The Reward of Seeking God

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Minimal effort never produces maximum results in life, or in the spirit. God rewards diligent seekers, not those who could care less about drawing near to Him.

We cannot expect God to move on our behalf, if we refuse to move on His.

It’s not about works unto salvation; it’s about working “out” our salvation. Making use of and taking full advantage of what we’ve been given through Christ; which is open access to God.

God moves in spheres where He is wanted, on the behalf of those who acknowledge Him first in their lives. And He only rewards those who seek Him with diligent persistent effort. In other words… The depth that we seek God is directly correlated to the depth that we will see God move in our lives.

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He WILL draw near to you.

Then James tells us that…. “The earnest (fervent, passionate, diligent) prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (5:16 amp)

Now it’s true that God in Jesus made us righteous, but WE choose to be earnest.

Proverbs 3:6 promises us that if we,  “Acknowledge God in all your ways, and He WILL make a way for you.”

I don’t know about you, but I want the One who sees the end from the beginning to make a way for me. I’ve made the way for own life at times, sometimes it was good, sometimes it was bad, but even at my best GOD CAN DO BETTER.

When it comes right down to it, we have no right to blame God for not moving in our lives if we put forth no effort to seek Him.

Yet many still blame God, and question why He didn’t do something.

The answer to the inactivity of God in our lives is in our inactivity to seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6 says that, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists (as God) and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.”

To be able to seek God; we need faith. Faith only comes by hearing the Word of God.

What we feed on, is what we’ll believe in. What source makes up the majority of your diet? The world or God.

Read God’s word, hear about His promises… They usually go like this…If you will… then I will…

Faith is active… it puts forth effort… Faith is NOT passive!

In Luke 11:9-10 Jesus said… “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

2 Chronicles 26:3-5 | Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jecoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 4 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5 He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.

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CircleProfileABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason currently pastors New Victory Church in Calgary, Alberta Canada. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Theology, authored two books, and has been in full-time pastoral ministry for over 17 years. He passionately loves God and people with a heart to see everyone walk out of their full potential in Christ living out the kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

 

All Rights Reserved  |  Copyright 2018

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Seeking Visions, Visitations, & Mystical Experiences

Jason Silver  |  Pastor & Author

mystical-751158Despite it becoming more acceptable in some gatherings today, the Bible doesn’t tell us anywhere to PRACTICE or to ACTIVATE “seeking” visions, dreams, visitations, or mystical experiences. I am well aware that some of my friends are in circles that believe these things. I love you all, but unfortunately, this is one area where I have to completely disagree.

I also take issue with the use of the word “mystical” to be honest, it holds too much New Age imagery and connotation. A better and more biblical word would be “spiritual”.

So here’s the deal: Neither Jesus nor the Apostles taught an outright practice of pursuing these things. We are only told to pursue love, and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially that of prophesying, as it edifies the Church.

To be clear Acts 2:17 referring to the prophesy in Joel does say that “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”

It says that they will “see” and “have”. It does not say that they will, “SEEK to see and have”… there’s a big difference.

In other words the dreams and visions will be a result of God’s sovereign pouring out, and our seeking Him first, not an experience.

Other than Peter’s trance to go to the Gentiles (which he did not seek) and John’s revelation on Patmos, (which he did not seek, but was told to write some things down, yet not all) the only other person we see having a spiritual experience like this in the New Testament is Paul.

2 Corinthians 12:2-4   |   “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.”

So how did Paul approach his experience?

One: He wouldn’t even admit that it was him who went to the 3rd heaven. Even though the text heavily implies and most scholars believe he spoke in the third person. Two: Whether in spirit or body, he did not know. And Third: He said he dared not repeat what he heard and saw. And whether it was him or not, he most certainly never encouraged a practice of others seeking the same experience, and then teaching seminars and writing books on it.

Yet we have many today “teaching” the HOW TO’s of having visitations, visions, and mystical experiences as a practice. I’m sorry, but nowhere in the New Testament are we told to teach on obtaining these things. Because there lies in these teachings great opportunity for error, if not simply the teachings themselves.

And in all of this, many times people under this type of teaching, end up developing little to no interest in hearing the straightforward Word taught, which we ARE told IS to be practiced in the Church. Yet it doesn’t hold the same appeal to those seeking mystical experiences.

