sometimes God is tugging at our hearts to dream, to move, to change, to create.

I don’t think it is easy to decipher the difference if it is lack of contentment or God making us restless. That is where prayer and fasting come into play.

We as christians need to make sure we are deciphering between the two as we move through our daily lives because God could be tugging at our hearts and itching to do big things thru us and we in turn could be stifling His great work because we are too concerned that our lack of contentment is a sure sign we are no longer relying on God.

Be still and know…it is a verse about clear cut clarity. Make sure you seek it out.

 

 

Friday night I was invited by a great friend of mine to help serve at a Homeless shelter in Providence, RI. My wife and two littlest ones jumped in a car to join the 8 or so people from his church plant “Connexion Church” at the shelter.

It was a great time with family, friends and serving, but I noticed some odd things as well.  When pastor jack was done preaching to the men and women there he gave an altar call. Of course many got saved and I am not about to judge who were for real or who just wanted to go through the motions to get their dinner. All the people got up afterward and proceeded rather quickly to the dining hall. Well, all but one. One man stayed behind and talked to Jack and he got to pray with him. I love when that happens because to me thats how you really know how hungry a person is for God.

This man went for the bread of life before he went for the bread that came with the Ziti.

There was a homeless man there that i guess is on staff with the place. He was breaking down the room, clearing chairs, and stacking them. I went up to him and asked if I could help. His answer floored me.

“Huh?” he said “you want to help?..Uh yeah! thanks so much…You are now my favorite church!”

“Why?” I asked “thats what I’m here to do…Help”

“Because most of the other churches show up to preach and then leave. They don’t stick around to help me”

AMAZING! He went on to say that he was floored we have 8+ people because usually churches send the preacher and maybe another guy. I was happy to hear we were there for him and could help even in what seemed like such a little task, but also sad that churches are just sending people there to preach.

I’ll leave you with this quote that I think sums up the problem with the church today.

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” St. Francis of Assisi

We spend so much time drilling people with the gospel that sometimes we need to realize all people need to see the Light of Christ is just a helping hand, somebody to love them, somebody to care like Jesus did.

 

My buddy Rich K is giving away passes to a worship conference. I’d love to win 🙂

Here is what his site says:

“I am so happy to announce that I will be teaching a workshop and attending the worshiptogether.com Training Conference, April 12-14 in Lenexa, KS.

In 1999 I remember attending as a younger worship leader one of their training events and over the past several years I have enjoyed getting to know some of the people at this company. Wholeheartedly I can say these people love the local church and this event is designed to equip worship leaders at churches of any size. Even their cost is reasonable.

Some of the worship leaders there include: Leeland, Brenton Brown, Matt Maher, Christy Nockels, Phil Wickham and Audrey Assad.

So, I would love to see you there at the conference and meet you! In fact, I am going to be giving away free passes. With THIS post, I will give away 2 FREE PASSES for YOU AND A GUEST!

Instructions: You get one point to a drawing for doing each of the following.

comment on this post and say “I want the 2 passes for me and a friend!” [1 point – mandatory]
Facebook status: link back to this post! [1 point]
Twitter: RT or tweet linking back to this post [1 point]
So, you get three chances to win if you do all three! I will draw the winners on Monday night!

*BONUS: 2 more points to repeat this post on your own blog if you have one!”