“It’s Time To Tithe!”

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel

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The beginning of a worthy financial plan begins with paying God ten percent (10%) of your gross income. As you enter this year set a new standard for your income and increase. The only way to overcome your income is by activating the supernatural power of your first ten percent (10%). Incorporate an old idea for new increase. When you separate the first, the tenth and the gross of your income you are tapping into an ancient biblical strategy for well-being and wealth.

“And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way  that  I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: And this stone which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee” (Genesis 28:20-22).

The morning after Jacob dreamed he vowed. He dreamed about a ladder that was set on earth and reached to the heaven. He saw on it angels ascending and descending. The Lord stood above the ladder and spoke over Jacob the blessing and promise of his grandfather Abraham. God promised Jacob the land he slept upon. He promised Jacob perpetual, trans-generational prosperity. More than any thing, the Lord promised Jacob His presence, “I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places…I will not leave thee…” (28:15).

In response to the dream, the promise and the blessing Jacob initiates a vow to God. A vow is a faith response to a God-given dream, promise and blessing. The people who vow are the people whom have received a dream, a promise or a blessing from God, and know it! Vowing is making a promise to God based on the dream, the promise  or the blessing He has promised you. Jacob vowed to God because God vowed to Jacob. When a believer vows it is in response to what God has already graciously done.

Should we vow the tithe? That is exactly what Jacob did. Where did Jacob get the idea of vowing a tithe? This is what his grandfather Abraham did when he received a blessing from God (see Genesis 14:18-24). Abraham was blessed by the high priest Melchizedek and in response to the blessing Abraham gave a tenth of everything he owned. This was a tithe of total assets, not just income! Think about that.

Abraham refuses to take anything from the king of Sodom. He says, ” I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, unto the possessor of heaven and earth,…That I will not take anything that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich” (Genesis 14:22-23). The lifting of the hand that Abraham refers to is the moment he vowed his finances to God.  Abraham, a covenant man, has vowed the tenth of all to God and confesses his trust in God’s plan of prosperity. Sodom is the world’s way to wealth. Abraham walked by faith in his finances. He vowed and he tithed.

Jacob was blessed to be connected to a tither. Now that Jacob has received the same blessings of Abraham it is time for him to activate the supernatural release of divine favor and unending overflow. He does what he knows works. Jacob vows the tithes. “I will surely give the tenth”. Is that your conviction and commitment?  Do you have a revelation of God that motivates your tithing?  Are you sure that God can trust you with money?

The tithes that Jacob vows are for “God’s house”. The stone he used for a pillow the night before is going to be the pillar of God’s house. Jacob poured oil all over the rock. Upon a rock overflowing with oil Jacob would build a church. That would make this stone “the chief cornerstone”! Upon the Rock of our Salvation, Jesus, the Anointed One, the Chief Cornerstone, the church is being built.

The tenth of our gross income belongs to God and it is for His house. The tithe is essential in God’s plan for the house of prayer. Vowing the tithe is a foundational financial principle for ministries that are committed to living out the dream, the promise and the blessing of the Lord. The vowing of the tithes is biblical, therefore blessed. People and churches that cut covenant with God and vow the tithe will experience the protection, prosperity and presence of God.


 

 

 

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Set S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals

Munich's Most Photographed Soccer Goal

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“Put God in charge of your work, then what you have planned will take place” (Proverbs 16:3).

This year is the year to set order to your life and goals. Goals are dreams with deadlines. Goals require you to have a plan and stick to a process for achievement. Goals enlist strategies and encourage creativity. Goals hold us accountable. Goals are good!

The Father wants you to carry out His eternal purpose for your life. God has a goal for your life. According to Romans 8:29 you are “to be conformed to the image of His Son”.  God wants you to be like Jesus!  This is life’s greatest goal.

In order to better plan for your success, set s.m.a.r.t.e.r. goals. Here is some practical advice for those who want to reach God-sized goals for their lives: Be sure your goals are:

Specific. Your goals must be detailed. If the “devil is in the details” then that must be where the battle is fought and won. Get into the details and come out with a victory. Set specific dates. Delegate specific tasks. Request specific resources. The more you know about where you’re headed the easier it will be to take others with you.

Measurable. We measure what we treasure. Your goals should make you more accountable and committed. The goals you set need to be reviewed and refreshed often with wise counsel. How can you tell if you are reaching your goals?  What indicators do you use to assess whether you’re doing well, or not?

Agreeable. Your goals must agree with God and His purpose for your life. Goals that are in conflict with the Father’s purpose will not prosper. There are divine laws and spiritual principles that you must cooperate with to experience God’s good, acceptable and perfect will. You must begin to read the Bible and get into agreement with God’s Word.

