purpose

The Purpose Of Your New Identity

We are saints: we are made new and holy! But have you ever wondered why? In this short video, Frank reveals the beautiful purpose of our new identity. Beloved, God lives in you, you are a radical entity!


Each week, Pastor Frank sends several short, encouraging videos to his circle of friends.
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The Life We Need

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One of the misconceptions that I am finding among people who hear us teach grace is that we are against the Law. Nothing could be further from the truth. As true believers, we, like David, love the Law because it comes with a glorious God-given purpose. What is that purpose? Well, it is two-fold.

The first purpose of the Law is found in 2 Corinthians 3:5-9. There we learn that the Law has a purpose, and that is to kill and condemn us. Isn’t that wonderful? In fact, it is even called a “ministry of death and condemnation.” Now, why would God give us a Law that would kill and condemn us? The answer, of course, is to kill and condemn us.

Remember that we as human beings were all birthed under the lie that we shall be as God. Every one of us born on this planet is a god-wannabe. God gave us the Law, which is holy, perfect, and good (Romans 7:12) to keep us from a false hope that one day we just might be able to be like God. The Law came with a demand on our lives but provided no power for us to fulfill that demand. Alas! We are left to our own resources to try and keep the Law, and there is not one of us in and of ourselves who will ever be able to do that – hence the Law kills and condemns us. It pronounces every one of us guilty as sinners before God.

An old proverb went something like this, “Run John, run, the law  demands. But gives him neither feet nor hands.” So the first purpose of the Law is to provide us with a great need for Life, as we are all pronounced dead and condemned by the Law. Wonderful!

The second purpose of the Law is then to lead us to Jesus (Galatians 3:24) because He has the market cornered on Life. He who has the Son has the Life says the New Testament. In John 10, Jesus affirms this when He told the disciples that He came for the express purpose of giving us Life, an abundant Life because the Life He was giving to us was His own Life. Incredible! We have been given the Life of God for us to experience and express, and this wonderful Life came to us because the Law first affirmed our death and then led us to the only true source of Life. Wonderful indeed!

The rest of that proverb goes as follows, “But grace an even greater brings, it bids us fly and gives us wings." The truth is that we would never have found the Life we need without the Law first affirming our need for Life. I love the Law, don’t you? It was the tool that brought us to Jesus.

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He Leads Down Well-Worn Paths

Our world calls us in a million different directions. How can we ever know which way to go? In this insightful video Frank shares that we have a loving Shepherd who never gives up on us and how by putting our hand in His, He will always lead us down His well-worn paths.

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Placed Into His Being

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We must have a proper view of God. How we view God is ultimately how we will view ourselves in relationship to Him, so it is very important to study Who God is. In I Timothy 6, we are told that God is blessed. That is a strange thought, isn’t it? Most times as believers, our focus is on how blessed we are because we know Him. But here, Paul states that God Himself is blessed. The word is makairos and it means happy, content or fulfilled. Think about that! Our God is a happy God, a content God, a fulfilled God. He does not know unhappiness, frustration anxiousness or fear.

Now certainly there are “things” that please Him, and there are absolutely “things” that displease and even grieve Him, like when we sin! However, NOTHING ever alters His deep sense of inner contentment. He doesn’t have a bad day when we sin. In fact, God NEVER has a bad day! Every moment of every day is a good day for God!

Why is it so important that we understand that? Because in the New Testament, when we place our faith in Jesus, we are told that we are placed “in Him, and He in us.” Therefore, that means that when we got placed in Him, we also got placed into Who He is!

We got placed into His contentment,
His rest, His fulfillment, His calm.

Jesus stated this plainly in Mt. 11 when He said for us to come to Him, that we might find His yoke which is easy and experience His rest! I love how the Psalmist put this, “How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Ps. 2:12) Take refuge from all the calamity, anxiety, fear, and unrest this world offers by resting by faith in Him, Who is blessed – so that – you too will experience His blessed rest and calm!

