A Christ Centered Community

      Greetings;

Today’s post is based upon a blog I wrote a few years ago, but I felt the subject is very relevant and needed. Whatever our temple is determines what our community will be. Whoever is in the center of the room will determine the culture of the room. Christ-like community may not create a community centered around Christ. Only Christ in the room can create a culture of Christ in the room. A community does not create a temple for God to live in but becoming a temple where God lives will create a community that expresses the one that lives in the temple.

As leaders in the body of Christ we must be New Covenant in our thinking and New Covenant in our leadership style. Church is not a structure. It is the testimony of the culture of the kingdom of heaven made manifest in human community. Many times people get offended with what they see in the structure of the church and think that the solution is to create a new structure for a New Covenant expression. I don’t believe we have a structure problem as much as we have a culture problem. Structure doesn’t create a culture, but a culture will mandate a changing structure. Surely there are changes needed in the structure of things in the church, but the answer is not to simply change the structure. It is to change the culture. When the culture of the kingdom of God enters into any structure, the structure will change. We must be willing to change the structure of things to match the work of God’s Spirit, but changing the structure alone will not create a kingdom culture. The New Covenant church is built upon a New Covenant culture.

Jeremiah 31:31-34

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘ Know the Lord, ’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

The New Covenant is not an external change, but rather an internal one. The internal change of the New Covenant in the heart of the believer empowers many changes to the external way of things. It is not about knowing what to do or knowing how to act. It is about being empowered to live, move, and have our beings as sons and daughters of God in the earth. As New Covenant leaders we must seek to activate, facilitate, and release this reality in the lives of those we lead. We cannot take people by the hand and lead them. We must create an atmosphere that invites all to know God and to listen to His voice. We are not responsible to teach people right from wrong. We are responsible is teaching them to recognize and obey God’s voice. The culture of the kingdom of God is one of hearing, responding, and becoming a testimony of all that God desires in the earth. This will create a community of unity through diversity. When we lead for a structure we command unity through conformity, but when we lead for a culture we inspire unity through diversity.

Psalms 133:1-3 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing — Life forevermore.

God doesn’t bless unity; He blesses Zion. Zion is the place of the manifest presence of heaven on earth. It is the place where the anointing oil touches the earth. It is the place where the dew of heaven touches that little hill of Zion. That is where God commands the blessing and that blessing is – Life forevermore! The result is a testimony of unity. Unity is not the starting point; it is the finished testimony. It comes when everyone finds heaven’s grace in the same place. If God simply blessed unity we could all agree to be religious, we could agree to lie, or we could all agree to hate and expect some form of blessing from God. God doesn’t bless our agreement. Our agreement comes from the place of His blessings. The place of His blessing is the place of His cultural invasion in our hearts. That cultural invasion is one of knowing God and becoming a testimony of Him in the earth. We must be a house of God’s presence before we can be a community of His testimony. We must be a community of His testimony before we can be a people of His purpose.

The community of God is dependent upon being the temple of God’s Holy Spirit. The temple is not dependent upon the community. The community is dependent upon the temple. The temple of the Holy Spirit will activate, facilitate, and release the community of Christ. Build a temple and you will build the city. Build the city and you may never build the temple. In the Old Testament King Cyrus made a decree to build the temple of God and that decree was in reality a decree to build the city of God (Ezra 1:2; Dan. 9:25). The city of God had to be built because the temple was built (including the law and proper offerings). The word sent to build the city was the physical manifestation of the temple. The temple was the word gone forth. Build a temple and there will be a city. It is just like our Christian walk. If Jesus is in our heart, if there is a temple, then the work of the city (Christian community life) can be completed. Once Jesus is in our hearts we are new creations, but it is yet to be further manifested in our lives. God spoke the word to call us, but it didn’t become ‘the word sent forth’ until we received Jesus into our hearts. We had to become a house for His Spirit to dwell in and we had to receive His Spirit to dwell in us to write His law upon our hearts and minds. We had to become proper ‘burnt offerings’ through the one offering Jesus Christ (Rom. 12:1 – members of the body of Christ). Christian community doesn’t make us the testimony of Christ. Christ in us empowers us to become the testimony of a Christ-like community. As leaders we must lead for the culture of Christ before we can activate, facilitate, or release Christian community.

Food For Thought

Ted J. Hanson

Many doors of influence have opened for House of Bread Ministry. I need your help to do all that is before me. Thank you to all of you who have partnered with me in prayer and support. More resources are being developed and we are moving forward with reaching the nations with the message of New Covenant Life and Grace. 

