For our Wednesday afternoon Global Leaders’ Summit, Graham shared about “Adjusting Your Spiritual Lens.” As always, Graham’s teaching was insightful and challenging. Here’s what he shared (thank you to Janet Mangum for taking such great notes!):
A lens either bends or light or blocks light. A lens is something you see through. It determines what we do or don’t see. It can bend our viewpoint or block it completely. A lens can be formed by assumptions or beliefs. Various traditions tell people what lens they can use. Some appeal to reason, which creates a glass ceiling we can’t break through.
Its difficult to move when all your parameters for life is taken out of logic. God is much too bright to be an intellectual. Wisdom is the ability to understand how God sees, why he says what he says, and how God likes to do things. Wisdom is the party animal of heaven.
Some churches preach that we are sinners, others that we are saints. Some teach grace as a lifestyle and others judgment and shame. Everyone of those is a lens. How you see something or someone. We form opions of people that can’t become grace-filled, beause of our lens. We speak judgment to that people group.
Some people say the church and the Kingdom are the same. Its not – its preaching gospel of the kingdom Not a worldly construct of what they have up there. He came to ring what they have up there and bring it down here. We are not trying to fit the kingdom into the church.
Kingdom and the Church
Kingdom and church are not the same thing. The kingdom is prime and unchanging, the church is fluid flexible and constantly being upgraded. Did God write a book and lose his voice? No, it’s a lens not theological perspective. Some say the gifts of Holy Spirit ceased in history. I guess in that year, one minute to midnight you could get healed about one minute after midnight no way. It’s a lens they have by which they view kingdom, Bible and spirituality. It’s really important to us to understand as God begins to deal with who we are, he is going to touch every one of our perspectives. He is going to change your lens. Jesus came from heaven to earth to teach us what heaven is like. “You have heard it said, and now I say to you” and what he said brought a change of lens. Some of our lenses are drawn from Bible others are assumptions. Reason, doctrine, all those things. They bend or block…
Peter’s New Lens
A new lens helps us to see more clearly. Acts 10 – Peter – falls into a trance, sees a sheet lowered from heaven and a voice saying arise, kill and eat. Peter said we don’t do that. You wrote the book remember, we don’t do that. Lord said, what I call clean, don’t you call unclean. That’s way to big for Peter to grasp, so God gives him the same experience again. Arise Peter kill and eat. No we don’t do this thing. I wonder if I can bind this…bind Jesus! Not listen. Then he has the same thing again which gives us a lot of hope . While all of this is going on, the Lord says to him, Peter there are some men about to knock on the door and I want you to rise and go without misgiving. Peter go, you’re not going to like it, but do it anyway.
He finds himself on this journey, outside the house of a gentile. Peter has never been in a gentile house in his life. What’s God doing here? He’s giving him a lens that was supposed to change his tradition. Eventually Peter does something that to him has no precedent in his entire life. He crosses the threshold and stands in a gentile house full of people. Peter has no idea the untold hundreds millions of people are also lining up behind the house of Cornelius. He’s thinking I’m going to be in trouble, instead of actually changing history. He has no idea of the enormity of the step he has just taken. This is a huge break in tradition. His whole perception is being adjusted. He’s a little out there in his faith with the Lord. He’s walking on the water but Jesus isn’t anywhere in sight. Its unlawful for him to do this, but God has shown him that he should not call any man unholy or unclean.
Suddenly everything comes into 20/20 vision for Peter.
I Will Make You As God to Pharaoh
I most certainly understand now…here’s the deal. You can’t get it if you don’t see it. Unless your lens changes, you won’t do it. If you can’t see it, you won’t say it, you won’t think it, you won’t do it. You will be like Moses having to face Pharaoh. He doesn’t want to go back in. He’s thinking how can I go back in and stand before Pharaoh. Nervous. Ex 7:1 – Moses SEE I have made you as God to Pharaoh. By the time you and I are finished with him, in his limited understanding the only explanation he can come up with is that Moses must have been some kind of God in human form. I am going to make you as God to pharaoh.
In every nation, the man who fears him and does what is right is welcome to him.
Our lens shapes how we relate to God and people in this world.
