Tom and Doug speaking at the International Leader’s Conference

During the first part of April Tom Bedford and Doug Kreighbaum  spoke during the corporate sessions of the Salt and Light International Leadership Conference near London England.  The main leaders in the Salt and Light Family from the various nations gathered (24 nations). There were 10 corporate sessions that are available for free online at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgP6-niVcMVM7xMnPz4INkMhIdGNQ3dtH.

Here are Doug and Tom’s sessions.

 

 

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Ordinary life becomes extraordinary as we connect with God

ordinary 2God has a way of making ordinary things in everyday life become “extraordinary.”  There is a life in God that causes even the mundane to become glorious.  What causes this? When we connect to Him in a real way right in the midst of everyday life.    

Moses was out taking care of his flock in the wilderness like he had done many times before.  He came near the mountain of God (always good thing) and God called out to him from an ordinary bush that had become “marvelous” (Ex 3:1-5).  Moses “turned aside” to approach the bush that was on fire with God but not burnt up.  Then Moses heard God’s voice and had to take his shoes off because what had once been an ordinary thing in an ordinary place had now became “holy ground.” 

All of God’s people need daily encounters with Him which causes ordinary everyday life to become holy ground.

We need God’s Manifest Presence

While God’s presence is everywhere it is only when we encounter Him in a real way things change.  It is not that the things themselves change but our perspective on them changes.  It is like being home with my wife.  She can be in the same house with me and technically her presence is with me.  If I am in another room or consumed with something else her presence isn’t affecting me much. When I change my posture and go into the same room with her, look at her, talk with her, and notice her beauty I become affected by her presence.  She didn’t change, I did. 

We are to have those types of experiences with God everyday.  Bible scholars call this aspect of God’s presence His “manifest presence.”   As God’s people we must have ongoing connection with God’s manifest presence so the ordinary of everyday life becomes extraordinary in His presence.  

The danger of empty religion is that we carry the name, the call of God, but rarely connect with Him in a real way.  That causes life to become empty, mundane, ordinary, and “religious.”  This is what dead religion is all about.  It is what Jeremiah warned God’s people to avoid. Jer 2:13 “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water. 

Jesus pointed this out to the religious leaders of His day who were steeped in their religious practices.  They even read God’s word diligently but God’s life was not in what they were doing.  Why, because they refused to come and connect with Him.  Joh 5:39-40 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;  40  and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

“Certain (ordinary) Places” becoming “Awesome Places”

The story of Jacob (Gen 28:11-22) holds an important key to seeing “certain” (ordinary) ordinary 3places” become “awesome places,” filled with the life of God.  

Gen 28:11-22 He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.  12  He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.  13  And behold, the LORD stood above it and said…15  “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go…16  Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.”  17  He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”… 19  He called the name of that place Bethel (the House of the Lord).

Jacob was on the run from his brother when he came to a “certain place” (verse 11).  It wasn’t a great church meeting or worship concert, just an ordinary place. Jacob had deceived his brother and quarreled with him.  Now he was avoiding him, tired, and looking for a place to rest.

This sounds like church life if we aren’t careful, worn out people, spiritually sleepy, not living in unity with their brothers, making them oblivious to God’s presence that is all around them. 

Something happened before daylight.  Jacob became wide awake declaring this is an “awesome place, the house of God, and the gate of heaven.”  What happened?  How did a “certain place” become an “awesome place” (vs 17)?  How did an ordinary place become Bethel the House of God the gateway of heaven where the things of God’s heavenly realm move into this earthly realm (vs 19)?  

What makes the house of God the house of God, and an ordinary place “awesome” isn’t the building or meeting.  It isn’t a church service with worship bands or great preaching.  It is when His people wake up and connect with Him in a real way.  It is when we see Him and hear His voice.  When this happens we find ourselves like Jacob realizing afresh that ‘the Lord is in the place” and we “did not know it.”  We may have known He is there in theology but not in reality.  That all changes when we actively connect with Him.

We need to do everything we can to “wake up” and connect with Jesus in a real way.  Whether in our regular everyday “prayer closets,” or in gatherings of God’s people we need to push past spiritual sleepiness or sluggishness and connect with God.  This is what Hosea referred to as he encouraged God’s people with an approach to “press on” to know the Lord until His influence comes like rain watering us and the earth.   Hos 6:3 “So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.”