Donations can be made at the above right link or mail your donation to House of Bread Ministry, 3210 Meridian St., Bellingham, Wa. 98225.

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Lead For Relationships

   Greetings;

Leaders must lead others in commitments, actions, responses, submission and contributions of life to others. These things are the foundation of true community. Without them we can never discover the mystery of being the community of God in the earth. These are essential for a life-giving community of Christ.

The focus of your contributions determines the value of your community. If we do not see that the contributions of our lives are for the life of others we will seek to take life from others and we will experience less than what God has for us. Our contributions are not about ministry. They are about be who we are for the sake of others being who they are. Our contributions have to do with who we are in Christ. They have to do with how we bring the resurrection life of Christ to our spheres of influence in life. Leaders must set an example in this and they must lead to help others find who they are in the testimony of Christ.

Our contribution to our relationships empowers us to also live for the shear love of being a part of the relationship. I believe that true community is the testimony of God’s presence that draws each member of the community to come-to-unity around the presence of Christ’s life. We then live with sacrificial love for one another we make decisions in our hearts for one another based upon love and not law. We become willing to make decisions for those we are in relationship in love and not a logical measurement of whether they deserve our love or not. This is the true testimony of sacrificial love for one another as one community for the glory of the relationship as one.

The value of your community determines the determination of your destiny. If we don’t have a revelation of our community together we will be willing to forfeit our destiny together in life. The purpose of our lives is not simply to live successful lives filled with earthly blessings. We were born to live significant lives that bear the fruit of generational destiny and inheritance. The fruit of our relationships in not merely revealed in our lifetimes, but it is ultimately revealed in the lives of our children and our children’s children. The ultimate testimony of our relationships in life is the life-giving purpose and destiny that reaches the generations touched by our lives in some way. Our commitments, actions, responses, submission, contributions, community, and destiny are all joined together as a road to bringing life to the destiny of others. New Covenant leaders must embrace the process of relationship as a key role in their testimony as leaders that inspire those they lead.

If we don’t have a revelation that love is the empowerment of our commitments, we will be easily offended when the natural circumstances of our relationships shake in life. When we become offended with another we then make a judgment towards them based upon things that are naturally true or perceived to be true in the relationship. Those judgments are birthed in the environment of fear, a fear of our own death in some way in the relationship. Our actions will become ones of judgment and will not be acts of love towards another. When we make a judgment of another we then become defiled in the relationship. Rather than responding to the other partner we seek to isolate and separate from the relationship. We no longer see the need for a testimony as one and thus we seek to protect our own individual identity. When we become defiled it inspires an insubordinate attitude towards the relationship. Submission to those we are joined to is lost and a protection of personal agendas is sought. We become negatively expressive towards the relationship. We don’t see the other as a part of us, so we are willing to destroy them with our attitudes, words, and acts in life. When we become insubordinate we then become apathetic towards the relationship. We no longer see the need to live to contribute who we are to another. We don’t care about the relationship anymore. We are not awake in our hearts towards them and we no longer see the need for them in our lives. When this happens, we become bound to the logic of our own judgments. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil has surpassed any revelation of the tree of life in the relationship. We seek to be separate in our desires, attitudes, visions, and aspirations in life. We find no need for the relationship. The end result is a total destruction of the relationship. Destiny has been laid in the dust and the relationship has been annihilated. There is no more future together and we have found the grave of disconnection, isolation, and disintegration to the corporate purpose of destiny. Offense has led to judgment, judgment has led to defilement, defilement has evolved to insubordination, insubordination has transformed to apathy, apathy has grown to atrophy, and atrophy has now been revealed as death. The relationship has ended. Its end began with an offense, a refusal to stay in a revelation of love. Love is the foundation and love is the substance in the journey of our relationships in life. New Covenant leaders seek to live in and for life-giving relationships.

Food For Thought,

 

Ted J. Hanson

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Leaders Lead For Relationships

        Greetings,

Leaders must be examples to those they lead in matters of relationship. A leader’s connection to God, their family, their friends, their neighbors, and even how they respond to their enemies is essential to their ability to lead others. We are called to lead people in a covenant relationship with God and one another. Everything in life is a matter of relationship.

