Rabu, 27 November 2013

For Dreams to Come True

The Ministries of Francis Frangipane
For Dreams to Come True
(En Español)
A number of years ago the Lord spoke to me through a dream. I saw a temple standing in an open field. My view of the temple was from its side, about two hundred yards away. I could not see its front, yet it must have been completely open because great light flashed out from the inside. It pulsed like lightning yet was solid like sunlight. I knew this light was the glory of God.
The temple was so close that I knew that with just a little effort I actually could enter the glory of God. His holy presence was clearly within my reach. There were also others directly in front of me whom I recognized as people from church. Everyone seemed very busy. And while the temple and its light were visible and readily accessible to all, every head was bent downward and turned away from the light; each was occupied with other things.
I heard one voice say, "I have to do laundry." Another said, "I have to go to work." I could see people reading newspapers, watching televisions, and eating. I was sure everyone could see the light if they wanted to -- even more sure that we all knew His glory was near. There were even a few people reading the Bible and praying, but everyone maintained the downward thrust of their gaze; each had a mental barrier of some kind between themself and the place of God's presence. No one, though, stood up and steadfastly walked into the nearby glory of God.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Arrowbookstore.com This word was adapted from a chapter in Pastor Frangipane's best-selling book, The Days of His Presence. This book, together with Francis' audio series, In the Days Ahead, is available for up to 46% off retail price. Limited time only. Available in several different formats.

My Life of Regret and Hope

My Life of Regret and Hope

My life story of regret and hopeSome people think I have lost my faith. I think I am only now beginning to find it.
Some people think I have lost my faith. I think I am only now beginning to find it.
Parts of my story, my journey of faith, my walk with God (or whatever you want to call it) have been posted in various places online (on Jason Boyett’s blog, for example) and in a book I edited last year, but little of it has been posted here on this blog. Let me summarize some of the highlights.

My Life in a Few Paragraphs

I was raised in a pastor’s family. I had two loving parents, and nine siblings. I loved growing up, going to church, attending school, and spending time with friends and family. I sometimes wish I could go back and relive my childhood.
Upon graduating from high school, I went to college to become a Mechanical Engineer. After my freshman year, a good friend of mine died in a hiking accident, and as a result, I thought that I should reconsider my life goals. So I decided to become a pastor. I went away to Bible college, where I got my degree, and more importantly, met and married my beautiful wife, Wendy.
After graduation from Bible college, I decided to get an M.Div., but after only a year, decided that I would rather just enter into professional, full-time ministry. So Wendy and I went to Montana, where I became the Senior Pastor of a small, struggling church.
I pastored there for three and half years. The church had numerous problems, and I was an inexperienced pastor and so made numerous mistakes. But for the most part, I enjoyed being a pastor, and wanted to do nothing else for the rest of my life. I loved the people I worked with, and loved the community we lived in. I was not the best husband, however, and was too consumed with ministry to help my wife out at home much, or take an active role in raising the two girls that my wife had delivered during this time.
At the end of three and half years, the church could no longer pay our salary. The church was very small (only about 35 people), and I had made some pastoral decisions which had angered the main financial backers of the church, and so they stopped tithing. When the money ran out, the governing board bowed to the demands of the big tither and asked me to resign, which I did.
I then became the pastor of a larger church in a nearby town. This was every pastor’s dream church. Oh sure, there were problems, but for the most part, the people were warm and loving. The services were well-attended. The elders were supportive. The families were active. I loved this church and everybody in it. But I also had a growing sense in the back of my mind that I needed to finish my Master’s degree. So with a heavy heart I resigned, and moved my family to Texas to get a Th.M.
In the process of moving to Texas, I landed my dream job. I got to work with an author and Bible scholar I highly respected, helping him publish his books, plan his speaking engagements, and coordinate various conferences around the country. I even got a few of my own articles published, and was invited to speak at a few conferences and churches as a result of my involvement with this ministry. I was working full time and attending school more than full time (I completed a four-year degree in three years), and so needless to say, my marriage suffered even more than it had before. Then, right before graduation, I wrote a blog post which ended up getting me fired from my job.
regretI sunk into depression. My faith shattered.  Everything I had worked for and hoped for lay in pieces at my feet. I lost my dream job, and almost all of my Christian friends abandoned me. After applying for nearly 60 different jobs, the only job I could get was as a carpet cleaner. I also had pretty much destroyed my wife and my three daughters by ignoring them for most of my time as a pastor and all of my time as a seminary student. It seemed to me that by almost every standard, my life was a complete failure.
Eventually, I found a new job as a prison chaplain in New York. It was not something I ever imagined doing, but it was in my “field” of training, and paid better than cleaning carpets. While in New York, I started trying to rebuild. I sought to rebuild myself, my faith, my marriage, and my family. I changed a lot of my beliefs. My wife and I went to marriage counseling. I started looking for a new way to follow Jesus.
A year ago, we moved to Oregon. I still have the same job, but in a different location. I am still slowly trying to rebuild my life, my faith, and especially, my marriage and my family. There are many signs of progress, but sometimes, I am afraid that sooner or later, it will all come crashing down once again. One of the main things that keep me going however, is hope.

