Power of a Focused Life


Today marks the end of this series. I really hope that there are at least a couple people that are reading and DOING what these messages and notes say. I have been inspired greatly by these teaching and can only imagine what life would like today if I had heard them before or soon after arriving at the International House of Prayer in KC. May your day be all it was created to be, and may God meet you in the quiet places of your heart. Remember, God’s Word is alive and he wants to speak to you.

Link to Session 4

John 7:37-39 “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (NIV)

This scripture is literal, for real and for you. Something dynamic happens in your heart when you determine this is your inheritance and your destiny. Why not you, why not now, why not here? There needs to be a time in your heart that you say, “I’m going for it”. Our spiritual inheritance is more than living barely saved and mostly depressed. God has more for us than being spiritually bored and burnt out. Don’t settle for anything less than a flowing heart of Living Water.

Ezekiel 36:26 Ezekiel was speaking of a tender heart that feels the presence of God on our heart. The anchor to our faith is the Word, but we can feel His presence regularly. We don’t have to settle for a life without feeling in the Sprit, the presence of God. It is the Will of God for the majority of your life to feel His presence. It will not be 100% of the time because He will require us to seek Him out. The point however is that God has so much more for us than we settle for.

Not only is the heart tender, it is receptive. As the Holy Spirit touches us through the Word, we acquire new capacities to receive divine information (revelation) in many forms such as words of knowledge, dreams and visions, prophetic revelation, the Word coming alive to you, or even just the Lord speaking to your heart. We were made to receive this as part of a flowing heart of Living Water and our destiny!

A flowing heart is empowered with Godly desires. We will find ourselves loving what we used to hate and to hate the things you used to love. The Lord will give us opportunities to awaken our spirit to Him through subtle ways. It could be while listening to a worship song and our heart is stirred to press into God more, yet more often than not we push the impulse aside. God gives us this desire so that we will feed it! We have to make a conscience decision to cooperate, to obey the Holy Spirit’s leading us into a closer relationship with Christ. Don’t be content with the moment of inspiration sprinkled throughout the year. Build the thirst into a raging thirst and God will answer it! The Lord gives us the initial spark; it is up to us to make a bonfire out of it.

Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart with all diligence. Guard the flicker of fire that God gave you as a free gift and it will become a bonfire, a raging thirst, which the Lord will answer.

The more we experience God the more raging thirst you have for more.

Song of Solomon 5:2-8 One of the best descriptions of a lovesick heart.

God wants us to have an awakened heart. This is the phrase John the Baptist quotes in John 3:29 “…heard the voice of the bridegroom”; it is the same concept as SOS 5:2. The heart is awakened when we meditate on the Word of God and it brings us into the reality that it is the lovesick God that is speaking to us in weakness.

God wants us to have a yearning and leaping heart. Imagine having a heart that was awakened, leapt, and yearned (thirst and hunger) for more when the Word of God touched it. More times than not, the way the Lord speaks to you is through the Word.

Journaling –

Pray/read the scripture. When you write, more comes more often than not.

Fasting-

Fasting doesn’t move God, it moves you. It tenderizes your heart at a faster pace. A great line that I read once about fasting is that fasting is not something you choose, but that chooses you when you can’t find an answer to your problems. Some friends of mine recently finished reading The Fasted Lifestyle by Mike Bickle, and said it was great book. I would suggest that you pick it up if you are curious about fasting.

A lot of people don’t read the Bible because they don’t know where to start and don’t have a time set for it. Don’t let this happen to you. Get Focused! Set a plan in motion and never look back. There is no reason to let another day go by. You don’t know how many tomorrows you have, so don’t waste any more!

I am sitting at home this morning, with a mild fever, aches and pains. I was wondering if I was going to sick during this glorious 6 days off without using a bit of vacation. Sure enough, I am sick. One thing about being sick is more often than not, God has something important to say during the illness. It would seem that this time He is speaking about being focused, and finding vision. The other night, some new wonderful friends that are answers to prayer, asked us specifically how they could pray for us. They asked, how they could pray for us specifically, as in if we could have anything we want, whether financially, spiritually, relationally etc. what would it be? Those are some great questions, and one that Rachel and I are praying and talking through this week, stay tuned later in the week for what we came up.

Back to the series -Here is the link to The Power of a Focused Life Part 3

Here are the notes I took, again, the black letters are what was handed out, the other colors are what I wrote. Take your team when reading through it. This material can and will change your life if you want it to.

WHY STUDY THE BIBLE?

