Fight of Flight (Judges 14:5-6)

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Judges 14: 5 Samson went down to Timnah together with his father
and mother.  As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly
a young lion came roaring toward him.  6 The Spirit of the LORD came
powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands
as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor
his mother what he had done.

Are you prepared to Fight?  or Are you preparing for Flight?

As I read this passage, I thought about the many who have not prepared to fight the many lions on our journey.  I first thought of the natural portion given to us called “adrenaline”.   God has uniquely designed our bodies with a “fight” or “flight” system powered by adrenaline.Adrenaline

In key moments, our minds will be called upon to make the distinction as to what should be done in key situations.  In this, the adrenaline produced can give us the strength to “fight” or for “flight”.  This distinction is an assessment that happens on the spot and determines the best way to respond to any given situation.

I thought about the response of Samson, a man of God who as a Nazarite, accepted his vow to live for the Lord.  While others took the vow by choice, Samson was chosen before birth, but had to accept his appointment to live for the Lord.  His response to the roaring lion was based upon his knowledge of Who God is and Who He was in God.

Vineyard; No Problem

Even before addressing the Lion, I was first captured by his position.  His journey to investigate his future wife took him through a vineyard.  As a Nazarite, he is not to drink or eat anything from the vine.  As he travels, it seems as though the presence of the vineyard does not phase him.  He has become so disciplined in this area of his life, that he seems to advance, not even distracted by what he sees.  This comes with a lifestyle of denial and focus to be disciple.  I wondered if I and other could get there?  To be like Samson in this moment or like our Lord in the wilderness.  Samson placed his vow to the Lord before his commitment to please his flesh, considering his pleasure secondary to pleasing God.  If only we could get here!

How close are you?  Would you be snacking from the vines as though walking through Cosco or HEB?  Truthfully most of us would have been full of grapes, stumbling from the wine, and crawling into the Temple with our sacrifice, shaving our heads and starting our vows yet again.

Will you keep your vows?  No you aren’t a Nazarite, but as brides of the Divine, we have a commitment as a disciple to live a life of discipline, denying our self, and pressing towards the mark of righteousness placed for us.  We must position ourselves to be used by the Lord by living out or vows not before man, but before a righteous God!

Are you positioned? 

In this, I took a close look at my life; asking myself am I prepared to be used by the divine?  Sadly, I concluded No; not completely.  I examined my health, and determined that my lack of discipline in eating and drinking, presents to God a temple that is partially prepared to carry out my calling.   Are you positioned?

As we looked at Adrenaline, we see how its use can both save your life, giving you the ability to fight or for flight, but that in certain cases, the use of it can take the life of one who’s temple is not able to handle the power it provides.  Are you prepared?  Samsoms’ temple had been set aside for Gods’ use and was ready to handle his first assignment.  When the Holy Spirit came upon him, it had complete use of his temple to carry out this super natural feat!  Could you?  Are you positioned?  Positioning is the result of preparation.  Denying himself and being discipline with his eating and drinking, Samson was ready to physically handle the rigors of the fight.  He, under control of the Holy Spirit, tore a lion in half, with the inference being that it was with very little struggle.

Are you prepared? 

The Holy Spirit was able to use not only his body, but was able to control his actions by the connection he had to the Divine.  Resembling his covenant daily, He most likely stood facing the lion with a larger mane that the young lion that attacked.  He kept razor from his head, symbolizing his connection and covenant to the Lord, refusing to break his vow.  His close connection allowed him to be overtaken, and his discipline and life of denial allowed him to quickly submit in the heat of the battle.  Fight or Flight?  For Samson, even before knowing the power he possessed, Flight was not an option.

How will you respond to the attack? Diving

Because most of us are not prepared, we choose Flight!  I want to encourage us to take a stand and to Fight!

What I love about the passage is that Samson was taken by surprise!  Many of us feel being prepared is knowing the exact challenge that we will face, but when you are walking with Christ, and guided by His Spirit, being prepared is not knowing what is a head, but knowing who is your head!  Yes, we are a body; and Christ is our Head.  It is the knowledge of this that allows us to fight as though taking a test as though we had the answer key prior to the exam.

We must stay built up in the Word, increase our intimacy with time in Prayer, Chasten ourselves by Fasting!   

Again, being surprised is not equivalent to be unprepared.  That is, unless we are undisciplined.  The reason many of us have to choose flight is our undisciplined lifestyle.  When we assess the situations we face, we have not prepared ourselves or structured ourselves to carry out the fullness of our calling.  Will you prepare?

I’ll show you a Lion!

