Prophecy Power – Imagine Hearts Being Healed by Encouraging, Edifying, and Comforting Words from you! Doesn't that sound great? Any regrets about words you have spoken? Unsure of what to say when helpful words are needed? Want to get better … ...

 

Connections: Simple Church Success - 5 new articles

Prophecy Power – Imagine Hearts Being Healed by Your Words! – (Power of God Series 5 of 7)

Prophecy Power – Imagine Hearts Being Healed by Encouraging, Edifying, and Comforting Words from you! Doesn’t that sound great?

Any regrets about words you have spoken? Unsure of what to say when helpful words are needed? Want to get better at speaking sincere words that truly encourage, build up and comfort yourself and others?

If your answer is yes to any of the above questions then the gift of prophecy is for you! Paul, the apostle, wants all of us to have it. He writes, “I wish you all…prophesied.” (1 Corinthians 14:5)

Paul wants us all to prophecy, that is, to let the Lord speak through us. Contrary to popular opinion, prophesying is not spooky or full of religious pomp, rather, it is helpful in our conversations and relationships with others.

Paul likes prophecy very much, wants us to learn about it, and encourages us to practice it. Read his three reasons why below. I have repeated the same passage, 1 Corinthians 14:3, four times in as many Bible versions to let this Holy Spirit-inspired relational diamond shine.

New Living Translation: “One who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.”

Today’s New International Version: “Those who prophesy speak to people for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.”

King James Version: “He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”

New American Bible: “One who prophesies does speak to human beings, for their building up, encouragement, and solace.”

Apart from Christ’s eternal salvation, what better gift could there be? And the great news? It’s one all of us can activate and use.

In fact, we’ve probably already done so without even knowing it. Like the time Dad and I were fishing off the jetty at the mouth of the Fort Bragg (California) harbor. We’d caught nothing and returned to the car where Mom relaxing and reading.

Discovering our plight, she simple said, “Cast your nets on the other side.” We went back and did just that. Within minutes we caught our limit! Unforgettable!

Back then, in the ‘60s, we didn’t call that a prophecy. Our church’s beliefs didn’t allow for it and we didn’t see it. Nevertheless, it had all the ingredients, for Dad and I definitely enjoyed great “strengthening, encouragement and comfort!” So did Mom! Amazing!

Just yesterday, I listened for prophetic words from the Lord for a friend. I “heard” (in my spirit) the Lord saying to my friend,  “You are very tender, I love your heart, you are a person after my own heart. I love your kindness, song, and your desire for me. I am with you and will hold you safe into the future.”

The affect was wonderful. My friends joyously experienced “strengthening, encouragement and comfort!” I did too!

New Testament prophecy best not be confused with Old Testament-style prophecy, which was often about needed judgement and warnings. Jesus high-lighted this shift when he called (Old Testament) prophet, John the Baptist, “the greatest born of women” but declared him “least in the (New Testament) Kingdom of God.”

God truth does not change. God’s methods sometimes do.

In these last days, the Holy Spirit is speaking words of “strengthening, encouragement and comfort” through you. As you believe this and listen for God in the relational moments of your day you will become increasing aware of the Lord’s encouragement coming through your words and ways. That will be heaven on earth!

Giv’m Heaven! — John

John Parker, is a pastor and teacher at Chowchilla Simple Church 10 AM Sundays at Carty Center, 609 W. Robertson Boulevard.

Click reply to connect with John

            
 
 

The Power of Being Present – (Power of God Series 4 of 7)

Want to be more effective when working with people? Want to be a better listener?

In the following account, Jesus shows us how to hear, see, and live in the present in order to activate the love of God.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

Peter, a very practical man, thinking Jesus’ question is ridiculous, protests, “Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you.”

Jesus, a very present man, is not deterred. “Someone touched me,” he insists. “I felt power discharging from me.”

Sure enough, Jesus was correct. After a few moments, the woman who had touched Jesus “realizing that she couldn’t remain hidden, came and knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed.

“Jesus said, ‘Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!’” (Luke 8:47–48)

Besides crowd pressures, Jesus had ministry pressures too.  At that moment, a little girl lay dying just down the street in her parents’ house and Jesus was going to help her. In spite of that emergency, Jesus stops to help this lady who touched him.

Imagine the anxious pressure for Jesus to ”get going” and heal the sick girl. Still, he stopped because of his inner awareness. And, thankfully, it all worked out. Both the lady and the girl were healed that day!

“God is a very present help in time of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) Jesus believed that and tells us the two ways he became a “very present” man.

First, Jesus did only what his Father showed him. Jesus explains, “I’m telling you this straight. The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does.” Jesus always watched for his Father’s way. We can too.

Second, Jesus spoke only as his Father taught him. He tells us, “I’m not making this up, but speaking only what the Father taught me.” And again, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me. The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.” (John 5:19; John 8:28; John 14:10) Jesus always listened to his Father’s words. We can too.

We be like Jesus, “very present.” Our hurting world, more than ever, needs us to listen and be aware of needs and hurts¾just like Jesus was. Jesus says we can do what he did, and even more.

Jesus promises, “The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing¾but even greater things.” (John 14:12)

This is exciting. Like Jesus, we can be “very present,” watching for the Father’s opportunities and listening for his words.

Believing, we will miss less, hear clearer, and see better. As we are walking along in a crowd of people—and everywhere else too—in our homes, at work, in our neighborhoods, and at our places of worship we will be empowered to help, heal and encourage effectively.

Very practical people may miss this. Very present people will see and do even greater things!