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Five Minute God Thoughts: Holy Spirit isn’t a “Silent Partner” in Authentic Christianity

The writings of Luke (Gospel of Luke and Book of Acts) is the largest contribution of one single writer (27.5%) in the New Testament.  While Luke records the life and action of Jesus, Acts records the life and action of the apostles.  Really it is more about the continuing activity of God by Holy Spirit through the life of the early church (as Jesus promised in John 14-16).  Some title the book “Acts of Holy Spirit.”  This is authentic Christianity!  There are 55 direct references to Holy Spirit’s activity in Acts. I mistakenly heard as a young believer that Holy Spirit is a “gentlemen” or a “silent partner.”  That isn’t what Jesus wants and not what the book of Acts reveals.  We have a part to play in “stirring up” Holy Spirit’s activity in our lives.  We need to hunger for, and “stir up” ourselves in order to see more of Holy Spirit’s power released through us.

 

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Five Minute God Thoughts: God’s prescription to staying continually filled with Holy Spirit

Jesus said in John 6:63 that “it is the Spirit who gives life, human ability doesn’t profit anything.”  We need to be a people who are continually filled with Holy Spirit.  It was so important that after His resurrection Jesus “commanded” His disciples not to say or do anything until they were filled with Holy Spirit.  It is that important!  We are not once to be filled once, but just like the early church we are to be “continually filled” (Acts 13:52).  We don’t want a Spirit filled history but a Spirit filled reality!  There are two clear passages that are  “prescriptions” of how to stay continually filled.  We must follow His clear prescriptions if we are to be continually filled.

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Important Key To Moving in God’s Power: Drinking The Spirit From Jesus

We can only imagine what people might have thought or said.  “What is all the commotion?  Who is that yelling?  What is He saying?  Is anybody thirsty?”  It was the last day of the feast.  Everything had been leading up to this event.

John 7:37-38 Drink God's River From Jesus

John 7:37-38 Drink God’s River From Jesus

On the last day of the Feast of Booths in which the people were commemorating their journey in the wilderness, the High Priest would go down to the Pool of Siloam (which means “sent” like Jesus was the “Sent One” from God)  and fill a flask with water which he brought back to the temple.  He would circle the altar seven times (seven is the number for completeness) then pour the water on the Southwest corner of the altar.  He was making a prophetic declaration about something God promised He was going to do.  He promised that He was going to pour the river of His Spirit into the earth which will bring life to dry and wilderness places.   Isaiah had predicted it.   Isa 43:19-20  “Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.  20  “The beasts of the field will glorify Me, The jackals and the ostriches, Because I have given waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My chosen people.

Ezekiel saw this in detail.  God’s Spirit was coming as a river and everywhere that river went it brought life and healing.  It began flowing from the altar, out through the temple, then gained force as it flowed into the earth.

Ezekiel 47:1-12  And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar.  (2)  He brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate by way of the gate that faces east. And behold, water was trickling from the south side.  (3)  When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water reaching the ankles.  (4)  Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the knees. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the loins.  (5)  Again he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be forded…behold, on the bank of the river there were very many trees on the one side and on the other…  (9)  “It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live.

Now Jesus was raising his voice and talking about drinking from Him.  He promised that as they did the river of God’s Spirit would flow from their “innermost being.”  John 7:37-39  Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  (38)  “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”  (39)  But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

As people heard Jesus declaring with a loud voice some probably understood the point He was making.   He was announcing that the river God promised through Isaiah,  Ezekiel, and others was going to come into the earth through a people who would drink It from Him.  It coincides with what John the Baptist was announcing, we drink from Jesus and He fills us to overflowing with God’s river (Mat 3:11, Luk 3:16 “It is He that will fill you with God’s Holy Spirit.”)

The river begins to flow into the earth

Jesus began to do it on the day of Pentecost when the disciples were in the upper Pentecostroom in prayer (drinking from Jesus).  Suddenly the Spirit was poured out on them.  Jesus filled them and the river began to flow in and through them.  It flowed out of the upper room into the streets of Jerusalem. It kept flowing and eventually flowed into all the earth as His people continued to drink from Him and move in mission.

God delights in releasing and filling the earth with Himself (His river) “through the church.”  Eph 1:23 MSG…The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which He fills everything with his presence.  Ephesians 3:10-11  so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church.

God wants His river, that the world desperately needs, to flow through His church.  The only way it will happen is if we consistently come to Jesus and drink.  Prayer, praise, worship, as well as praying and singing in the Spirit are the primary ways we “come to Him and drink.”  We must drink from Jesus, not just for ourselves but for a world who desperately needs God’s river.

Every time we come before Jesus let’s be conscious that we are drinking God’s river from Him.  Lets continue and be filled by Him to the point the Spirit will flow through us into a dry and barren land.  This is an important key to releasing God’s supernatural power.  May His river flow through us to bring healing, deliverance, recovery of sight to the blind, release to prisoners and captives, and the favorable year of the Lord (Isaiah 61) to a world who desperately needs Him.

