A transformational church is empowered by the Holy Spirit.

I have just released a new Bible study called The Case for Antioch, based on Jeff Iorg’s book by the same title. The big idea of this study is to challenge your people to be a church like the Antioch church.

Here is an excerpt:

Spiritual Power

The church at Antioch was empowered by the Holy Spirit. In our day of complex church programs created and managed by professionally trained ministers, advocating dependence on the Spirit to empower the church sounds anachronistic and outdated. Words like anointing, unction, and filling aren’t common descriptors of church leaders or church ministries. Few conferences promoting ministerial leadership methods prioritize experiencing the Holy Spirit. When we analyze a leader’s resume, we usually look more for educational achievements and ministerial accomplishments than for evidence of spiritual power. We often measure churches the same way, focusing on external accoutrements like buildings or programs rather than considering spiritual depth.

Both personal and corporate successes can be Spirit empowered, and let’s hope they are! They can also result from concentrated human effort. It takes spiritual discernment and disciplined thinking to know the difference between fleshly competence and spiritual power. A transformational church is empowered by the Holy Spirit. An empowered church requires Spirit-filled leaders. Courageous leaders won’t settle for less, personally or corporately.  Jeff Iorg, The Case for Antioch (Nashville: B&H, 2011).


This Bible Study  is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

What is a seraphim?

The seraphim are not sinful men burdened with impure hearts. Yet as angelic beings they are still creatures, and even in their lofty status as consorts of the heavenly host it is necessary for them to shield their eyes from a direct gaze on the face of God. They are fearfully and wonderfully made, equipped by their Creator with a special pair of wings to cover their faces in His majestic presence.

The seraphim have a second pair of wings. The second pair is used to cover their feet. This equipment is not intended as a sort of angelic shoe to protect the soles of their feet or to facilitate walking in the heavenly temple. The covering of the feet is for a different reason, a reason reminiscent of Moses’ experience with the burning bush:

There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:2–5, NIV)

God commanded Moses to take off his shoes. Moses was standing on holy ground. The ground was made holy by the presence of God. The act of removing the shoes was a symbol of Moses’ recognition that he was of the earth—earthy. The feet of man, sometimes called “feet of clay,” symbolize our creatureliness. It is our feet that link us to the earth.

The seraphim are not of the earth. Their feet are not made of clay. As angels they are spirit-beings. Nevertheless they remain creatures, and the imagery of Isaiah’s vision suggests that they too must cover their feet, acknowledging their creatureliness in the exalted presence of God. — R. C. Sproul, The Holiness of God (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1993), 35–36.


I have just completed a seven-part Bible Study called Ancient Words. It explores seven key Hebrew words we need to understand in order to really understand the gospel. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

Inviting people just got easier

“82 percent of the unchurched are at least “some what likely” to attend church if they are invited. Perhaps we need to pause on this response. Perhaps we need to restate it: More than eight out of ten of the unchurched said they would come to church if they were invited. If you take anything from this book, please remember this point.” Rainer, Unchurched Next Door

“Only 2 percent of church members ever invite an unchurched person to church”. — Rainer, Unchurched Next Door

If you want this this to be different in your church, work to influence this change.

Let’s think about solving this problem through the lens of some of the Influence strategies we have been looking at. (If you missed these, or would like to get ahead on reading all the articles written so far, see http://www.joshhunt.com/InfluencerIndex.htm)

We tend to bemoan these kind of facts without building a strategy to change it. Here are some steps you could take.

Step #1. Make inviting intentional (at least) twice a year.

Easter is the #1 most likely time for unchurched people to come to church. Make a push to invite people for Easter.

Words are the least effective form of influence but influence almost always starts here. If you have not done so already, ask everyone in your group to invite someone for Easter this weekend.

