We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
1 Cor 4:7NLT
Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. 2 Tim 1:14 NAS
We are who we are. When we are fully who we are in Christ, and secure in whose we are, we shine bright and give God glory.
We all have treasure within us. Gifts, talents, abilities, thoughts, personalities, emotions and skill sets have all been entrusted to us. All of us are different. No two people are alike. You are uniquely you, wonderfully created.
My wife is a triplet. Even though the sisters look similar. They are very different. Each have different personalities, emotional make up and talents. They are each beautifully unique.
What you have within you is a treasure. This treasure within you is so valuable it needs to be guarded, protected. The gifts, talents and abilities are treasures that are entrusted to your care, are given to you for the sake of others. We receive so that we can give what we have received.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Prov 4:23 NIV
Acts 1:8 states when the Holy Spirit comes upon you He will give you power to Be…pause for effect… His witnesses. Notice what comes first… the power to Be… comes before being His witness.
Think about this thought. When He, the Holy Spirit comes upon you, He will empower you to Be.
His power gives you the ability to be fully who you were created to Be… uniquely you.
Be not do…
Note: Peter didn’t say we would “do witnessing” but we would be His witnesses.
As believers we have access to the power of the Holy Spirit. The impartation of His supernatural power changes everything. His power enables us to be the very witnesses He created us to be.
In my book Go. Sow. I ask…How much power to do we need?
“How much power do we need? I’m all for more power of the Spirit and pray most days to be empowered. However, I have been around long enough to know I have to be willing to begin to take risks now, in this present time, in order to enter into the power of the Holy Spirit. I’ve learned I often have to be faithful in the small tasks and the small steps before the greater is realized. Beginning in the natural often helps me to move toward releasing the supernatural.
His power often comes upon me when I’m out in the community, face great need, and sense my lack. It is the very awareness of my lack that propels me, in that moment, to reach out for more of His power, in order to meet a need. If I feel weak and small, I still step out in my weakness and smallness. I still serve, and I still pray. Often I sense no feeling of noticeable power when I pray for people yet, amazing things happen.
One lady recently came up to our group and said, “When Steve prayed for me, I received not one job, but two jobs. I was so grateful that he took the time, and listened to me, and prayed for me. I just wanted to thank you all for being out here caring and serving us.”
I wanted to say, “Woman, I who am speaking to you am he.”
Bowen, Steve (2014-04-23). Go. Sow. A simple practical guide into the arena of outreach. (pp. 178-179). . Kindle Edition.
Note she stated, “I was so grateful that he took the time, and listened to me and prayed for me.”
What she noticed was not my power, but my being. His love for her was expressed through my actions, and by my attitude. I had no physical sense of power. No awareness of, “Boy I’m bringing it today!” I simply released the treasure I knew was within me by faith, and Her need was wonderfully met.
Step into being who you are.
Often I have to step into who I am… in order to be.
At my core I know I am wired as an encourager. So, in order to be the encourager I am, I have to stir up the gift that has been entrusted to me, and step into being the encourager I am. Sometimes, I literally declare as I step out of my car, or walk into a meeting, “I now step into my gift, and into my calling as an encourager.”
The stepping into principle happens when I consciously step into being a husband, a friend, a worker, or a leader.
Our identity is our foundation for all things.
Such we are, sons and daughters.
1 John 3:1 NASB See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.
This is who we are, sons and daughters. We are adopted, heirs given full rights as sons and daughters.
We are loved by Him. When we treasure, the treasure within us, we discover a whole new level of securely. We are called to be. Knowing whose we are and who we are brings security into our calling.
We receive, we give.
Jesus knew whose He was. Before any public ministry Jesus knew whose He was. He was the Beloved Son in Whom the Father was well pleased.
He lived out of His empowered Being. He was secure. He was humble. He was loving.
John 13:3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
Jesus modeled the principle. We follow. When the Holy Spirit comes upon us, He empowers us to Be.
It’s hard to see something you are not looking for.