That being said, I’m not trying to be some “the gifts have ceased internet heresy hunter”. In fact I believe greatly in the power of the Holy Spirit and that his gifts and enduement with power “from on high” are FOR TODAY and should be pursued.

But dreams, visitations, and spiritual experiences are sovereign works of God in the midst of our seeking Him. You will not find a teaching to pursue them, nor to teach others to anywhere in the New Testament.

http://www.newvictory.ca

Copyright 2015  |  Permission to copy, print, or use material is freely granted. Provided that the integrity of the material is not compromised in any manner

canweleavegodJason Silver  | Lead Pastor of New Victory Church

I read an article today that disturbed me. Not because of it’s content, but rather it was the content it lacked.

It was from a Christian website and about Church Leadership to do with multi-site campuses and campus Pastors. It caught my eye as multi-site church is an area of interest to me, and I love God’s church, and seeing it increase in fruitfulness. At the end of the article however I noticed it was missing something. It was like when you take a bite of food, and have that sudden realization that there’s no salt, and think to yourself, “This needs salt.”

So what was the proverbial salt missing in the article? God and His word.

That’s right, I read through the whole long article that contained the words church, churches, pastors, leaders, growth, strategy, and skills…. but not one Bible reference or scriptural encouragement, not even one mention of “who” the Church is really all about… Jesus! I mean shouldn’t His name, or His words at least come up in the conversation about His own Church?

Now if this was one incident, I’d probably not be bothered too much, but for me, this article was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”. Why? Because I’ve noticed that this has become a common trend in articles on Church Leadership over the last several years.

Now I realize some leaders are also business people, and when out in the business world, they are careful to avoid Christian words and phrasing that a non-believer wouldn’t understand. And I can get behind being relevant, as long as “relevant” doesn’t equate compromise. However the problem lies in that the language we’ve chosen to speak out there, has now become how we speak in the Church.

There’s a lot of talk about Church leadership nowadays, but unfortunately many are starting to leave out any mention of the Chief Leader of the Church and what He has to say about it. Yet He is the reason for it all. Without God and His word there is no concept of “church”.

Now  to be clear, I’m all for systems, models, and different methods of doing ministry to increase our kingdom effectiveness. But I’m beginning to wonder if we feel that our models are getting close to perfected, and have forgotten our desperate need for the Perfect One’s involvement in all we do?

In all of our ministry activity, we need to be careful that we do not lean on the “arm of the flesh” more than we do the “everlasting arms” of God.

2 Chronicles 32:8
“With him is only the arm of the flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.”

Jeremiah 17:5
“Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes the arm of flesh his strength…”

We must not lose sight of the fact that Jesus didn’t die for an organization, or a business. He died for people, the Church, an organism. Does the organism need organization? Decidedly so! But it must not become the organization, business, or franchise in the process. If as a Church leader you’ve been feeling like you’re just part of a big machine, you’ve most likely lost sight of the nature of the Church and need a reminder of our roots.

The late Dr. A. W. Tozer, author and pastor, once said, “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”

In light of this statement, and hopefully before you grow defensive in reaction to this post, I pray we honestly ask ourselves, “Who is responsible for 95% of what’s happening in our Church or ministry, is it us or Him?” If the answer is “us”, then we need to get back to leaning on Him.

2 Corinthians 13:15

“Keep examining yourselves to see whether you are continuing in faith. Test yourselves!”


http://www.newvictory.ca

Copyright 2016

The Accommodating Jesus

71xK2dTTzWL._SL1500_Sometimes well meaning Christians who wish to avoid the “fundamental right wing nut job” label will present an “Accommodating Jesus”. They love to use the “Jesus said not to judge…” argument. But then they only include the things He said that support their argument of a Jesus who accommodates living in sin. But if we’re going to say what Jesus actually said, we need to not selectively omit the things that do not fit our arguments.

Jesus also said that “…the road that leads to death and destruction is wide, easy, and many follow it.” (Matthew 7:13) He said of Himself that “the world hates Me because I expose their sinful actions.” (John 7:7) Then He boldly declared, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repent.” (Luke 5:31-32)

John 3:16-21 makes Jesus’ position on the whole judgement thing VERY clear….

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned,but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

So it’s quite clear that the world is already judged by God and stands condemned regardless of whether another person judges them or not… that’s why we need Jesus to save us.

