Your Spiritual Rib Cage

The most important thing in this world is YOUR HEART.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

We know the condition of our heart by what comes our of our mouth. If purity, honor and thanksgiving flows its because that’s whats in our hearts. If negativity, slander and a critical spirit flow, it’s because we’ve let that into our hearts.

The heart is a vulnerable organ. It is so vulnerable that God gave us a rib cage to protect it. We have 12 ribs on each side – 24 in total. 7 of these ribs specifically cover our hearts. These are called the “true ribs”. If we break a rib over our heart our heart becomes vulnerable and can damage easily.

Our spiritual hearts are also soft and vulnerable to damage also. It’s important that we have a “spiritual rib cage” to protect our spiritual hearts. Like our physical hearts, if our spiritual hearts are damaged – it affects or even kills our Christian walk.

Here are 7 spiritual ribs to protect our spiritual hearts:

Spiritual Rib 1) A genuine relationship with God.

Psalm 37:4 tells us to Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. This is the most important rib – If our walk with God suffers, then our spiritual heart suffers. A genuine relationship with Christ will always protect our hearts.

Spiritual Rib 2) A love for God’s word

The word of God has every answer you need and will light your way in the darkest times. Read it, live it, love it.

Joshua 1:8 says “Do not let this Book of the Law (the bible) depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

A love for the bible will always help guard our hearts

Spiritual Rib 3) Have accountability in your life

Choose to be discipled well. Have people your accountable to and talk with when it comes to all areas of life. Remember dark, things hide in dark places – If you have to hide something then it probably isn’t good. Live an open life – This will help keep your heart safe.

Great accountability will always help guard our hearts.

Spiritual Rib 4) Partner with the wise, not fools.

Are your friends causing you to be more passionate for Jesus or more dull? The sign of a Godly friendship is a friendship that protects God’s call on your life.

Proverbs 27:17 tells us iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

1 Corinthians 15:33 says Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Proverbs 13:20 really brings it home with “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”

A true friend is a friend to your God destiny and a protector of your heart.

Spiritual Rib 5) Know your God call. Don’t just “wing it” in life. Learn your identity in Christ.

Knowing who you are in Christ makes it easier to say no when something or someone comes along that is going to conflict with your call.

Knowing who you are in Christ, gives you the confidence to stand when something or someone comes against you and your call.

Who are you? Here’s some foundations from the Word on who we are:

I am loved 1 John 3:3

I am accepted Ephesians 1:6

I am a child of God John 1:12

I am Jesus’ friend John 15:14

I am a joint heir with Jesus, sharing His inheritance with Him Romans 8:17

I am united with God and one spirit with Him 1 Corinthians 6:17

I am a temple of God. His spirit and his life live in me 1 Corinthians 6:19

I am a member of Christ’s body. 1 Corinthians 12:27

I am a Saint Ephesians 1:1

I am redeemed and forgiven Colossians 1:14

I am complete in Jesus Christ Colossians 2:10

I am free from condemnation Romans 8:1

I am a new creation because I am in Christ 2 Corinthians 5:17

I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved Colossians 3:12

I am established, anointed, and sealed by God 2 Corinthians 1:21

I do not have a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind 2 Timothy 1:7

I am God’s co-worker 2 Corinthians 6:1

I am seated in heavenly places with Christ Ephesians 2:6

I have direct access to God Ephesians 2:18

I am chosen to bear fruit John 15:16

I am one of God’s living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house 1 Peter 2:5

I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I share His nature 2 Peter 1:4

I can always know the presence of God because He never leaves me Hebrews 13:5

God works in me to help me do the things He wants me to do Philippians 2:13

I can ask God for wisdom and He will give me what I need James 1:5

Knowing who you are will help safeguard your heart.

Spiritual Rib 6) Listen to Leadership (Shepherds).

Live in freedom, not rebellion. Why? Because God has lovingly placed people in your life to help you on in the journey.

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. Hebrews 13:17

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7

A great leader will always help guard your heart, even if sometimes we can’t see how at the time.