Wow!!!

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Why Did God Create Us?

I think it has something to do with I John 4. "God is love... and love is FROM God".

I think it has something to do with I John 4. "God is love... and love is FROM God".

Why are we here? Why did God create us?

Have you ever pondered these questions?

I have heard the "answers" as I am sure you have as well.  God created us to worship Him. God created us to obey Him. God created us because He was lonely.

I don't think so. Creating us had NOTHING to do with God "needing" anything.

Jn 5:26 says "God has LIFE in Himself."

If you have LIFE, if LIFE is your nature, then you don't need anyone or anything.

Then why did God create us?

I think it has something to do with I John 4. "God is love... and love is FROM God". God created us because He wanted to share His LIFE and LOVE with us. It was not about us being here to do something for God, but us being here so God could do something for us... LOVE US!

The verse goes on to say that we, in turn, LOVE God and others because that is what LOVE from God does.

Hmmmmmmm... Think about it!

Why did you have kids?

Did you have kids to worship you and obey you? If you did, you are in for a rude awakening!!!

No, you had kids to share your life and love with them. Where did you get that idea?

Perhaps from the original first Lover Who wanted to share His LIFE and LOVE. (pretty cool to be so loved)

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No More Fish Out Of Water

...we got caught, cast out of God onto some very dry land where we flopped around, gasped, entered the dying process and were really getting eaten up. 

...we got caught, cast out of God onto some very dry land where we flopped around, gasped, entered the dying process and were really getting eaten up. 

The shortest sermon I ever taught was out of Romans 11:36. One verse.

"For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things!"

"OF HIM" --- God is the source

"THROUGH HIM" --- God is the means, the ability

"TO HIM" --- God is the purpose and the goal

God is everything that pertains to what true life is all about. Kind of like a fish in the water. All that fish knows is water. When you catch that fish and pull him out of the water onto dry land, the fish gasps, flops around, enters the dying process, and then dies. (Then he gets eaten up)

This is what happened to us. We were like that fish in water. All we knew was God. Then, we got caught, cast out of God onto some very dry land where we flopped around, gasped, entered the dying process and were really getting eaten up. 

However,

If you had compassion and intervened, you threw that fish back into the water and the fish "lived" once again.

This is what happened to us. God had compassion on us, and through the work of His Son placed us back into God and put God back in us and now we really "LIVE"...

No more gasping. No more flopping around. We have found God to be our source, our means, and our home. Enough said!

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Our Created Design To Love

"By   this   the world will know that we are His disciples, in that  we love one another. "

"By this the world will know that we are His disciples, in that we love one another."

The word "REPETITION" is to a teacher, what the word "LOCATION" is to a realtor. The real estate mantra is "Location! Location! Location!" The teaching mantra is "Repetition! Repetition! Repetition!"

Well, in I Cor 13:3, Paul repeated three times that without love we are nothing.
HE MADE THIS PERSONAL!

Note, he did not say that what we do is nothing. We can do some pretty incredible things but without love, even though we do great things, we personally remain "nothings..."

Why, that is a hard pill to swallow? Reminds me of old Nicodemus in John 3.... "you mean I must go back to the womb, you mean that everything I did counts for nothing?"

The answer lies in the created design. If we buy a drill but it doesn't drill, it is useless as a drill, EVEN THOUGH we can use it as a screwdriver, a hammer, or as a decoration. The fact remains it is useless according to its design.

Now, we can understand we were designed to be the image bearers of God.

That we were designed to experience and express the love of God.
THAT IS OUR SUPREME PURPOSE for our existence.

But even though we might preach a great sermon, speak in tongues, prophecy, give away all we have, or offer our lives in martyrdom.... if we do those things without loving people, we are failing to fulfill the purpose for which we were created!

At that point, WE ARE NOTHING! WE ARE NOTHING! WE ARE NOTHING!

"By this the world will know that we are His disciples, in that we love one another."