So here it is… God has already judged us… but has also provided a way out of the due punishment for our sin through His Son. Now it’s only between you and God, so stop using other people judging you as an excuse to not be reconciled to God through Jesus.

To be clear, I’m not saying these things to be unloving, no… true love speaks the truth IN LOVE… but still speaks the truth.

Of course we need to love people even in their sin…. and yes Jesus did that. BUT we are not to support them to CONTINUE in the sin itself by accommodating the actions that they practice. Even Jesus declared to those He set free, “Now go and sin no more.”

I know these well meaning folks are trying to come off as loving, but lying to someone about what God really thinks about their sin… is not loving. In fact the sin just festers under the surface… all the while you’re telling them, “No it’s okay.”

If anyone proclaiming to be a Christian tells you it’s okay to keep sinning, they are either absolutely deceived, or not really a Christian.

The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus came to set us free from sin and death, not to endorse us continuing to live in it.

I know some may not like some of the things that I say on Facebook, but know this, it is not out of self righteousness, or a “holier than thou” mentality. No… It’s because I genuinely love people and refuse to withhold the truth from those I love and care about. I really don’t want friends who will lie to me only to give me a false sense of security, nor will I be friend like that.

So I daily risk being “unfriended”… because your lives are worth more than the satisfaction of how high my “Friends” count is on a social media outlet.

Jason Silver
Lead Pastor  |  New Victory Church
http://www.newvictory.ca
Copyright 2016

Jason Silver | Pastor & Author

poverty_blessingorcurse“Blessed are the poor; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Woe to the rich….” Jesus

Was Jesus declaring poverty as a blessing and not a curse as taught elsewhere in scripture? According to the blessing of Abraham, which has now come to us through Christ, God formerly declared poverty a curse. So was Jesus conflicting with God?

Deuteronomy 28:45,47-48 says, “All these curses will come on you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the Lord your God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you. Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity,  therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you.” This is clearly the opposite of blessing.

If Jesus was just referring to being financially poor alone, then one could simply leave their job, their home, and all their possessions, go live on the street and be saved. Missionaries wouldn’t even have to bother going to preach the Gospel in poor countries, because… well they’re poor, they must already have the kingdom.

But this cannot be true, because it’s not what the rest of the Bible teaches us in regards to salvation. We must interpret scripture with the whole of scripture. And the Bible clearly teaches that we are not saved by works, or by anything that we “do” or “do not” have. No… we are saved by grace through faith in accepting Christ as our Savior. It’s not about your financial state, it’s about your heart state. It’s about knowing one’s own destitute poverty in that you cannot save yourself. It’s that coming to realize that you are hopeless without God.

Those who equate poverty with spirituality love to use the story of the Rich Young ruler as a proof text that Jesus wants us to be poor and have little to nothing. But this is not the point of Jesus’ interaction with the young man at all.

It was two fold: First Jesus wanted him to understand that no matter how much of the Law he kept, he still missed it in one area. In other words Jesus was pointing out the young man’s own inability to keep the whole Law. Remember Jesus taught that if you fail to keep even one part of the Law, you fail to keep it at all. Jesus was about to fulfil the whole Law in His sacrifice on the cross, and was essentially pointing the young man to Himself.

Secondly Jesus was exposing the heart of the young man. Him having riches wasn’t the problem, but that he had allowed the riches to have him. He loved money. If he didn’t, then he wouldn’t have struggled with the thought of giving it away. I believe that if he had of sold all his possessions and given the money away, God would have eventually given it back to Him. Poverty-theology people cringe when you say something like this but wasn’t it Jesus who promised, “Give and it will be given back to you with the measure that you give it.” Jesus made all kinds of promises concerning rewards of a return for giving.

Here’s the key: If you can have money without it having you, then you can give of what you have for kingdom purposes whenever God requires you to. There’s no hesitation in your giving, because there is no heart attachment to it. When we keep our hearts right, God can easily flow wealth to us and through us to others.

Now back to the initial point…. Here’s the thing, whether you have a lot of money or very little, a person can recognize their need and turn to Christ. Ones spirituality is not determined by their abundance or lack of possessions. A monetarily poor person without Christ is just as lost condemned as the monetarily rich person without Christ.