My Life of Regret and Hope

I sometimes regret that I gave up mechanical engineering for pastoral ministry. Though I truly enjoy studying and teaching Scripture, I sometimes feel frustrated that given my current career path, the only jobs I qualify for are in the field of professional ministry. But I am hopeful that God will use my detail-oriented and creative-thinking brain in the field of Bible study and theology to help others see that God may not be like what many of us have been taught, and that the Bible may not say what we have always thought.
I sometimes regret that I left that first church. There are many aspects to pastoral ministry that I desperately miss. I sometimes wish that rather than resign, I had simply taken a secular job in the community and remained on as pastor without taking a salary. This decision would have taken away all the power from the “money” in the church, and would have freed me up to lead the church in the direction we needed to go. But I am hopeful that maybe, somehow, God might lead me into some form of pastoral ministry again, in a way that does not require me to take a salary, and to serve alongside other people who want to follow Jesus into the world.
hopeI sometimes regret that I left that second church to go to seminary. The people there were so loving and kind. I miss many of them desperately. But now that we have finally settled into an area in which we hope to stay for a while, I am hopeful that God will bring more people into our lives with whom we can build friendships, and learn to love. We have been in our current location for just one year, but we already see some of these sorts of friendship developing.
I sometimes regret posting that fateful blog post which got me fired from my dream job in Texas, and which caused a lot of heartache and confusion in the minds of people I worked with or who looked up to me. But I am hopeful, because the experience of leaving that job opened my eyes and mind to a whole new way of viewing people, thinking about theology, reading Scripture, interacting with others, and ultimately, living life. I believe I am now more loving, gracious, and forgiving than I ever was before. And quite a bit more humble. (That’s a joke!)
I always regret the way I treated my wife for all those years as a pastor and as a seminary student and during my years of depression. She deserved so much better. And yet I am more hopeful now for our marriage than I have been in a long time. She has forgiven me, and shown love to me, and we are laughing together and living together with joy in ways that we have never before experienced.
Sometimes Wendy and I ask ourselves if it was all worth it. In so many ways, we see Jesus, we read the Bible, and we understand God so differently than before. We think it was worth it.
I often joke that the “me” of fifteen years ago would consider the “me” of today a heretic. But the “me” of today does not consider the “me” of fifteen years ago a heretic; just somebody who had to learn some difficult lessons the hard way. Though my life is full of regrets (and there will probably be many more to come), I never would have learned the things I know now if I had not experienced what I did. This too leads me to hope.
I hope that the future “me” can remember that when I make mistakes, God can resurrect hope and joy from the ashes. After all, without death, there is no resurrection.
God can resurrect hope and joy from the ashes. After all, without death, there is no resurrection.
 So when parts of my life die, whether by design or by poor choices, I must remember that even in the dark despair of the moment, God is at work to bright forth light, love, joy, and hope.
This post was written as part of the November Synchroblog, in which different bloggers write about their journey of faith. Here is a list of other contributors:

Selasa, 26 November 2013



Dua pribadi yang berbeda -- suami dan istri, masing-masing memiliki cara hidup yang berbeda. Oleh karena itu, satu sama lain harus beradaptasi. Hal sekecil apa pun bisa menjadi konflik bila masing-masing pribadi tidak bisa menyesuaikan diri.

Faktor penyebab paling umum yang menimbulkan pertengkaran di dalam keluarga adalah kesulitan beradaptasi dengan perbedaan. Kita memiliki cara atau gaya hidup tertentu. Nah, sewaktu hidup serumah dengan pasangan kita, berarti kita harus siap untuk beradaptasi. Adaptasi artinya berani memeriksa diri, mengintrospeksi kelemahan masing-masing, dan akhirnya berani untuk mengubah diri. Kecenderungan banyak pasangan yang menikah adalah tidak mencari bantuan terhadap masalahnya, sampai masalah itu berkembang semakin serius. Bahkan, Marcia Lasswell dalam bukunya, "No Fault Marriage", mengatakan bahwa rata-rata pasangan menikah datang mencari pertolongan kepada konselor setelah mengalami persoalan pernikahan kira-kira sekitar 7 tahun. Problem itu ditumpuk selama 7 tahun, dan akhirnya tak bisa dikendalikan lagi. Setelah itu, baru dibawa kepada orang lain untuk mendapatkan bantuan.

Penyebab orang tidak segera mencari bantuan terhadap masalahnya, antara lain:

- Budaya kita adalah budaya yang dipenuhi dengan rasa malu sehingga kita cenderung menutup diri. Kita mempunyai anggapan bahwa tidak baik membicarakan masalah rumah tangga dengan orang lain.

- Adanya anggapan bahwa menceritakan kejelekan pasangan kita itu berarti memberitakan kejelekan kita sendiri.

- Kita berpikir kalau kita menceritakan masalah pasangan kita, kita sedang berkhianat.

- Dan, alasan yang paling mendasar adalah kita termasuk tipe orang yang tidak begitu menyukai perubahan.

Di bawah ini ada beberapa pandangan tentang bagaimana menyelesaikan masalah.

1. Menguasai/mendominasi. Mendominasi atau menguasai secara paksa akan membuat suasana pernikahan "tenteram". Dan, tenteram ini bersifat semu atau sementara. (Cara ini tidak dianjurkan.)