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Charismatic Theology Without Holy Spirit Reality

Power and Holy spirit1Th 1:5  for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction;

Act 1:8  but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses…

Ephesians 1:18-20  I pray that the eyes of your heart (understanding) may be enlightened (have light so that you can see…(19)  and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

Rom 8:11  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Living in the supernatural life and power of God is simply about flowing with Holy Spirit.  This is the type of life God has created us for.   Jesus Himself said it is part of the experience accompanying Holy Spirit’s coming,  “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”  We must realize that anytime we have a subtle attitude within us that we don’t really need the active power of Holy Spirit in what we do is a grave mistake.  The things of God are done by the power of Holy Spirit, not by human might or power Zechariah 4:6.

Danger of Charismatic Theology without Charismatic Experience

One of the challenges to those of a Charismatic background is that over the years they get comfortable with the level of the moving of the Spirit they have, or don’t have.  They can become Charismatic in their theology but not in practice.  Any of us can believe in the moving of the Spirit while actually experiencing very little of Him flowing in our lives and churches.

I was really challenged once by a preacher who said, “you really have about as much of the Holy Spirit moving through your life as you desire.”  At first I was a little offended, but what he said had a lot of truth in it.  Almost everything about the Kingdom moving in us is connected to hunger and desire Matthew 5.   Jesus said a very similar thing about the moving of the Spirit as He relating it to thirst.

Joh 7:37-39  Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  38  “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water (CEV  Have faith in me, and you will have life-giving water flowing from deep inside you.”  39  But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive…

The Spirit Wants to Move, Not be a Silent Partner

The Spirit in the life of the believer should have a connection to observable movement.  I heard it said when I was a young Christian that “the Holy Spirit is a silent partner.”  It sounded reasonable at the time and the point being made was that the Spirit will let us exercise our free will.  Yet reflecting on it later I realized how the whole  “silent partner” thing can be a big problem.  While He does allow us to exercise our will He desires anything but to be a silent partner.

There is a principle of Biblical interpretation called the “Law of first mention.”  It simply means that if you are going to explore and understand a subject that is repeated throughout the Bible you need to look at the first time it is mentioned.  All subsequent mentions are to be interpreted in light of the first mention.  This is greatly truth when it comes to Holy Spirit.  Consider the first mention of Him.   Gen 1:2  The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving (Heb.”to move, brood, flutter over”) over the surface of the waters.

The first mention of the Spirit showed Him moving/hovering over the surface of the waters to make something observable happen.  Holy Spirit is never mentioned as a stagnant part of the Godhead who isn’t doing much.  Consider the metaphorical symbols describing Holy Spirit.  He is compared to a dove (Matthew 3:16), water (John 4:14; 7:38-39), wind (John 3:8; Acts 2:2), rain (Joel 2:2), oil (Psalms 89:20), and fire (Luke 3:16; Isaiah 4:4; Acts 2:3).  All these metaphors tell us something about the nature of Holy Spirit.   They all center around something moving, changing, and creating.   Jesus describes this to Nichodemus when He explained how the Spirit births life (John 3).  He tells him that the Spirit works in the same way as wind.  We can’t see the wind but we definitely see it’s effects, “so is everyone born of the Spirit” (Jn 3:8).

Is it We or He Who Moves?

There is an ago old question when it comes to moving with the power of the Spirit.  Is it God who moves, or do we have a part to play in it?  Scripture indicates it is both, not either/or.  We work because God works.

Php 2:12-13…work out your salvation with fear and trembling 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. 

Stir up the giftWe have a part to play in stirring up and releasing the supernatural activity of Spirit.  2 Timothy 1:6  For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. The word kindle afresh (Greek anazopureo) means to “re-enkindle or fan into flame.”  (NIV, ESV, NLT translations use fan into flame, The Message: keep that ablaze!).

The picture here is that of a fire which had once burned brightly but had died down from lack of attention or fresh fuel. The intensity and usefulness of the fire had been lost. The encouragement was to rekindle it, fan it into flames, or stir it up to get the flames going again.

Paul goes on to say in verse 7, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a Spirit of power, love and of self-discipline.”  Paul is talking about the supernatural power of the Spirit, not Timothy’s natural abilities.  We should never be content to have the fire and wind of the Spirit die down in our lives!

How do we “kindly afresh/stir up” the gift of God connected to Holy Spirit?   We do it through spiritual activity such as prayer, praise, and worship, as well as things such as speaking, singing and praying in Holy Spirit (which includes tongues, the prayer language of the Spirit) 1 Corinthians 14:13-15, Jude 1:20, Acts 2:4 etc.  We are always to live in a way through Jesus, that what we believe progressively becomes a reality in our lives. 

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