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Game Changing Christians

Game Changing Christians

What do you get when Christians accept God's wisdom and live up to their full potential? What do you get when Christians escape natural limitations?

"Game Changing Christians"

In the final message of The Cracked Door Conference 2012, author and speaker Donnell Duncan presents a compelling teaching from The Bible that will blow your mind. Don't keep this eye-opening information to yourself. Share it with others. Christians everywhere need to know.

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Donnell Duncan on The Norm Jones Show

Donnell Duncan on The Norm Jones Show

 

This morning Donnell Duncan had a great on-air interview on The Norm Jones Show of WTCM News Talk 580AM out of Traverse City, Michigan.

CLICK IMAGE ABOVE TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW
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Know Your Enemy

Spiritual Swordfight

2 Corinthians 2:11(KJV) - Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Professional athletes in contact sports watch videotapes of their opponents before every game. They study them carefully. They pick up tendencies that they can exploit. Before they even enter the battle, they understand their opponents.

This is the third message in our series, "Seeing The Invisible." It is a continuation from Part Two, "Supernatural Beings." Join us as we journey into the spirit realm where important things are taking place which we cannot see.

Today we'll study a very important aspect of warfare; "Know Your Enemy."

Matthew 4:1-3(KJV) - 1Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. (emphasis mine)

Pay close attention to all you just saw in Matthew 4:1-3. When it comes to spiritual warfare, that is the equivalent of watching tape. Like professional athletes, let's study it carefully and pick up tendencies we can exploit. Before we even enter the battle, let's understand our opponent.

How exactly did the devil attack Jesus?

Know Your Enemy

1) He questioned Jesus' identity!

As we discussed in yesterday's blog, "Supernatural Beings" the devil was after Jesus' soul. What do I mean by that? He wanted access to Jesus' mind, will and emotions. He wanted to affect how Jesus was thinking, the decisions He was making and how He felt.

Jesus just finished a 40 day fast and was extremely hungry so the devil knew exactly where He was vulnerable at that time. Hence, the devil tempted Jesus by sarcastically suggesting that He use His supernatural power to satisfy His physical desires. However, the temptation had nothing to do with stones and nothing to do with bread. It was all about Jesus' identity.

Pay close attention to the phrase that I emphasized; "If thou be the Son of God."

By starting with that phrase, the devil questioned Jesus' identity in a moment when He was vulnerable. The devil dared Jesus to prove that He was The Son of God. It was an attempt to coax Jesus to get out of character. The devil wanted to see Jesus defend His position. If Jesus was unsure of Himself, He would have fallen for the trap and tried to prove His worth.

2) He questioned Jesus' relationship with His Father.

In addition, He directly questioned Jesus' identity as it related to His relationship with His Father in heaven. He basically said, "Are you really God's Son or are you not? Hmm, maybe you're Joseph's son or some other man's. Virgin birth whatever! If you are really God's Son then show me your power."

Just like the devil. There he went telling Jesus how The Son of God was supposed to act. He was essentially playing mind games. Now let's study some more tape.

Know Your Enemy

Genesis 3:1-5(KJV) - Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Pay close attention to the enemy's tactics with Eve. There's a lot more in there but for today's study I just want you to focus on verse 5 and see something familiar.

1) The devil questioned Eve's identity.

She was already made in God's image and likeness according to Genesis 1:26-28 so she was already like God. However, in verse 5 he made her question that. He challenged her to disobey God so that she would be like God even though she already was like God. He questioned her identity and messed with her mind. If she wasn't sure she was made in God's image she would fall for the trap.

2) He questioned Eve's relationship with God.

He made her feel like God was holding something back by telling her not to touch The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil. He did not tell her the truth which was that God was trying to protect her because that would paint God in a good light. So he planted a lie in her head about God and that messed with her soul. How do we know that? He messed with what she thought about God's benevolence, how she made decisions in response to God's directions and how she felt about God's view of her. Maybe God wasn't as good as He portrayed Himself to be after all? Hmmm...

