Convinced But Not Converted: The Type Of Ministry That Results In Faith That Is Doomed To Fail

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Convinced But Not Converted: The Type Of Ministry That Results In Faith That Is Doomed To Fail

I remember one day my mentor and pastor, Dr. Gregory Jones was confronted with a young man looking to argue how God and religion were fantasy.

Pastor Jones answered him not one word.

I was perplexed by this. I was like isn’t this an opportunity to “convert” him? I wanted the smoke. I wanted to flex our apologetics muscle and intellectually spar with him.

I was so naive and misguided.

Even though I was preaching and studying under Pastor Jones at the time, even I wasn’t yet converted.

Because had I been, I would have known that faith comes from a life-altering moment of hearing God and believing Him. Period.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
— Romans 10:17

An elder brother once told me, “some lessons are taught and some others can only be caught.”

After having been converted, and having preached, and having argued for twenty plus years now

I better understand that if you can be convinced, you can be unconvinced.

The reason so many young people leave our churches, go to college and lose their religion is not because of education as so many claim, but is often because their faith was cultural or they were convinced but not converted.

No one comes to God by intellectual ascent or cultural association.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
— John 1:12-13

There is only one Way: God expresses Himself, we hear Him, we believe Him and then we are saved from separation from Him.

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus”
— 1 Timothy 2:5

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'”
— John 14:6

So then, my concentration, is having His heart, using His voice and speaking His Word.

“But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
— John 10:26-27

Since having “caught” this, I’ve never tried to convince anyone again.

I just aim to preach and live Christ.

I am now blown away by what I didn’t see before like how Jesus drops this bomb in Luke 16:19-31.

Here, Jesus casually reveals earth-shattering truths that are key to unlocking saving faith and ministry

1. everything that is necessary to birth faith and bridge the great gulf of separation between us and God is in the Word

2. if after having shared the full counsel of God that is expressed and made clear in Jesus Christ, someone does not believe, they would have never believed and their is nothing: no argument, no miracle, no sign, not even if “one rise from the dead” that would convince them.

“But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”
— Luke 16:31

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son,

whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high”
— Hebrews 1:1-3

Just focus on living and preaching Christ who reconciles us to God.

That is the one and only ministry.

Thank you Pastor Jones. I love you and I miss you.

Not Until I Grow Up

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Not Until I Grow Up

Not Until I Grow Up

Frankly, Christians shouldn’t be saying anything (or doing anything) until we’ve first learned how to love, because

“Let all that you do be done with love.”
— 1 Corinthians 16:14

Because “love” is how the children of God talk.

“but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ”
— Ephesians 4:15

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”
— Ephesians 4:29

Until we learn how to love each other within the family of God, we should not be doing or saying anything because that means Christ is not yet formed in us.

What is your position on “x”?
What is your position on “y”?

We should just shut up. We should not do anything besides imitating the pattern of Christ until we learn to walk as He walked.

Love should be our preoccupation.

Jesus came to make the Father known so that we can be with Him for the purpose of the greater glory of God.

His goal should be ours and He said,

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
— John 13:35

We fulfill our ministry, we make God known, not by our position on the issues but

HOW. WE. LOVE. ONE. ANOTHER.

How did it get more complicated than that? Who bewitched you?

Repent! And return to the simplicity of Christ.

Love.

Love is the beginning and end of maturity.

#perfectourlove

Are Our Politics Spotting Us With The World?

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Are Our Politics Spotting Us With The World?

How does today’s message of the Church or the conversations of Christians differ at all with the preoccupations of the world; the desire to obtain and maintain power, to amass and defend their possessions, or to protect their place and nation?

What does any of this have to do with following Jesus? What does any of this have to do with what He came to do: to redeem creation, to save us from separation with God, to bring us who were far off near to the Father, to love such that God would be known and glorified?

How do we not see what is so plain?

Are we not spotted with the world?

Repent! And, let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”
— Matthew 6:31-33

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this:

to visit orphans and widows in their trouble,

and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
— James 1:27

“No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”
— 2 Timothy 2:4

“[those] who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.”
— 1 Timothy 6:5

“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
— 1 Peter 4:17

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.

Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.

Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.

You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.

He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
— Revelation 3:1-6

The Key To Faithfulness: Keep Moving

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - The Key To Faithfulness: Keep It Moving

“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
— 1 Corinthians 4:2

My toxic trait is wanting to feel motivated before moving -wanting to feel like doing something before I do it.

I need more discipline and faithfulness in my life.

Everyday, I need to:

Keep conducting business. (Luke 2:49, Luke 19:13, Proverbs 31:10-31)

Keep my hand to the plow. (John 4:34-38, Luke 9:62)

Keep giving God motion He can manifest Himself through. (Romans 12:1, James 1:22-27, 2:14-26, Philippians 2:13, 3:7-12)

Keep conducting business.

“Do business till I come.” — Luke 19:13

This is seeing to ALL the things that are necessary to support operations, including the unglamorous parts like accounting.

“He [Jesus] has done all things well.” — Mark 7:37

For a practical example, look to the Proverbs 31 woman (Proverbs 31:10-31).

Keep my hand to the plow.