A lot of people have a heart for the Word and to study it, but they don’t put the effort into studying it. They want to, and say they will, but a year goes by and they look back and realize that nothing was accomplished.

Studying the Word is not a duty; it is the fuel that awakens our heart. Remove the idea of reading the Word as a discipline, but as a FREE fuel that causes the heart to flow like a river. Biblical study makes your heart alive. Yesterdays experience with God will not keep your alive today.

It doesn’t matter how cold your heart is, the Word of God has more fire and depth. Use the Word to encounter God! Just like eating has no substitute, there is no substitute for studying the Word.

John 7:37-39 “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (NIV)

A. You have to thirst! Jesus said ANYONE. No matter whom you are or what you are into, ANYONE can do this. Jesus does not only have satisfied customers that study His Word. Our excuses are not valid! Don’t give the enemy a place to keep you handcuffed from attaining a deeper relationship with the Father!

B. You have to “come to Him”. We have superficial appetites that spoil our hunger for God. We nibble all day long at all kind of things like we are eating junk food and then we are dying of starvation because we never get to the place that we have real spiritual hunger. There is little if anything we would die for that we want it so bad. You will never have a flowing heart until thirst for God is awakened in you. Thirst is the byproduct of vision. Waken the vision in yourself that there is more in God for you to have! Thirst and hunger (used interchangeably) are important! John 5:37-40 Jesus is saying that the Word was not alive in their hearts. We need to “come to Him” when studying the Word. God wants us to talk to him while we are reading the Word.

For Scripture that is about us believing something about God, ask God to give you a revelation that the passage is true. Then, thank Him for the revelation and that it is true even though you don’t feel it. The pray over it awhile, in the Spirit if able. Write down the things that come to your heart while praying.

For scriptures that are about us being obedient tell the Lord that you are committed to seeing it as a reality in your life. Resolve in your spirit to say ‘yes’ to the passage, and ask God to help you. Make a sweet resolution to say yes. By asking God for help, it creates a dialogue, and once the two of you are talking, the communication flow becomes easier by the moment.

  • Have a sustained time to drink up the Word. Go Deep! Take some time with the Scriptures. Take the time to journal the thoughts about what you are reading. Get the water of the Word (the washing of the Word) flowing and stay there awhile. Have a sustained time! You cannot develop a flowing heart on the run, it takes time!
    • Believe in Him the way the Scripture says. “As the scripture says”, is qualifying the QUALITY of believing (the way you approach the Scriptures). Jesus is not saying to believe in Him the way our churches taught us to, but to do so the way He laid it out in the Word of God. Many people approach their belief in God according to how they brought up spiritually. People that say they have tried “it” (the whole Christianity thing) tried the “it” that they were taught or brought up in, but it is almost 100% certain it was not the Christianity “as the Scripture says”. So how does the Scripture say?
      • By a Spirit of Dedication – a yes in your spirit to obedience—Charles Finney preached a sermon in the 1800′s titled “One Sin Persisted In is Fatal to the Soul”. We cannot have areas of our life that the Lord points out to us to stop and tell Him “no” if we want our hearts to begin to flow. We have to war against every area God shows us to be at war against. One area of rebellion in our heart will cause the Holy Spirit to be stagnant in our life.
      • A Spirit of Devotion – There has to be an attitude of “I love you” in the midst of our dialogue with the Father through the Word
      • A Spirit of Servanthood—Isaiah 58:10 “extend our soul” for others. Genuinely give our lives away for others in need.
      • A Spirit of Confidence in God’s Affection in the Midst of Your Weakness—Showing ourselves as confident when we screw up that we are open to correction and willing to continue the battle versus shutting everything down through condemnation.
    • The inheritance of EVERYONE is having a heart flowing rivers of living water. It is a supernatural work.

To summarize:

As we go through life being discipled and discipling others…

Give people a vision that awakens thirst for Christ.

Teach them how to “Come to the Lord”

Show them how to sustain it.

Believe in Him as the Scripture says

By a Spirit of Dedication

A Spirit of Devotion

A Spirit of Servanthood

A Spirit of Confidence in God’s Affection in the Midst of Your Weakness

You don’t have to sellout for anything less than an anointed heart flowing of Living Water—IT IS YOUR INHERITANCE!

Continuing on where I left off yesterday, I stated:

“The Lord says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” 15 See then that you walk wisely, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Eph. 5:14-17) What a great scripture! It is a challenge not to lose focus on why we as Christians are even on this rock floating through time and space. If we truly believe in Him, and what the Word has to say, are we not being foolish to waste away so much of our time doing things that are meaningless, and not giving glory to God or pointing others to him? IT IS TIME TO GET FOCUSED!”