Know Your Enemy

Now think about your own life. How many times has the enemy used the same tactics to mess with your mind? He attacks when you are vulnerable in the area where you're vulnerable. He says things to make you question your identity. He says things to make you question your relationship with God. He says things to control what you think, the decisions you make and how you feel. He'll tempt you to disobey God to get something God could give you in the first place. He wants you to question God's Love for you. He wants you to question God's plan for your life. If you don't know know you are, he has some suggestions for you. He did it with Eve. He did it with Jesus. He'll do it with you. Watch out!

We'll continue from here next week.

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Supernatural Beings

Supernatural Beings

2 Peter 2:11(NLT) - But the angels, who are far greater in power and strength, do not dare to bring from the Lord a charge of blasphemy against those supernatural beings.

One of the finest tricks of the devil is convincing the world that he doesn't exist - Anonymous

It's amazing how some cynical people question God's existence by pointing to all the evil in the world. I've heard some say; "If there is a loving God why is there so much evil?" However, I have a question of my own; "Have you ever heard of the devil?"

This is the second message in our new series, "Seeing The Invisible." Join us as we journey into the spirit realm where important things are taking place which we cannot see.

Ephesians 6:11-12(NLT) - Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Supernatural Beings

Human enemies are merely agents of misdirection. They are sent along your path to distract you from your real enemies. While they draw away your attention, the real enemies of your soul remains unchecked. The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:11-12 that our war is never against human beings. It is not against wicked human beings. It is not against selfish human beings. It is not against violent human beings. It doesn't matter. If you can see them with your natural eyes you are looking in the wrong direction.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6(NKJV) - For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (emphasis mine)

Knowledge is not power. It's potential power. Applied knowledge is power. - Darren Hardy, Publisher & Editorial Director of Success Magazine

It's great to know that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. It's also great to know that they are mighty. However, unless we can identify them, understand how they operate and then actually use them none of that power can help us. So what are these weapons? Also, why does the scripture say these spiritual weapons are primarily for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments, misinformation about God, stray thoughts and disobedience? What kind of spiritual warfare is that?

Knowing God Through His Word

Ephesians 6:17(NKJV) - And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

Your spiritual weapon is The Word of God. Now how exactly can words be used to fight a war? Am I supposed to believe that I can just say something and defeat an enemy? What kind of battle is that? Also, it's not a coincidence that the helmet of salvation is mentioned in the same verse. Why did The Bible say to protect your head and fight with words?

Hebrews 4:12(NKJV) - For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (emphasis mine)

Take a look at Hebrews 4:12. Pay close attention to a certain word that I emphasize. It's the word, "thoughts."

The primary battleground is your soul. Every time the devil and his forces attack they are after something priceless; your soul. Why your soul? Contained within your soul are your mind, will and emotions. That's right. They want to control how you think, the decisions you make and how you feel. They want to control your soul. When they can influence your soul, they can control you. When they can control you, they've won the battle.

Psalm 143:3(NKJV) - For the enemy has persecuted my soul; He has crushed my life to the ground; He has made me dwell in darkness, Like those who have long been dead.

God gave you one weapon to win the battle for your soul. It's The Word of God and it has the power to wage war for your mind, will and emotions. When used correctly, it can protect how you think, the decisions you make and how you feel. It's time to fight back. It's time to dominate the battle for your soul. We'll continue from here tomorrow.

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Our Secret Weapon

2 Corinthians 10:4-6(KJV) - (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
  Note: Don't keep this to yourself. SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS! Look down!
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Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership

Mark 10:42-45(NLT) - So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

You've probably heard the term "Servant Leadership" before. If so, what does it mean to you? If not, let me introduce it to you. It's exactly what you just saw in Mark 10:42-45. It's the leadership style taught by Jesus.

This is the fourth installment in our study of  The Four Pillars of The Cracked Door Foundation. Today, we'll focus on Pillar #4 - Serving God's People.

Last Saturday morning I attended the first session of a Leadership Series at Point University. The speaker was Dean Collins, President of Point University. His topic was "Servant Leadership: A Market Place Mission." I was really happy I went because his presentation was quite enlightening. So in today's blog I'll share what I learned.