“But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.'” — Luke 9:62

This is not just being busy, it’s being about His business exclusively.

A plow, in this context, is for preparing a field to produce. People are the field. Cultivating fruitful people —bearing much fruit to God is the business that we’re in and the outcome we should be driving every day.

Keep giving God motion He can manifest Himself through.

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” — James 2:26

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.” — Psalm 37:23

This is movement, and moving in a manner consistent with His commandments.

“This is love, that we walk according to His commandments.” — 2 John 1:6

For a practical example, look to Jesus.

Having our steps ordered by the Lord requires steps.

Keep moving.

Success

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Success Is Contribution Not Conceit

If I can be honest, I struggle mightily with this.

I struggle with the constant pressure of the world’s repeated assertion that success means being out in front, on display, exalted above others, and if you’re not, you’re a failure.

The constant temptation is to seek that, to make it my ambition and orient my life around what puts me out in front; hustle, grind, concentrate on achieving the thing or making the money to buy the things that makes me better than others, thereby proving that I am a success.

But, in God’s creation, success is the health of the whole that we’re connected to, where we’re one member of many, contributing to the whole as the whole contributes to the members. It’s literally what we’re built for: connection, community, and contributing toward its betterment which is one and the same as self-care. We know this. We can feel it. It’s what we find most fulfilling.

Yet, I find myself desiring the allure of being the dead flower in the vase. It is singled out and put beautifully on display.

And my flesh foolishly yearns, “Ooh, pick me! Pick me!” I want to be exalted. I want to be praised. I want to be sought after. Not realizing that it neither grows others nor is being grown and was dead the moment it was separated.

Do not be deceived. Satan’s specialty is creating beautiful dead things.

Those of The Way know to be cut off is a death sentence. Oneness is our pursuit.

“Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.”
— Mark 12:29

And, whatever comes our way as an individual, including honor, we use for the benefit and uplift of the whole (One).

“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

[…] But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.

And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
— 1 Corinthians 12:12, 24-26

So, each day I wake or every time I fell pressure to conform to the world’s measure of success, I will set out with intention to resist the world’s way and to seek contribution as a definition of success instead of conceit, success being evidenced by fruit in others.

#success #ContributionOverConceit #thriveday

My New Daily Prayer

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - My New Daily Prayer

Father,
I love and revere You.

What is Your will today?
Who is the assignment?

Please show me how You would have me:

Go,
Share the good news,
Seek and restore the lost,
Make God real through Your love,
Tear down lies blocking Your love,
Share Your love and,
Be One

with Your children
that Your will may be done,
that Your Kingdom would come
today.

In the authority granted to me by Your Son and Christ, my beloved Elder Brother, my Master and King, for the purposes for which He has commanded me, I ask these things, requesting the resources, wisdom and power by Your Spirit to perform them

All for Your glory.

Amen.

The Pain That Made Jesus Cry

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - The Pain That Made Jesus Cry

Jesus

Being falsely arrested¹:

Nothing.

Being mocked and beaten by men in the temple²:

Nothing.

Being brutally scourged by Pilate³:

Nothing.

Being mocked and beaten again by Roman soldiers who pressed a crown of thorns into the flesh of His brow⁴:

Nothing.

Being forced to drag the beam of His cross, weighing upwards of 175 lbs (79kg), for more than 650 yards (600m)⁵:

Nothing.

Being nailed to a cross⁶:

Nothing.

Isaiah spoke rightly of Him in Isaiah 53:7 that “He was as a lamb led to the slaughter,” “He was oppressed and He was afflicted yet He opened not His mouth”.

But.

When Jesus became sin⁷, resulting in His utter separation from God:

Then, He cried out,

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”⁸

Because absolute separation from God was hell.

Do not let evil men and false prophets deceive you.

HELL IS REAL.

It is utter separation from God.

I can attest to this to some degree, having known life far from God, remembering the deep dredges of emptiness, restlessness and being surrounded by people but utterly alone.

This is what Jesus saved me from.

This is what Jesus suffered to save us from: separation from God.

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
— Ephesians 2:13

Now, having experienced eternal life in God, I am whole, full and overflowing. Whenever I feel any distance from Him, it is torment and I die a little.

God is my life, and there is nothing better than being with Him.

Now, all I want is to have Him more, which He gifts **today** through His Holy Spirit and sanctification, thereby increasing my capacity to share love: Him, with my growing family in Jesus Christ.

But one day, my joy will be made full: I shall see God. I shall see for myself and My eyes shall behold, and not another. Oh, how my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27)

I joyously look forward to that day where I will enjoy Him without limitation.

I do not preach to you fear of a hell with demons and horrors.

I preach salvation from a hell of being without God right now and from the prospect of such a horrible state for eternity.

We all currently live in an age of common grace: hope.

Hope that we can know God.

Hope that God provides.

He desires to be with us.
He desires that none should perish.
He is not far from any of us.

So close, yet so far away because without means to connect, God might as well be in a different universe.

But, God has provided the means. He has provided The Way and The Door in Jesus Christ.

Jesus went to great lengths to do His Father’s will: that we may be together with Him.

Hear Him.

Believe Him.

