Archive for March, 2010

Open Hand not Closed Fist!

Posted in Acts with tags , , on March 22, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Proverbs 11:24 “One gives freely and yet grows richer.”

We are living in a culture that celebrates selfishness. There is a funny scene in a Simpsons clip where Homer has his two hands stuck in 2 different vending machines. Before an emergency worker cuts off his arms to get Homer out of this predicament, the worker asked Homer if he was still holding onto the Coke can and chocolate bar in the vending machine. The next scene is of Homer walking out of his workplace with his arms and hands intact. He was stuck because he was closed fisted but freedom came when he let go and became open handed.

The same can be said for us. Freedom comes when you live with an OPEN hand not a CLOSED fist. How we handle money and possessions says a lot about what is important to us and what we value. I’ve observed that nothing gets the emotions racing more than how money is handled. Maybe that’s why Jesus talked more about money than he did about prayer. 

Becoming open handed requires wisdom in financial matters which begins with an understanding that God is the owner of everything and we are stewards of what God owns. A steward is someone who manages the possessions and property of someone else. How we view God and our relationship with him will determine how we live our lives. God is a giver and we are stewards of what God gives. Because God is LOVE (1 Jn 4:8) love gives and shares of itself. God has given us his Son, gifts and ministries to the church and fulness of grace to us.

Generosity isn’t just an action of the hand but an attitude of the heart. 2 Cor 9:7 tells us that God loves a cheerful giver! I personally have never regretted giving generously to anyone when I see a need or prompted by the Holy Spirit. God always blesses me back when my giving is done with the right attitude. Generosity isn’t only about seeing a need in people’s lives & meeting it but about being a new creation in Christ Jesus. The old has gone and the new has come!

In Acts 4:32-37 (read it) the early church were discovering the power of being a new creation in Christ and celebrated their revelation by being generous with each other. I see a powerful pattern and progression of themes in this passage that we must reproduce by God’s Spirit in our churches today:

  1. Church was full of faith (v32)
  2. Church was unified (v32)
  3. Church was unselfish (v32)
  4. Church moved in grace and power (v33)
  5. Church was generous (v34)
  6. Church trusted their leaders (v35)
  7. Church highlighted great examples (v36-37)

Lead the Change!

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When God Doesn’t Make Sense!

Posted in faith, Test with tags , , , on March 18, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

1 Samuel 6:8-9 “David was angry because the Lord had burst forth against Uzzah… David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?”

King David wanted God’s presence in Jerusalem for all the right reasons. His heart was rightly motivated and he desired to bring honour and glory to God. However, God’s response to David’s desire for the ark to be brought to Jerusalem didn’t make sense and as a result David retreated in anger and fear.

How do you respond to God when the very thing you are trying to do to bring glory and honour to God, God appears to reject and not affirm? It’s so easy to respond to God with anger, fear and doubt. It is in this moment that our motives are tested and our faith is challenged. 

I have been on a personal journey over the last 12 months where everything I have been believing for and working towards has been tested and challenged. I have at times responded to God with anger and fear and yet I love him with all my heart, soul and strength.  

When these seasons and events come into our lives we are left with 2 fundamental choices: 1) Keep being angry and fearful and end up bitter and resentful. The end result is a wounded spirit or; 2) Go back to where you left God’s presence and like David rejoice in God, be as thorough in your pursuit of God and his purposes for your life.

Don’t live with a wounded spirit but come back to God and let him help you and teach you that faith in God is even more important when God doesn’t make any sense.

Lead the Change!

No other NAME!

Posted in culture, Jesus Christ with tags , , , , on March 15, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

The average person is exposed to approximately 3,000 ads everyday through a variety of media. Everyday we are bombarded with slick advertising telling us what we lack and what we need to fulfill our lives and make life more comfortable in some way. Our culture promises success and satisfaction if we drive the right type of car and wear the right type of clothes. Because of this pressure in our culture we desire to be associated with those brands that make us feel like we belong and fit in with the culture around us.

Brands like BMW, Versace, Nike and names like Michael Jackson, Nelson Mandela, Barak Obama and Madonna provoke certain images and feelings that brands like BIG W and Brendon Fevola just do not. Unfortunately as a society we place more value and trust in the brand names of this world than we do in the name that is above every other name – JESUS!

Jesus name is not a theory, a doctrine or a swear-word but it is a powerful person who rose from the dead, is the Son of God and is alive and active in the world today. The devil fears the name of Jesus because there is power in that name to heal the sick, raise the dead and save people from sin. 

Jesus Christ is the exclusive way to salvation (John 14:6). There are not may ways to salvation – Buddha can’t save you, Krishna can’t save you, Hugo Boss or Apple Mac can’t save you… Only Jesus can save you! John 10:10 tells us that death & destruction is associated with the name of the devil but only life and abundance is associated with the name of Jesus.

Who or what are you putting your trust in? How are you using the name of Jesus Christ in your life? How are you wearing the brand of Jesus Christ in the world?

Lead the Change!

Mark of the Believer!

Posted in faith with tags , on March 15, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Acts 4:13-14 “Now when they say the boldness of Peter & John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.”

We are living in an age where it seems like Christians are more concerned about end times and the mark of the beast than they are about the mark of the believer. This pre-occupation with end times points to an escapist mentality that wants to get out of the world because the world is a bad, dark and evil place. It’s interesting to note that Jesus is trying to get his body into the world to change it, while we are trying to get out of the world to escape it.

Matthew 6:10 “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The early church advanced the kingdom of God on planet earth because they assumed the posture of boldness rather than closet Christianity. 