2. Menghindar. Cara ini tidak sehat karena kita hanya menunda membicarakan dan menyelesaikan masalah, dan kita mengalihkan perhatian kepada hal-hal lain.

3. Menuruti/mengikuti kemauan pasangan kita. Ini pun tidak sehat, sebab waktu kita menuruti atau mengikuti kemauan pasangan kita, itu berarti kita harus menguasai atau mengekang keinginan kita.

4. Kompromi. Kita dan pasangan kita masing-masing mengurangi tindakan kita atau tuntutan kita supaya akhirnya dapat mencapai titik temu. Cara inilah yang boleh kita gunakan dalam situasi konflik yang sudah rumit sekali.

5. Bekerja sama, yaitu kedua belah pihak berusaha memenuhi kebutuhan masing-masing/memikirkan solusinya.

Untuk bisa bekerja sama, lakukanlah langkah-langkah berikut ini:

- Harus mengakui adanya konflik.
- Mengomunikasikan dan mengakui kebutuhan atau keinginan kita masing-masing, apa yang diinginkan itu yang perlu disampaikan.
- Memikirkan alternatif penyelesaian dan dampak terhadap masing-masing pihak.
- Mulai memilih alternatif yang memenuhi keinginan masing-masing pihak.
- Melaksanakannya.

Mazmur 18:21-23 berkata, "Tuhan memperlakukan aku sesuai dengan kebenaranku, Ia membalas kepadaku sesuai dengan kesucian tanganku, sebab aku tetap mengikuti jalan Tuhan dan tidak berlaku fasik terhadap Allahku. Sebab segala hukum-Nya kuperhatikan, dan ketetapan-Nya tidaklah kujauhkan dari padaku."

Kita bisa menggunakan banyak cara untuk menyelesaikan konflik, tetapi intinya kita harus selalu bertanya apakah kita telah mengikuti jalan Tuhan. Sewaktu kita mengikuti jalan Tuhan, Tuhan akan memberikan yang kita minta.

Diambil dan disunting dari:
Nama situs: TELAGA
Alamat URL: http://www.telaga.org/audio/konflik_dalam_keluarga_1
Judul transkrip: Konflik dalam Keluarga 1 (T002B)
Penulis: Pdt. Dr. Paul Gunadi
Tanggal akses: 16 Oktober 2013


Diringkas oleh: S. Setyawati

Benarkah keluarga yang bahagia adalah keluarga yang bebas konflik/masalah? Tidak! Dalam kehidupan ini, masalah akan selalu ada. Keluarga yang bahagia ialah keluarga yang dapat mengelola setiap konflik yang muncul dalam keluarga mereka. Keluarga yang dibentuk oleh dua pribadi yang berbeda dan unik tentu memiliki perbedaan. Sebelum bertemu dan bersatu dalam pernikahan, masing-masing pribadi telah mengembangkan selera, kesukaan, kebiasaan, kesenangan, dan ketidaksenangan serta nilai-nilai hidup yang dipegang. Jadi, tidak masuk akal jika kita berpikir bahwa dalam keluarga segala sesuatu harus sama, dilakukan dengan cara dan waktu yang sama.

Masalah dalam Keluarga

Masalah rumah tangga sangat beragam, mulai dari yang dianggap sepele sampai dengan yang berat dan besar. Beberapa faktor yang memicu munculnya masalah keluarga antara lain berikut ini:
- Kehadiran anak pertama yang membuat suami istri harus menata ulang ritme kehidupannya. Jika tidak siap akan memicu konflik dan ketegangan hubungan antara keduanya.
- Sang suami harus bekerja dua belas jam sehari, sedangkan sang istri harus tinggal di rumah mengurus anak dan rumah.
- Sikap dan tindakan yang kurang berkenan terhadap keluarga dari pihak istri/suami.
- Anak beranjak dewasa dan mulai sering meninggalkan rumah.
- Masa pensiun tiba dan keduanya tinggal di rumah.
- Yang seorang selalu memencet pasta gigi dari bawah, sedangkan yang lain selalu dari atas.
- Saat berbicara, yang seorang senang bercerita panjang lebar, sedangkan yang lain memberikan garis besarnya saja.
- Yang seorang perlu kamar yang benar-benar gelap untuk tidur, sedangkan pasangannya tidur dengan lampu menyala.
- Yang seorang menganggap bahwa hubungan seksual hanya dapat dilakukan di tempat tidur dan di bawah selimut, sedangkan pasangannya menyukai variasi dan kreatif dalam melakukannya.
- Yang seorang biasa menggantung baju di mana saja dia suka, sedangkan yang lain menata baju dengan gantungan berdasarkan warna dan adanya jarak antargantungan.
- Ketika anak dalam keadaan sakit, yang seorang terlihat begitu gelisah, sedangkan yang lain tampaknya tenang-tenang saja.
- Bagi suami istri yang sama-sama bekerja, perbedaan pendapatan atau penghasilan sering kali menjadi masalah, terutama jika pendapatan istri lebih besar dari pendapatan suami.