Spiritual Rib 7) Walking in faith, not fear.

Faith enables, fear paralysis. Walk in faith by getting a word from God.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matthew 4:4

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

A walk of faith means a heart guarded.

Questions to ask yourself.

How is your heart? Is life or death flowing from it? If death, ask God to clean your heart through the forgiveness of sins.

How are your spiritual ribs looking? Are some broken? Are some missing? Ask God to help restore and strengthen these ribs.

Much love,

Benaiah

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Have a summer you don’t forget (with no regrets!)

I love summer. It’s a time of family, friends, fun and if were lucky, great surf. In Australia, we celebrate Christmas over summer, with temperatures soaring and lazy afternoon’s watching the cricket an Aussie right of passage.

Because it’s such a great time of rejuvenation, relaxation and celebration, it’s important to do so without letting our guards down. “Above all things guard your heart” (Proverbs 4:23). Over the past 8 years of youth pastoring, every summer I see young people allow this to happen. Instead of creating a summer they wont forget, they create a summer they later regret.

Here are a few tips I’ve shared with our youth ministry when it comes to having a summer they don’t forget, and don’t regret!

Over this summer break, be a young person that is:

1) Passionate about your Bible.

The Bible compass for anyone who wants to have a walk on fire for God. Whenever we read the word it’s like pouring pure life into our spirits. Read Hebrews 4:12

2) A Prayer Warrior.

Those we hang around we become like. When we pray and hang with God, we become like him. Prayer is where you will find home. Read Colossians 4:2

3) Don’t chase drama – chase God.

Our lives are not called to be like the latest episode of Home and Away. Seek God with all your heart, minimize drama, and you will find your summer a lot more joyful. Read Hebrews 12:1

4) A young person that is In church.

Over summer break youth ministries can often to have a break. Be committed to being in church. This will help you stay connected with other believers and strong as you enter 2012. Read Psalm 122:1

5) A young person that is a Worshipper.

It’s hard to lose focus of Jesus if your continually thanking and worshipping Him. The more you worship, the greater the sense of God’s presence in your life. Read Psalm 22:3

6) Be at Summercamp (for those at Mannahouse Youth!)

Start the year with a bang! Summercamp is an awesome opportunity to get fired up for the year while hanging with good friends. Read Acts 2.

May 2012 be your best and most fruitful year yet!

Much love,

Benaiah

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The power of thanksgiving.

Imagine if on the news tonight someone was claiming that after years of searching, they had found the “ancient key” that will give them access to heaven. Imagine the hysteria.

Well guess what? We have this key!

Psalm 100:4 tells us in that “we enter His gates with thanksgiving”. Just as you need a key to unlock the front door to your house, thanksgiving is the key that opens the door to God’s presence.

Because of this reality, the devil hates it when we are thankful. He knows that if thanksgiving opens the door to God’s presence, ungratefulness and grumbling is what will lock that door. The enemy would have us criticize, be negative and complain, rather than view all things through the eyes of thanksgiving. No one wants to be like the 2 old guys (Statler & Waldorf) off the Muppet Show, being critical, negative and toxic.

Thanksgiving is used to translate the Hebrew word “yadah” in the Old Testament. Yadah means to acknowledge or to declare publicly. It is also often translated as “praise.”

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words calls thanksgiving “the expression of joy Godward,” and reckons it to be a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5.22).

Here are a few things that having a heart of thanksgiving does:

1) Thanksgiving leads us into the presence of God (Psalm 95.2, Psalm 100.4)

2) Thanksgiving magnifies God instead of our problems. (Psalm 69.30).

3) Thanksgiving makes God famous. (Psalm 105.1).

4) Thanksgiving prepares the way for answered prayer. (John 11:33-41.)

5) Thanksgiving paves the way for blessing in our lives and the lives of others. (John 6.1-13).

6) Thanksgiving prepares the way for the peace of God. (Philippians 4.6,7).

7) Thanksgiving makes you happier. (Isaiah 61:3).

