by Eric Reeder
Founder and leader of RISEmovement
Jesus was Emmanuel, God walking around with us. He was right in the midst of broken, sick, sinful, deceived people hanging with them without issue. He was in the midst of darkness displaying light at all times. He didn’t push people away, He came to them and then called them to come to Him. He never told people to come to Him without having had moved toward them first. He is not removed in the presence of sin, or sickness, or brokenness. He is close and available and changes the situation.
While Jesus was telling people about Father, there came an amazing opportunity to show people what Father is like. A paralyzed man is lowered down in front of Him. Jesus moves out of teaching and into showing. He wasn’t going to just talk about Father. He was going to display Father. That is an important aspect that we all need to live. We need to show people what Father is like.
Jesus makes one of that craziest statements as He steps forward to take care of this gentleman. Jesus goes straight for the jugular. He goes to the “elephant-in-the-room”. He doesn’t even talk of the disease. He goes to the heart of the matter. He shows us what Father is like. Jesus says, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” What?!
Jesus makes this statement of truth and it rocks their world and rocks ours. Jesus doesn’t announce his forgiveness as if it was never there before. Jesus proclaims what has always been. Father walked in forgiveness toward that guy. He walks in forgiveness toward us. Jesus hadn’t died on the cross at this point. So we have to conclude that the cross didn’t create or provide forgiveness. The cross was the display of forgiveness that was already in play from the goodness of Father. How else could Jesus state that this guy was forgiven if forgiveness was dependent on the cross? This guy didn’t even confess his sin. Jesus just displayed that Father had already forgiven him so now go free and embrace the healing available to you from Father’s goodness.
It’s basically impossible to feel worthy of a healing if you don’t realize your value through Father’s love that has always had forgiveness toward you. That is why Jesus went straight to that point. He wanted this guy to experience Father’s goodness and awaken to his value so we would no longer be paralyzed. When hearts awaken to the depth of Father’s love and value for us it heals what has us paralyzed. Our hearts, our minds, and even our physical body respond to the “all-liberating” truth of Father’s love. Our paralyzed state is remedied and we pick up our mats and live like we never have before.
by Michelle Harding
Founder President of Life by Design Ministries, Hurlock, MD
Senior Leader at Church of The King, Easton, MD
Merriam Webster defines “Roadblock” as:
1 a : a barricade often with traps or mines for holding up an enemy at a point on a road covered by fire
b : a road barricade set up especially by law enforcement officers
2: an obstruction in a road
3: something that blocks progress or prevents accomplishment of an objective
Roadblocks are one of those things that we encounter in life. Where I live, the state of Maryland is building a long overdue and much needed bridge to replace the one that currently stands there. That bridge is a source of great frustration in our community, you never know if it will be stuck open, or if you are on a boat; if it will be stuck closed, or if you will drive over it and pavement begins to fall into the river beneath you. And as we wait on the completion of this new bridge, we encounter roadblocks almost every day. A few days ago, while sitting in traffic waiting for my turn to pass through the one lane open to traffic, frustrated that it was taking so long, the Lord spoke to my heart. He said, “Wherever there is progress, there will be roadblocks, things that will deter, delay, and distract.”
When I looked up the definition of roadblock and saw its various meanings, I was struck at how parallel they are to our spiritual journey towards destiny. In making progress in our lives we will face barricades, traps, and landmines placed there by the enemy of our souls. Dark forces are indeed at work to hinder the progress of the Kingdom of God in us and through us. Often times these seasons feel like a barrage of unceasing enemy fire seeking to enforce the lies that once held us back or mindsets that keep us paralyzed in fear.
Sometimes when there are obstructions on the road to destiny, they are not for our detriment, but for our good. There are times Father, in His deep love and mercy towards us, will allow delays forward to cause us to take a new direction or delay us so things can be made safer ahead. You see, just like the roadblocks I face every day traveling over that bridge here in my community, there are days it is best to wait for things to clear and sometimes it is best to take an alternative route. I look for signs around me that will help me gage the best choice. In the same way, asking Father and being led of the Spirit, we can discern if the delay is best waited on or if we are to seek a new direction.
