Who, according to Jesus follows Him? People that hear His voice and people that He knows! Knowing God and being known by God is a 2-way street, a 2-way relationship. How can we be known by God? We see in Ps. 139 that David was known by God because he asked God to know Him! We see in Genesis 3 (from the story of Adam and Eve) that while God always knows all things, we can still choose to hide ourselves from Him relationally. In other words, as it relates to our relationship with Him, our omniscient Father generally chooses to make Himself dependent upon our invitation to be known by Him. We see from Ps. 138:6 that God develops deeper relationship with those who have a humble, honest heart towards Him. Finally, we see in James 4:8 that we can be known by God by drawing near to Him. And praise God, we have access by faith to do just that! (Rom. 5:1-2)
Peter is a husband to Megan, and a father to Peter (III), Andrew, and David. His background is in education, having served first as a science teacher and later as an assistant principal for his high school. Peter’s wife, Megan, led him to the Lord while they were both in college at Ohio State, a time where Peter mostly rock climbed and sometimes studied. Peter has since enjoyed freedom after freedom in the Lord as he has experienced more and more of God’s great love for him. One of Peter’s passions in life is speaking encouragement to the body of Christ. Whether with a couple in the DeWitt’s living room or from the pulpit, Peter loves to encourage, exhort, and equip his brothers and sisters in Christ! In addition to serving as an associate pastor at Agathos, Peter continues to work in education as a consultant for schools in Columbus and Ohio. Peter and Megan view their ministry as a joint effort and also enjoy woodworking together in their well-equipped home woodshop.
Being Known by God (Part 1)
Paul, perhaps the greatest discipleship story of all time, had given up all of his personal righteousness, all the standing he had as a Pharisee for one reason, for one thing . . . in his own words, “that I may know Him.” (Phil. 3:10) That’s the ONE THING - to know Him! Knowing Him is one thing, but what does it mean to be known by God? God doesn’t respond to “a lot of words”. God responds to honest words. We see that with Abraham, Moses, and David . . . God chooses to empower those whom He knows! We see in Mt. 7:21-23 that being known by God is an expected aspect of salvation! We see in 1 Cor. 8:3 that we actually love God by allowing Him to know us! Finally we see in Jn. 10:27 that being known by God is the other half, the cooperating partner to knowing Him!
The Lord wants us to baptized - to be in over our heads - in changing our minds according to the Word! The mind that is set on the Spirit (on the Word) doesn’t just produce life, it produces life AND peace!Being discipled is as simple as being in the Word and letting the Word naturally do the work that it does in our hearts to transform us. But, motivation can be an issue. There are the natural stages of discipleship. We never stop learning about identity in Christ, and we never stop learning about the power that resides within you and the provision that God has for us. But, there is one motivation, one thing, one focus that will never fail you. And that’s to know Him!
God-Referenced vs. Man-Referenced Thinking
God’s great plans are going to require me (and you) to change! Our old ways of thinking need to be shed in order to experience new growth. Changing our mind is the process of discipleship. All discipleship hinges on not having any righteousness of your own. Rom. 8:5-8 shows us that for all of human thinking, there are 2 different reference frames that people can go through life with: the flesh-focused reference frame and the Spirit-focused reference frame. Jesus said that His Words will abide (rest, dwell) in the heart of His disciples, but the carnally minded are actually at war with God in their thinking. As born-again believers, we have 2 minds, but we are not called to be double-minded. As long as we have our own thoughts, we won’t have His. Col. 2:18-19 shows us that if we have a fleshly mind, we will cheat ourselves of our reward. But, let no one cheat you of your reward - including yourself!
Changing Your Mind
If you are not ecstatic about the next 4 or 5 months - and what God wants to do in your life - you are not thinking about those months like He is! You have an opportunity for growth, right now, that is greater than any growth that you have ever experienced in the Lord! How will that growth occur? Through changed mindsets! That process of renewing your mind, according to the Word of God, is discipleship, and we need to embrace discipleship as a process. The mindset we approach discipleship with will either make the process of discipleship a joy and delight, or a not-so-fun sequence of emotionally harrowing events. Listen to this message to learn more about about how discipleship can be a really fun process in which we are simply able to seek Him and learn from Him!
