Wednesday, May 21, 2014

When We Forget Who We Really Are

Because our souls need reminding...Here's a re-post from 2011:

My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite
my verses for the king.
Psalm 45:1a

They charge through the back door wearing their toothy smiles and holding out their arms, ready for great big hugs from this Grams. 

For a moment, while I inhale their youth, I catch a glimpse of their father - a slight resemblance - in the shape of her face and in his silly, boyish smile. How marvelous!

 Wriggling out of my arms they dive into the toy box and Sister quickly emerges with a noble theme. She proudly dons a princess crown, happily announcing her royal presence throughout the kingdom. Suddenly, Brother yanks the sparkling royalty from her head. Arms flail, tears flow, and the little prince and princess misplace their own identities.

There are times we misplace our identities, too. Maybe someone yanks our rightful place out from under us or someone steels our innocence and then walks away. Sometimes though, we're our own worst enemy - adopting those labels others slap on our backs - until we forget who we are and whose we are.

We need reminding that we are sons and daughters of the King in need of a great rescue.

The King rescues his children
 In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Ephesians 1:5

            Throwing colored paper, stickers, and magic markers on the table, Mother and I rescue the moment by transforming the dining room into the Royal Crown Factory. Their eyes fix on my hands as I trace and cut out two pointy, cut-out paper crowns. Busy hands and active imaginations quickly transform these plain shapes into sparkling creations. Smiles reappear across their little royal faces as they once again crown themselves prince and princess.

Restoring our identity as sons and daughters of [God] the King takes more effort than simply donning a cut-out paper crown. But, when we allow God healing access to our hearts, he restores completely.  

(Join me for the rest of the story over at {re}fresh? Meet you there? Just click here.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I Got This: A Book & A Giveaway:

Do you ever struggle with finances? What about giving and generosity? Yeah, me too, until my pastor's teaching changed my entire perspective. It wasn't the normal give-your-10%-sermon, but rather a revelation of God's love and generosity towards his children. 

Today, I'm privileged to share with you the Lead Pastor at Wellspring Church, Wesley Zinn, and his incredible perspective on "living in heaven's flow" of generosity in his new book, I Got This:Living in the Flow of God's Kingdom Economy

Psst: Wesley is so generous...he's giving away a signed copy of his new book, I Got This, right here on my blog, today! Encourage Wes with a comment and share this interview on Facebook and/or Twitter and we'll pick a random winner at the end of the day. Easy-peasey!

Now, here's Wesley: 

What inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration for writing this book has come from my audiences. When I have spoken on giving and generosity, people have requested more teaching and an opportunity to go deeper into the topic. I trust this book will give my readers the opportunity to do just that. 
 How do you define God’s Kingdom Economy and how does it differ from the world’s economy?Jesus teaches to pray, "may your kingdom come." With God’s kingdom comes a unique economy as well.  This world economy is centered on how much we can get and hold onto.  We often think that God's economy is about how much we can give away. Yet, my perspective is that God's economy is more completely understood as a flow.  When we measure how much we have or how much we can give, we are still at the center.  When we allow ourselves to be a channel of heaven's flow, we remove ourselves from the center of the equation and open the storehouses of the Lord. 
Why don’t Christians experience real financial freedom?
Christians often struggle with financial freedom because we don't consider money a spiritual matter. We feel we have to manage it out of our own ability and strength. In addition, when we try to apply biblical principles we often attempt to layer on top of the world. God's financial principles must be applied within his economy. 
How can our generosity lead to financial freedom?
Generosity is an expression of concern for others, which is God's heart too. When we are generous we align ourselves with God heart. This opens a flow of his resources to us and through us. The alternative is to cling to what we have, which is a concern for ourselves. God invites us to trust him to provide for us and to align our heart with his to care for others. 
What is one thing Christians can do immediately to make a chance in their financial situation?
 Keep our eyes on our Provider (God) and off our circumstances.  Our circumstances may tell us to worry, but our Provider is more than capable of accomplishing His desire to provide for his children, whom he loves. 

Where can readers purchase your book?
Readers can visit my website, http://wesleyzinn.comwhich offers links to all the major providers, both paperback copies and various e-books.
 What is up next for you?The next biggest thing is the official book launch on Saturday, May 17th at the conference called: Living in theFlow of God's Kingdom Economy.
I am also considering writing a book which will apply these same principles of heaven's flow to all areas of life.  The principles are universal and not limited to finances, and the available freedom awaits us. 

9.      Do you have anything to add?
I encourage everyone to enjoy the flow!

Remember to leave a comment below, share on FB and Twitter for an opportunity to win a free signed copy of I Got This!

Following a successful business career, Wesley Zinn joined the pastoral staff of Wellspring Church in Berlin, CT where he presently serves as Lead Pastor. His vision is to equip and release the church and individuals to take hold of the fullness of life and the destiny that God intends. Wesley has taught on the topics of generosity and giving in numerous churches and in many settings both stateside and abroad. He and his wife, Pam, carry a special grace for understanding and living in God’s kingdom economy.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Empty Suitcase

Sharing stories gives voice to the silent ones locked deep within another soul. When we step aside and let the Holy Spirit use our words to unlock those stories, we bring God's encouragement, healing, vision, and transformation that can change a life, a family, a community, the world. 

My friend, Lynne, has a story to tell: 
Somehow I did not expect God to touch my heart so deeply “at just another Easter service,” but  he did.
When Pastor Wes spoke of the empty tomb, I expected to hear that old familiar story. But, God surprised me. Oh, the story never changes, but my perspective transformed on Easter Sunday. In the reading of Jesus' resurrection story, Pastor Wes pointed out that the stone was rolled away to let us see Jesus was gone, but also to let us in to see the real miracle.  Yes, Jesus' body was gone (raised from the dead) leaving the tomb obviously empty, but continuing, he reminded us that all sin was gone.  Sin did not hold Jesus in the grave.  Hallelujah!  And because of His sacrifice all of our sins are not only forgiven, but gone.  The tomb is open.  All sin is gone.
I know you are asking…so what does this have to do with the title, The Empty Suitcase?  Well, I realized that I have been carrying around a suitcase packed full of my sins.  Over the years it has gotten heavier and heavier and heavier.

Oh, certainly I have sought and received God’s forgiveness, but then I repacked my suitcase with those same sins; all covered by the blood of Jesus and ready for my trip to heaven.   I thought they were all secure in the suitcase, but it was as if they were seeping out to remind me of my failures.  Making me feel unworthy of God’s love or anyone's acceptance.
Then God said, “Open up the suitcase, Lynne.”  And in my mind I did just that and guess what I found? It was empty!
The true reality of forgiven sin took my breath away.  My sins are gone.  No more.  So why do I allow them to tear me apart with guilt and shame?  After pondering this revelation, I closed that suitcase and kicked it to the cellar.  I have no use for it anymore.  Once forgiven, my sin and yours disappears - gone.  Will I remember my sins?  Oh yes, but rather than feeling guilt and shame,  my heart is filled with love and thanksgiving to my Lord Jesus Christ for his great grace and sacrifice.
I hope you are not carrying around a heavy, sin-packed,  seeping suitcase.  I pray that you know the fullness of forgiven sin and the reality of the empty tomb {and an empty suitcase}.

About Lynne Bowen: Lynne is a generous friend, devoted mother, grandmother and  follower of Christ living in New England. She loves teaching young and old alike about God's saving graces. She enjoys playing piano and solving jigsaw puzzles.