Underground Waters

In a day and age where fashion is more important that passion, and looks than books, there’s a call of the Spirit going out today for us to cultivate our inner-life. The Apostle Paul declared, “…though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” [2 Cor 4:16 NKJV]. Could you say that’s true about you? Sure, we’re all getting older, but can you honestly say you’re being renewed every single day? Is your inner life growing? Most of us would be hesitant to answer. But take a quick look at an obscure passage of Scripture that is loaded with truth that will transform your inner-man.

The waters made it grow; Underground waters gave it height, With their rivers running around the place where it was planted, And sent out rivulets to all the trees of the field. [Ezek 31:4 NKJV]

1. THE WATERS MADE IT GROW.
The Holy Spirit and the Word of God are the key ingredients to growing the inner-man. This is basic Christianity 101, where you come to Church, hear the Word taught, and sense the presence of God.

2. THE UNDERGROUND WATERS GAVE IT HEIGHT.
This is that Christian who’s not merely content just to go to Church once or twice a week, but has cultivated a daily one-on-one relationship that’s growing. This Disciple has a secret, personal, and private devotional-life and has the ability to tap-in and quench his/her thirst at anytime. Where is it? It’s “underground”. No one sees you seeking God, but you are, and you’re growing as a result it!

3. WITH THEIR RIVERS RUNNING AROUND THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS PLANTED.
We must bloom where we’re planted. A real river must “run”! It’s always moving, gushing, and touching the dry banks, and enabling them to be transformed. My personal “tree”, of who I am in the Spirit, must be watered – first and foremost by (not the Pastor, but by) me. “Underground waters” provide personal, spiritual nourishment in the place where I’ve been planted.

4. AND SENT OUT RIVULETS TO ALL THE TREES OF THE FIELD.
These underground waters are “running”. There’s no stagnation here. A growing believer is also one is takes their “underground relationship” with Jesus into the Church and serves the Lord. I’m amazed these days just how many Christians are simply attending Church, but are not building the Church with what God has equipped them with. Come on, and let your river run into that children’s ministry, that youth ministry, that worship team! “Let the river flow!”

Do you want to be great in the Kingdom of God? Do you truly want to do great things for God? Remember this: People can only “look up to you” as they see the height of your underground time with God.

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The Art of Strategizing

Most people aren’t very good at planning, let alone “strategizing”, which has within it’s meaning the sense of systematically pin-pointing what needs to be done in order to accomplish a desired end. In Daniel’s case he needed to interpret a dream. Since his life was on the line there was a pretty good incentive to “get it done”. I want to share a few steps that the Holy Spirit gave me today in regards to strategizing and accomplishing goals. These insights are found in Daniel chapter 2. Here we go…

1. DANIEL NAILED-DOWN A SPECIFIC DATE TO ACCOMPLISH HIS GOAL. [vs. 16]
• Dan. 2:16, “And Daniel went in and desired of the king that he would set a date and give him time, and he would show the king the interpretation.” [AMP]. Think about it, if you don’t have a date in mind, it really won’t get done. Nail-down that date! You can always adjust it later, but this is the first step.

2. DANIEL WENT TO HIS HOUSE AND TALKED TO HIS FAMILY ABOUT IT. [vs. 17]
• This might sound like an unnecessary step, but think about it. When you share your goal with your spouse, a trusted friend, it does hold you accountable. I mean, if you make a goal to lose 20 lbs. in 4 months, but you don’t tell anybody, do you actually think you’re going to accomplish your goal? Our family and close friends will be our number one supporters, and it will be a catalyst to staying on track.

3. DANIEL PRAYED ABOUT IT. [vs. 18]
• The Apostle James said, “…ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” [4:15]. This may go without saying, but so many people these days simply bulldoze ahead and simply don’t consult the One who sets the times and seasons. I just love this Scripture: Prov. 16:1, “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.” I mean, do you want God’s help or not? Prayer could make the different between failure and success.