So how then do we ‘awake’, ‘get focused’ and ‘redeem the time’?  We study the Bible!  Simple yet profound.  I often desire God to speak to my with a loud booming voice, or through a burning bush like Moses, but in reality we are most likely to hear God speak through His written word.  In my life at any given moment I am looking for answers.  Life is full of questions, pressures, twists, turns, pain and suffering.  How a person can make it through reality whole is a miracle in itself, but is much more attainable when we study the Word and dialogue with God while we study.  Once again, here is the message for  Part 2 of a Power of a Focused Life Click on the red letters to listen and be inspired.

Here are the notes I took:

Why Study the Bible?

You will spend much more time reading the Bible and talking with God through scripture and prayer with an action plan.  Without a plan, the average person will talk a good talk, but won’t walk a good walk.  We need action plans for each area of our life that we have vision for including fostering an intimate relationship with God.  Develop an action plan for personal Bible study.

Acts 20:17-32 Paul is talking to mature Christians, anointed elders and commending them to stay in the Word of God because the Word releases supernatural abilities into the soul under the anointing of the Spirit.

The Word of God has supernatural activity when the written Word of God touches the human heart under the anointing of the Spirit.  It has a supernatural dynamic when it comes into contact with the human heart in right conditions.

It will build you up and make your heart flow like a river.

We encounter the Living Word (Jesus) through the written word. John 5: 39-40,

Luke 8:11 The Word of God is like a seed that has life in it.

The Word is what God uses to help get us into his inheritance.  If you get too busy to enter in the Word of God you not get the fullness of your inheritance.

Hebrews 4:12 The Word of God is living.  It will awaken joy and strength and might in your Spirit.  It will help you to love righteousness and hate the things of long ago.

James 1:21 The Word is able to deliver your soul from pain, hurt, addiction and an un-renewed mind.  We need to get a vision that Word is living and powerful!

1 Thessalonians 2:13

Mat 13:4-8 4, 18-23 types of seeds (heart responses that came into contact with h Word of God)

V.21 refers to Christians that do not develop a root system in the Word.  No one can develop a root system for you.  YOU have to do it.  Start small, like 30 minutes a day, and the hunger will grow to the point you will find all kind of ways to increase the time.  The root system of depth of Godly emotion will begin and will allow you to stay steady during stormy seasons.

V. 22 The cares of the world choke the Word.  The deceitfulness of riches is not about what you have it is about what you long for.  Mark 4:19 says ‘desires for other things’.  Those ‘things’ will choke the vitality of the Word in you.  You can’t get the list of those ‘things’ from anyone other than God.  Luke 8:14 calls it the ‘pleasures of life.’  If you are tied up in these things you will choked off from the Word of God.  Ask God what areas of your life need to be weeded so that the Word of God will produce something of substance in your life.

I. Goals Related to Knowing the Bible

A. To study books of the Bible – with commentaries (see instructions below)

Express devotion in the midst of study. Talk to the Lord about what you read.  Fast with it.

B. To pray-read books of the Bible – 10 chapters a day (covers the NT each month: 235 chapters of NT = 10 chapters a day x 6 days/week = 240 chapters a month). Journal as you pray-read through each book. File your journals in the same place.

II. The Action Plan for Bible Study

A. Pick your top 10 “most wanted to study” books. Study one book at a time.

B. Select the specific times in the week that you will dedicate for study and pray over the Word. Pick 5-8 times and LOCK IT IN or a year from now you will still be a wannabe wanting to study the Word.

C. How to study a book of the Bible – 5 simple steps

1. Highlight – select two commentaries, read each one, highlighting the key sentences. Do this for one biblical      paragraph at a time. Go slow.

2. Title – in your own words each paragraph in the Bible book that you study.

3. Study Notes – write insights from the commentary for the key verses from each paragraph (sometimes write word for word, other times paraphrase).

4. Journal – write your personal meditations and observations.

5. Prayer – write a brief prayer from the passage when applicable.

NOTE – if you first write your notes on paper, then seek to type it into your computer. Store a hard copy of your final notes in your Bible Study Notebook.

III. materials and supplies

A. Computer, Bible Study Notebook, two commentaries for each Bible book you study. Bible Study Briefcase – pen, paper, highlighters, notebook, commentaries.

B. Internet resources, i.e., download commentaries – www.soniclight.com (click on study aids), www.ccel.org (old commentaries), www.otgateway.com, www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/tyndale/links_biblical.htm#anchortools www.crosswalk.com, www.christiansunite.com (click on bible study aids).