Responsible. Your goals must be able to withstand critical thinking and financial analysis. This will attract thoughtful and serious-minded people to your support. Have you developed the best possible business plan? Have you considered the variables and contingencies of your market or service?  Always ask yourself, “What is the real return on this potential investment?”

Transferable. Your goals must be exciting and inspiring to be transferable. You have to be able to give your goals away. Goals that are transferable call for commitment and loyalty from others. When a goal is transferred to others a team is built. You need people whom share your goals and own them as their own.

Eternal. Your goals are only worthy if you intend for them to out live you. Fame, money, and power are no true goals. If you can meet all your goals in your lifetime, your goals are short-sighted and probably petty. Goals that attract God’s attention have eternity in them. Life is short. Eternity is forever. Set goals that you can enjoy and experience in heaven.

Rewarding. The “fruits of success” are the rewards of goals. Your goals should reward you for their creation. Your goals wouldn’t exist without you, would they?  As markers are met and achievements are made you will see your goals bringing you rewards. Goals are worth more than gold. Goals are residual. Your goals can keep growing and exponentially reproduce success for you.

 

 

“God Behind The Scenes”

The Triumph of Mordecai by Pieter Lastman, 1624.

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In the Book of Esther God is not mentioned. There is no other book in the Bible that can make that claim. God is not mentioned in the book because one of the commanding claims of the book is that God works behind the scenes. This is what I call the “left hand of God”. When the Bible speaks of the “right hand” of God it is referring to the obvious demonstration of His power (Exodus 15:6). The “left hand of God” is when you are not given a seat on the observation deck to see how God chooses to work. The Holy Spirit wrote the Book of Esther with His left hand. You may not see God’s hand at work, but just know that God still has His hand on your life.

So God sends characters out onto the stage to shape His story. The main characters include: King Ahasuerus (king of Persia), Vashti (first queen), Esther (new queen), Mordecai (Esther’s guardian), and Haman (enemy of the Jews). These are all spiritual types that point to greater spiritual truths.

Ahauseurus is a type of the world. He is moved by public opinion and popular actions. He lacks discipline and sobriety. He has no interest in spiritual things. He cuts covenants based on superficial qualities. His covenants and associations are flesh-based. He is dominated by the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life (I John 2:16-17).

Vashti is a type of  religion. She is married to the power of the world and powerless to affect it. She is in the palace with the king, but has no spiritual or moral influence over him. She is attractive, but ineffective. She has been reduced to being a source of entertainment for the king. This is the state of the spotted, wrinkled or blemished Church (Ephesians 5:27).

Esther is a type of the emerging Church of the Kingdom (Revelation 11:15). Esther has been sovereignly and strategically positioned and promoted by God. Esther is a work of grace, not self-promotion. Esther must confront the evil of her generation. She is blessed to be a blessing!  She is called upon to use her access and influence to introduce the will of God. She brings the kingdom of God into the kingdom of men.

Mordecai is the most important influence upon the life and destiny of Esther. Mordecai is pivotal to the purpose of  God in Esther’s life. Mordecai is assigned and anointed by God to help Esther discover the reason for her ascension to the throne. He brings a revelation of her higher call and purpose.

Mordecai is a type of intercessory ministry. He is a “gatekeeper”. His ministry is to establish the authority of God in every situation through prayer and fasting. Mordecai is a a “kingdom man”. He embodies Matthew 6:33. He understands and functions according to the order of the kingdom. Mordecai is called to come alongside Esther in order to position her for promotion into her purpose.

Mordecai perceives the times and seasons. Mordecai prays the will of God into the times and seasons. Mordecai provokes the Bride of the King to align with God’s times and seasons. Mordecai provides relief and deliverance for God’s people through intercession. God prospers Mordecai with promotion, power and prosperity (Esther 8:2).

Haman is a type of the spirit of the accuser (Revelation 12:10). His attack is against remnant ministry. He is committed to destroying “the people of Mordecai” (Esther 3:6). He attacks with accusations and condemnations (Esther 3:8-9). The mantle of intercessory ministry is what the enemy fears. He hates Mordecai because he cannot gain influence over him (Esther 3:5). The enemy will always seek to destroy what he cannot control.

To be continued…..

“Enough is Enough!”

A cropped version of Ecce homo (Behold the Man...

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“And he would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple” (Mark 11:16).

When did we become so tolerant of flesh and foolishness in the family of God?  Why are we allowing anybody and everybody who shows up access to and authority over sacred things?  Why do we sit back and watch God’s people drift further and further away from prayer with nothing to say about it? How can we just watch our churches turn into “dens of thieves” with no outrage?

For all the people who claim that their refusal to attend worship in a local church is because they don’t want to associate with hypocrites, they should consider the church attendance of Jesus. Jesus never tried to escape corporate worship with an excuse. Jesus was committed to attending worship in the synagogue and the temple in spite of what he knew about the people who were there to worship.