Faktor Pemicu Masalah Keluarga

Mengenai masalah dalam rumah tangga, Bernard Wiese dan Urban Steinmetz berkata, "Ketidaksesuaian pendapat tak terelakkan dalam suatu pernikahan dan kehidupan keluarga. Kadang kala, masing-masing pribadi dapat menjadi pesaing, seperti juga penolong dan pelengkap bagi pasangannya. Setiap pasangan harus menghindari sikap menjauhkan diri yang sering muncul ketika konflik terjadi; dan membenahi hubungan mereka supaya tidak ada lagi sakit hati, keinginan untuk saling membalas, atau saling menuduh. Untuk dapat mencapai hal itu, perbedaan-perbedaan harus didiskusikan secara terbuka sehingga komunikasi yang baik dapat dipulihkan. Reaksi kemarahan memang tak dapat dihindari dalam kehidupan seseorang, tetapi yang paling penting adalah apa yang diperbuat seseorang dengan amarahnya itu." [1]

Sedangkan H. Norman Wright, seorang konselor keluarga dan pernikahan, menyatakan bahwa ada tiga faktor yang berubah pada lembaga pernikahan, yang dapat menimbulkan masalah dalam kehidupan rumah tangga [2], yaitu:

1. Berkurangnya saling pengertian di antara pasangan yang menikah.

Masalah utama dalam pernikahan sebenarnya bukan seks, uang, dan anak-anak. Ketiga hal itu dapat menimbulkan masalah, tetapi ada faktor lain yang lebih berpengaruh -- hilangnya/lemahnya komunikasi antara suami dan istri. Norman Wright setuju bahwa hilangnya komunikasi adalah inti masalah di balik meroketnya angka perceraian di masyarakat, termasuk keluarga Kristen. Rapuhnya pernikahan lebih banyak disebabkan lemahnya komunikasi dan kemampuan dalam mengelola konflik. Komunikasi keluarga yang tersumbat ini menghancurkan kehangatan rumah tangga dan mendinginkan suasana hubungan antarpribadi dalam keluarga.

Keluarga yang kehilangan keterampilan berkomunikasi cenderung mudah mengalami konflik karena tidak adanya saling pengertian, demi terwujudnya pernikahan yang kuat dan bertumbuh. Konflik yang tidak dikelola dan diselesaikan dengan baik pun menjadi seperti api dalam sekam, atau bom waktu yang dapat meledak sewaktu-waktu dengan dampak yang tidak terkendali. Karena itu, perlu ada sikap saling mengerti. Walaupun ada perbedaan, cobalah untuk membicarakan dan memahaminya dengan baik.

2. Hilangnya tekad untuk mempertahankan pernikahan.

Sekarang ini, banyak orang yang memasuki pernikahan dengan sikap mudah menyerah. Jika tidak cocok, hubungan dapat diakhiri dan mencoba lagi dengan orang lain. Banyak orang yang sangat tidak sabar dengan hidup pernikahan mereka. Mereka tidak ingin berjuang untuk mempertahankan pernikahan, dan memilih "cara cepat" untuk mengakhiri persoalan.

3. Berkembangnya harapan-harapan yang tidak realistis terhadap pernikahan.

Banyak pasangan muda dibutakan oleh harapan-harapan yang tidak realistis ketika memasuki pernikahan. Mereka berpikir bahwa pernikahan yang bahagia ditandai dengan cinta romantis yang tidak pernah surut, pasangan dapat memenuhi semua keinginannya, pasangan selalu sejalan dengan pikiran dan kemauannya, ekonomi keluarga stabil bahkan berkelebihan, dsb.. Mereka mencari sesuatu yang "ajaib" dalam pernikahan, tanpa menyadari bahwa keberhasilan pernikahan membutuhkan kerja sama mereka berdua.

Bagaimana Mengatasi Masalah dalam Keluarga?

Salah satu kunci keberhasilan dalam keluarga ialah kemampuan mengatasi setiap permasalahan sehingga setiap anggota keluarga dapat memainkan perannya secara optimal. Kuasailah masalah dan carilah solusi bersama atas masalah tersebut. Ini bukan hal yang mudah, tetapi harus diupayakan. Cara yang tepat dalam menyelesaikan masalah keluarga dapat memicu terciptanya proses pertumbuhan. Setiap pasangan Kristen seharusnya belajar dari berbagai konflik dan mau memiliki sikap yang lebih dewasa. Rumah memerlukan ketenangan yang hangat dan kehangatan yang tenang. Oleh sebab itu, bicarakan cara mengatasi dan menyelesaikan masalah yang ada, serta pahami dan terapkan prinsip-prinsip berikut ini [3]:

1. Bertumbuh dalam Kristus. Keinginan ini tidak dapat dibuat-buat dan tidak muncul secara otomatis. Keinginan ini bergantung pada hubungan pribadi yang sehat dengan Kristus dan ditandai dengan adanya kerinduan untuk berdoa dan membaca Alkitab sambil merefleksikannya dalam kehidupan pribadi dan keluarga. Dampaknya, prinsip-prinsip kebenaran Alkitab dan nilai-nilai kristiani akan tampak dan dijunjung tinggi.