If we were forgiven By God why are we being guilted over and over. Is it transformation or behavior modification. Is it the main thing to avoid sin or living in holiness, nature of God, etc. When your lens changes, your perspective changes. He’s dealing with our new man, old passed away, all things of God. God loves telling us who we really are and what He sees what’s missing from our experience from him and dedicated to giving us those experiences.
God began to focus me on the new man – alive to God – a child of light. He began to talk to me about Ephesians 4 laying aside the old man, putting on the new. Everything I didn’t like about me was already dead in Jesus. He that is DEAD is free. I began to consider what is this new man. Who am I supposed to be. What is Jesus doing in me. Something more powerful than changing behavior and that is being transformed in our identity, My identity changed because my lens changed. The light started being bent toward the light glory and beauty of Jesus . I am learning all those Ephesians 1:18 Christ realities. Eyes of your heart is your spiritual lens. God will help you see things you have never seen before. What is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us to believe. To know – means to know by perception – to know because your lens has changed. The glory of God says He is good.
It’s more than just a new prescription, it’s a whole new way of seeing.
Are you encountering God’s presence on a daily basis? Is your way of seeing thinking and believing being adjusted to the way God sees you? This is the journey we are on right now. We are changing the perception people have about Jesus, who we are, being earth bound in our thinking to becoming more heavenly minded. If you are not heavenly minded, you are no earthly good. He came to introduce a whole different covenant. He came to bring heaven to earth and this is what we want you to be. We want you to be citizens of heaven living here on earth. Everyone around you gets to taste and see what heaven really looks like.
He had to change the lens by which people viewed God, themselves and world around them. That’s why he gave the Sermon on Mount. He didn’t say it once, he said it 5 times in that message….you have heard it said, now I say.
You have law and prophets proclaimed until John, but now I am here. The law and prophets have to go into the ground because there is a different word rising up in the earth. New message – new covenant – knocks spots off the old one. Now I am saying…you have lived under this, but now you are going to live under a new covenant. Prophets of condemnation submit to prophets of grace now. You are part of the race of people never seen before Jesus. They lived in a visitational culture.
Hosting the Presence
He died as you – he put you in the grave with him, when he rose in newness of life, so did you. Everything becomes new and we are learning about the new identity God is giving us. We are a habitation of God by the Spirit. My question is why is it that we are preaching the Gospel from a visitational construct instead of a habitational one. I am not desperate for God, but I am living in His delight. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desire of your heart. When you know how to walk in newness of life. When that’s your journey, you don’t miss him because he doesn’t leave you. Move from pursuing the presence of God to hosting the presence of God. It’s a lens change. Walk as children of light, Learn to live above your line of privilege. We are a people who are discovering the inheritance God has set aside for us. It’s a whole different life and that’s what we are committed to showing the world. Who God is for us and in us – we are citizens of heaven living here on earth. Jesus came from heaven to earth to bring the lens of heaven — on earth as it is in heaven.
Move from pursuing the presence of God to hosting the presence of God
1 John 4:17 – as He is so are we in this world. We are learning how to be transformed and different people. Our lens is being changed. Your lens will bring you into a brilliant place with God and a clash with the religious spirit.
If Jesus were to come back to America right now to the Western church to the church in any country. I think he would gather the leaders and look at them and say, I want my people back. Let my people Go that they might serve me! They belong to me. Let them go that they may discover who they really are — not be the prisoners you want them to be to get your bills paid.
The lines are being drawn – and they are being drawn around His presence, majesty, beauty of the Lord, a vision so compelling you can’t live any other way. You want to see Jesus manifested in the earth. It’s a vision that comes because you have seen and heard the incomparable Holy Spirit. The funniest, sensitive and most powerful person you have ever known. Something has changed in you and you have to go on this journey. It may be the road less traveled. People are already on the road. Thousands of people are leaving the church every week. They haven’t lost faith, they left to go and find it. They want to keep Jesus, they haven’t lost him.
Eph 2:19 – so then, you are no longer strangers and aliens but fellow citizens of saints and Gods household…built on…Christ Jesus Himself…growing into temple…being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. The purpose of God was always to make you like him. He is so jealous of his relationship with you, he wants to bring you into an amazing self for the sake of Jesus. We want to be astonishing – wide eyed with wonder.