The worship experience Jesus expected and enforced at the temple was centered in prayer. “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Mark 11:17). The temple however, according to Jesus, was “a den of thieves”. Going to temple in the days of Jesus was entering the site of some of the most blatant religious corruption and avarice imaginable. The mega-preaching celebrities that are uncovered these days to be cons and crooks and then paraded through the public by the paparazzi, pale in comparison to the religious fraud  that was happening through the temple system. Jesus was dealing with the original “thieves in the temple”.

Making a difference is the work of leaders. Leadership is not for the weak. Leadership requires that you be tender and tough. You have to be loving and yet strong. You have to be comforting and yet corrective. You have to know when to hug and when to squeeze. You have to have the courage and will to do what others could never muster the courage or will to do. This is real leadership.

Jesus was some kind of leader!, to say the least. The system of this religious and institutional evil was more than Jesus cared to bear any longer. Jesus chose to confront the perverted order of the temple. The intolerance of Jesus peaked over prayer! He started driving out people who were bartering, selling and exchanging currencies in the court of the temple. He began to overturn the tables and seats of vendors. This is what you can call “making a difference”.

Jesus was insulted by how they did ministry. Jesus was beside himself seeing the lack of God’s purpose in the temple. There was nothing spiritual happening in the place where the glory of God once was manifested among a holy people. Now the temple was reduced to just being a religious racket run by religious mobsters.

Jesus would not allow any one to carry any “wares” through the temple. This was an act of intolerance. “Wares” are ‘implements’. The implements are those things a person can use to begin their business. Jesus refused to let the corruption continue to control. He stopped the hindrances of prayer right in their tracks. Enough was enough! He did not want the temple to stay under the curse of thieves. He wanted the temple blessed of God. He was consumed with the vision of God’s house as a house of prayer.

“God Will Not Waste His Wine!”

Oak wine barrels at the Robert Mondavi vineyar...

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Those words exploded in my spirit when I heard the herald of Pastor Oneal Young, Jr. of Living Waters Church, Vacaville, Ca., during the National Prayer Call. The Father has “new wine” that He is purposed and poised to pour into people who are open to something new in the Spirit. This “new wine” is the fulness of the Spirit. It is radical and powerful! The “new wine” is a new influence that the Holy Spirit wants to have in your life and mine. This new wine will only be poured into people who are willing to be changed and reshaped by the work of Holy Spirit.

There were three major religious schools of thought and practice in the days of Jesus-Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes. The most disciplined and ascetic disciples in the days of Jesus would have been the Essenes. There were followers of the Pharisees and John the Baptist that were undoubtedly Essenes. These were men whom fully consecrated their lives to prayers, fasting and the study of prophetic scriptures. They lived in solitude. They were considered the most radical and monastic of the three major religious movements.

In Mark 2:18-22 Jesus is approached by religious thinkers and leaders and confronted about the apparent lack of discipline in the followers of Jesus. They want to know why the disciples of Christ do not fast like the followers of the Pharisees and John the Baptist. Jesus explains the dispensation His disciples are under. They are with the “bridegroom” and this is not their time to fast. While they are with Jesus for this short time, they are called to enjoy His presence, not afflict themselves.

He goes on to say, “But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days”. Jesus assures all the religious sticklers that his disciples will fast. Their fasting will be in season with the purpose of God for their lives. They will fast to fulfill the ministry that comes from Calvary. After the Passion and Resurrection the “new wine” was ready.

In order for the new wine to be poured out we must be willing to repent of our religious rigidity, rethink church and restructure ministry. The move of the Holy Spirit that Jesus describes as “new wine” requires vessels that are soft, pliable, supple and ready to hold new wine. The “old wineskins” are the patterns and paradigms we have worked with for years, unwilling to change or transform. Old wineskins are brittle and unfit to hold wine. The only way to use an old wine skin is to renew it. You would have to soak it in water and then oil it. I feel a praise coming on!

The “new bottles” for the new wine had to be baptized and anointed. The new vessels that will carry God’s glory will have to be baptized in the Spirit and freshly anointed. Those that can truly claim an experience and encounter with the Holy Spirit are those the LORD can trust with the new wine. The new wine gives us incredible influence. The new wine gives us power with God and people. God will not pour this wine, this new kind of ministry, until the bottles have been renewed by His Spirit. Only holy wineskins can contain holy wine.

God will not waste His wine!

Pray For Prayer!

Prayer needs prayer!  Prayer is in revival. From Chattanooga, Tennessee to around the world we are experiencing an incredible resurgence of prayer in the lives and hearts of God’s people. From the first day of this year Prayer Everywhere has gathered saints on the National Prayer Call, on Facebook and in the sanctuary of Friendship Central to seek God for His order in our lives and in the Body of Christ. We are seeing a passion and unction for prayer that is unprecedented in our church and in our leadership.