2. Bertumbuh menjadi pribadi yang lebih dewasa, selalu ingin belajar, mau memberi, bersedia berkorban, dan melayani. Jika setiap pribadi tidak mau mengasihi dan membahagiakan pasangannya, masalah yang ada tidak akan selesai dengan tuntas. Pribadi yang tidak mau menjadi lebih dewasa cenderung egosentris dalam menyelesaikan masalah keluarga.

3. Berinisiatif dan mulai menyelesaikan masalah keluarga dengan penuh kesadaran. Setiap pribadi harus mempunyai keinginan kuat untuk mempertahankan keutuhan pernikahannya dan berusaha mencari alternatif solusi yang baik untuk semua pihak. Perlakukan orang lain (suami, istri, anak, atau orang tua kita) seperti kita ingin diperlakukan (Matius 7:12). Perubahan harus dimulai dari diri sendiri, dan hendaklah kita hidup dengan ramah, kasih mesra, saling mengasihi, dan mengampuni sebagai dasar dalam mengatasi masalah keluarga kita (Efesus 4:32). Terkadang, kita perlu menanyakan pada diri sendiri: Apakah saya mencintai pasangan hidup saya seperti Kristus mencintai umat-Nya? Apakah saya sungguh-sungguh mencintai pasangan hidup saya seperti saya mengasihi diri saya sendiri? Jika jawabannya adalah TIDAK, mulailah untuk melakukan perubahan diri, maka pernikahan Anda akan menemukan kembali kehangatannya (Efesus 5:22-31).

4. Berpikir positif terhadap pasangan. Pandangan positif akan melahirkan pendekatan dan cara-cara yang positif dalam mengatasi permasalahan dalam keluarga. Fokuslah pada kelebihan, bukan kekurangan pasangan Anda.

5. Berpikir dan mewujudkan kehidupan keluarga yang sukses. Jangan pernah sekalipun memikirkan untuk bercerai sebagai solusi permasalahan keluarga. Tetapkan orientasi hidup pernikahan yang benar.

6. Ingatlah selalu akan kasih mula-mula yang mendasari pernikahan. Jika Anda mengasihi pasangan yang Tuhan berikan, tidak akan ada keinginan untuk mengecewakan atau menyakiti. Yang ada adalah berbagi suka dan duka.

Dan, yang terpenting ialah menempatkan Tuhan dan firman-Nya sebagai Pemandu kehidupan pribadi dan keluarga. Ingatlah, keluarga kita akan bahagia jika Tuhan menjadi "Tamu" yang tetap di dalamnya. Pasangan yang berhasil membina keharmonisan bukanlah mereka yang memiliki pemikiran, perilaku, dan sikap yang persis sama, tetapi yang mau belajar menerima keberbedaan melalui proses penerimaan, pengertian, dan saling melengkapi. Berikut ini kutipan Kong Fut Tze mengenai keluarga yang harmonis, "Apabila ada harmoni di dalam rumah, akan ada ketenangan di masyarakat. Apabila ada ketenangan di masyarakat, ada ketenteraman di dalam negara. Apabila ada ketenteraman di dalam negara, akan ada kedamaian di dalam dunia."

[1] Sebagaimana dikutip oleh H. Norman Wright. Untuk lebih jelasnya, lihat pada H. Norman Wright, Persiapan Pernikahan, (Yogyakarta: Gloria, 2000), hlm. 175.
[2] H. Norman Wright, Komunikasi: Kunci Pernikahan Bahagia, (Yogyakarta: Gloria, 2000), hlm. 14-17.
[3] Pdt. Yusak Susabda PhD, dkk., Konseling Pranikah: Sebuah Panduan untuk Membimbing Pasangan-Pasangan yang Akan Menikah, (Bandung: Mitra Pustaka, 2004), hlm. 92-93.

Diringkas dari:
Nama situs: Blesseddayforus's Blog
Alamat URL: http://blessedday4us.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/problematika-dalam-keluarga/
Penulis: Pdt. Jotje Hanri Karuh
Tanggal akses: 16 Oktober 2013