Covenant relationships begin with a revelation of love and they are sustained through a growing revelation of that love. That love empowered revelation is the strength of true covenant commitments and it inspires acts of love towards one another in the relationship. Those acts of love prompt responses, and responses invoke a submission of one to another. When we know someone loves us it is easy to respond to them rightly. When we love someone else, we respond to them with an attitude and action of love. Our judgements toward God and one another must be a judgment of love. Everyone is called to carry a testimony of God in their lives that is both internal and external. Heavenly things are both inside and out. God’s love in our lives gives us a testimony of bread and wine. We are internally changed, and we are given a testimony that is even externally obvious in our lives. It is a heavenly testimony of the love of God. Our response to one another should be in recognition of heaven’s grace. We give to others because we want to receive all that they are. We appreciate the gift that they are and we are not trying to prove who we are. This is a proper relationship of responses. Leaders must set an example in this that others can follow. Without proper responses there can never be the true trust of submission. Proper responses lead to a submission based upon trust and it is a receiving of life and a giving of life to one another. Submission is not a matter of control or manipulation. It is a relational connection that allows there to be a dance of life that brings life to the relationship and bears the fruit of life to others touched by that relationship.

The trust of our submission determines the focus of our contribution to another. We must each receive a revelation that we were born to reveal something of the testimony of God in this world. Who we are is not for our own gain, but for the benefit of another. We are each part of the fellowship that contributes life to our covenant partners in life. When we have food at a table we have a supply to meet our natural needs. When we willingly bring our best food to the table for the sake of another we create a feast and a celebration of diversity that makes the table a testimony of unity through the unique expressions brought by each one. Each of us has been given a measure of life to contribute to our relationships in life. It is not about what we can get from another, but what we can give so those at the table become a fuller expression of the one covenant expressed there. We must each recognize that those in our covenant relationships in life are contributors of life to our lives. More importantly, we must know that we are a gift of life for the sake of those we relate to. God gives each of us an ability to bring light to darkness and that light is for the glory of our relationship with God and with one another. It is a testimony of who Christ is according to His resurrection life! We must be awake to who you are and to who another is in the relationships of our lives. An ability to do works of righteousness for the sake of others is a testimony of life at the table of our relationships. There is a diversity of food that is given by each one, but there is one salt at the table that brings the unique flavor of who we each are for the sake of our fellowship together in life.  Unity is revealed through diversity, not conformity. This can only be true when we know the mystery of living to contribute life to those we are in relationship with in life.

Leaders must lead others in commitments, actions, responses, submission and contributions of life to others. These things are the foundation of true community. Without them we can never discover the mystery of being the community of God in the earth. These are essential for a life-giving community of Christ.

Food For Thought,

Ted J. Hanson

Thank you to all of you who have partnered with me in prayer and support. More resources are being developed and we are moving forward with reaching the nations with the message of New Covenant Life and Grace. 

Donations can be made at the above right link or mail your donation to House of Bread Ministry, 3210 Meridian St., Bellingham, Wa. 98225.

 

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Acts Motivated by Love

    Greetings;

Everything that matters in life is about RELATIONSHIPS. Who we are, what we do, and the destiny of our lives are not based upon our gifting or our anointing. Everything of life is a testimony of relationship. Fruit comes from relationship, not from works or abilities. God wants a relationship with each of us. As leaders, we must be examples of those who seek to give our lives to building, maintaining, and growing in relationship with God and one another. Leading people in relationships is more important than leading them in works of ministry. Love is a matter of relationships, not ministry.

What is the strength of a relationship with God? What is the strength of every relationship in life? Relationships consist of commitments, actions, responses, submission, contributions, community, and destiny.

Relationships begin with a commitment. The strength of that commitment determines the strength of the relationship. Relationships established by law will fail. They cannot express covenant. They can only hope to maintain some form of contract and contracts are as the name infers. Contracts restrict and bind its participants to one another in some way, but they don’t live for the purpose of the greater value of another. They seek to make a greater value of the contract and thus restrict the participating members from the greatness that is found in covenants. Contracts may appear to create things that are greater, but the binding force of a contract is law. The binding force of a covenant is love. Covenants are not based upon what we receive from another, but upon who we are for the sake of another. God made a covenant with us by giving us all that is His. We make a covenant with God by giving Him all that we are. When these two things become realities in the relationship, there is a powerful dynamic of life that is beyond anything that can be negotiated in a contract of law. Both contracts and covenants require a commitment of its participants, but the commitment of a contract is based upon law while the commitments of covenants are based upon a revelation of love.

The fuel of our commitments will create the force of our actions. The source of commitment is the empowerment of our actions. The empowerment of our actions determines the willingness of our responses. The willingness of our responses determines the trust of our submission and the trust of our submission determines the focus of our contribution to another. The focus of our contributions determines the value of our community, while the value of our community reveals the determination of our destiny. The determination of our destiny is rooted in the source of our commitment. The destiny of God in our lives is one of reigning in life in all things, but its foundation is God’s love. True destiny is not about being successful in life. It is about being significant. The measure of our legacy is not seen in the years of our lives, but in how our lives effect the generations beyond our days upon this earth! This is kingdom of heaven destiny! Jesus asked His Father for the nations, and the posterity of His name is seen in the generations of men.

Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. 

The source of your commitment is the empowerment of your actions. One day a Pharisaic lawyer came to Jesus and asked Him what the greatest commandment in the law was. Jesus responded that the greatest was to love God and the second was to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said that upon those two commandments rested the entire law and the prophets (Mt. 22:34-40). The law and the prophets depended upon commands to love God and one another, but humanity could not love God and one another based upon a command of law. Jesus gave a new commandment to His disciples. That commandment was to love one another even as

He had loved them, that they would love one another.

John 13: 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

This New Covenant command was based upon a revelation of God’s love. Only a revelation of God’s love will inspire a commitment of love. The source of our commitment to a relationship with God or one another must be a revelation of God’s love for us. When we know how much God loves us, we are inspired to know how much God loves others. Only a revelation of God’s love can create a true commitment that will empower the actions of our lives towards God and others. Love is a revelation, not a commandment of law to love another. A revelation of forgiveness leads to repentance. A revelation of reconciliation leads to understanding. A revelation of belonging leads to believing. A revelation of purpose leads to passion. A revelation of having a Father makes us a son or daughter. These are all elements found in a commitment based upon a revelation of love. Perhaps Paradise is a place where nothing works without God. It is then also a place where everything works with Him. Paradise with God is a place of knowing how much God loves us and this is the fuel of our commitment to Him and to one another. When we know how much God loves us, we then are inspired to know how much God loves others. You see, the revelation that God loves us is not just a revelation of His love. It includes a revelation of how undeserving we are – yet He still loves us! This is in turn inspires us to love others! It is not based upon a deserving of that love. It is totally based upon a revelation of love!

As leaders, we must set an example in commitments of love and acts of love towards others. Only actions motivated by love are true acts of faith. Leaders must seek to be examples in this that others may follow.

Food For Thought,

Ted J. Hanson

Thank you to all of you who have partnered with me in prayer and support. More resources are being developed and we are moving forward with reaching the nations with the message of New Covenant Life and Grace. 

Donations can be made at the above right link or mail your donation to House of Bread Ministry, 3210 Meridian St., Bellingham, Wa. 98225.

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Leaders Lead For Relationships

Greetings;

Leaders must lead for relationships. They are the first to set an example to those they stand before in demonstrating the way, the path, the character and the testimony of relationships. Everything that matters in life is about RELATIONSHIPS! Relationships begin with a commitment. The strength of that commitment determines the strength of the relationship. Relationships established by law will fail. They cannot express covenant. Leaders must not lead by way of rules and principles, they must lead for the transformed lives and the testimony of relationships that result from transformed hearts and minds in Christ. The first step is a revelation of God’s love. Love is the fuel and the strength of life-giving and life-sustaining relationships.

The empowerment of your actions determines the willingness of your responses. When we know that God loves us we believe Him when He speaks. That belief is demonstrated with actions that testify of our love for Him. These are acts of faith towards Him. Faith comes by hearing the one we love. The empowerment of our actions is revealed through faith that works through love. Those works reveal that our hearts are with the one who speaks. We have no fear of losing ourselves, because we are empowered in our hearts to live for another. There is no fear of death, because our actions are a testimony of love from our hearts. Perfect love in our hearts casts fear from the environment of our motivations. We are motivated to act in love toward another because we know how much they love us. This is a testimony of our love towards God or towards anyone in a relationship that testifies of God’s kingdom. This is the testimony of true covenant. It is not true for a contract of law. Law measures commitments by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, while love liberates its joining partners by the tree of life. When we are empowered to act in faith towards another, we become inspired to willingly respond to who they are in our lives. Leaders must set an example in actions of love that demonstrate love for another in the relationships of life.

Responding to another is not an action we make to prove what we have is worth receiving by them. It is a revelation that what another possesses is of great value to us. Like the tithe given by Abram to Melchizedek in the shadow of the law (Gen. 14:18-23), our response to another is a gratuity of honor to invoke all that can be received from them. Tithe is not something that is limited to our money. It is not meant to be a legalistic ten percent given to God in the hope for His blessing upon the remaining ninety percent of our substance. Ten is a prophetic symbol of ‘totality’, ‘completeness’, or ‘judgment’ (more specifically, ‘a judgment of love’ – as ten commandments reveal a two-fold witness of loving God and loving others). Tithe represents the making of a judgment of love that what another has is of great value in our lives. God gives us a gratuity of who He is and we respond with a gratuity of who we are; thus confessing that we depend upon all of who God is to become all of what we should be. What about our responses to one another? In a covenant relationship we respond to another because we know they are of great value in our lives and we want all of them based upon a revelation of love. We make a judgment of love in our responses to our covenant partner knowing that without them we lack the full testimony of who we are meant to be in life. The willingness of our responses determines the trust of our submission to one another.  A revelation of who another is determines our willingness to respond with who we are. Our response to God invites the fullness of who God is into our lives. Our response to one another invites the fullness of who another is into our lives. Proper responses give us a testimony that is beyond who we are alone.