It is the will of God to have a people and places in the earth that are consecrated and built for prayer. This is the teaching of Jesus in the temple. “Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves?” (Mark 11:17). Prayer is our highest purpose! God’s house, God’s people, are to be called a “house of prayer”. We are not being what we are called to be if we are not known for our prayer passion.

The temple, like many modern churches and religious organizations, had been twisted and contorted into big business. Bigger budgets, bigger buildings, bigger branding and bigger bonuses was the focus of the religious leaders. Ministry was corrupted by profits, personalities and power. Men with no passion for prayer were at the higher levels of leadership at the temple.

The temple served the interests of men, not God. This is the robbery! A “den of thieves” is a church or ministry that is disinterested in God’s purpose for the people. This robs God of the privilege to partner with His people through prayer. The kingdom only comes through prayer (Matthew 6:10). The kingdom of God is the purpose of God (Matthew 6:33).

The priority of united and anointed prayer will offend religious spirits. Jesus angered religion by his passion for prayer. The “zeal” of God’s house consumed him. Jesus was radically committed to the purpose of prayer. Prayer must be established in God’s house. Not once, but twice, as if to make sure it was established; at the beginning of his ministry and at its closing; he cleansed the temple. He cleansed the temple for prayer! What mattered to the Master was the primacy of prayer.

What are you willing to overthrow? Are you willing to make some church folk mad for righteousness’ sake?  Whom are you willing to disassociate from? What  radical actions will you take to correct the spiritual malpractice that happens each week in the modern church?  Can God use you to recover prayer in the church you attend?

Pray for prayer! There is a remnant of saints that have committed their lives to the intimacy and priority of prayer. This high call requires great cost! Pray that we stay focused and faithful to prayer!

The Appreciation Principle

You learn a lot about a leader when you learn what they appreciate. When a leader shows appreciation and respect for a certain standard or moral value you should take notice. There is a lesson being taught. The leader is signifying, with their appreciation, the importance and priority that they place upon a standard or value. Those who learn the lessons of leaders become the next leaders at the next level.

True leaders are constantly questioning, What are the standards being established? and What are the values being modeled?  This is what determines the quality of any movement, ministry or business. Leaders create an environment of excellence. Great leaders set high standards and promote core values. The best leaders tend to surround themselves with people they appreciate. This appreciation is not based on skills, sales, or services. It is an appreciation for character. Character is based on standards and values.

Personally and anecdotally through the years I have learned that leaders universally appreciate the following:

1) Curiosity – Leaders appreciate team members that love to learn. Those open to new knowledge and experiences available through their leaders will excel. True leaders are mentors. Leaders want to teach, educate and empower their team. Good  leaders build their teams with learners. Jesus started off with “disciples”.

2) Energy – Leaders appreciate team members who bring enthusiasm and exuberance to every effort.  Momentum is determined by the collective energy of a leader and his team. Leaders that love what they do want to be around exciting people. There is no substitution for passion. Jesus chose “zealots” to be on His team.

3) Loyalty – Leaders appreciate team members that refuse to revolt. Faithfulness and fidelity to the vision of the leader is essential. Loyalty is how trust is birthed and built with leaders. Loyalty to leadership is noble and honorable. Loyalty is a commitment to the greater call. Jesus called His team to the highest level of commitment, “take up a cross”.

4) Honesty – Leaders appreciate team members that will tell the truth. The truth gives the leader the opportunity to adjust the team to a new set of realities. This is crucial in decision-making and conflict resolution. Honesty is not petty. Honesty is speaking the truth in love. Honesty must be motivated by grace and intended for healing. Jesus told His team He was “the truth”.

5) Generosity – Leaders appreciate team members that give more than what is required. “Above the standard” is the standard for excellence. Generosity is the attitude of world changers. Generosity is transformative. Generosity creates opportunity. Anytime people apply generosity to their cause or calling it will increase. Jesus lived a generous life for His team, he willingly gave his life.

6) Punctuality – Leaders are not latecomers! Leaders know how to use the power of time. Leaders do more than watch clocks, keep schedules, and manage time. Time management is for managers, not leaders. Leaders don’t just manage, they maximize!  Leaders are committed to maximizing the team’s time and opportunities. Every minute and moment is a chance to pursue purpose. There is no time to waste. Leadership is engaging a purpose and helping others to discover it. This takes time. Jesus maximized His time with His team.

7) Spirituality – Leaders appreciate team members that have faith in God. The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom. Jesus taught His team to “seek first the kingdom of God”. Spirituality is living according to unseen resources. Spiritual people achieve supernatural results. Spirituality acknowledges and accesses the love of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus lived kingdom.