Jesus makes a point that yes, it is easier for the poor to recognize themselves having need. However He is also speaking of poverty in the sense of a humble recognition of one’s position of hopelessness without Him and a dire need of salvation. And that those who recognize this are blessed, because of their humility they are ready to receive the Kingdom, as opposed to someone who thinks they do not need God’s salvation.

Is it harder for the rich to see themselves in need? Absolutely, this is why Jesus declares, “Woe… (or warning) to the rich…. BUT it’s not impossible. All things are possible with God, as Jesus Himself answered His disciples regarding the rich entering the Kingdom.

A number of years ago I met a homeless man on the street, gave him a coffee and sandwich and started to share Christ with him. He refused to listen to me, and in fact got quite angry. Even though he was in great physical need, he was blinded to his even greater spiritual one. At the same time I also know personally of a very wealthy man who came to Christ in a time when he clearly saw his need. Now he uses his wealth to bless the poor and help various ministries all over the world.

I find the argument that teaching about prosperity is an offence to people starving in Africa to be quite silly and lacks common sense. And to counter the argument I’ve asked people, “Do you think if we were to ask one of those starving individuals if they felt blessed by their condition, that they would answer with a resounding “Yes”? I haven’t had one person answer yes to this question yet. And of course not, it would be absurd. And so is the argument to begin with. Lack of prosperity is why they cannot afford food, clothing, and an education.

Listen… if God is so against people being rich, specifically His people, then we should not have instructions from Paul like, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share..” (1 Timothy 6:17) Share what? Of their riches! Paul doesn’t tell them to not be rich, but to not let there hope rest in it, and be generous.

There are many passages and promises regarding God’s people prospering, not to selfishly consume it all on themselves, but to give into the work of the ministry. As long as we live within a monetary based system, we will all need to use it just as we all already have been doing so thus far. And whatever we do, we are to do unto the Lord. So steward it His way. Don’t let money rule you, you rule it. Jesus commended us to be wise in the use of money more than once. Just read the Parable of the Shrewd Manager in Luke chapter 16.

Listen, if the people who teach that God wants us to be poor really believed what they taught, they should have nothing at all… ever… period. But we don’t see that happening.

The truth is that holiness is not determined by our earthly position and possessions or material things. It is determined by our reception of Christ and by HIM making us holy. Asceticism (a monastic practice that believes having less is more holy) is a dangerous doctrine, it causes God’s people to submit to unnecessary poverty and lack, and it holds back ministries from growing and caring for more people due to their hands being tied by lack of finances.

I grew up in and with a poverty mentality, and I realized as I have studied the Bible more and more in this area, that this is not what Jesus is teaching. Otherwise he would be at odds with what God is saying. Throughout the rest of the New Testament God very clearly and intentionally shows us how the blessing of Abraham (which includes monetary blessing) was brought to us through Christ.

Galatians 3:9, 13-1
So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us– for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE “– in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

It says….. So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with (or in the same manner as) Abraham, the man of faith.

BUT… we can only experience it BY FAITH. If we don’t believe it, we won’t experience it.

We must not forget that Jesus came to lift the curse. He became poor so the poor might become rich. Poverty IS NOT A BLESSING, it is a part of the curse. No where in scripture does God call material poverty a blessing. Sure He may call some to live with less, as a personal choice and conviction, but not with nothing at all.

All throughout the Bible poverty was a referred to as a curse, and today it remains… A CURSE.

David declares, “I have been young, and now I am old, but I have never seen a righteous person abandoned or his descendants begging for food.” Psalm 37:25

2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor,so that through his poverty you could become rich.

2 Corinthians 9:8-9
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, “HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER.”

www.newvictory.ca

Copyright 2015  |  Permission to copy, print, or use material is freely granted. Provided that the integrity of the material is not compromised in any manner

All Preachers Want Is My Money

preacher-with-raining-moneyThere’s an old saying that I have heard far too many times growing up in the Church regarding pastors, “We’ll keep him poor, and God will keep him humble.”

Even before I became a pastor myself, I found this to be very cruel andoffensive. It never sounded spiritual to me at all. Mainly because it’s not even close to biblical, and shows ones utter lack of care and respect for those who lead us. Yet it voices a false spirituality and line of thought that is still strong in many church circles today.