In my own life, often the roadblocks I have faced stem from unbelief in areas; lies I’ve believed; or a wrong view of Father and my relationship with Him. Still others we face are past hurts, things we get hung up on, and bad habits. Roadblocks to our destiny also include, financial difficulties, divorce or bad relationships, continued sin cycles, job loss, death of a loved one, trauma, abuse, addiction, unforgiveness, depression, self-hatred, or a notorious past. There are many other things that could be added to this list, it is by no means meant to be exhaustive, since each of us have traveled our own roads in this life and have faced many roadblocks in it.
But as the final definition above shows us, the reality is roadblocks can block progress or prevent us from stepping fully into our destiny. We will face roadblocks, but there are truths that can propel us further or shift our current trajectory to step into our destiny. One of the most important to remember is roadblocks are temporary, but how we handle them determines the outcome. The verse that comes to mind here for me most often is Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
Trusting Father is essential. Our unwavering assurance of His love is the ground work for every area we trust Him with. Complete knowing, that He is a good Father, a loving Father, a giving Father, and a trustworthy Father becomes the plumb line of every issue of our heart and lives. In my knowing how thoroughly and unquestionable His love for me is, nothing can overtake me.
Another point is we cannot lean on our own understanding. Why? Because often our understanding is skewed. Things like our past, the culture we were raised in, the lenses religion has put on us, wrong doctrines, and just plain bad teaching can distort how we see, perceive, and understand situations, circumstances and people. This is why the next portion of our instruction is so important in Proverbs 3:5-6.
We are to acknowledge Father in all our ways. According to the “Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament”, the word here for acknowledge is the Hebrew word “yada”. In its simplest definition it is “to know”. But a closer look reveals that it is tied to the “knowing possessed by God in which nothing can be hidden” It also speaks to it being something He teaches man and is parallel to wisdom and understanding, instruction, and law. So to sum “acknowledge Him” up it means that if we will know Him, we will taught by Him wisdom in our ways, but it requires a contemplative pursuit of His wisdom and knowledge.
To be contemplative is to make thoughtful observations, it requires reflection, deep and considered thought. It is to be purposeful, intentional, and expectant. And most importantly, prayerful. His wisdom is often mined out of the hard places in our lives if we will be contemplative seekers of Him and His wisdom. So as we acknowledge Him in all our ways, it is important that we are not dogmatic in what we know, but are willing to ask ourselves hard questions and that we are willing to allow the Lord to offend our minds to get to our hearts.
In doing these things we have a promise! And in our knowing of His Love and faithfulness to us, our Father is a promise keeper. So, He promises us as we trust Him, not leaning on our own understanding, and acknowledge Him in all our ways, He WILL make our paths straight. We can trust Him with the roadblocks and we can trust Him to lead us forward or around the obstacles. Your destiny is straight ahead!
by Chad Waller
Lead Pastor of Vc2 Tennille, GA
Author of "Ash Sculpting" and "Synergize"
Owner of Waller-Hill Publishing
I find it interesting that many creative people struggle with depression. Though this may seem like a generalization, it is founded on many years of observation and on my own personal experience. Depression, in a very true and insidious way, tends to short circuit creativity. It causes us to misplace our confidence that things can get better. May I remind you that hope is not a wish, but is a confident expectation of the goodness of God. It is confidence that God's goodness still prevails. However, as we give place to depression, we begin to think there is no use in trying, pressing on, or working anymore towards a favorable outcome. Often, this seems to be when people become exasperated and simple want to give up. Feeling they have lost their creative edge, they bang down on the keyboard, throw away the canvas, rip up the page, or walk away from the project at hand.
As I am writing this, I realize some may possibly think this far fetched and maybe even silly. Well, I am writing in particular to creative people (i.e. Artist, Musicians, Writers, Dancers, Actors, etc.) and I am confident they can connect with this thought. The feeling that nothing seems to be coming out the way you feel it, hear it or see it. This moment often causes us to feel down cast in our souls. We can begin to misplace our hope by looking to ourselves as the source of creativity and wondering what happened to us. You must stop and remember who is your source!
Psalm 43:5 "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."
So when our soul is cast down, or may I even say depressed, there is turmoil within us. This turmoil causes us to struggle with creativity and makes it difficult to even focus. The battle within us can be fierce and produce much disruption that keeps us from accomplishing what we desire to create or even creating anything of significance.
