May the Force . . . Be You

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May the Force . . . Be You

. . . what I want mostly is for men to pray—1 Timothy 2:8-10

There are many forces at work in this world—forces colliding, reacting to each other, influencing one another. And you, brother, are one of them. Each of us is. The question is, though, what kind? Are we forces for goodness and generosity? I mean, is this broken, evil world better because of us? Or are we forces that are simply neutral? Or are we forces for ‘me’—for selfishness, for stockpiling, for negativity, or depravity even?

These questions matter to God (Galatians 5:13-26). They should matter to us. And if we want to change our kind—or just intensify the positive force we already are—here’s a place to start: intercessory prayer. “Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know” (1 Timothy 2:1-3 MSG).

God certainly wants us to use our hands to help people in need, and he wants us to use our voices to reach people who’re lost. But, since “prayer is at the bottom of all this,” wrote the Apostle Paul, what we mostly need to do is pray (1 Timothy 2:2-10 MSG). You see, intercessory prayer—praying on behalf of other people—is the most powerful thing we can do (James 5:16-18). When we do it, we lay aside our own meager strength and call upon the awesome strength of Almighty God. When we do it, we call forth the most powerful force in the universe and focus its goodness and generosity right onto other people and right into their circumstances.

Going Through Hell

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Going Through Hell

. . . fear not, for I am with you—Isaiah 41:10

You know when you’re in the thick of it—facing tough financial circumstances, or maybe a problem with work or a relationship, or a health issue or an addiction? You know that “I just don’t know what to do” feeling? Most of us do, maybe all of us. The thing is, we actually do know what to do—we know exactly what to do. It’s just hard, in those moments, to remember . . . and to trust.

But we must remember and trust our Father God. He sees and he knows . . . and sometimes he allows. We must not be “surprised at the fiery trial,” therefore, “as though something strange were happening” (1 Peter 4:12). When he allows hardship, though, it’s always for good—even if that’s not, at first, very obvious (James 1:2-4; Hebrews 12:1-11; Romans 8:28).

And we must remember and trust our King, Jesus Christ. He is truth. He teaches us what to do in any ordeal. He knows like no other. “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades” (Revelation 1:17-18).

And we must remember and trust our God the Holy Spirit. He’s always with us, in every moment (John 14:16). And he can help and strengthen us, whatever the hardship. The “Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead” exists within us, and can certainly bring new life to our circumstances too (Romans 8:11).

Gearing Up for Work

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Gearing Up for Work

. . . you have put off the old self
. . . and have put on the new self—Colossians 3:9-10

At work, we serve. We serve the users of products and services that we and our companies produce and sell. But what about the people working alongside us? What about the people with whom we spend so much time—our bosses, our teams, our peers, our rivals, our friends? What about those who inspire and teach us, or who frustrate and annoy us? Well, each one was designed and built by our Creator God. Each was found worthy of the great sacrifice of our King, Jesus Christ. And each was put into our lives for a reason. So our responsibility is clear: we must love them (Matthew 22:36-40). We must love (and serve and lead and influence) all the people with whom we work.

Now, this kind of thing is undertaken best with action—not “in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). It’s done by doing. It’s done by treating people with care; doing our work with care; doing the hard things, when the hard things are the right things. It’s done by allowing ourselves to become the people we’re meant to become. It’s done, actually, by simply becoming ourselves—our new selves. For that, though, we must first put on the proper gear:

“. . . dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love” (Colossians 3:12-14 MSG).

I promise, it’s worth it . . .

🎧 Rush podcast – get closer to God

Hey there,

I wanted to be sure you knew our exciting news! Our brand new podcast, Rush: Holy Spirit in Modern Life, has launched! Consider this your personal invitation to listen to the trailer, our first six episodes, and subscribe via Apple Podcasts, so you can be one of the first to hear new episodes when they drop each Tuesday and Friday.

Plus, we have a brand new website where you can subscribe to the podcast directly. We’d love to hear what you think about it all, so drop us a line! (And, if you use an Android device, you can find the podcast on Google Play and Stitcher, too!)

With much joy and anticipation,

Justin

Now Available on Android: 📲 Rush podcast

Rush podcast is now on Google Play, Stitcher, and soon, Spotify

Good news, Android users!

Rush Podcast is also available on Google Play and Stitcher! In a few days, it will also be available on Spotify. If you’re an iPhone user, you can also find Rush on Apple Podcasts.

We are grateful that you are listening with us!

With excitement and gratitude,

Justin

 Introducing Rush podcast: Holy Spirit in Modern Life 🎉 

Our brand new podcast, Rush: Holy Spirit in Modern Life, has launched!

Hey there,

Today is the day! Our brand new podcast, Rush: Holy Spirit in Modern Life, has launched! Consider this your personal invitation to listen to the trailer, our first five episodes, and subscribe via Apple Podcasts, so you can be one of the first to hear new episodes when they drop each Tuesday and Friday.

Plus, we have a brand new website where you can subscribe to the podcast directly. We’d love to hear what you think about it all, so drop us a line!