Samson stood up to the Lion, knowing that he was not standing by himself.  Yes, you guessed it!  Why take flight from a young lion when you are walking with the Lion of Judah?  You want to see a Lion, I’ll show you a Lion.  You might think I am walking by myself, but I am walking in power with the favor and protection of the Lord.  I am covered by His blood and empowered by His spirit to do greater works that already displayed.

I face all challenges with faith, not responding to the roar of the lion, but to the voice of the King!  It is His voice that presents fear and the respect I have for His love and sacrifice that is the power that allow me to walk towards a challenge as opposed to running away from it.

Which Direction are you Running?

You are either headed back or you are moving forward!  You choose how you use the power you are given.  Are you praying to get out or praying to power through?

handsinsoilDid I do that?

I am grateful that God doesn’t do everything for us or without us!  God powered Samson with the Holy Spirit but allowed him to experience the power and the satisfaction of achievement.  It is an honor and so satisfying to see the things God allowed your hands to participate in accomplishing.  Yes, here I am Lord; send me!  Lord forbid that the Kingdom is built while we are spectators!  I want to point to a brick, a wall, a chair, a person, a ministry, an offering, a miracle that God worked through me to accomplish.

Like Samson, I want to travel and see the work of my hands, celebrating and remembering the power of the partnership I have with God, and reveling in just how powerful I am when fully dedicated and submitted to Him.  Don’t you?  Don’t you want to look at your hands as the tools of the Lord to accomplish His will on the earth, and not just as tools to bring pleasure to your flesh? olympic-victory-celebrating (45) As I look to the floor, I see the prior works of my hand.  Feeding my temple things that have brought harm and have been a hindrance.  Lord forbid that this be the only changed visible to mankind by my hands.   I pray that your hands show more than clothes and cars, houses and land.  I pray that God will use you to produce more than grapes on a vine, but fruit from a life lived that honors God.

 

#PastorJDO3

 

 

 

Undercover Boss

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Our focus for today was drawn from Hebrews 2:16-18.  It highlights the purpose and method out Lord used in restoring a right relationship with Him his being the perfect sacrifice. Though this is the focus, important things are highlighted int the passage that are helpful to us as both believers and leaders.

Verse 16 informs us that He came to aid us, and etched into verse 17 is how and why!  

 

17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 

Jesus became like us, wrapping himself in flesh.  His aim, to be merciful and faithful!  The One filled with mercy, the One who honors His covenant and His Word.  The One who is the definition of mercy and faithfulness enters the world in flesh not only to die for our sins, but that He might continue and become even more merciful and faithful!  Yes; He went undercover!  Much like the television show, God left His throne and but on flesh to experience the world like His creation.  He walked among us to gain a better understanding of His product , it’s flaws and its lack of performance.  He allowed himself to be tempted not to show only how we can avoid and overcome, but that He might gain a better understanding as to why we fall short.  He understood that He needed to experience life from our vantage point and through our lenses to help Him get closer to us, and to better see how to serve us.  He walked among us that He would be even more understanding and sensitive when speaking on our behalf.  He didn’t want to be a standard court appointed attorney, but wanted to intimately know the case of mankind as He interceded on our behalf.  Verse 18 continues:


18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted

Yes, Jesus was tempted!  He suffered!  He denied himself!  He experienced life!  And was without sin!!  This qualifies Him not only to judge, but to give further direction and guidance to us.  

This it is amazing how many of us in effort to distance ourselves from sin become judgmental and solitary from the sinner (as though we are without sin).  If God who was perfect could humble himself and walk amoung flawed man, I’m confused as to how we are different are better than He.  It is amazing how we have not only been tempted but have yielded and experience the poison of sin, and the. Claim not to have been bitten once Christ has extracted the poison and saved our life!  
It was His walk among us and His victory over sin that makes Him not only the perfect sacrifice but the perfect High Priest!   And likewise, our lives (our failures and out victories) make us the perfect sacrifice.  The perfect testimony.  The perfect intercession.  The perfect accountability partner.  The perfect counselor.  The perfect teacher and the perfect preacher!  The our our life, we wrapped in this flesh can identify with all others who have the challenge and privilege of living in this flesh!  

If God worked to be more merciful and faithful, shouldn’t we.  Here He is honoring Hos covenant and just to judge us, and He is seeking a way to understand and serve us better.  He’s not only working to restore the covenant, but is working to help us carry out our covenant responsibilities.  He’s perfecting the covenant by dying for our sins, and making himself the perfect high priest to intercede for us.  He dies for our sins and then positions himself to defend us when we disqualify ourselves!  Who keeps their end of the covenant and then defends the one who breaks the covenant!  Only God!  Thank God he went undercover! 

Let’s Grow Together (1 Peter 2:2)

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“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,” 1 Peter 2:2

This passage, familiar to the believer, has been the source of many sermons. In it, we find Peter writing to other leaders who have experienced the unspoken or un-highlighted side notes of ministry.