Kamis, 14 November 2013

Why You Need to Get Real About Your Weaknesses

Why You Need to Get Real About Your Weaknesses

Instead of hiding and denying our weaknesses, we need to learn to recognize them. We need to learn to share them. And we need to learn to glory in our weaknesses.
If God is ever going to use you greatly, you’ll walk with a limp the rest of your life. I have struggled with a handicap all my life. I was born with a brain disorder. My staff knows about it. My church knows about it. My prayer team knows about it. I was born with a disorder in my brain chemistry that makes public speaking excruciatingly painful for me. It is a genetic problem that is resistant to any medication.
In a nutshell, my brain over reacts to adrenaline. I’m allergic to adrenaline. First I get very dizzy. My vision blurs and then it blacks out. Sometimes I get headaches – severe headaches and sometimes severe hot flashes. Any of you who have ever seen me speak have seen me wipe my face. But the most common reaction to this is an absolute sense of irrational panic. Sometimes I’m speaking and I cannot even see the audience.
One of the things I’ve figured out is that God has used this to build a praying church at Saddleback. I wouldn’t think of preaching without having my prayer team praying for me during the message. And they pray for me during each service through the entire service. What’s the lesson? God uses weak people! Paul had a handicap and he said, “I glory in my weakness.” It is an absolute myth that you must be a super human being to be effective in ministry. The goal is to last. What kind of ministries last? Ones that are real and authentic and vulnerable and honest and non-hypocritical about our weaknesses.
I believe that there are two great pillars of ministry. Paul’s confession and Peter’s confession. These are the two great pillars of ministry. Peter’s confession was, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Obviously, ministry is built on that one, which is found in Mark chapter 8. But Acts 14:15 is just as important, which is Paul’s confession at Iconium where he says, “We are but men.”
I have met many pastors who are very interested in declaring their spirituality. But I haven’t met too many pastors in my life who are interested in declaring their humanity. But your humanity is actually one of your greatest strengths.
God loves to use weak people to work his life through and work His work through. Why? 1 Corinthians 1:27 says, “God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to put the wise men to shame. And what the world considers weak in order to put powerful men to shame. He receives glory.” God puts His greatest gifts in ordinary containers so that He alone gets the credit.
What are the benefits of weaknesses in our lives?
  1. Weaknesses create a dependence on God.
  2. Weaknesses prevent pride and act as a governor in your life.
  3. Weaknesses cause a greater dependence upon other people.
  4. Weaknesses expand our capacity to minister.
If you’re going to have a Christlike ministry, it means that sometimes other people are going to find healing in the wounds that are in your life. Who can better help an alcoholic than someone who is a former alcoholic? Who can better help a childless couple than a childless couple? Who can better help than the person who’s been there? I believe that our greatest life messages come out of our deepest hurts.
Your weaknesses can only help the people in your church if you’ll have the guts to share them. There are things that you have never told your church that they need to know so that they can pray for you. Vulnerability enhances your leadership. All of us are a bundle of strengths and weaknesses. I have some very great strengths. I also have some very great weaknesses. And so do you. Humility is not denying your strengths. Humility is being honest about your weaknesses. Humility is not me saying, “I don’t know how to preach.” I do. I know how to craft sermons. But humility is saying, “In addition to those strengths, let me tell you a few things about myself.”
We’re all combinations. Paul was honest about his strengths because he was honest about his weaknesses. He wasn’t claiming perfection. He was just saying, “At least I’m making an attempt to live for Jesus. Follow me.” How you handle the weaknesses in your life will determine whether they help you or hinder you. People want to follow a pastor who’s real. You don’t have to be super-gifted to grow a church, but you do have to be real. The more honest you are about your weaknesses the more you’re perceived as being real. The more real you are the more credibility you have. The more credibility you have, the more influence you have. The more influence you have, the more you can get done.
Maybe it’s time to get real.

Senin, 11 November 2013

The Stronghold of Christ's Likeness Part 2

The Stronghold of Christ's Likeness Part 2
(En Español)
God's Highest Purpose
Most Christians only engage in spiritual warfare with a hope of either relieving present distresses or attaining a "normal" existence. However, the purpose of all aspects of spirituality, warfare included, is to bring us into the image of Christ. Nothing -- not worship or warfare, neither love nor deliverance -- is truly attainable if we miss the singular objective of our faith: Christlikeness.
Let us recall that when the Lord delivered the ancient Hebrews out of Egypt it was so He could bring them into the Promised Land. Likewise, we are delivered out of sin, not that we might live for ourselves, but so we might come into Christlikeness. What we call "salvation" is the first phase of being conformed to Christ. If we fail to see this we easily become entangled in the same sins that oppressed us in the first place.
While we may not want to hear this, many of our spiritual conflicts simply are not going to cease until the character of the Lord Jesus is formed in our hearts. The Father's goal in delivering us is much more than simply seeing our burdens taken off our backs. Indeed, God is working all things in our lives to conform us "to the image of His Son." The Father's purpose in our salvation is that Jesus would become "the first-born among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29). In other words, to realize God's ultimate victory we must reach toward God's ultimate goal, which is complete transformation into the likeness of Christ.
When we are born again, the actual presence of the Lord Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, enters our lives. To the degree that we cooperate with God's will, God's glory will advance within us. Indeed, Jesus likened our salvation to the lighting of a lamp. He said, "If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays" (Luke 11:36).
This immediacy of the Lord's presence produces an indestructible defense, a fortress within us in which we are hidden from evil. Through Him, we enter the excellence of His ways in our relationships both with the Father and one another, thereby walking in immunity from countless satanic attacks. Indeed, as His fullness within us increases, then that which is written is fulfilled: "As He is, so also are we in this world" and "He who was born of God keeps [us], and the evil one does not touch [us]" (1 John 4:17; 1 John 5:18).
We must realize that it is not Satan who defeats us; it is our openness to him. To perfectly subdue the devil we must walk in the "shelter of the Most High" (Ps. 91:1). Satan is tolerated for one purpose: the warfare between the devil and God's saints thrusts us into Christlikeness, where the nature of Christ becomes our only place of rest and security. God allows warfare to facilitate His eternal plan, which is to make man in His image (Gen. 1:26).
Once we realize that the Father's goal is not just to save us but to transform us, we will continually find that God has one answer to all our spiritual problems: appropriate the nature of His Son!
Are you troubled by demons of fear or doubt? Submit those areas to God, repenting of your unbelief, and then yield yourself to Christ's faith within you. Are you troubled with spirits of lust and shame? Present those very areas of sin to God, repenting of your old nature, drawing upon the forgiveness of Christ and His purity of heart. It is a great truth that once the devil recognizes his assault against you has not pulled you from God but toward Him -- once he perceives that his temptations are actually forcing you to appropriate the virtue of Christ -- the enemy will
Remember: your victory begins with the name of Jesus on your lips, but it will not be consummated until the nature of Jesus is in your heart.
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Arrowbookstore.comThis word was adapted from a chapter in Pastor Frangipane's best-selling book, The Three Battlegrounds. This book, together with Francis' book, Holiness Truth and the Presence of God, is available for up to 48% off retail price. Limited time only. Available in both print and ebook versions.  