Trusting Instead of Trying

Jesus longs for us to live the life of trusting instead of trying.

Jesus longs for us to live the life of trusting instead of trying.

In the church, the man who labors for God with the goal of being like God is highly valued! The work is great and the workers so few that the highly disciplined and sacrificial man or woman is in high demand. The church calls such a man or woman – “A man of God” or “a woman of God” but do you know what God calls such a one? He calls them a rebel! What? How can that be? Because that man or woman who is trying to be like God is living out of the wrong economy.

God established an economy whereby man would live FROM God by faith.

This is the economy man was intended to live in. It is the same economy that Jesus did live in. He said on numerous occasions that without His Father, He could do nothing. He said unequivocally that it was only as He heard, that He Himself spoke. He blatantly declared that the works that He did, were actually the works of the Father in Him and through Him. That’s right, Jesus walked on the water, but it was the Father walking on the water through Him. This is the economy that man was designed for and intended by God to live in. But in the garden man chose to not live out of this economy, instead he/she chose to live out of the economy of “being like God”. Man would function independent of God and do life His own way with his own resources.

Jesus longs for us to live the life of trusting instead of trying.

Jesus made it very clear in John 15, that just He could do nothing without the Father, so we can do nothing without Him. He is the Vine of true life and only when we branches connect to Him can He bear His vine life through us and produce fruit in us.

Man was never intended to be like God in the way he lived, he was intended to trust God to be God in and through Him by faith! That is why a man who tries to be like God, though he may look good and labor much, is actually a rebel in God’s eyes!

We All Have A Part To Play

So this is cool...

In I Cor 12, it tells us that God gave different gifts to different believers,

all in varying degree and function. Hmmmmm....

There is no one like us that can offer what we offer as an individually gifted believer to the rest of the body of Christ.

There is no one like us that can offer what we offer as an individually gifted believer to the rest of the body of Christ.

God gifted us uniquely as individual believers. There is no one like us that can offer what we offer as an individually gifted believer to the rest of the body of Christ. Therefore, the body of Christ needs me and I need the body of Christ. God established a diversity, that necessitates an interdependence among us, that forces a unity that protects us from uniformity! WOW!

Can I illustrate?

It is like the individual believer is gifted to play a musical instrument. We play like no one else can play. We make beautiful music that no one else can make. Aren't we special? Yes, we are.

But when we assemble together, and each as individuals bring our beautiful instruments, and together we all play our beautiful music together.... it is even more beautiful because it is also POWERFUL! We, the church, when we function like God intended us to function, are like a huge symphony....

That is the word in fact, that Paul used in this passage - sumpheron - that is what we are when we function with others, for others, to the glory of God. And the world hears our beautiful music and for the first time, sees the invisible God through His physical church.

Oh the glory that God intended for His church....  Play your part. Play it beautifully. Play it for others. This is what the Christ Life is all about!

We Were Never Designed to Live by Doing Good, and not Doing Evil.

One of the most amazing verses I have ever read is Romans 5:20. Before you read it though, let's think together.

When as a parent you made a rule: "There will be no running in the house!" Why did you make that rule? Because you intended that this new rule would stop the kids from running in the house, right? How did that work for you?

When our government made a rule, "There shall be no murder" - why did our government make that rule? They did it of course to stop murder. They did it to stop the faulty behavior. How did that work?

So when we as humanity make a law, we do it to curb behavior... our motive is to alter behavior, right? Otherwise, why would be make a law?

Now let's read Romans 5:20. "... the law came in that sin might INCREASE!" Did you see it? God made the law, knowing full well, that the law would NOT alter behavior, and that in fact through the giving of the law our behavior as human beings would in fact --- GET WORSE!

This happens because as Romans 7 says, "the power of sin uses the law to stir up more sin!" The problem is not with the law, for the law is "holy, perfect, and good." The problem is with the power of sin that thrives on law like gasoline poured on a fire."