We ought to do this at least twice a year where we make a big, church-wide push to invite people. Last Sunday I asked my folks to make a list of everyone they knew that lived within 20 minutes of the church and did not go to church any where. I asked them to put a check mark by everyone who “something really bad would happen if you invited them.” They are off the hook on inviting them. Everyone else, invite them.

The other time we ought to do this is in the fall–time change Sunday.

A grass-roots movement is building to make this a national event. Vernon Brady got this vision while attending the Southern Baptist Convention a few years ago. Bobby Welch preached a sermon on The Little Lad who brought what he had to Jesus in the story of the feeding of the five thousand. Big Idea: we all have something to bring to Jesus.

Vernon says he felt God speaking to him: “You are the little lad.” The thing he could do for Jesus is put together a Super Friend Day Package. (Goes by the name My Friendship Connection). Friend Day was an old (but effective) program developed by Elmer Towns and widely used by churches. Vernon Brady’s My Friendship Connection takes that basic idea and builds on it. He has added Sunday School lesson for 5 weeks prior to theFriend Day, as well as sermons. The package takes on the feel of a Purpose Driven Life Campaign with sermons, devotionals, and small group Bible Studies all working together.

Vernon began asking pastors to participate in a unified Friend Day on time change Sunday each year. (There is a natural bump in attendance on this day in the fall.) The first year there were 42 churches. The next year, 526 from 36 states. On average, attendance in these churches doubled or better on the Friend Day. Consider participating this Fall.

Recently, Vernon got the news that the national Friend Day will be on the Southern Baptist Convention Calendar starting in 2012. Yeah God!

 

Step #2 Lead by Example

I have invited some friends for Easter, have you? We must lead by example. We cannot ask people to do what we are not willing to do. The leader must embody the vision.

Bill Hybels wrote an excellent book called Axiom. It is just as the name suggests–76 short chapters of random ideas about church leadership. Chapter 29 is entitled, “Speed of the leader, speed of the team.” Here are a couple of quotes.

  • The most powerful two-word leadership phrase Jesus ever uttered was “Follow me.”
  • Leaders must never expect from others anything more than they’re willing to deliver themselves. They should never expect higher levels of commitment, creativity, persistence, or patience than what they themselves manifest on a regular basis. If you cannot say, “Follow me,” to your followers—and mean it—then you’ve got a problem. A big one.
  • Speed of the leader, speed of the team.

If you don’t respect Bill Hybels, consider this quote from another Christian leader–the apostle Paul:

  • 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV) Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Sound scary? Here is some really scary news: people will follow the leader’s example whether or not he asks them to.

If you want people to double their class every two years or less, lead by example. If you want people to have a quiet time, lead by example. If you want people to give Friday Nights to Jesus, lead by example. If you want people to invite people to church on Easter, lead by example.

Step #3: Make it easy. / Put it on autopilot.

The size of your plates has more to do with success in weight loss than does the strength of your will power. If you want to influence people to do almost anything, make it easer.

When we want to influence people, we almost never think of the physical environment, but the physical environment has a huge impact on people, as this amazing story illustrates.

Imagine you go the movies and they hand you a huge bucket of popcorn for free. Only problem is, it doesn’t taste very good. You find out later it was actually engineered to taste bad. For one thing, it is a week old. You hear the person next to you say it tastes like Styrofoam packing peanuts. You tend to agree. But, hey, it is free–and they gave you a huge container of it. A friend attends the movie with you. They get one too. Everyone gets a bucket of their own.

As you examine your friend’s bucket you notice it is larger than yours–significantly larger. No matter; you both have more than you can eat.

Question: do you think you would eat any more or less than your friend who received the larger bucket? Remember, you both have more than you can eat and the popcorn is terrible.

Turns out your friend would eat more than you–a lot more. Researchers conducted this test and found that people with the bigger buckets at 53% more popcorn. That is 173 more calories and 21 extra handfuls of popcorn–popcorn that was terrible.