When we have a revelation of covenant love, we make covenant actions of love. When we act with covenant actions of faith towards another we become inspired to respond to who they are in our lives. The willingness of our responses to another determines the trust of our submission to them in our lives. Submission involves an under and over relationship with another. We must come under another in order to receive the life that is given. We must willingly come over another in order to tip in their direction and give the life that we have to the one who comes to receive. There must be a tipping towards another of one and a coming under of another. Submission is like a dance of life. It is not a matter of control, nor is it a matter of manipulation. Neither partner comes to take from another. Authority is given and received; it is not taken or used as a force to lord over another. It is the recognition of life and the exchange of that life for the testimony of life that comes to each one from the Father of life in heaven. All authority comes from God and that authority is like light from the Father of lights to His children as the light of life to the world. In a covenant relationship submission one to another reveals the light of the relationship, as each one becomes a testimony of light in the greatness of their relationship as one.

These are the first issues of relationship. Commitments inspire actions, actions prompt responses, and responses invoke a submission of one to another. Leaders must set an example to follow. They must lead to activate, facilitate, and release these in those within their sphere of influence.

Food For Thought,

Ted J. Hanson

Click below to watch a video of the atmosphere of training in Angola, Africa. It was a blessed time of God’s presence and training. Thank you for your prayer and support to help make this possible.

A Taste of Angola!

Thank you to all of you who have partnered with me in prayer and support. More resources are being developed and we are moving forward with reaching the nations with the message of New Covenant Life and Grace. 

Donations can be made at the above right link or mail your donation to House of Bread Ministry, 3210 Meridian St., Bellingham, Wa. 98225.

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Examples In His Word and Presence

         Greetings,

The more we know God, the more we become like Him. We are His children and He is our Father. This is why our view of God is so important. Whatever we see God to be is what we will become to others. If we see God to be a master, we will become a master to others. If we believe He is unapproachable, we will also become unapproachable in life. If we believe He is compromising in His character, we will also become compromising in our character. If we believe that He is legalistic in His words, we will become legalistic in our words to others. If we believe He simply forgives, but He never empowers us to change, we too will be forgiving, but we will never embrace change or live to empower anyone else in the change that God can bring in life. We must be people who see God more clearly each season of our lives. It is only then that we can live as the fragrance and testimony of God in our lives. As the apostle John wrote, Fathers are those who have known Him from the beginning. They have seen Him work by His overcoming grace in their lives and they know that changes continually come by the grace of God.

Leaders are sent to those they lead. Leadership is not about control, instruction, or command. It is a matter of leading others by vision, inspiration, and example in what God intends to come to pass in the lives of those within their authority. Leaders must understand that seeing God for who He is more important than seeking to excel in ministry, training, or some Biblical instruction. Knowing God, seeing Him for who He is, and becoming like Him are things to be sought by those who lead and those who follow in order to lead others also. Everyone is called to influence others in life and to lead them in some way into a relationship with God.

How can we know who God is? We must pursue intimacy with God by His Spirit in our hearts. A relationship doesn’t just happen, it is cultivated. Leaders set an example for others in being loved by God and walking in a love relationship with Him in all things. They embrace the life that God gives, willingly become an expression of His life in the testimony of their lives, and partner with God in all things. They know their sins are forgiven because God is a Father who loves them. They overcome by being strong in God’s word and in His presence. In this continued process they have become Fathers, for they see God as a Father who forgives, loves, and partners with them to empower them to overcome in all things in life.