I believe boldness is the forgotten mark of the believer. We often hear about faith, hope and love and rightly we should but boldness is a key theme running throughout the Book of Acts and the heros of the Bible. Boldness is is being “Fearless before danger; Possessing a daring spirit; Having unyielding confidence and Standing out prominently.” The enemy of your soul has an agenda to snuff out your boldness because a bold believer is a powerful believer. Boldness isn’t a manifestation of certain personalities but a byproduct of being baptised with the Holy Spirit and spending time with Jesus.

That’s what the Jewish authorities saw in Peter and John in Acts 4:13-14. There are 4 key things that come out of this passage:

  1. Boldness is VISIBLEThey saw… Bold talk has to transfer to bold action.
  2. Boldness CONTRADICTS our circumstancesThey were astonished… Boldness can take you places your education or lack of never will.
  3. Boldness leaves people SPEECHLESSThey said nothing… Let your bold example speak for itself.
  4. Boldness is a byproduct of being with JESUS They recognized they’d been with Jesus… Who are you spending the majority of your time with? 

Lead the change!

A Method To His Madness!

Posted in Bible Study with tags , , on March 12, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

1 Samuel 19:9-10 “Then a harmful spirit from the Lord came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing the lyre. And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night.”

This has to be one of the most fascinating passages in the Bible. To understand what is happening in this story we need to understand the greater context of God’s sovereign plan for Israel, Saul and David (For more details read 1 Samuel 1-19). Israel are God’s people and they desperately wanted a king to lead them. God didn’t approve of their request but instructed the prophet Samuel to appease the people and anoint Saul as Israel’s first king. Saul eventually disobeyed God’s commandments as king and soon after was rejected as king and God chose another man after his heart – David. In order for Saul to be removed from his throne (involuntarily) and for God’s choice of David to fulfill his call, God had to arrange the circumstances to make all of his purposes to become reality.

God sent a harmful spirit to Saul for a specific purpose. Saul was not going to leave his throne without a fight and God decided to give him one. David became the victim of Saul’s ravings and ended up being in the firing line of one of Saul’s spears. The whole situation seems like total madness but God has a method in what we perceive to be his madness at times.

God allowed Saul’s spirit to be stirred up to the point of pushing David away and unless this happened, Saul could not be removed and David could not become king. David’s pathway to his destiny included rejection and a need to flee in haste to preserve his life.

In the same way circumstances & happenings in your life that just seem like total madness and the opposite of what you think God has promised you can actually be the catalyst through which God positions you and establishes his plans for your life. God has a method to his madness and if you trust in God your life has to be in His hands. Whatever is going on right now in your life, for good or bad, can be turned into something extraordinary that God uses to position you exactly where he wants you to be. Be encouraged.

Lead the Change!

Don’t Look Back!

Posted in goals with tags , , on March 5, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Philippians 3:14 “…Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”

Everyday when you drive in your car you are facing a big windscreen in front of you that allows you to look where you need to go. You also have a smaller rear view mirror that enables you to see what is coming up behind you. There is a reason why the rear view mirror is smaller than the front windscreen. While driving, you are to spend the majority of your time looking ahead through the front windscreen rather than looking backwards through the small rear view mirror.

When it comes to our personal lives some of us have it the other way around. We spend far too much time looking out the rear view mirror at where we have been rather than looking ahead at where we are going. What about you? 

Are your thoughts dominated by your past or is your thinking focused on the future? We all have something in our past that we could get discouraged by and allow to steal our joy but we must not allow our past to steal our future. Thank God for the success of the past and for giving us the grace to come through the difficult circumstances of the past but we must follow Paul’s example and forget what lies behind so we can strain forward to what lies ahead.

In my own life, I’ve been reflecting recently on missed opportunities of the past but I cannot live there. I must seize the opportunities right in front of me today and make every moment count. God’s highest purposes for you are not in your past, they are in your future. If you keep allowing your past to dominate you, you will miss out on walking in God’s purposes for your future.

Lead the Change!

The Leaders Identity!

Posted in Leadership, Spirituality with tags on March 4, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

A person’s identity has to do with whom we perceive ourselves to be and who we actually are. Our identity is like an inner map and everything we do is in alignment with the map. We mostly function within the boundaries of our personal identity but sometimes we try to camouflage our identity and present ourselves in ways that aren’t true to who we are.

An accurate and positive sense of identity is critical to a healthy & productive life and without it we will tend to gravitate towards 2 extremes: 

  1. We will withdraw from fully engaging in life out of fear that we won’t be adequate.
  2. We will feel driven to aggressively assert ourselves to prove our adequacy.

2 responses emerge out of this:

  1. If you undervalue your worth, you will miss out on the joy of fulfilling the role God has called you to
  2. If your ID isn’t accurate you will over-estimate your worth & abilities to the depreciation of others

Personal identity forms the core reality of our leadership of others for better or worse. Because we live in a fallen world our sense of personal identity is hardly as significant as it should be. As a result we often embark on a painful search for greater significance to enhance our ID. This search impacts how we see reality, what we do with our time and how we relate to others.

The core issues of our personal identity have to do with: How we measure our worth? Whose approval am i seeking? In what or whom is my confidence placed? What am i depending upon to give my life meaning? What is my place in life?

The foundation for all these issues in our identity should be our relationship with Jesus Christ. Our identity in Christ must be the mold in which our character is formed. Genesis 1:26-27 and Galatians 2:20 must become core theological realities in our lives.

Parker Palmer says, “The great spiritual gift that comes as one takes the inward journey is to know for certain that who I am does not depend upon on what I do. Identity does not depend upon titles, or degrees, or function. It depends only on the simple fact that I am a child of God, valued & treasured for what I am.”

Lead the Change!