The complete article on this is here:  http://www.joshhunt.com/Influence11.htm

The application for inviting people to church is this. Put in on the calendar at least twice a hear. I recommend these two dates: Easter in the Spring and Time Change Sunday in the Fall. (If you wanted to add a couple more events, you might think about a “back to church day” just after school starts and just after the first of the year.

To make it easier and automatic, you might provide some kind of invitation card for people to send out. What about a cool graphic that people could email to their friends that stated the invitation.

In a way, it is easier than it has ever been. We are all so connected by Facebook and email and tweets and so forth. We just have to take advantage of the tools in our hands.

Step #4: Social proof

People are profoundly influenced by the behavior of the people in their group. Profoundly influenced. This is whey we like to buy best selling books and songs and go to the movies our friends say are good.

This is why the Bible says, Psalms 1:1 (NIV) “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.”

Why is this important? Because if we walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit where mockers sit, we will start to behave like them. We are profoundly influence by “our people.”

This is why the Friendship Connection has a group component built in. The way the old Friend Day worked took advantage of this dynamic and the leadership dynamic.

Ever heard someone say, “If everyone will just bring one person next week we will double our attendance.” This is a statement of fact. Anyone ever see it actually happen? I didn’t think so. Yet, using the Friendship Connection, churches routinely see an increase of attendance of 100% to 200% on the big day and will keep about 15% of these.

The reason is this. Four weeks before the big day the pastor stands before the people and says, “I am inviting a friend, I want you to do so too.”  Three weeks before the big day, the staff and deacons and leadership stand before the people and say, “We are inviting someone, we want you to do so too.”  Two weeks before the big day, the teachers stand before the people and say, “I am inviting someone, I want you to do so too.” One week before the big day, everyone else bring their commitment or invite.

This takes advantage of the principle of leadership and the principle of social proof. If my people are inviting, I am inviting.

This may all be like way too much trouble to you. This is where people make a big mistake in attempting to influence (“Persuade men” in the words of Paul). Influence masters know that influence in hard work. This is why they tend to over-determine success. This from Influencer:

  • But it takes a combination of strategies aimed at a handful of vital behaviors to solve profound and persistent problems. In fact, this is the core principle demonstrated by virtually all the change masters we studied. No single strategy explained their success. In fact, it became quite evident that individuals who succeed where others have routinely failed overdetermine success—that is, they bring more influence strategies into play than they might assume would be the minimum required for success. They leave nothing to chance.
  • Individuals who routinely hit their change goals overdetermine vital behaviors in order to make change inevitable, meaning that they routinely look at all six sources, find methods from within each source, and continue adding new influence strategies well after others have stopped searching for change levers. They do this for a good reason. Typically the change they’re attempting to orchestrate is so audacious—so completely hopeless—that they pull out every influence tool available.

You don’t have time of course, to do all this by Easter. Here are four steps you can take:

  • Invite a friend for Easter.
  • Send an Email/ text/ Facebook message/ Tweet to all your friends saying, “I am inviting a friend to church on Easter, I want you to do so as well.”
  • Put a Friend Day on the calendar for Time Change Sunday in the Fall. (First Sunday in November.)
  • Pray. Pray before. Pray after. Pray during. Jesus said we can do nothing without Him. Pray for your pastor that He would deliver the Word. Pray that God would move in a mighty way.

Every time I watch the news I find myself saying, “They need Jesus.” They do. The whole world does. Jesus said the fields are white unto harvest. Let’s invite them this Sunday.

I stumbled onto a new website that will make this even easier: check out https://churchinviter.com/

Why is LORD all caps?

Notice how in Isaiah 6:1 the word Lord is printed. It begins with a capital letter and then is finished with lowercase letters. This stands in contrast with the word LORD that occurs later in the text and frequently in Scripture. Sometimes the word Lord appears in all capital letters—LORD. This is not an error in printing or a mere inconsistency on the part of the translator. Most English translations of the Bible follow this device of rendering the word Lord sometimes in lowercase letters and other times in uppercase letters. The reason for this difference is that two different Hebrew words are used in the original text, but both are rendered in English by the word Lord.