Leaders must embrace intimacy with presence of God Spirit and they must also embrace the objective witness of His word and lead others to do the same. He is the same today, yesterday, and forever. To understand Him today we must seek to understand His voice in times past, but to understand His voice in the past we must also embrace a place of intimacy with Him by His Spirit today. Holy Spirit is a subjective witness in our lives. He submits to the voice of God in the past because He is the same voice as was in the past. He submits to the voice of God as we find it in the word of God and this is why Scripture will interpret Scripture. The New Testament is the revelation of the Old and the Old is the detailed shadow of the New. This is not the word of God according to our own twisted perception, interpretation, or application. We must study to show ourselves approved, workman who need not be ashamed. That study is not one of information, but of intimacy and the information of the word of God is only a witness to intimacy with God that transforms our lives to be expressions of God’s word in increasing measures just as Jesus was the word made flesh in the fullest measure. The word can only be understood through the perfect testimony of Jesus and the full testimony of Jesus can only be understood in the details of the shadow cast by Him in the word of God. The Scriptures testify of Him. He is the true filter for the word of God. We can only understand the shadow of a tree by looking at the tree itself. We can only understand the written word by looking at the living word of Christ. Jesus was an example in the flesh of all that the word of God is upon the page. When we find a Scripture that doesn’t match the person Jesus we must reevaluate how we are reading the Scripture. This doesn’t mean that we reject and throw away Scriptures that don’t look like love in our own opinion. Our view of God greatly affects our ability to understand what He says. In the Old Covenant the writers understood God as a Sovereign Almighty God, but the New Covenant reveals that He has always been a loving Father who has Sovereign abilities and is willing to use them when necessary. I have come to believe that His love, and Him being love, is more powerful than merely a Sovereign God. A loving Father is willing to work things out for our good, even when an enemy intends things for evil. Many of the judgments in the word of God are really the consequence of avoiding a connection with God who desires for all men to be saved. We must read all of the Scripture through the filter of a Father and His children, not a God and His subjects. Some things that are written supply good theological foundations in our lives, while many other things reveal true poetic experiences. Those poetic experiences are not meant to be interpreted as theological fact, but revelations of what happens when we include God in our lives or what happens when we don’t invite Him to our table.

Food For Thought,

Ted J. Hanson

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Embracing the Spirit of the Family

   Greetings,

When we understand that we are family, we willingly embrace necessary sacrifices for the sake of others. Our position becomes that of lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace in all things. Leaders must set an example in this for the sake of all embracing the family characteristics of Christ. The apostle Paul understood this to be true.

Ephesians 4:1-3  I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Church is not an organization, a structure, a belief system, or a way of ministry. Church is meant to be an expression of family for the glory of our Father in heaven. Each of has a grace given to us by God for the sake of others. That grace allows us to be a multifaceted, diverse, and glorious family. There is one body, one spirit, and one hope of our calling. That calling is fulfilled by being sons and daughters of God who are led by one Lord, one Faith, one Submersion, one God and Father of us all, one God above us all, one God through us all, and one God in us all. This is the intended testimony of the family of God in the earth.

Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

The one body is the body of Christ, the Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God, and the hope of our calling is the fulfillment of His calling in our lives. The power of the New Covenant is a power to put off the old conduct of our old man by putting on the testimony of Christ. We allow Christ within us to be the source of life to our souls. We live each day to receive the renewal that comes to our minds by Christ’s Spirit within us. We are receiving a new way of thinking, through the inspiration of our spirits made alive by Christ’s Spirit within our hearts. We are constantly and progressively becoming new men and women in Christ. Our character, nature, way, power, and authority are becoming that which speaks truth to others with passionate love. This is not speaking law; it is releasing life-giving words to others through the expressions of who we are. When we go through the challenges of life we don’t let the challenges of life determine whom we are. Christ in us determines who we are. When we are angry, we never let our day end in anger. We don’t hold on to anything that would be a root of bitterness in our hearts. We are becoming in our nature what God already saw us to be. It is affecting our attitudes, our actions, our conversations, our efforts, our expressions, and our influences upon others.

We are to be led by one Want To (one Lord), one Faith (a faith toward God), one Submersion (a submersion in the presence of God’s Spirit for the testimony of change), one God and Father (a Father of lights to send us as the light of life to the world), one God Above All (a testimony of the power of His resurrection might in all things), one God Through All (a testimony of community love in a passion for God and compassion for one another), and one God In All (the reality of His glory subduing every enemy and releasing Christ’s destiny to the earth). The sevenfold Holy Spirit of God is what leads us as children of God (Isa. 11:1-2).

Ephesians 4:20-32 But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

These things are not disciplines of the flesh. They are transformations in our flesh brought about by the power of God’s grace at work in our lives. We are being changed from glory to glory and that internal change is affecting the expressions of our purpose and destiny with and expression of life towards others. We putt off the old man by putting on Christ! By this we are renewed in the spirit of our minds and we become motivated by a different culture, the culture of the family of God!