Rabu, 06 November 2013

The Stronghold of Christ's Likeness

 The Ministries of Francis Frangipane
The Stronghold of Christ's Likeness
(En Español)
Victory begins with the name of Jesus on our lips. It is consummated by the nature of Jesus in our hearts.
There is a time when the Lord will call us to confront the strongholds over our churches and our communities. There is another time, however, when to engage in much spiritual warfare is actually a distraction from your obedience to God. Jesus defeated Satan in Gethsemane and at the cross, not by directly confronting the devil but by fulfilling the destiny to which He had been called at Calvary. The greatest battle that was ever won was accomplished by the apparent death of the victor, without even a word of rebuke to His adversary. The prince of this world was judged and principalities and powers were disarmed not by confrontational warfare but by the surrender of Jesus Christ on the cross.
There are occasions when your battle against the devil is actually a digression from the higher purpose God has for you. Intercessors and warfare leaders take note: there is a demon whose purpose is to lure one’s mind into hell. If we were to name this spirit, we would call it "Wrong Focus." You may be fighting this very spirit if you are continually seeing evil spirits in people or in the material world around you. The ultimate goal of this demon is to produce mental illness in saints who move in deliverance. Listen very carefully: we are not called to focus on the battle or the devil, except when that battle hinders our immediate transformation into Christ’s likeness. Our calling is to focus on Jesus. The work of the devil, however, is to draw our eyes from Jesus. Satan’s first weapon always involves luring our eyes from Christ. Turn towards Jesus and almost immediately the battle vanishes.
I knew a man once who owned a record company. Besides running the operation, he also spent many hours in production listening to the "mother disk," which was the record from which all subsequent records were pressed. Over the years, his ears became adept at catching the "pops and sizzles," the imperfections that had to be eliminated in the master disk. I remarked one day that I thought working with music must be enjoyable. His response was enlightening. He said, "You know, I haven’t listened to music in years. When I turn on my sophisticated home stereo, no matter what recording I’m listening to, all I hear are the pops and sizzles."
In the same way his thoughts were bent toward musical imperfections, so Wrong Focus will seek to turn your thoughts continually toward the enemy. Suddenly all you will see are demons. The true gift called "discerning of spirits" is a balanced gift which enables you to recognize at least as many angelic spirits as you do evil spirits. The proper manifestation of this gift has a much more positive focus and influence than what commonly masquerades as discernment.
An example of the proper balance in discernment is seen in 2 Kings. The Syrian army had surrounded Dothan, a city in Israel, much to the consternation of the prophet Elisha’s servant. To calm his fright, Elisha prayed that his servant’s eyes would be opened. He then encouraged his servant, saying, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them" (2 Kings 6:16). As the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, he saw what Elisha saw: "The mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha" (v. 17).
In spiritual warfare, the battle is never limited to an "us against them" human affair. It always includes "those . . . with us" against "those . . . with them." True discernment is as fully aware of the vast multitude of angels loyal to God as it is aware of the activity of the demonic realm -- and it is aware that the angelic hosts on our side are both stronger and more numerous than the enemy. Remember, if you fail to "hear the music" in your times of warfare, your discernment is incomplete.
We must learn that, on a personal level, it is better to develop godly virtues than to spend our day praying against the devil. Indeed, it is the joy of the Lord that casts out spirits of depression. It is our living faith that destroys spirits of unbelief; it is aggressive love that casts out fear. You see, the way into the fortress of the Almighty is simple. Victory begins with the name of Jesus on our lips. It is consummated by the nature of Jesus in our hearts.
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Arrowbookstore.comThis word was adapted from a chapter in Pastor Frangipane's best-selling book, The Three Battlegrounds. This book, together with Francis' book, Holiness Truth and the Presence of God, is available for up to 48% off retail price. One week only. Available in both print and ebook versions.

If you are financially unable to purchase a product by Pastor Frangipane, he would love to give you your choice of any one of his ebooks for free, or for whatever you can afford. One free eBook per household please. (Visit our FAQ page for more information.)

Rule in the Midst of Your Enemies!