When the word Lord occurs in lowercase letters, the translator is indicating to us that the word Adonai is found in the Hebrew Bible. Adonai means “sovereign one.” It is not the name of God. It is a title for God, indeed the supreme title given to God in the Old Testament. When LORD appears in all capital letters it indicates that the word Jahweh is used in the Old Testament. Jahweh is the sacred name of God, the name God revealed Himself to Moses with in the burning bush. This is the unspeakable name, the ineffable name, the holy name that is guarded from profanity in the life of Israel. Normally it occurs only with the use of its four consonants—yhwh. It is therefore referred to as the sacred “tetragrammaton,” the unspeakable four letters.

We see, for example, this contrast in words found in the Psalms. Psalm 8 reads, “O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth.” What the Jew was saying was, “O Jahweh, our Adonai, how excellent is thy name in all the earth.” Or we could render it, “O God, our Sovereign one, how excellent.…” Again we read in Psalm 110: “The LORD, said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand.” Here the Psalmist is saying, “God said to my sovereign, sit thou at my right hand.”

LORD is the name of God; Lord is His title. We speak of President Ronald Reagan. Ronald is his name; President is his title. If the highest office in our land is the office of president, so the highest office and title in Israel was the office of Sovereign. The title adonai was reserved for God. It was the title that was given to Jesus in the New Testament. When Christ is called “Lord,” he is invested with the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament adonai. Jesus is called the Lord of the lords, the King of the kings, gaining a title that beforehand was reserved only for God, the supreme Sovereign of heaven and earth.

When Isaiah came to the temple, there was a crisis of sovereignty in the land. Uzziah was dead. The eyes of Isaiah were opened to see the real King of the nation. He saw God seated on the throne, the sovereign one. — R. C. Sproul, The Holiness of God (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1993), 29–31.


I have just completed a seven-part Bible Study called Ancient Words. It explores seven key Hebrew words we need to understand in order to really understand the gospel. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

The victory that is our is Christ

When our family lived in Florida, we lived near the Indian River, which is a saltwater lagoon that stretches many miles up and down the east coast of Florida. It is a very beautiful body of water that is perfect for sailing. In the evenings, it was my joy to come home, kick off my shoes, put on an old pair of trousers, get one or two of the kids, and go sail into the sunset on this river. What fun we had telling stories, laughing, joking, and enjoying one another.

One day I walked down to the pier to go sailing, and the little boat was gone. Somebody had taken my beautiful little sailboat. That boat was almost like a member of the family.

Several weeks later I was driving through the center part of Merritt Island where we lived, and I looked over at a marine shop. There on a special little mound was my boat. And it had a “For Sale” sign on it.

I went in the store to inquire about the boat, and the man told me the price. I asked him where he got the boat, and he said he was selling it for someone else. I informed him that it was my boat, and I was coming for it. He said, “Mister, you had better not touch that boat.”

I went home and got my boat trailer. I came back to the marine shop and began to load the boat onto my trailer. The owner of the shop came out and said, “What are you doing?” I said, “I am taking my boat home. If you disagree with what I am doing, I suggest that you call the police.” He turned and went inside. That’s the last I saw of him. As you read this book, unless God has providentially intervened, that little boat is in my backyard.

Satan may bluff, but we need not be afraid. We need to keep our eyes focused and appropriate that which is already ours in Jesus Christ. And that which we have is Kingdom Authority!

Adrian Rogers, The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority: Getting an Upper Hand on the Underworld (Nashville: B&H, 2002).


I have just completed a six-part Bible Study called based on Adrian Rogers’s book, The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

Hesed: the unmerited and generous favor of God

I learned today that the word “lovingkindness” is translated from the Hebrew word “hesed,” which is used often in the Old Testament to signify God’s covenant, steadfast love for me. In the Psalms (and this is true in Psalm 92) hesed is associated with the call to worship. I see that my morning and evening times of reflective thankfulness are all about worshipping the One who loves me, not just with a love like I love, but with a deep unfailing love.