Food For Thought,

 

Ted J. Hanson

 

 

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Following Jesus

Greetings,

When we live to be a place of God’s presence we find that He abides in us and we abide in Him. We find our life in Him, but the secret to that life is that He lives in us. He gives us life by living in our lives. The most important thing of our faith is the One who speaks to our hearts and gives us faith. God in our lives is more important than His principles, but when God is in our lives we cast a shadow that appears as though we live according to His principles. He gives us life and He causes us come alive in our hearts!

Once we know that we live in Him, we can also move in Him. Jesus illustrated this New Covenant truth after He presented the truth of first being a place of His habitation in life. After telling the man that He had no place to rest His head (headship), Jesus spoke to another and asked Him to follow Him. The power of being able to follow was initiated by Jesus, not merely someone wanting to follow Him. It was the word of Jesus that would empower the man to follow. It was the expression of life from the mouth of God that would empower the man to walk out the journey of life.

Luke 9:59 And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” 60 But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.”

Jesus wasn’t advocating the forsaking of funerals by those who follow Him. He was simply stating that following Him was not about fixing the things of the past, burying the things of the past, or any other natural ability. Following Him was only possible by being joined to Him in life. Following Him was a matter of being an expression of Him in all things. It is in Him that we move. God gives breath to all people. He is the word, but our lives are a testimony to His voice. It is not about where we have come from; it is all about who we are in Him. He is the breath of our journey in life. This is the testimony of a New Covenant in Christ. 

Jesus then made a third illustration of New Covenant in the story. Another man said to Him a statement in regard to following Him that illustrates the testimony of the fullness of the life that is found in the New Covenant.

Luke 9:61 Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Following Jesus is not something that we do on Sunday, Wednesday, or any other day of the week. Following Jesus is following Him in all things. It is a testimony of tabernacling with God in all things and at all times. He gives all things to all people. In Him we have our being. It is not about visiting Him or Him visiting us. It is about abiding in Him and Him abiding in us in all things. The will of God in our lives is not what we do, it is who we are. Who we are is defined by our intimacy with God in all things. When we know who we are we can do many things that identify with who we are. We don’t get our identity out of what we do, the things we do get their identity out of us. Everything we do in life is a testimony of Him and His New Covenant life. There is no separation between our kingdom and His, and His kingdom and ours. Our lives are for the glory of His name.

The New Covenant is about living NOW each day. When we live in the NOW of each day it releases a testimony that includes yesterday and unlocks the doors of tomorrow. The things of the past are neither bad nor good; they are measured in the testimonies of today. The New Covenant is a ‘today covenant’ where we are empowered to love God with all of our hearts, all of our souls, and all of our lives.

The power of Christ is at work in us. God wants us to do greater things than Jesus did. He wants us to be the testimony of His family – a family of calling, inheritance, and power in all things. The substance of our family is Christ in us, God Himself! The testimony of Christ in us is one of God’s own love. As believers we must set the examples of sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and even transitioning grandparents to the generations that follow us. It is all about family!

Let us lead to empower others to become the place of God’s presence, the voice that reveals Him to the world, and to know the greatness of partnership with God in all things!

Food For Thought,

 

Ted J. Hanson

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Lead For The Place of Habitation

      Greetings,

The four gospels of the New Testament are a very unique place in the Scripture. We have a page in our Bibles before the book of Matthew that says, “New Testament”, but it is not really. The New Testament for us doesn’t start until after the end of Matthew, after the end of Mark, after the end of Luke, and after the end of John. Although Jesus lived in the New Testament, the New Testament for us didn’t come into effect until after Jesus was crucified, buried, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and poured out His Holy Spirit upon the body of Christ in the Book of Acts. The four gospels are a very special record of human transition. It is the account of a New Covenant man living among Old Covenant people in the last days of an Old Covenant time.

There is a great story in the book of Luke that illustrates the truth of the New Covenant in the midst of an Old Covenant time. One day Jesus, a New Covenant man, was approached by an Old Covenant man who was impressed with the New Covenant testimony that he saw in the life of Jesus. He made an Old Covenant statement concerning what he would do in regard to Jesus. He said that he would follow Jesus anywhere.

