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Heartland Blog

Thoughts from Heartland Conference leaders

A Closer Look at Vision — Part 2

Could We Have Made an Oversight?

Jesus with His disciplesAnd when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles...

–Luke 6:13 (NKJV)

In my last post, I focused on vision — the kind of vision that helps us find the harvest Christ wants to bring into His Church. While we look for the harvest, it is possible for us to be guilty of a serious oversight.

Each church and ministry already has some harvest in the barn. There are saved souls already in the congregation, and we have a job to do in discipling them. We have a serious responsibility to steward the potential leadership gifts in the people we already have.

It’s easy to look jealously at other ministries because of their caliber of leaders. If we give in to this temptation, we will neglect the method Jesus used. As

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A Closer Look at Vision

hands holding up letters V-I-S-I-O-NBehold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!

–John 4:35 (NKJV)

Vision is the ability to see where opportunities are. Jesus ministered to a woman in John 4 who would be the key to an incredible citywide revival. He wanted His disciples to have this same kind of vision.

Vision is necessary to lead Christ’s church in health and growth. As pastors and leaders we have been taught this for many years, so we dutifully craft a vision for our ministry. Too often these masterpieces we labor over bring no measurable results. What is wrong?

Many experts have written on this subject. Whole books and classes are devoted to help us be more visionary as leaders. I offer to you a simple checklist. Make sure your ministry vision lines up with these basic guidelines.

Many leaders ask

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Outprayed!

Praying hands“…Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail…”

–Luke 22:31-32

The Old and New Testament both show the devil asking God for permission to torment and tempt believers with the purpose of wrecking their spiritual lives. Job is an example in the Old, and Peter in the new.

In the above Scripture, Jesus is concerned with Peter’s walk. This is remarkable considering that Jesus is only a few hours away from being killed Himself. “Peter, I’m about to be crucified, and Satan wants to crush you as well. But I have prayed for you and that is going to make all the difference!”

I recently heard Bishop Tommy McGee share a powerful devotion on this Scripture. He had heard a message years ago in Bible College that impacted his life and relayed the speaker’s

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Which is Easier? Part 2

Cross and doveWhich is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’?

–Luke 5:23

In part one of this article, I looked at Jesus’ claim that saving a person and healing a person are equally easy for Him. However, our faith doesn’t always rise to that level. In our twenty-first century minds, healing can seem more difficult than salvation.

As we raise our faith to expect healing as easily as we expect people to be saved, perhaps we should look at some other areas our faith may lag! Pentecostals and Charismatics believe that God is in the current business of performing miracles besides healing as well. Do we believe that Jesus can manifest these things as easily as He can save?

Sanctification/Deliverance

Jesus is able to cleanse sin from the believer in addition to forgiving sin. Too often, however, we see Christians who are plagued

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Which is Easier? Part 1

Carrying paralyzed man to JesusWhich is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’?

–Luke 5:23

Jesus posed a very penetrating question in Luke 5. He was already seeing the power of God released as He ministered. He had seen miracles over nature as well as healings and deliverances. Through it all He was finding time alone with God for prayer. And so we come to the occasion of this thought-provoking question. On this particular day, the power of the Lord is present for Jesus to perform healing even though there are Pharisees gathered simply to find fault with Him.

Four men bring their paralyzed friend in faith that Jesus will heal him. Bypassing the crowd, they tear part of the roof off to lower their friend in front of Jesus. Jesus sees their faith and says, "Man, your sins are forgiven!"

"Wait a minute!"

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When God Grants You Souls

Ship in storm‘... indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’

–Acts 27:24

Acts 27 presents a spectacular story of intercession, divine intervention and miraculous saving of human life. The Apostle Paul is being transported by ship to stand trial before Ceasar in Rome. He has known since chapter 23 that he will arrive in Rome and bear witness of Christ there. Though not afraid to go to Rome, Paul is strongly prompted that they should postpone this leg of the journey until calmer weather prevails after winter. While preparing to depart from Fair Havens, Paul shares that there will be loss of the ship, cargo and lives. However, the captain and owner of the boat overrule, and they set out on a perilous adventure.

Although starting in their favor, conditions quickly deteriote. Soon they are powerless to control the ship as a huge storm propels it forward. The sun

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Treasuring God’s Gifts in our Lives

photo of child offering giftEvery good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

–James 1:17 NKJV

I am convinced that one of the greatest secrets to outstanding relationships is treating others like they are God’s gifts to us. We must receive them as such when they come into our lives, and we must regularly remind ourselves of this fact. Let me give a few examples.

Jesus Christ

John 3:16 says that God loved every single one of us so much that He gave His only Son so that we could have eternal life rather than perish. God’s number one gift is His Son! Worship is in part a remembrance of and response to the wonder of God the Father and God the Son. When we worship we keep the value of the Gift at the

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Loving Like Christ

Loving Like Christ

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

–John 15:12 (NKJV)

Here is a simple admonition from our Lord. “I love you; now you go and love everyone else.” The premise is simple. We have a pattern to follow. No problem — yet we fall short of loving others as freely and completely as our Savior does. I hope the following points will help in our quest to receive and give God's love!

I can’t receive it if I don’t believe it.

God loves every single person in the world, but too many people assume that God can't love them. They think they have to earn it rather than receive it as a free gift. Loving others starts with believing that God truly does love us as a good, good Father!

I can’t contain it, and I can’t constrain it.

If I truly believe

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