The truth is our attitude regarding money, whether the abundance of or lack of it, has a way of revealing where our trust truly lies. Money tends to be the area that Christians struggle the most to step out in faith in; both in our household finances and in our churches. Faith needs to go both ways. Living by faith is not just for Pastors, it’s for churches too. If a pastor steps out in faith to lead a church, then that church needs to step out in faith to care for them prayerfully and financially.

I really believe God wants his Church to mature in this. I know He has been challenging my wife and I a lot in this area of giving as of late, and we desire to grow in it for the sake of furthering the work of His Kingdom in the earth.

The kingdom key to putting actions to our faith can be found here in the words of Jesus in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. The measure you use, will be measured back to you to give again.” Paraphrased: What would you like in your life? Then give it.

The following is actually what the Bible says about how we should treat our Pastors:

1 Corinthians 9:14
“The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should earn their living by the gospel.”

1 Timothy 5:17-18
The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the oxen while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

Now many like to note that Paul chose not to use this right, however he was the strongest defender of the right to use it. He even clearly states that it IS God’s ordained method of provision for those ministering.

Are there frauds out there who abuse this? Yes. Should we then hold back from supporting those who rightly lead us to somehow punish the frauds? No.

http://www.newvictory.ca

Copyright 2015  |  Permission to copy, print, or use material is freely granted. Provided that the integrity of the material is not compromised in any manner

Taking a Stand on the Stand

NoStandsJason Silver | Pastor, Author & Worship Leader

If you haven’t already gotten sucked into the hoopla as of late, a number of worship leading forums and blogs are abuzz with  discussions (even heated arguments) over whether or not worship teams should be using music stands on the stage? And to be quite honest, as a worship leader for over 25 years now, I’m kinda done with it.

Guess what? I use a stand, there I said it, “I use a stand.” Do I judge you if you do not use a stand? Nope. And in fact I think it’s cool if that works for you, in fact I admire that you can do that; but it doesn’t work for me. I have a very poor short term memory; therefore it helps me to have a reference if I should need it. Would it be a good idea for those of us who use stands to not stare at them the whole time, and look up at the congregation once and awhile? Absolutely! But on the other hand, it’s not a moral issue if we do not.

I remember being in a worship service years ago that was absolutely powerful, the presence of God was so strong in the place where we were meeting. And the worship leader, whom I knew as a shy individual, never looked up once from his music stand. Yet God moved powerfully; imagine that? Could it be that we have become so enamored with principles of performance, that we have lost touch with the principle of his Presence?

Here’s where I really take issue…. when people look down on you as “less than” because you use a music stand is downright silly. Yet it has happened to me personally. We need to watch that we are not given to a kind of snobbery, or a “better than” attitude, when it comes to our chosen methods of ministry. A method is just that… A method.

Would you go to a symphony and think, “Wow, obviously none of these musicians know what they’re doing, because they’re all using music stands.”? Of course not, in fact they are doing what they know how to do with excellence, yet they are using music stands.

One of the foremost reasons for getting rid of stands is based on the argument that you do not see the bands at concerts using them. Well of course you don’t because they tour, practice, jam, and record together day in and day out. That’s their lives, they’re a band. They eat, live, and sleep their songs. So one can expect that they will know them. This includes mega church bands that are on staff full-time as band members and singer-songwriters.

However, churches that aren’t mega, are using volunteers who work other jobs during the week; they have one night of practice mid-week before playing that Sunday. The glaring reality is that most Churches are not “mega” and do not have the level of resources to work with like larger Churches with staffing to “the nines” do.

Excellence is doing the best you can with what you have. Not frustrating willing volunteers with a goal beyond available time and resources.

Now here’s an honest question… can we just get to worshiping God, without arguing over how we should or should not do it?  We’re not all the same, God made us all different; all worship music is not meant to fit some strict “Mega Church” cookie cutter set of guidelines. Everyone’s expression is not meant to look the same. It’s the “manifold grace of God”, One source of inspiration, but many expressions.

This is what it all boils down to; if you’re church uses stands great! If they do not, also great! But let’s stop treating it like it’s a moral issue, instead of what it really is; a matter of preference.

Nuff said…. let’s move on with things that really matter, like simply having hearts after God, and using our talents to the best of our ability and resources to do it.

http://www.newvictory.ca

Copyright 2015  |  Permission to copy, print, or use material is freely granted. Provided that the integrity of the material is not compromised in any manner