Luke 9:57 As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

This Old Covenant man wanted to follow Jesus, but to follow Jesus was not an act of the human will. Following Jesus is the fruit of a supernatural connection and a supernatural habitation. The Old Covenant was centered around information in regard to how to act and how to live. The focus of human life becomes something of doing when we embrace an Old Covenant administration in our lives. To truly follow Jesus takes an empowerment of the Spirit of God within the follower. The criteria for following Jesus is made known through being a place of the presence of Christ within. Jesus’ response to the man’s statement was one of ‘being’ and not one of ‘doing’. He wasn’t saying that the man would have to take a poverty vow in order to follow Him. He wasn’t saying that the man would never know what he was doing if he followed Him. He wasn’t saying that life would become a day-to-day journey of never knowing where you are going or what you are doing. He was simply making a statement in regard to what He really wanted from the man. He stated that foxes have holes and birds have nests. A fox doesn’t look for a hole to sleep in. He isn’t dependent upon others to build him a fox motel or a bed and breakfast for foxes. A fox finds an environment of dirt, digs a hole, finds another fox, lives together, raises a family of foxes, lives a great fox life, and influences the world with fox activity. A bird doesn’t look for a nest to sleep in. A bird finds a stick, picks up another stick, and gathers many sticks to build a nest to live from. The bird is not dependent upon the local bird society or the local government to provide a place for sleeping. The bird is simply born to seek out the environment of a bird habitation, where he can find a bird partner, raise a bird family, live a great bird life, and influence the world with bird activity. Jesus was looking for a place to rest His head. He needed a body; like the fox needed a den and the bird needed a nest. He was looking for a place to rest His headship and He wanted to know if the man was it. This is the power of New Covenant. We are a place of God’s habitation in the earth so that God can have His family, live a great life, and influence the world with the life of heaven. Once we know who we are we can follow Him. It is not what we do that makes us who we are. It is who we are that empowers us to do all things! I believe that this story illustrates the first requirement of the New Covenant. To be in the New Covenant we must find the life of His Spirit within our spirits. It is in Him that we live. He gives life to all people!

As leaders, we must lead others into knowing the place of being a habitation for God’s presence. It isn’t about merely doing what Jesus would do, it is about being the place where Jesus lives. The word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood as a man so that every man and woman in each and every neighborhood can be an expression of the word. This happens when be become the place of His habitation in the earth.

Food For Thought,

 

Ted J. Hanson

 

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Led By The Spirit

    Greetings,

Only children of God know the true freedom of being made free. We are new creations of God in Christ and we know the freedom of being children of God. As sons and daughters of God we are led by God’s Spirit within us. We are not just led by being told what to do. A different Spirit, a different motivator, in our being leads us. The seven-fold Holy Spirit of God is the substance of that motivation within us (Isa. 11:1-2). Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of Wisdom, the Spirit of Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel, the Spirit of Might, the Spirit of Knowing, and the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord. We are one body with one Spirit and it is by the leading of the Spirit that we can fulfill our part in the calling of Christ. We are led by one Lord, one Faith, one Submersion, one God and Father, one God Above All, one God Through All, and one God In All (Eph. 4:4-6). Our desires, actions, responses, submission, contributions, communion of love, and power of destiny all come by the power of the Holy Spirit within us. It is not a matter of being told what to do, it is a matter of being empowered to become who we are in Him.

Many times, we cry out for revival in our land or in our lives. I believe that we need more than revival. We need the constant, continually increasing, and very intimate reality of Christ in us. Revival alone is an Old Covenant concept. It is a longing for God to show up and do something. Revivals come, and revivals go. Revivals make an impact, but then they often turn into memories and future expectations. They become events of God in our lives that we look back upon and remember, and experiences that we long to see again. In either case, revivals alone become the substance of an Old Covenant. Revivals aren’t meant to last. They are merely meant to inspire us in the midst of the journey.

My wife Bonnie and I have been married for almost forty-one years. We don’t live for revival. We live for a constant renewal of life within us by the power of our love towards one another. We know that we are one flesh; therefore, we are inspired in our commitment, our actions, our responses, our submission, our contribution, our communion of love, and our power of destiny with one another in our journey together in life. We have had our moments of inspiration that seem like revivals in our relationship, but the strength of our covenant is in the everyday life we find together. We are inspired in our commitment, actions, responses, submission, contribution, love, and dedication because we are led by a spirit of oneness in all that we do. This is the testimony of a New Covenant life! A New Covenant life is a constantly NOW Covenant reality. It is the same in the body of Christ. Mere revivals aren’t meant to last. They are part of the journey and should be expected in the seasons of life in the kingdom. They wake us up to new things in Christ, but the life of Christ is an intimate, renewing, and refreshing relationship with God in all things. The secret is the mystery of Christ in us who empowers us to live in all times.

Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

The power of New Covenant Ministry is that God made us free, He made us sons and daughters. The best that you could come to God in the Old Covenant was as a servant. The New Covenant is a place of a Father and His children. It is the place of God and His offspring. It is a place of abiding with Him, not a place of doing things for Him.

Food For Thought,

Ted J. Hanson

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