With much joy and anticipation,

Justin

It Matters

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It Matters

. . . work with a smile on your face
. . . you’re really serving God—Ephesians 6:5-8

How do you think about work, about your work? Is it awesome? Drudgery? A calling? A means to an end? Separate from your faith? An expression of your faith?

God designed us, built us, for work (Genesis 2:15). Work is his gift, not his punishment, nor even a necessary evil. It’s how we’re brought into how he’s blessing and helping his sons and daughters (Ephesians 4:28). You see, God provides his blessings and help . . . through people . . . through us. The blessing of a house, for example, is given by God, but through the people who build it; who assist in its purchase, like the realtor and the banker; who make and sell the furnishings; who maintain it; and even those who insure the house against its loss. All this seemingly secular work becomes sacred when it’s done (1) to love and serve God and his purposes, and (2) to love and serve God’s sons and daughters. It may not seem like it sometimes—especially with supply chains as long and complex as they are today—but it does. There’s no menial or meaningless work as long as it helps someone else in a positive way.

It’s in this, in being part of God’s blessing and helping others, that we find our purpose and meaning (Matthew 20:26-28). It’s also how we find joy. Our King, Jesus Christ, teaches us this: “You’re far happier giving than getting” (Acts 20:33-35; John 15:11-15 MSG). Contrary to what our culture teaches, we’re happier exhausting ourselves for the good of others—putting their needs before our own.

Living With Urgency

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Living With Urgency

The night is about over, dawn is about to break—Romans 13:11-14

No question, a lot of us men are living in“I know, I know” mode . . . in “I’m gonna do it, but just not right now” mode. You see, we know what’s important; we’ve just convinced ourselves we’ve got all kinds of time. And, because life is crazy busy right now, we’ve resolved to get around to doing what we know we should be doing, later—when things slow a bit. We’ll change our ways, later. We’ll get around to actually living out our faith, later.

But, what if there’s no later? What if this day, today, was our last day?

It couldn’t possibly be. Waking up this morning was just like waking up yesterday. Tomorrow’s sure to be the same. There’ll always be plenty of time . . . right? Well, the Apostle Peter wrote that God’s right now “restraining himself,” because he loves you and me (2 Peter 3:8-9 MSG). He’s “holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change” (2 Peter 3:8-9 MSG). But, warned Peter, it won’t last forever: “. . . when the Day of God’s Judgment does come, it will be unannounced, like a thief” (2 Peter 3:8-10 MSG). When the last day comes, the “space and time” God’s been giving us will vanish. So Peter made his appeal: “Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, do you see how essential it is to live a holy life?” (2 Peter 3:11-13 MSG). So Peter made his appeal: live with urgency.

Unmitigated Genius

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Unmitigated Genius

. . . he will teach you all things—John 14:26

What’s the Holy Spirit like? Well, we know he’s a genius, but not the kind we’re used to. His genius is “not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age” (1 Corinthians 2:6). His genius is beyond human discovery. He “searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). He’s an unmitigated genius. A perfect genius.

We also know, he’s here for us. He was sent by God the Father, at the request of our King, Jesus Christ, to bring truth “out into the open” and “make everything plain”—all to “bring out his best in us” (1 Corinthians 2:6-10; John 14:25-27 MSG). He was sent to take you and me “by the hand” and guide us “into all the truth there is” (John 16:12-15 MSG). Think about that . . . “all the truth there is” . . . suffused into our lives. Well, that’s his mission.

So, the only question is, what do we do? The answer is, not that much, actually. We just give him a chance, by doing the simple things Jesus taught: meditate, pray, study, fast, serve, confess, repent, worship, celebrate. He does everything else. Of course, the more we do, the better—though, even one of those, even imperfectly done, allows the Spirit to introduce some of his genius into our lives. When we fail to do even a little, though, it doesn’t: “The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 MSG).

It’s Almost Here! 👊

podcast is an opportunity in the middle of the busy of your day to consider what God is saying to you.

Hey there,

As a WiRE reader, you appreciate seeking God’s truth. You know it’s powerful, life-giving, and life-changing. But, I bet you are eager for more wisdom and practical encouragement in your life.

Yeah, me too.

This is why I created something that I think you’re going to love as much as I do. It’s an invitation to take another step, to encounter God in a new, fresh way.

So what’s the exciting news? Very shortly, Gather Ministries is launching a brand new podcast! It’s called Rush: Holy Spirit in Modern Life. Rush is the resource you need to galvanize your relationship with God. It’s designed specifically for men and women who want to encounter the breath of God and practice responding to Him in their lives.

Here is what each episode will include: (1) a hook designed to grab your attention (2) a portion of Scripture to challenge, encourage, and energize you, (3) a prophetic message of wisdom filled with fresh perspective; and (4) a contemplative exercise that will inspire, provoke, and invigorate you. It’s changing our lives and our hope is that it will change yours!

Rush podcast is an opportunity in the middle of the busy of your day to slow down, even if just for a few moments, and consider what God is saying to you. Each episode is between 11 and 12 minutes long and goes live on Tuesdays and Fridays.

I’ll soon send you one final reminder about the launch of Rush, so you can be one of the first to listen and subscribe. You’re not going to want to miss an episode!

Feel free to respond back to this email. I’d love to hear what you think!

With respect and excitement,

Justin