This past fall, Tim Reimherr came to Fairbanks to visit friends and family. While here, he came over to our house for a quick snack and some chat. I told him that for a long time there had been a feeling in my gut that I couldn’t explain, it was a churning, gnawing, uneasy sensation that I could not quite put into words. Tim named it with one word, thirst.

Over the years of my walk with God there have been encounters and solitude, peaks and valleys, wilderness and abundance. Often, I would think of myself as a passive, reactionary, McDonalds drive-thru Christian. I wasn’t about to be the person that was front row center, or the one in the services shouting, “thus sayeth the Lord” and then going off on something that made you feel not only uncomfortable, but embarrassed for the person giving the ‘exhortation’. I would often react to good messages and causes much like any other sheep would do when a new bag of food was opened up. I always wanted my services and me encounters with God to happen fast , so we could move on to the next great one never pausing to reflect, simmer, stew, or chew on the morsels received.

When I press on without pausing, I get thirsty. When I run hard or burn the candle at both ends, I get thirsty. When I get caught up in the day to day and all its comings and goings I get thirsty. I am not talking about a glass of cold water or a cold beer, but I am talking about something about something that has the same effect if given a chance. The Word of God.

Being told I was thirsty made all the sense in the world. I have neglected the simplest part of Christianity and something needed to change, but how? I knew that I needed to pray and read the Bible more, but I needed a starting place. I commute 45 minutes to work. Usually, I have some worship music on of some sort, but one day I grabbed a teaching series by Mike Bickle called The Power of a Focused Life. Session 1 of 4 is linked below. It is about an hour long, but I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to listen to this. Even if you have to break it up over several days, do it! Your life will never be the same.

Power of a Focused Life Session 1 CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Here are my notes I took from the session – Black lettering is what was handed out, red/purple words are what I wrote.

  1. The need for vision and focus

    I have been feeling the need for vision and focus for some time now. I pray regularly for a vision like Moses had that sustained him through life. Having a vision is only 1 piece of the puzzle however, you need a plan to get where you are going, and there is only 1 real way to get there, through an intimate relationship with Jesus.

Where there is no vision, the people perish. (Pro. 29:18) KJV

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint (Pro. 29:18) NKJV

These scriptures speak loudly to me. One of my favorite parts of being at IHOP was people were like-minded, following the vision laid out before them. At the same time, we refused to drink the kool-aid, but instead sifted and prayed through what we could as time allowed. We (Rachel and I) still do so to this day.

  1. Components of a focused life

    How many of us are truly focused? How many of us piddle away huge portions of our lives on things that are meaningless? Being focused requires a plan. A great example of “focused planning” comes to mind when I think of the movie Apollo 13. When the men were about to be out of oxygen, the guys on the ground focused on the problem at hand, saw what they had to work with, and then developed a plan that led to success.

    Overall life vision – primary purpose in life – We all need one, what are we doing to get one?

    1. Life goals – applying my life vision to each specific area of my life.
      Long-term goals (over 10 years) and short-term goals (3 months – 3 years) Look at each of the areas below, what are your goals, specifically, and how will they help to ultimately lead toward fulfillment of the life goals?
      1. Spiritually (prayer time, fasting days, Bible study, etc.)
      2. Relationally (family, friends, etc.)
      3. Vocation (marketplace calling, etc.)
      4. Ministry (in the church, outside the church, etc.)
      5. Economically (spending, giving, saving, investing, etc.)
      6. Physically (exercise, health, diet, etc.)
      7. Rest (recreation, vacation, play, entertainment, sports, etc.)
    2. Action plan – for each long and short-term goal in each area of your life.
    3. Schedule – for each action plan, i.e., focuses us to prioritize. This is where our life vision most easily is derailed and lost. Even if in our schedule of spending time with God through His Word, we miss 50% of the appointments, we still make 50% and by having them written in our Day Planners and calendars we suddenly go from spending very little time dialoging with God to much, much more!

      You are never going to win the war if you keep fighting all those battles so PLAN and stay focused.

      The Lord says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” 15 See then that you walk wisely, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Eph. 5:14-17) What a great scripture! It is a challenge not to lose focus on why we as Christians are even on this rock floating through time and space. If we truly believe in Him, and what the Word has to say, are we not being foolish to waste away so much of our time doing things that are meaningless, and not giving glory to God or pointing others to him? IT IS TIME TO GET FOCUSED!

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