It is interesting that David tells his soul here to hope in God or to have confidence that God's goodness still prevails. He speaks to his soul and encourages himself that he will again praise God. He reminds himself that God is his salvation and simply that God is his God! I find this so important because God is my source. He is the Great Creator and I, His creation, have been entrusted with creative power and I create for His glory and honor. I have to remind myself that He is the source and I am only a channel of that creativity being released from the source of all life! In Christ, and by Christ and through Christ all things exist! And it is all for His glory! So my confidence and hope are in the Lord!
I am certain that discussing this could cause someone who suffers with depression to say I am being insensitive or possibly that I don't understand how hard it can be for those who fight depression. The truth is, I have fought depression much in my life. So I don't speak as an outsider looking down on anyone who deals with this. And yes, I know there are medical things that can cause depression. I also happen to know that our God is known as Jehovah Rapha, the Lord my physician, and that Jesus Christ bore my sicknesses and all my diseases on the cross! By the stripes of Jesus I have been healed–spirit, soul, and body! So I don't just lay down and accept any disease, be it it physical or emotional, but I stand declaring what the Word of God says!
I cannot give place to depression in my life. It short circuits what I have been called to do and created for. It stifles my creativity and slows down my creative juices. Depression causes me to focus on myself and my problems and not on God and is often caused by me being more self absorbed that Christ focused. My life is not my own, it belongs to Him and as I fellowship and commune with Him, more creativity flows than I ever dreamed possible. It flows from a place of confidence. It flows from a place of hope. Deep inside I see that I can make a difference and things can be better. Then I stop focusing on the negative and I begin to see the limitless possibilities that Father God wants to release. My soul places its hope and trust in the Lord and I find wells of creativity. Then I create from that place–that place of HOPE!
Hope in the Lord oh my soul, He will not fail you!
by Chris McKelvey
Founder of Fire Starter Ministries
What comes to your mind when you think about Authority Leadership and Power Leadership?
I would like for you to take a moment and write down what you feel is the difference between Power and Authority according to
your world view. Then continue this study.
One has a Father’s heart towards leading and the other has an Orphan's heart towards dominating and controlling. Here are the definitions that we will be focusing on, so that we are all on the same page…
Authority~ The skill of getting someone (or a group of people) to do something towards a common goal with
enthusiasm and camaraderie.
Power~ The ability to get someone (or a group of people) to do something towards a common goal because of your entitlement.
There are two key words that separate the definitions: the word skill and the word ability.
Moving people skillfully is hands on.
The word skill in the dictionary means~ to work upon. Watch how this works. As we walk in Authority, we skillfully work upon each individual to move them towards the common goal. We want to move them towards the common goal, not push them. Moving people skillfully is hands on. This is the Father’s mentality: to help people to move others in the direction of His will. Being right beside them, moving them towards the goal and when the
time is right, we release them to accomplish the goal through their gifts, talents,
No one likes to be pushed to the ground.
The word ability in the dictionary means~ possession of the means …. to do something.
Power is the ability to push people towards the common goal. Just because you’ve been given the entitlement of a Mother, or the entitlement of a Husband, or the entitlement of a
Pastor or the entitlement of a Boss on your job, does not give you the right to push
people around. This is the Orphan mentality...“My way or the high way”. It is not hands on like the Father’s mentality, but rather it’s pushing them towards the goal and leaving them out to fend for themselves. Walking dominantly in the power of your entitlement really can turn people off. That kind of attitude pushes people into getting the job done, but it can cause strife and disharmony. Unfortunately, the gifts, talents, and anointing to do the job, gets stifled. The Father’s mentality moves and the Orphan mentality pushes.
The Father’s Mentality moves and the Orphan mentality pushes.
“Authority” is skillfully working upon each individual and “Power” is forcing your ability of entitlement .
Authority moves, Power pushes. The Father’s mentality moves people with
a hands on approach. The Orphan mentality pushes people away and its
hands off with no real guidance. Real Authority is guidance with freedom;
where Power is abandonment with chains of restrictions. We need to walk in
Authority Leadership so that we can utilize all the gifts, talents, and
anointing a person carries for the Kingdom sake.
Authority is guidance with freedom, Power is abandonment with chains of restrictions.
Our next study will bring us to a breakdown of even a greater proportion of the definition of Authority.
Eric Reeder is joined by other leaders of RISEmovement to reveal the heartbeat of The HOPE-filled Gospel.