Hesed is the unmerited and generous favor of God. Hesed love is gentle and always reaches out to the object of that love—which means me. Old Testament scholar Daniel Block describes hesed as “that quality that moves a person to act for the benefit of another without respect to the advantage that it might bring to the one who expresses it.… [T]his quality is expressed fundamentally in action rather than word or emotion.”4

Father, thank You for leading me to learn about thanking You and Your precious lovingkindness to me. I see clearly that what I’m learning isn’t just to encourage me; it’s also meant to teach me how to love my husband. I’m to do things that are best for Jody—not for me. To love him with my actions, not just my words.

Oh, I am excited about what I learned today! Psalm 59:10 says that God in His lovingkindness will meet me. I see my Father coming to sit with me and share a cup of tea. How precious that He meets me in His lovingkindness. I feel embraced by His love. I’ve been walking around all day thanking the Holy One for personally meeting with me in His unfailing love. — Linda Dillow, What’s It like to Be Married to Me? (Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2011).


I have just completed a seven-part Bible Study called Ancient Words. It explores seven key Hebrew words we need to understand in order to really understand the gospel. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

The missing miracle

Ours is a supernatural faith built around three personal miracles. Our faith commences with a miracle. We come into the kingdom by a miraculous new birth (John 3:3). Our salvation concludes with a miracle. At our Lord’s coming we will be made like him (1 John 3:2). What a transformation! But there is the continuing middle miracle that many seem to miss. This miracle is that we can reign in life right now with Kingdom Authority.

Christians are not just nice people. They are new creatures with spiritual royalty. They are not like a tadpole graduating into a frog but are more like a frog transformed by the kiss of grace to become a prince. “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17).

But what kind of a king can reign without authority? None! In the same way we cannot reign in the grace and power of our Lord without Kingdom Authority.

The life that God desires for us is to be one of divine Kingdom Authority. While the Bible admits the possibility of defeat for a Christian, it never assumes the necessity of it. We are already kings and priests meant to live in perpetual victory—not necessarily in ease, wealth, or health but victory. Kingdom Authority is not only for the “sweet by and by” but for the believer today. It is your birthright and legacy.

Satan will marshal all the forces of hell and the demons of darkness to keep you in ignorance about your Kingdom Authority. Satan wants to deceive you into thinking that victory is impossible—even if you are swimming in an ocean of potential blessing!

A friend told about an experiment he had seen in a film. A large walleye pike was taken alive and placed in a huge aquarium. The water temperature and surroundings were adjusted to match the lake he was taken from. Then, buckets of live minnows were dumped in. Mr. Pike thought he was in heaven. He began rapidly swallowing these minnows.

A short while later, the researchers played a trick on the fish. They placed a large glass cylinder of water into the tank, then filled it with minnows. Mr. Pike started for the minnows again, only to bump his snout against the invisible barrier. He tried again and again and again. Finally he gave up and settled on the bottom of his “heaven” that had gone awry.

The researchers then removed the cylinder, and the minnows swam freely in the tank. But Mr. Pike never made a move for one of them. They would swim right past his face, but he never moved. He was convinced that he would never have another minnow. He finally starved, surrounded by minnows.

Have you ever thought that you may be asking God for what you already have? It is time for you to open your eyes and possess your possessions. Are you saved? Have you repented of your sin, believed upon Jesus Christ to save you, and made him Lord of your life? Then you are a member of the royal family of God with Kingdom Authority!

Adrian Rogers, The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority: Getting an Upper Hand on the Underworld (Nashville: B&H, 2002).


I have just completed a six-part Bible Study called based on Adrian Rogers’s book, The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

Have you been too sinful for God to love?