And, be saved from separation from God.

¹ Matthew 26:55
² Matthew 26:67-68
³ John 19:1
⁴ Mark 15:17-20
⁵ John 19:17
⁶ Luke 23:34
⁷ 2 Corinthians 5:21
⁸ Mark 15:34

The Ministry Of Everything

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - The Ministry Of Everything

Every situation and circumstance is an opportunity to glorify God.

We give others and each other a real good look at Him from many countless, varied and obscure angles,

by manifesting His character, demonstrating His life in us through how we, by His grace, handle the many countless, varied and obscure circumstances of our lives.

In doing so, we give a fuller picture of Him.

But not only by how we reflect Him, but perhaps even more importantly, by admitting how, in any given circumstance, we have failed to,

by admitting how we have fallen short of the glory of God, by being honest about the unbridgeable gap by any natural means between where I am and His high calling, thereby declaring His excellence and glory: His goodness, His holiness, His righteousness, His justice, His love,

by confessing our sin so we can be healed and obtain the prize, striving to attain to the supernatural power of His resurrection, dying to sin: this world’s way of operating, and rising to life in Christ: the nature of the Father revealed and given to us through Jesus, the only begotten Son of God.

So, whether in life or death, success or failure, we can show people God, by His power and His faithfulness in which He works all things together for good.

Every circumstance and situation; good times, bad, plenty, lack, health, sickness, hardship, prosperity are all opportunities to manifest and glorify God, and to be co-laborers with Christ in the wonderful ministry of making God known.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.”
— 2 Corinthians 3:18-4:1

“For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

So then death is working in us, but life in you.

And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

Therefore we do not lose heart.

Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.

For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
— 2 Corinthians 4:5-18

What’s In Your Hand?

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - What's In Your Hand? Questions That Help Me Refocus And Move Forward

“So the LORD said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ He said, ‘A rod.'”
— Exodus 4:2

“And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.

But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.'”
— Exodus 14:15-16

I often lose focus looking at what’s happening around me.

As of late, I’ve felt inadequate, out of place and unwelcomed.

The Holy Spirit has given me these questions to recalibrate:

What’s in my hand? (What do I have that I can use?)

And, how can I use it to glorify God? (Exodus 4:2, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17)

To benefit the Body? (Romans 12:5-6, Ephesians 4:11-13, Galatians 6:10)

Or, to reconcile creation? (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)

These questions in this order help me to re-center my focus and to get back to being what God created me to be:

Fruitful.

Before the problem existed, God provided everything I would need to move forward…

to His victory.

“as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue”,
— 2 Peter 1:3

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”
— 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

Throat Punched: A Reality Check

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Throat Punched: A Reality Check

I recently got hit with something so hard that it made me question the nature of reality itself.

It caused me to question everything I believed was real, including God.

I cannot test spiritual things the same way I test physical things (scientifically) because I cannot control (harness, measure, manipulate, evoke, etc.) spiritual things in any way. (I find the true state of reality to be that I am not in control but am subject to powers that are.)

I can only observe where the spiritual current takes us.

“These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
— 1 Corinthians 2:13

In the same way, my computer code cannot control (harness, measure, manipulate, evoke, etc.) anything I do not give it the ability and parameters for. The only way my code would know anything about my world is what I tell it or to the extent of the ability I give it to interact with my world.

The only way I know of spiritual things is what the Creator tells me.

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
— Deuteronomy 29:29

God has revealed that we were abiding in death and that He sent Jesus to save us,

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
— John 5:24

I claim that Jesus saved me out of the disastrous spiritual current that leads to death and put me on the path that leads to life.

How can I know that’s real? How can I test that?

I can observe where the spiritual current takes me.

Jesus claims to heal as an aspect of this salvation and The Way that leads to Life.

So, for me healing is one of many tests.

Have I been healed? Am I being healed? Or, am I just coping? Are my beliefs merely a coping mechanism?

A key distinction between managing symptoms and true healing is the restoral or establishment of healthy function. Has the ability that existed or would have existed prior to the disease or injury been restored?

I can say unequivocally: yes. I have been healed.

In the past, I had been mortally wounded spiritually, emotionally, psychologically to the extent there was real physiological damage.

My injury rendered me unable to relate to people, especially certain people, in a healthy way that led to our collective growth and improvement.

I was closed up and cut off, with severely diminished capacity to enjoy Life, as a result of the pain and, at times, a conscious decision in an attempt to protect myself.

But, since,

“God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
— 2 Corinthians 4:6

now, I am wide open.

I do not have the resentment and bitterness that was keeping me secluded, that was killing me and that was keeping me from enjoying Life.

Do I still struggle?

No doubt.

But, the operation is complete.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
— 2 Corinthians 5:17

Notwithstanding, I’m in therapy to lift the dead layers of flesh, to work out the stiffness and atrophy sin causes, and to get full range of motion (sanctification).

This is where I observe the spiritual current of living water in Jesus Christ takes me: I have inextinguishable (eternal) Life that I didn’t have before that allows me to relate to others in a healthier way.

I may struggle with therapy —the sanctification process, but my healing is real.

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”
— 1 John 5:13