Don't look at the wall behind your computer screen! Do you hear me? You better not look at the wall behind your computer screen! Most of you have already looked at the wall as soon as the command came forth. Others of you are pondering why it is so wrong to look at the wall and will soon join your other wall viewers! Some of you will now stare at the wall all day!!! This is how the power of sin works!

And yet, still God gave "the law" knowing full well that this would happen to us. God gave the law knowing that "sin would INCREASE!"

That tells us that God is not afraid of sin! He is more powerful than sin. It can increase and He will still take care of it! WOW! We have a big God.

That begs a question however, and that is "Why?". Why would God give the law knowing full well that we were going to sin and sin and sin in the giving of the law?

My friends, I believe it was so we would get sick of that law system and pursue God for another economy. I believe it was so we would get sick of sinning and cry out for another way. You do know, that we were NEVER designed to live by doing good and not doing evil. That is an economy that Adam plunged us into when he ate from that tree. We were NEVER intended to live by right and wrong.

We were created to live in an intimate and dependent relationship with God! We were designed to live by a Person, the Spirit of God, not by an outside, lifeless, economy of demand! Praise God, through the Person and Work of Jesus, God established a New Covenant... a covenant of relationship with a Person, none other than God Himself Who now lives in and through us as we trust Him by faith.

It is this glorious new way of life that allows us to fulfill our intended design to be experiencers and expressers of God to His own glory. This is true worship and a life that is satisfying and rewarding.

He calls me 'Son', and I call him Papa.

It has become quite popular with the internet age to research one's genealogy. In doing so, we learn who we are in terms of our race and culture. This is an absolutely essential thing to do when it comes to understanding our spiritual genealogy. If we do not know our source, our beginnings in God, then we will be lost when it comes to truly understanding who we are God created us and designed us to function in intimate relationship with Him. Because of the finished work of Christ which enables us to be restored to God, we now have the opportunity to be restored to who we truly are.

And who are we? Well, we were so fantastically created and intended for such incredible purpose, that it takes multiple descriptions to fully define ourselves. The New Testament tells us that we are saints - holy ones of God, that we are soldiers - those involved in a great conflict between God and evil. We are called farmers - who sow seed and reap the harvest of life as we lead others into relationship with Jesus. We are called fellow workers - an amazing thought to be sure, that God has considered us worthy of participating in His kingdom work. We are called joint heirs with Christ - a mind blowing statement that we share in the inheritance of God's own precious son.

We could go on and on with declaring our multi-faceted identity that we have been restored to through faith in Christ, but I want to stress what I believe to be the supreme aspect of who we are. In the New Testament, we are told that we are now a child of God. Why do I say that is the supreme statement of our identity? Because it is the only aspect of our identity that comes with "THE RIGHT" to say it is so. John 1 says, "when we receive Jesus, we have the "RIGHT" to be called a child of God! Ponder the glory of that --- by faith, I am a child of the Sovereign Mighty God of the universe! He calls me son... and I get to call Him "papa".... This is my RIGHT because He said it is so. WOW!

Prayer: What It Is - and Is Not

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PRAYER!

I don't know about you, but that word instantly puts an image in my brain of heads bowed and eyes closed, but I do not believe that is what the New Testament teaches prayer really is. Paul said we should be "praying always" - if we did that, how could we ever get anything done? It would be kind of hard to drive to work with our eyes closed and our head bowed, don't you think?

Further, have you ever read the account in the Gospels where the disciples were unable to cast out a demon, then Jesus Himself cast out the demon? When the disciples asked Him why they could not cast the demon out, Jesus told them that this kind of demon is cast out only by prayer.

BUT READ THE PASSAGE CAREFULLY! Jesus Himself DID NOT PRAY when He cast the demon out! The event is recorded in three different gospels and none of the writers says Jesus prayed first. (But i think He was praying...)