We find in Chapter 1, Peter addressing the group, noting that they are chosen and favored even in a states of exile. They have accepted their call to preach and teach, and by default have accepted the company growth plan which includes some hardship. He writes in verse 6, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” Peter writes in verse 7, “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith…may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” TheBodyChurchLogo

With 2015 nearing the rear view, we move forward to 2016 with hope; believing that the sufferings of yesterday are gone and that peace in our purpose will be found ahead. Peter’s words aide us in dealing with our past and facing our future! The happenings of 2015 and prior were things allowed to prove the “genuineness of your faith”; but to who? Surely not to God. For God knows the heart; thus we deduce that the focal point is man. It is imperative that those watching and following see our faith active through each point, knowing that we like many sports fans are not “fair-weather”.

Our faith has been watered down by those who have praise on their lips when times are prosperous, and are silent during hardship. Peter encourages his fellow leaders by informing them that their time and hardship came to season them and to serve as a testimony to others not just to the Goodness and power of the Lord, but the resilience of His servants and the commitment to their faith!

Peter leads into our focal verse saying “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” Subdue your flesh, and rid yourself of all distractions and detractions. Shun and walk away from those things that poison your soul and serve as repellant to those seeking the truth. Fight against the enemies fruit, but building up your faith and your discipline displaying the fruits of the Spirit. Don’t allow the enemy to pull you into his games of the flesh; causing your personal witness to be tainted!

Peter advises them to “grow up!” While we often look at moving from milk to meat, Peter is directing the readers, who are leaders, to lean upon “milk”. But this is not just any old milk. By his words, one can see that the perverting of the Gospel had began to affect the pulpit and leadership.

He described the milk as “pure” and “spiritual”. “Pure” is a call to us all to stay true to the basic doctrines of our faith! We must insure, especially today as our world is inundated with “advancements” and interpretations, that we are not drawn away from the pure truth of the Word which is our foundation.

I also love that He uses the word “Spiritual”, for there are some truths that have been delivered through those vessels whom God has chosen to speak through which coincide with the tenants of His Word. Even still, we are charged to try the Spirit by the Spirit (1 John 4:1), ensuring that every professed Prophet is a Prophet and not speaking for Profit.

We must know God’s Word for ourselves, and be lead by His Spirit. Not just hearers, but doers of His Word. We must press towards the mark set for us, and be cognoscente that God has assigned others to follow us as we follow Christ. Our commitment to learning and living out His truth has eternal ramifications for others, thus in 2016, our Theme will be “Let’s Grow Together!”
Growing together places a firm focus on Discipleship. Yes, we believe that Membership is Discipleship! We are not encouraging each member to join a group, but requiring each member to be a part of a group. We are not just requiring each member to be a part of a group, but to participate actively in the group they have been assigned to. Each member will become a stronger disciple by spending time in God’s Word and with God’s children.
#PastorJDO3
Johnny Ogletree, III
The Body Church of Texas
thebodytx.org

No Friend Left Behind! John 15:15

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John 15:15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Sunday, I was blessed to share the Word at First Met, The Place Where You Belong!  The message, No Member Left Behind, addressing the powerful Words of Jesus to His disciples, “…I have called you friend…..everything I have learned….I have made known to you.”

In this passage, Jesus gives the disciples the title “friend,” a title that gains much appreciation in context of the text.   First, we issue the title “friend” too soon, and use it very loosely.  I found it powerful that Jesus walks with them 3 years, allowing them to get to know him, pressing through tense times, disagreements, disappointments, and disbelief, knowing that their relationships would be challenged in the future publicly and privately; is able to opens His mouth and title them FRIEND.  This title was given with much thought, not from one evening and or having one piece of common ground.  Calling us brother and sister is done with full knowledge of the past and an even fuller knowledge of the future.

Furthermore, Jesus encountered them on one level and spent time pouring into the disciples and maturing them.   He says that He has taught them everything He has learned.  This is where the title is drawn from.  Jesus refuses to take His knowledge and wisdom to the grave.  He unloads and imparts into them determined not just to see them on His level (as though that is possible) he gives them knowledge, trains them, and the leaves with them the power to achieve what He tells them will be greater things.  He cares about them so much, that He provides them with with instructions to accompany the wisdom and knowledge.

As believers, we must take this attitude towards each other.  The love that we have is to be shared with each other as Christ shared it to us.  He distributed it equally, making sure that each friend was filled and fulfilled.  We too have something to offer to each other.  Being members of one body, our job is to serve one another distributing what God as given us to all, that none might go lacking.   He did it for us, let us commit to doing it for others.

#pastorjdo3