Servant Leadership

"The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature." - Source: The Servant as Leader, an essay by Robert Greenleaf (1970)

According to Robert Greenleaf, founder of The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership there are ten basic characteristics of Servant Leaders. Let me share them with you in my own words.

The Character of The Servant Leader

1) Listen - It's important to listen first, then respond so that you can tailor solutions for those you serve.

2) Empathize - Recognize people's worth and value them.

3) Heal - Use your position to help make people whole.

4) Be Aware - Know what's going on around you and also what's going on inside of you.

5) Influence - As often as possible, use your position to influence people to change instead of forcing them.

6) Envision - Dream big. If you don't know where you are going, why exactly should people follow you?

7) Have Foresight - Learn from the past, recognize the present and shape the future.

8 ) Show Stewardship - Treat your leadership role like a steward. You are entrusted to lead by others for a limited period of time. Leave the position better than you met it.

9) Grow People - Don't use people to grow your organization. Grow the people in your organization and as they grow so will your organization.

10) Build Community - Don't lose touch as you grow. The bigger your organization the more effort you have to make in this area.

Luke 16:10-12(NLT) -“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?

This is God's message to you. You're a leader whether or not you hold a formal position of leadership. You don't need a position to be a leader, you just need influence. Start being a servant leader today.

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How can a man love God?

How can a man love God?

Mark 12:30(KJV) - And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

God is the embodiment of Love! His standards are higher than we can imagine. What can mere humans possibly offer Him that would satisfy His desire for love? Let's look at that today.

This is the third installment in our study of  The Four Pillars of The Cracked Door Foundation. Today, we'll focus on Pillar #3 - Obeying God's directions.

John 14:15(AMP) - If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands.

Obedience

I once heard a man say that his wife spells love as T-I-M-E. Well, for God it's O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E. He places a very high value on our willingness to do what He says. He sees right through any outward, emotional displays of love and judges our hearts.

There's a famous quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's last speech before he died. He said, "I just wanna do God's Will...." Every time I hear that it really touches my heart. How much simpler can it be put? I just want to do God's Will.

Matthew 22:36-40(NLT) - “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Jesus made it clear that at the top of the list of commandments is LOVE. How can a man show God Love? Obey His commandments. What is His most important commandment? Love! Why not show someone some love today? In that way, you're showing love to God. He would really appreciate that.

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Prayer: The Invisible-Visible Connection

Prayer: The Invisible-Visible Connection

The Invisible-Visible Connection

Colossians 1:16(KJV) - For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Genesis 1 is not the complete picture of creation. While it gives an account of God's creation of the visible world it does not detail his invisible creation process. Currently, in existence there are visible and invisible thrones, visible and invisible dominions, visible and invisible principalities, visible and invisible powers. Fortunately or unfortunately for some of us, they all affect our lives. Whether or not we can see what's going on makes absolutely no difference. Thus the importance of today's blog.

This is the third installment in our study of  The Four Pillars of The Cracked Door Foundation. Today, we'll focus on Pillar #2 - Knowing God Through Prayer.

Psalm 27:8(NLT) - My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

Before we get into anything deep let's deal with the basics. At the most fundamental level, prayer is our answer to God's invitation for personal communication. He wants to converse with us and has created prayer as an avenue for us to do so. If you want to develop a relationship or get to know God on a deeper level you must spend time with Him in prayer.

Prayer - The Invisible-Visible Connection

Matthew 16:19(KJV) - And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Now here's another side of prayer. It's our connection between the invisible and visible realms. When Jesus presented the keys of the kingdom of heaven He really gave us the authority to pray in His name from visible earth and change things that are taking place in invisible heaven. His name gives us the authority we need to subdue rogue elements of His creation.