We have alot to be thankful for. God has done some incredible things this year. I encourage you to finish 2011 and start 2012 with a renewed passion for thanksgiving. Remember it is the key, to unlocking God’s presence in your life.

Much love,

Benaiah

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Leadership & Language

Sitting at an airport waiting for a plane, I thought I’d write a few thoughts I’ve had lately about leadership, language and culture.

As leaders our job is to set culture. Ministries will always be a reflection of their leadership culture, both positively & negatively.

One of the most powerful ways we can build culture is through language.

A culture is defined by it’s language. A way tribal people pass on their culture from one generation to the next is through their language. Destroy a people’s language and a culture will become weakened and eventually extinct.

A unified language, spoken, results in a strong kingdom culture. We need to be intentional about how we speak whether it be verbally, written, online or through body language. How and what we communicate can build or destroy.

In genesis 11 we read about the tower of babel. The people decided to build a tower to reach heaven. God comes down and sees the tower being built and says:

“If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” (verse 6)

Here we see the power of common language. That when people speak a common language, and understand each other, “nothing will be impossible for them”

If a leadership team can understand the power of a common language and be intentional about what they speak, anything is possible.

I love our youth leadership team. I may be a bit biased but I think they are some of the finest people on the planet. One thing we’ve made a key value as a team is being intentional about how we speak. We have some common values that we believe is the language God would have us raise this generation up with. Here are just a few:
– words that build Faith,
– words that bring hope,
– words that impart love,
– words that bring honor to God and others,
– words that add value,
– words founded in humility,
– words that bring unity,
– words based in testimony,
– words that bring encouragement,
– words that impart joy.
– words saturated in thanksgiving

Like most languages, it takes time to learn. And like most languages, we don’t always get the words correct. But we are committed to getting better and better at this language.

What is the language we are ultimately trying to speak and pass onto others?

The language of heaven.
The language of freedom.

Our heart is that the next generation would take up this language.

Hope you were blessed by this.

Benaiah

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Top 10 tips on how to run a successful LIOW campaign

In 2010 we launched our first  Love is our Weapon Campaign. Over 10 weeks we saw literally thousands of love deeds done and our youth ministry double. 9 months later we are still seeing the fruit. We learnt many lessons on what worked and didn’t work so well. Here’s my top 10 list on what  to do to best utilize the LIOW campaign for your ministry:

1)   Raise a revolution: Realize the magnitude of what you’re doing. Your raising an army of love. An army that can’t fail because his love never fails. Every young person that get’s a revelation of this is very dangerous to the enemy. Remember, your raising a revolution!

2)   Build expectation: Set aside a month to build faith and expectation for what God is about to do. Use the LIOW promo’s , speak vision and pray leading up to your big LIOW launch day!

3)   Own it: If you and your leadership team fully own the vision of LIOW in seeing your community radically changed by Gods love, then your youth will pick up on that. Choose to eat, sleep, breath, live, the campaign for 10 weeks. Your passion will be infectious!

4)   Make it easy: Be creative about how to sign your young people up. Set up laptops at youth so they can create accounts, leave testimonies & register deeds each week. The easier the better!

5)   Share testimonies: This is the greatest momentum builder you have. Each week, make room for youth to share testimonies of how they did the love deed from the previous week. This builds expectation and boldness in those listening!

6)   Celebrate: Highlight the victories, both big and small: Every week, make room to celebrate milestones. You may have a faith-goal to see 100 love deeds done – When you reach it, go ballistic at youth, on facebook etc. God deserves all the praise!

7)   Stay focused: Because the campaign goes for 10 weeks. It’s easy to get to the middle of the term and lose focus (kind of like Wednesdays!). Stay focus and choose to finish strong!

8)   Use social media: The is something that we went crazy with and encouraged our youth to do the same. Create a facebook group for the LIOW in your ministry, use status updates to promote love deeds each week, update your statuses with testimonies, and post videos and links to your page! For #cheerachamp we even had one youth encourage all her facebook friends – all 400 of them!