4. DANIEL’S STRATEGY WAS REVEALED IN A NON-CONVENTIONAL WAY.
“Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. “ [vs. 19]. It’s not just important what you want to do, but how you’re going to do it. Notice how little Daniel assumes. He’s really looking outside himself for supernatural ability to accomplish his goal. We would do well to follow his example.

5. DANIEL THANKED AND PRAISED GOD BEFORE HIS STRATEGY EVEN WORKED. [vs. 23]
• The Bible says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Heb 11:1. This might be the most important key of this whole process. Because we all know how easy it is to start reading a book, to start an exercise regiment, but to complete it? That’s another thing altogether. Don’t just start good – Finish strong!

The Sick Jesus [poem]

The Sick Jesus

My Jesus, why are you sick?
“You’re doing well,
But have doused thy wick.”

But Lord, why is your stomach so upset?
I mean Lord, there’s nothing I regret

Sick, Lord? Maybe it’s something you ate
The cookies at our Church are really great!

The praises, the prayers
What could be wrong?
“My son, the song in your heart
has not yet been sung…

Some think I’m demanding
Waiting with a stick
But shallowness to My love
Is what makes me sick”

Sing your song
And run in the race
Declare it the world
Right to its face!

[ by: Robb Gorringe ]

Get Off The Criminal Road!

This week I was at the Illinois African-American Economic and Social Empowerment Summit in Springfield, IL with my Pastor. Now, as a ”white guy”, sure I felt a little out of place, but there was something that the representative of the Department of Corrections said about “Re-offenders” that really got me thinking. He said… “You gotta get ‘em off the criminal road!” It got me thinking about the parallels of the sinner who gives his heart to Christ, but that’s merely the beginning.

What is “The Criminal Road”? And how do you know you’re on that road? Sure, you repented of your sins, or asked God to forgive you of some sin you committed, but are you about to “re-offend”?

Matt 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.”

Here’s some of the warning signs that you may in fact be on The Criminal Road:

1. YOU HAVE A POLLUTED SOCIAL NETWORK.
I see this all the time with young people. Their close friends are using profanity on their MySpace page, they’re still trying to “be cool” at school and fit in at Church, It just doesn’t work. “Who you hang with is who you’ll HANG with!” The noose is ready, the executioner is wearing his black hood! Why? Because you’re friends are bent on sin. They eat it up like a hungry pig in a garbage dump. Your social network has got to change. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” [1Cor. 15:33]

2. YOU HAVE STINKIN’ THINKIN’.
Sure Jesus is in your heart, but the Devil is still controlling your thoughts. If you’re thinking about dope, Hennessy, or getting down at the Club, where do you think you are? You’re not on the Highway of Holiness, you’re on the Criminal Road, and you’re about to re-offend and get locked-up! Isaiah 35:8 says, “And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein”.

3. YOU’VE GOT BOOGERS IN YOUR NOSE
Have you ever talked to someone and noticed they had a booger in their nose? They didn’t check themselves in the mirror beforehand. “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” [Matt. 7:3] Many times the person on The Criminal Road has got his nose in everybody’s business but his own. He’s lost his focus on getting his own live on track, and somehow validates himself by correcting others.

4. YOU HAVE DIRTY HABBITS
Habits are something that you do day-in and day-out. A habit can make you or break you depending on what kind of habits you have. Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No!” campaign didn’t work, because there was nothing to say “Yes” to! If you take away the Alcohol you’ve got to replace it by drinking the New Wine. If you take away the Marijuana or Crack pipe you’ve got to replace it with a passion for prayer and praise. You’ve got to exchange those dirty habits.

5. YOU’VE GOT BAD BREATH
I’m almost aghast at how many “Christians” these days use profanity or take the Lord’s Name in vain. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:45. Cuss on, my friend – you’re on the Criminal Road and the Holy Spirit is about incarcerate you if you don’t take a detour – quick!