Life in the Kingdom is really about learning to live life continually aware of God’s presence. Every believer should practice awareness and practice noticing the unnoticeable; then respond. I’m glad God has graciously been training, me, given me the eyes to see, and a heart that seeks to understand. I’m working on responding acting on what I see, or sense.
“You have no idea how much I needed this today. Thank you.”
This past summer, Pattie and I headed out to the Fraze, an open-air amphitheater near our home, for Blues Fest. Some great bands were playing and we were enjoying the time together. When we arrived we decided to buy some BBQ. We checked every vendor to see what they were serving and finally came to the last booth. As I walked up I noticed the lady serving. I suddenly had an impression I should encourage her. Specifically I should tell her, “Your future is going to be greater than your past.” As I was pondering just how to navigate and communicate the impression I noticed she had a few tattoos. Then I noticed she was wearing an arrest monitor on her ankle. The impression now made sense.
I payed for my food and then said, “You might think this strange but sometimes Jesus gives me encouraging words for people. I have an encouraging word for you. Your future is going to be greater than your past.”
I gently held her arm as I spoke and continued speaking to her about her life. I spoke into her destiny. I told her how Jesus could change her life and wash away her past and propel her into her future. I then invited the Holy Spirit to come and touch her life.
She looked up at me and said, “You are making me cry.”
I replied, “Jesus is here.” I then briefly told her how I was a heavy drug user 35 years ago and Jesus had changed my life.
She paused and stated, “You have no idea how much I needed this today. Thank you.”
We grabbed our BBQ, moved past the growing line behind us and walked to a patio to eat. Pattie asked me to explain how I knew what to say and the process of it all. It’s not rocket science but it does take practice, and a willingness to respond and to experiment.
Here is what I told her.
I practice noticing and attempt to live life from a being aware perspective.
I seek to notice what’s going on around me and I seek to be aware of what’s happening from a heaven to earth perspective. I am the earth where His will wants to be done.
Often when speaking to groups of believers I ask them to place a hand on their heart and to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done as in heaven, in this earth.” At the end of declaring the prayer I then ask them to pat their chest and say, “This earth.” We are the earth where the Kingdom comes from heaven to us…earth.
Inspired imagination begins with the end in mind. Thinking ‘What would our community, church look like if?‘
In the early days of serving the city of Cincinnati, Cincy Vineyard leaders often dreamed with inspired imagination. What would it look like if we served cold drinks to drivers stuck in long lines on a hot day? What would it look like if we delivered turkey dinners to the less-served of our community the weekend before thanksgiving? What would it look like if we create a place where the less-served could receive practical care?
Their dreaming provoked action.
Their inspired imagination continues to this day. Their creative spark is spreading the good news, demonstrated in practical ways, all over their city and into the world.
Paul spoke about ‘people being of one mind, being of one heart, of one spirit, intent on one purpose.’
True community is formed when people choose to live life on mission, and begin to actively give themselves to pursue their vision…together.
Community is living life forward, moving toward a common purpose.
Perhaps, it’s seeking to fulfill the Great Commission…together.
Perhaps, it is a group of friends who are consistently thinking, ‘How can we help people within our sphere of influence take their next step toward Jesus Christ?’
We don’t know much about them. They were friends. Four of them were healthy, one wasn’t.
He was bed ridden, needed healing.
Five friends heard about Jesus.
They heard he was healing the sick, performing miracles, and He was teaching how to live life within the Kingdom of God.
We don’t know how far they had to carry their friend, we just know that they were intent, focused on one purpose… to bring their friend to Jesus no matter the cost.
Five friends decided to move toward Jesus… together.
Someone had to find the directions to the house.
Someone had the foresight to bring ropes… just in case.
When they arrived they noticed the crowd was huge. Many people were pressing in to hear the words of Jesus. At some point they realized they couldn’t gain access.
They formed a new plan. The roof.
They pressed through the crowd and found a way to the roof. Determined, they parted the roof, tied ropes to their fiends mat and cautiously lowered him to the floor.
Their friend was healed.
The walk home was probably pretty exciting.
The principle: True community is formed when people are determined to move toward their common purpose… together… envisioned, on mission.