9)   Maximize the use of your youth ministry deed counter: You will have your own youth ministry deed counter. As this counter goes up, expectation, ownership and unity will go to a whole new level, as kids start to practically see the impact they’re making.

10)  Finish strong: Use the last 4 weeks to build towards a LIOW celebration night were you can celebrate what God has done, share testimonies and see the change in your ministry.

I hope this helps! Remember our heart is to simply support and help your youth ministry, both through the LIOW campaign and beyond. So please give us a call or email if we can help you or your ministry in any way.

Your awesome,

Benaiah Halliday & the LIOW team

loveisourweapon.com

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What I learnt from “bali belly”

The most important part of our physical body is our heart. The heart is what pumps our life-source through our bodies.

Our heart is also the most important part of us spiritually. If we have a healthy heart, this equates to a healthy body. Likewise, a sick heart equates to a sick body.

The most important thing in our lives needs to be our hearts. There is nothing more important than the guarding of your heart. This needs to be more important than family, friends, relationships, jobs, education or ministry itself.

The bible tells us that “Above all things guard our heart, for it’s the wellspring of your life”.  (Proverbs 4:23)

Recently on my way home from Bali. I had the unfortunate experience of catching the “bali-belly”. This is a bug which is caught from drinking unclean water, or in my case, bad ice-cubes. Symptoms of this sickness, include being physically sick, and in some cases (like mine), seeing hallucinations.

Just as the “Bali belly” sickness affected me, so a sick heart can affect us in a similar way. What we start to say has a sick edge to it, how we walk starts to be affected, our perception becomes warped, and we start to see things wrong.

So how do we guard the heart from becoming infected by the world? I like to think of it in the same way sickness gets into our physically bodies. Through:

1)   Our mouth: Just like Bali belly, sickness can enter us through what we consume. Spiritually this can equate to what we say, what we talk about and what we agree with. By guarding our mouths, we guard our hearts. (See Proverbs 18:21)

2)   Our ears: Infection can enter us through our ears. Spiritually, we need to guard our hearts by guarding what we listen to, the advice we get, and who we allow to speak into our lives. Even the music we listen to can affect us, as music can be a gateway to the soul. (See Proverbs 6:20-23)

3)   Our eyes: Infection can enter through our eyes. Spiritually, this includes what we look at. In an age where our society is immersed with sexual impurity , guarding the eyes is essential in guarding the heart. (See Hebrews 12:1-2)

4)   Our wounds: This is one of the greatest causes of people becoming spiritually sick. Wounds and hurts from our past, maybe even from our childhood, which have not been attended too, will eventually result in infection entering into the heart. Dealing with past hurts, is essential. Without it, you’re a ticking time bomb. (See Psalm 147:3)

Let’s be people who guard our hearts. Healthy hearts mean healthy people. Healthy people mean healthy fruit and a healthy life.

So what did I learn from bali belly? Don’t eat bad ice-cubes!

Much love,

Benaiah

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Godgiven wisdom

God said to Solomon that he could ask for anything and God would give it to him. Instead of asking for a long life, wealth, fame or victory over his enemies, he asked for supernatural wisdom to lead God’s people. God was blessed by this. (1 kings 3:1-28)

Today, I’m up early meditating on God-given wisdom. I’m asking God for wisdom, a supernatural wisdom to lead God’s people. Feel free to join me in this prayer. The good thing about asking for wisdom is that you know your prayer is 100% going to be answered! (James 1:5)

Here’s some verses where God talks about the power of supernatural wisdom. Take time to mediate on these:

Job 28:28

“And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.'”

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 3:7

Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.

Proverbs 13:10

Through presumption comes nothing but strife, But with those who receive counsel is wisdom.

Proverbs 14:8

The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, But the folly of fools is deceit.

Proverbs 15:31

He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof Will dwell among the wise.

Proverbs 19:20

Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days.

Proverbs 29:11

A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back.

Proverbs 29:15

The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

Psalm 37:30

The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice.

Psalm 51:6

Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom.

James 1:5

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

James 3:17

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

1 Corinthians 1:25

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1 Corinthians 1:30

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,

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