So, what is prayer? It is an attitude of humble and intimate sharing of the relationship we have with God as we go through our daily lives... it is simply remembering we are not in this life, facing the circumstances of life, by ourselves and with our own resources. We are in union with God.

My personal conviction is that the disciples could not cast out the demon because they were using "prayer" or the name of "Jesus" as a formula or method (which we are all prone to do)... Ours is a journey of faith in a Person. We do not reduce this incredible reality to a question of "what works" but "Who works"... Prayer is seeking to experience Jesus in ALL that we do. Driving on the interstate, shovelling dirt, changing diapers; these are all opportunities to be praying without ceasing because they are all opportunities to live in the Spirit at the same time we are living in this physical world.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

In the various tasks of life, there are usually many different ways that we can accomplish the tasks at hand. For example, when mowing my lawn. I can edge first, then, weed-eat and trim, and then mow... or I could mow first, then weed-eat and trim, and then edge... or - you get the idea!

When God created man, there are of course many various ways that He could have done so. When He created the birds, and the sky, and the earth the method He chose was "to speak" those things into being.

But when it came to man, God chose a very different method. He made man with His own hands. Significant? I think so. God made our bodies special and unique. As such, we are to treat them with respect and dignity. The human spine, if you have ever studied it, is a hugely powerful apologetic for the existence of God. We are truly, as Ps 139 says, "Fearfully and wonderfully made."

But let's go further.... that fearfully and wonderfully made body was not yet alive. Here again, God could have just spoke life AT US and we would have been alive. Instead, He chose to "breathe the breath of life into us." Significant? Absolutely, and missed by so many of us. God never does anything without meaning and purpose.

May I suggest to you that you ponder how intimate this method of bringing us to life was? He literally "kissed us into life." And what is a kiss? It is an intimate expression of love. God did not speak us into life, He kissed us into life with a kiss of love. He wanted us to know from the very beginning of our existence, that our purpose in being created was that we were created to be loved by God! HE LOVED YOU FROM THE VERY BEGINNING AND LOVES YOU STILL TODAY! His intention in our very creation was that we would literally breathe His love. WOW!

How Did Jesus Do What He Did?

We are going to take a test today. Question: How was Jesus able to do all He did?

  • He walked on water. Healed the sick. Raised the dead.
  • He loved His enemies, was kind and compassionate.
  • How was He able to do all that?

(Stop reading and answer the question!)

Most often, the answer I hear is that He was able to all that because He was God. If that is correct, then that is BAD NEWS for us! Why? Because we are called to live as He lived. Of course, that does not mean that we are to walk on water and raise the dead, but we are called to love our enemies and be merciful and compassionate. The problem, of course, is that we are not God and therefore lack the resources to live as He lived.

Is there a better answer to how He lived the life He did? YES! John 6:57 says that Jesus lived "OUT OF" the Father. Jesus, (Phil. 2) lived in a dependent relationship with the Father. That is why Jesus said He can nothing apart from the Father. He spoke and judged only as the Father told Him (John 5, 8)

Jesus made this reality very clear in John 14 when He said that the works He did were the works of the Father.

So who walked on the water? Jesus did. 
But He would say the Father did it through Him.

Who fed the 5,000? Jesus did. 
But He would say the Father did it through Him.

So did Jesus or the Father feed the 5,000? YES! 
They both did.

This is GOOD NEWS because this means we can live the way He lived. NOT by imitating His behavior but by imitating His method. To live the Christian life we depend on Jesus, the exact same way He depended on His Father. John 6:57 affirms that to us. There, Jesus said, "As I live 'OUT OF' the Father, so you live 'OUT OF' Me!"

By the way, that is why Jesus said in John 15, that without Him, we can do nothing. The Christian life is not something we do, it is really a Someone we get to participate with by faith. Living the Christian Life is really experiencing the living Jesus living His LIFE through us.

This world, especially in these dark days, desperately needs to see and experience His love, compassion, and mercy multiplied in as many lives as will trust Him by faith...