Making Way for God to do Something New
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” (Mark 2:22) In order to make way for new growth, sometimes you have to shed old structures. John the Baptist preached “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand . . . Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’” (Matthew 3:1-3) Repentance is “changing your mind.” When God wants new facets of the Kingdom of Heaven to be expressed in your life, He will send a messenger to you as well - to minister to your heart ahead of time about a change He is wanting to make. Be sensitive to what He’s asking you to change in your mind. You don’t yet have to know what He is asking you to do. You just have to know that He is asking you to get ready – to make that place supple again.
Finding Your Niche
As members of the body of Christ, we are all called according to the same purpose (Rom. 8:28), but we are all called to express that purpose somewhat differently. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and God wants your soul to know that well (Ps. 139:14). When we realize the purposes of God for our lives in the general sense, we are invited into a process of exploring with Our Father what the expression of His purposes can look like through us. "God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?" (1 Cor. 12:18-19) Each of us is called to express a slightly different facet of the brilliance of God to the world. Ask the Holy Spirit how He wants to show Himself strong through you. Create space (i.e. prepare) to do something new, and be responsive to His lead. There are territories in the Kingdom of God with your name on them. God has called you according to His purpose. Will you follow Him into your calling?
Operating in Declarations Will Cause You to Live a Blessed Life!
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. (Heb. 11:1) You cannot operate in faith with out a hope! But how do you measure hope? You can measure your expectation (your hope) by measuring your declarations (your words). If our declarations are "low" or negative, it because our hope in that area is low. If our hope is low, it means we are believing a lie. Therefore, we can increase our hope with truth! Revelation --> Expectation (hope) --> Declaration. Declarations are like seeds we plant in our lives - promises of God that pull the necessary resources to themselves until they take physical form. Declarations are specific, pro-active, and purposeful. Operating in declarations will cause you to live a blessed life!
Testimonies Maintain Momentum
A testimony is a story that recounts memorable events that have happened before. The power of a testimony is that it turns a moment into momentum. When we experience a breakthrough in faith, the momentum from that breakthrough does not fade on its own - it actually fades because of opposition. The enemy resists our momentum in faith by resisting our testimony. If we want to carry the momentum of God from breakthrough to breakthrough, we need to break out our testimonies! The testimonies of God keep you focused - even in the presence of resistance - on what God has done and what He is doing - "greasing the skids"and reducing the friction of life! Testimonies will carry you through the testing of your faith and into the promised land God has prepared for you!
Faith + Patience = Inheriting the Promises
Understanding how faith works allows us to act on it. Faith comes naturally when we are aware of God's Promises and our position in Christ. When faith wells up in our hearts, we clarify the target for our faith and then release our faith with our words. Not every promise comes to pass immediately. Adding patience to your faith can take you further into the Promises of God.
God's Love + God's Promises = Faith
Faith is not just a theological concept; it is for action! Our possession of the promises of God is not automatic, but instead by faith! Therefore, for the believer, faith is a way of life. All of God's promises are “yes” for the believer (2 Cor. 1:20). Your access to all of God’s promises is not based on your obedience, but on the obedience of Christ and being IN Christ. In other words, you are a co-heir with Christ! When we realize God’s love and see His promises, faith comes naturally.
Practical Steps Towards Seeking First the Kingdom
Seeking first the Kingdom of God requires a decision - a decision to be spiritually employed by God for His Kingdom purposes. Renewing our mind to His Word, avoiding the fear of man, and keeping our schedule open for Him are action items that pave the way for more of His Kingdom to come through us.
Seeking First the Kingdom is a Decision
We carry a powerful message. The Gospel is alive. We need to wake up to the work that needs done in the Kingdom of God! Matt 6:33 "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." If your thinking doesn't line up with the Word, tell your mind to get in line. Matt 6:33 is a decision. Seek FIRST the Kingdom!
What you believe changes everything. We don't need a change in context - we need a change in belief. There is more. We are responsible to what we have seen. WAKE UP! There are things to be done in the Kingdom of God!
As believers, one of our greatest calls is to bring the Kingdom of God to this earth! We all were born with a deep, abiding hunger for that call. Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done - a hunger for the great commission! But "a satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” (Prov. 27:7) So the question is, "how hungry are YOU?"