Our conversation, our lifestyle, our very being is in heaven. Jesus said he came to bring heaven to earth to make you a citizen of a different world…another domain, another realm. Your role here is not just hanging on until we get to heaven, but instead living in heaven while on earth and everywhere we go we are touching people with what haven is really like.
We are learning how to release what God has already put in us. God wants us to be transformed by the renewing of our thinking. He’s giving you a new lens to view yourself, your story and your journey. It’s not going to be easy for us, but fun for those watching us.
Eph 3:6 – joint heirs with Christ – heirs of God…don’t you want to discover what that really means? You have an inheritance, don’t you want to know what that is? What if the Lord wants to trust you with things for a whole community?
Manifest the kingdom! All across the world. Hebrews 3:1 – partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus…see Jesus in a completely different way in our time frame. Take a fresh hold of Jesus, God’s sovereignty and supremacy.
Live under the permission of God that says, everything is yes and amen in Christ and learning to partner with God in a completely different way.
Hebrews 3:14 – have become partakers with Christ if we hold fast…author and finisher…God is authoring a brand new Aglow in this world. What he starts he’s going to finish. Better get ready.
If you are going to become a fellow heir in Christ, you are going to have to see yourself differently. Being a fellow heir with Christ isn’t a concept, it’s a reality that you have to see and it changes the way you pray. It’s not enough to pray that your father owns all the cattle on a thousand hills, but so are you as a joint heir with Jesus.
God will never call you to a people group without giving you the resources for that people group.
There’s an inheritance for the Muslim world. We have all their money…all the money in the kingdom to change those nations. I know what’s happening right now, your lens is being attacked. Listen, don’t expect God to be nice about this.
He will say, this is what I am doing…are you in? He’s going to say to you to arise and go – get out there and do as you are told.
Here’s Saul breathing out threats and slaughter, spend months putting people in prison, killing and flogged, because Saul is a theologian.. He sat at the feet of Gamaliel, he’s a theologian utterly convinced that what he is doing is a mission from God. He’s on his way with these letters, planning how he is going to tear things apart and he has an impolite encounter with God, bright light and falls off his horse. He’s blind as well, and doesn’t know whats happening and hears this voice saying, why are you persecuting me. Who are you? I am Jesus. He was utterly convinced he was serving God. He was trained in the Scriptures from an early age, powerful theologian but completely missed it about Jesus.
Try and imagine the nightmare he was in. Bright light. Suddenly can’t see. Who are you? I am Jesus. Suddenly the terror that would have taken hold of him because of all the wickedness he has done. Suddenly he’s realizing he has murdered people, destroyed families, and persecuted God. Can you image that place he is in. 3 days can’t eat or sleep and sat in the dark and his whole life has ended. God took away his lens and as yet didn’t give him a fresh one. Acts 9 – Ananias – prayed he was filled with Spirit, scales fell from eyes and he can see what he couldn’t see before. God began to give him the spirit of wisdom and revelation. He backtracks down this theological road where he sees Jesus in the prophesies and his whole story changes and his whole journey changes and now he’s moved away from being the darling of the Pharisees to one of his chief enemies. That’s a lens change. We’ve all had the benefit of Sauls lens being changed. His whole identity changes and he ceases to become Saul and becomes Paul because he has a lens change.
A lens changes our vision or perception of something or someone.
Let God confront your belief system and show you where they are no longer credible. You see Jesus and yourself in a different way. The kingdom wants to come into your lifestyle.
New perceptions empower us to think differently – renewed mind. The sign of a renewed mind is when our language is upgraded. Are we speaking in line with a whole new perception.
Words in the background are coming into the foreground of our vision so our lens can change and come into line with what God is saying and we are becoming as His people.
So you can see who you are and deliberately move toward it. WE can’t be a people that just celebrate what God has said over us, but instead we must learn to live those words.
He wants to hear you say, this is that which God has spoken. We are in what God spoke to us. This is that…We are going to dramatically change. This is our time. We have served our apprenticeship. God trusts us. God trusts us! That’s a humbling and amazing thing. It’s a paradox. He is not unfaithful to forget your labors of love around the world and that’s why he is opening heaven to us. That’s why everything is changing. He’s working on our regions. He’s working on our Lighthouses, in every nation in Aglow and he is giving us anew lens of who we are in that nation.
Consider the glory of God as a lifestyle … At some point we have to expect that God is going to be in our midst.