The Ministries of Francis Frangipane
Rule in the Midst of Your Enemies!
(En Español)
True peace is the fruit of being confident in God's love; it is born of the revelation that, regardless of the battle, "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). You are not self-assured, you are God-assured.
The God of Peace Will Crush Satan
To wage effective spiritual warfare, we must understand and use spiritual authority. Spiritual authority, however, is not forcing your will upon another person. When you have spiritual authority, you have established God's peace in an area that once was full of conflict and oppression. Therefore, to truly be able to move in authority, we must first have peace.
The apostle Paul taught, "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet" (Rom. 16:20). When we maintain peace during warfare, it is a crushing deathblow to satanic oppression and fear. Our victory never comes from our emotions or our intellect. Our victory comes by refusing to judge by what our eyes see or our ears hear and by trusting that what God has promised will come to pass.
We will never know Christ's victory in its fullness until we stop reacting humanly to our circumstances. When you truly have authority over something you can look at that thing without worry, fear or intimidation. Your peace is the proof of your victory. Jesus' authority over the violent storm (Matt. 8:23-27) was the exercise and expansion of His peace over the elements. He did not fight against the storm nor did He fear it. In perfect peace, He faced its fury and subdued it with His authority. In Pilate's court, in a world stirred to an emotional frenzy by the powers of hell, a holy tranquility surrounded Christ -- peace that was born out of His resolve to do God's will no matter what the cost. His Spirit emanated a calm that perfectly represented the peace at God's throne. In a matter of moments it was no longer Jesus who was on trial but Satan, Pilate and the religious establishment in Israel.
Satan's arsenal consists of such things as fear, worry, doubt and self-pity. Every one of these weapons robs us of peace and leaves us troubled inside. Do you want to discern where the enemy is coming against you? In the network of your relationships, wherever you do not have peace, you have war. Conversely, wherever you have peace, you have victory. When Satan hurls his darts against you, the more peace you have during adversity, the more truly you are walking in Christ's victory.
Paul tells us to be "in no way alarmed by your opponents -- which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you" (Phil. 1:28). Your peace, your immovable stand upon the Word of God is a sign that you are positioned correctly in focused submission to the will of God. The very fact that you are "in no way alarmed" by your adversary is a sign that you have authority over him.
Peacemakers Are Sons of God
Peace is Spirit power. Peace is an attribute of the Holy Spirit, and when you are walking in peace, you are walking in power. A peacemaker is not merely someone who protests against war; he is one who is inwardly so yielded to Christ in spirit and purpose that he can be called a son of God (Matt. 5:9). Where he goes, God goes and where God goes, he goes. He is fearless, calm and bold. Peace emanates from him the way light and heat radiate from fire.
In the battles of life, your peace is actually a weapon. Indeed, your confidence declares that you are not falling for the lies of the devil. You see, the first step toward having spiritual authority over the adversary is having peace in spite of our circumstances. When Jesus confronted the devil, He did not confront Satan with His emotions or in fear. Knowing that the devil was a liar, He simply refused to be influenced by any other voice than God's. His peace overwhelmed Satan. His authority then shattered the lie, which sent demons fleeing.
Rest Before Rule
In the 23rd Psalm, David declared, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me" (v. 4). There is a place of walking with God where you simply "fear no evil." During his lifetime, David faced many enemies, including a lion, a bear and a giant. In this psalm he stood in the "shadow of death" itself, yet he feared no evil. David's trust was in the Lord. He said, "You are with me." Because God is with you, every adversity you face will unfold in victory as you maintain your faith in God. David continued, "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies" (v. 5). The battle you are in will soon become a meal to you, an experience that will nourish and build you up spiritually.
Only God's peace will quell your fleshly reactions in battle. The source of God's peace is God Himself. Indeed, "before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal" (Rev. 4:6). The glass sea is a symbol: there are no ripples, no waves, no anxieties troubling God. The Lord is never worried, never in a hurry nor without an answer. The sea around Him is perfectly still and totally calm. All our victories flow out from being seated here with Him.
God is our Father. The heavenly Jerusalem is our mother, the birthplace of our new nature (Gal. 4:26). And you, you are a beloved child of God, part of the Father's family and a member of His household (Eph. 2:19). You must know by revelation that you are not struggling to get into Heaven; rather, you were born there in spiritual rebirth (see John 3:1-8 AMP). Let your heart be settled and positioned correctly in your relationship with the Almighty.
To those who have been born again from above, He says, "Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet" (Ps. 110:1). Before you go into warfare, recognize that it is not you that the devil is afraid of; it is Christ in you! We have been raised up and seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). This is why the Holy Spirit continues to speak to us that worship of God is our first response in battle. Position yourself in the presence of God. Sit, at rest, in the knowledge that Christ has already made your enemies the footstool for your feet. From a position of rest, the Word of the Lord continues, "The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, 'Rule in the midst of Your enemies'" (Ps. 110:2).
Rest precedes rule. Peace precedes power. Do not seek to rule over the devil until you are submitting to God's rule over you. The focal point of all victory comes from seeking God until you find Him, and after finding Him, allowing His presence to fill your spirit with His peace. From full assurance at His right hand, as you rest in His victory, so will you rule in the midst of your enemies.
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Arrowbookstore.comThis word was adapted from a chapter in Pastor Frangipane's best-selling book, The Three Battlegrounds. This book, together with Francis' book, Holiness Truth and the Presence of God, is available for up to 48% off retail price. One week only. Available in both print and ebook versions.