The psalmists reminded themselves of God’s steadfast love over and over again. It helped them know that they could enter his house boldly (Ps. 5:7) and that they could rejoice in salvation and sing because he had “dealt bountifully” with them (Ps. 13:5–6). When David was crushed by the memory of his sins, he prayed, “Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!” (Ps. 25:6–7). — Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis E. Johnson, Counsel from the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2009).


I have just completed a seven-part Bible Study called Ancient Words. It explores seven key Hebrew words we need to understand in order to really understand the gospel. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

Kingdom authority brings freedom

Our only hope is in discovering the Kingdom Authority that Jesus offers his children. I’m not talking about mere power, but authority. Many Christians today talk about having the power to overcome evil. That’s not enough. Don’t confuse authority with power.

Jesus made the distinction in Luke 9:1 when he gave the disciples power and authority over the satanic forces of wickedness. As in the passage we saw earlier from Luke 10, the Greek word here for “power” is dunamis, which means ability and strength, and the Greek word for “authority” is exousia, which means the official right. Authority is conferred; power is innate.

The Pharisees of Jesus’ day boasted of their position in the kingdom of God and questioned what Jesus meant by the freedom we have as believers: “They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:33-36).

With Kingdom Authority comes freedom, not bondage. These Pharisees who were vassals of Rome and slaves to sin were boasting about freedom. They were not free but slaves. The rebel is free to do what he wants within limits, but he is never free to do what he ought without Kingdom Authority operating in him. He is free to choose as he wishes, but he is not free to choose the consequences of that choice. He may show his freedom to choose by stepping out of a window of a skyscraper. At that point, however, he is not free to choose the consequences of that choice. The choice then chooses for him.

The paradoxical truth is that the freedom and authority we have in Jesus is because we are under authority. Let me illustrate. The train that runs with incredible speed on ribbons of steel is far freer to be what it was made to be than a so-called free train that may choose an excursion through the meadow. It is only free to wreck. A train is made to run on tracks, not in the green glades along the tracks.

Adrian Rogers, The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority: Getting an Upper Hand on the Underworld (Nashville: B&H, 2002).


I have just completed a six-part Bible Study called based on Adrian Rogers’s book, The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

What to do if you don’t feel God loves you

My mercy is for you. It pulls you on even when the world tries to tell you that your life doesn’t matter. When the enemy works to make you feel unloved, My mercy becomes your heart’s loving refuge. It grows inside you so you don’t ever have to worry that I am somewhere far away. I am with you. I am the One who gave you life, and I am the One who sustains you. My mercy takes your hand and leads you away from your mistakes and gives forgiveness in place of sin. My mercy treats you with kindness and shows you all the ways I made you wonderful.

No disaster or act of malice can overtake you. My mercy covers you from the storms, and I want it to be your anchor on the world’s oceans of judgment and ridicule. No matter how dark the day may be, Jesus is the Light of your world. He shines over you so darkness cannot remain. My mercy protects you from being overwhelmed by the day’s unrelenting pace. I know you have times when you don’t feel loved. The world has a way of draining your heart with its burdens and expectations. Don’t let the enemy trap you into thinking that an empty heart is what I want you to bear.

Instead, share all the ways I’ve had mercy on you. Tell people how I answer prayers and bless you in ways that far exceed how you hoped I would answer. Mercy originates in Me. Come to Me when you feel alone and misunderstood. Mercy replaces those feelings with My compassion to help you feel valued and wanted. I can accomplish so much through you. The enemy wants you paralyzed with worry—frozen right where you are, not where I want you to be. I will keep your heart filled with My love and creativity. I want you to know that you are important to Me, and today is better because you’re in it. — Matt Koceich, Come, Follow Me: 365 Comforting Messages from the One Who Knows Your Name (Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour, 2016).


I have just completed a seven-part Bible Study called Ancient Words. It explores seven key Hebrew words we need to understand in order to really understand the gospel. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

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