Ephesians 6:12,17-18(KJV) - For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places....And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Our true enemy is invisible and he leads an invisible army which is constantly on the offensive. Even though he uses visible agents, the power behind them comes from the invisible realm. Our war is not with wicked people on earth but with wicked spirits in the heavens that control them. Fight in the spirit where you have unlimited power. Prayer is your weapon. The Word of God is your ammunition. So pray The Word of God and win.

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Can you describe God?

Knowing God Through His Word

Isaiah 50:4(NLT) - The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will.

If someone asked you to describe God what would you say? If you're a Christian you might say something like He's invisible, all powerful, loving, merciful, all knowing, eternal, spiritual, omnipresent, etc. That might be true but how could you be so sure? Can you prove God's characteristics using logic or scientific evidence? Maybe some, but definitely not all. You know God through His Word. Tangible evidence only backs it up.

This is the second installment in our study of  The Four Pillars of The Cracked Door Foundation. Today, we'll focus on Pillar #1 - Knowing God Through His Word. Many people have their own ideas about God. However, He is not whatever or whoever people think He is. The God of The Bible is unique. He differs from every god presented by other religions in their holy books.

Knowing God Through His Word

2 Timothy 3:16-17(KJV) - All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

If you want to know about our God, you have to read The Bible. I recently engaged an atheist in a debate on my blog at Faith Science Online. In the end I realized that one of the major differences between us was our understanding of God. By his own admission, he captured the vastness of who God should be but he did not understand how God communicates. Hence, since God would not speak to him the way he expected God to, he refused to accept God's existence.

Well, that's just too bad. The God of The Bible is a specific person who demonstrates His character throughout scripture. If you don't want to accept who He is as outlined in scripture you probably won't accept Him. As a Christian for many years I have grown close to The God of The Bible and even though our relationship is quite personal He really is just like what I read in The Bible. Obviously, there is much more to Him but if you're looking for somewhere reliable to start, He's an "open book."

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Developing A Clear Vision

Developing A Clear Vision

 

Habakkuk 2:1-3(NLT) - I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint. Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.
 

To kick-start the new daily devotional let's focus on establishing a firm foundation this week. We'll first erect The Four Pillars of The Cracked Door Foundation and then start building upon them as time progresses. Our mission is what we do. Our vision is who we are. The Four Pillars are a hybrid of both at this point.

We've been doing this since 2006 and after almost 6 years we've grown into who we are today. We dropped the old vision and mission somewhere along the way. In 2006, we thought we knew exactly what we were supposed to do and who we were supposed to be but we had no idea of the details. It's now becoming clearer.

Every organization has an identity. Sometimes it's completely captured by the vision statement but many times it develops over time. It's easy to claim what your organization is all about before you do one thing but your true identity tends to unfold as you work the mission. It's like you bounce around when you first start but you eventually settle down into the place where you fit.

Nonetheless, it's still important to write the vision as you know it. The Bible has specific directions in Habakkuk 2:1-3.

1) Write The Vision - If you don't know where you're going, anywhere you end up would seem just fine. If you don't write a vision, one will be written for you. Others will determine what you should be doing. Circumstances will push you in different directions. You and the people on your team will lack discipline. You may not know exactly what the future holds but your vision does offer priceless guidance along the way.

2) Why Is The Written Vision So Important? - It's good for you to know your identity but it's more important for others on your team. If people don't know who you are they will make things up for themselves. People tend to have their own ideas and if you don't provide any restraint, they will impose it on your organization. No vision means nothing to stop them from doing whatever they feel like.

3) The Vision Is Future-Oriented - Your vision is not a snapshot of where you are but a glimpse of who you should be. Hence, it should not be limited by your current circumstances. It should stretch you to be more than you are at the time. It's like a carrot on a stick that stays in front of your eyes as you run hard after it.

4) The Vision Takes Time - Only weeds grow up overnight. Unfortunately, they also shrivel up and die suddenly. The strength of a tree to withstand the storms is in it's root system. Root growth is done underground. Nobody sees it. The vision of your organization usually covers what's seen in public. To grow tall, you have to grow deep. The vision will take time to unfold. That's alright. Wait for it!

Proverbs 29:18(KJV) - Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
 

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