Giv’m Heaven!—John Parker

John Parker, is a pastor and teacher at Chowchilla Simple Church 10 AM Sundays at Carty Center, 609 W. Robertson Boulevard. For more call: (209) 564-7201 (Most Scripture passages adapted from The Message Bible).

            
 
 

What do you want us to hear the about your kingdom?

Lord: What do you want us to hear the about your kingdom?

Seek first our kingdom and our righteousness. Our kingdom is ours. And yes, it is coming; thank you for asking for it to come.

Our kingdom is not of this world; if it were we would solve things a lot differently. The least, youngest, and last are keys in our kingdom. The natural man doesn’t understand that; but you all do, because, your inner person is totally delighting in us and in the mystery*.

Our kingdom is wind based and the wind is our Holy Spirit. Discerning of spirits and of every wind that blows is key to loosing and binding in our kingdom.

* Jesus told them, “You’ve been given insight  into (the mystery of – J.P.)  God’s kingdom—you know how it works. But to those who can’t see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward receptive insight.  (Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Mk 4:11). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.)
            
 
 

Power in Your Place – (Power of God Series 3 of 7)

STAY HERE, START HERE!

Ever wish you could find a different job, move to a new town, or even jump the fence to the greener pasture of a new relationship? If so, you are not alone.

It’s common to long for something new. It’s easy to become dissatisfied, disillusioned, and even disgruntled with current circumstances. Wondering how we got here, we may blame ourselves, others, fate, fortune, luck, or God—and want out!

Like us, Jesus’ disciples wondered about their current situation after Jesus’ resurrection. Now, they believed, he could really change things. Here’s the Bible conversation:

“When they were together for the last time they asked, ‘Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?’

“Jesus told them, ‘You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.’

“These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky.

“Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, ‘You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left.’” (Acts 1:6–11, The Message)

Jesus’ response disappointed the disciples. First, he didn’t know when the Kingdom would be restored. Second, he assigned them to stay and start in Jerusalem, the city that rejected Jesus a few weeks earlier. Third, Jesus left them for heaven¾not fun.

The men-in-white, puzzled by the disciples staring up into space, ask, “Why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky?” In essence saying, “Wake up boys! Snap out of it! It’s okay! He’ll be back!”

Unlike the dumb-founded disciples, we read the story with 2000 years “under our belts.” We know that Jesus’ commission to go “even to the ends of the world” is still working. Globally, Jesus is a household name. His popularity is on the fast-track in Africa, South America, and Asia. While we may miss this in our secularized, post-modern “Western” world, a bit of online research indicates such trending.

Soon after Jesus left, his disciples, now filled with the Holy Spirit, wrote books. Their writings—now the New Testament Bible—teach us much about the heaven into which Jesus ascended. They also make it clear that Jesus is coming back any day now “to restore the kingdom to Israel.”  They exhort us to believe and be ready!

The Holy Spirit is activating Jesus’s mission which calls us to share our love for, and faith in, Jesus with the folks in our own “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and globally.

The mission becomes clearer when we adapt it locally as follows: “What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Chowchilla, all Madera County, Merced County, even to the ends of the world.”

Accepting this mission you may not need to change jobs, relationships, or towns. With the old chorus, we can simply sing, “brighten up the corner where you are…”  Shine on!

Giv’m Heaven!—John

John Parker, is a pastor and teacher at Chowchilla Simple Church 10 AM Sundays at Carty Center, 609 W. Robertson Boulevard. For more call: (209) 726-0119.

            
 
 

Two Make a Majority – (Power of God Series 2 of 7)

Do you overthink things? Do you resist sharing? Do you try to go it alone?

Many of us were trained to be independent and work on our own and that’s good to a point. It ceases to be good when we don’t share.

Singers Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sang: “I am a rock. I am an island.” Then they explain why: “A rock feels no pain, and island never cries.” It seems they we lamenting our need to hide and avoid sharing and inter-dependence with one another.

Such inter-dependence is big in the Bible. For example, God made man, then observed, “It’s not good for man to be alone; I will make a partner for him.”

God does raise up individuals who lead his people such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, and Jesus. But the thing they have in common is a strong friendship with God and a willingness to do anything to further God’s work of saving people.

King Solomon, (circa 1040 B.C.) believed in inter-dependence. He wrote, “It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough! Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12, The Message)

Sharing is the key to growth, maturity and love. Making the commitment stay even when rough times come along often leads to better things such as hope, faith and charity.

Jesus although he was often alone, abandoned, rejected, and betrayed understood that his entire mission was about others. He said things like:

I have “come to seek and to save those that are lost,” and to heal those who need a doctor, and free those in any kind of prison. “Come unto me,” he calls, “and I will give you rest.” He explains, I am “come to served others and not to be served.”

Jesus taught about the power of two saying, “When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”” (Matthew 18:19–20, The Message)

Jesus assigned his disciples into partnerships for success. He mixed and matched the natural brothers, James and John, then Peter and Andrew, so they did their ministries as Peter and John, then, James and Andrew.

Then, he sent his disciples out in pairs. Perhaps, like Solomon, he believed that one will hold the other up when times got tough. Perhaps, he was thinking of the Bible teaching that everything is confirmed in the mouth of two or three witnesses. Such a witness would come to help his disciples stay in faith when they both witnesses miracles and, most importantly, the resurrection of Jesus.

Today’s takeaway thought: Are you more independent or inter-dependent?  Do you team-up and share your life, struggles, prayers, and ministry with one or two others for mutual support? Doing so may change things for the better.

Giv’m Heaven!—John

John Parker, is a pastor and teacher at Chowchilla Simple Church.  Click reply to contact John.

            
 
 
 
   
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