6. YOU’VE GOT A SMELLY SCHEDULE
The person who’s on the Criminal Road is consistently lazy with fulfilling their priorities. They say things like, “Yeah, I’ve been busy lately”, “I just haven’t had time”, or “I know I should have but…” My Pastor once said, “Excuses are like buttholes – everyone’s got one.” I tell my young people, in regards to homework, etc. “Do the worst first.” We must set our priorities, and then everything else is secondary. The Criminal Road is filled with a smelly schedule. Get it cleaned-up and the fragrance of Christ [2 Cor. 2:14] will go before you!

Kingdom Strategies for Carnival Kids

joker-energyCotton candy and corny clowns are not what will draw this generation into the arms of the nail-pierced Saviour.

This morning this title phrase came to my mind – almost out of nowhere… Kingdom Strategies for Carnival Kids. As Youth Pastors, how in the world do you get to the heart of these kids that are so wrapped-up in video games and the like? For many Youth Pastors, we think that if we put a bunch of video games in the youth center, and then make our youth services “fun, fun, fun!” that we’ll reach the masses. Could it be that we’re perpetuating the problem? I’m not against video games as a pre-service draw, but are we failing to receive the kingdom strategy for these “carnival kids”? How are we so sure that we’re right?

Prov. 16:1, “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.”

When I got saved as a teen-ager I saw our Church’s youth center with all it’s video games and “fun” and thought, “these kids should be getting into the Word!” Now, they actually were getting into the Word, and had Worship, etc., but my initial thought was, “Huh?” Being newly born again, what I saw, wasn’t attractive to my New Man.

I believe for every city and demographic there is a unique Kingdom Strategy that the Holy Spirit wants to give to every Youth Pastor. We just need to get on our knees, open our ears, write down with our hands, and then proclaim with our mouths what He has spoken to us. Our kids will be changed!

Successful Daniel Fast

21 days of “non-pleasant food”, and seeking God were what the Doctor ordered for me, my leaders, and the UNITED YOUTH in Chicago. So proud of them all.

UNITED YOUTH CHICAGO

4 Facets of Ministry

Last Sunday a Pastor John Harper prayed for me after the service, and spoke words that I had just read in the Bible just days before. Has that ever happened to you?pastor-john-harper-at-evangel The Holy Spirit had been speaking to me about the 4 Facets of Ministry within Ezekiel 1:10. It’s one creature, yet with 4 faces…

THE MAN= RELATABILITY
Ministry is serving people, and people can’t relate to someone who “pontificates”, and “waxes eloquent”, they need something they can grasp. Also, Man refers to the human side of the minister – the Husband, the Dad, the Friend.

THE LION= RULING & REIGNING
As a Youth Pastor God has given you authority, and He expects you to exercise it with boldness, wisdom, maturity, and responsibility. Christ in you is the Lion of Judah! And remember that He’s never out of control, and He knows what to do.

THE OX= WORKING & PRODUCING
The Youth Pastor is not just a preacher who works kids up into a frenzy, and then sits back in hi office watching YouTube videos. No, he’s a minister of the Gospel who works hard. The Bible says,

” It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth.” [Lam. 3:27]

And through that hard work he produces results, and brings forth much fruit.

And then lastly, one of my favorite facets of ministry…

THE EAGLE= SEEING & SOARING
As Youth Pastors we need to see into the future. You might say, “Pastor Robb, that sounds a bit New-Age-y.” Not at all. For Jesus Himself declared in John 16:13

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

God has positioned us to see from a different vantage-point than the youth we’re ministering to. And it’s as we take time to be alone with Jesus that He will begin to speak to us – giving us fresh vision and fresh revelation, which will also be confirmed by His Word. It’s then that we’ll begin to soar. Joy will fill our hearts, and faith will be released, and we will have clear direction about where we’re going.

To sum things up :: Make sure you’re balanced in these 4 areas. If you’re a bit lop-sided ask God to help you become more complete in each area, and you’ll begin to see tremendous results!