Thursday, February 4, 2010
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Yet through the cycle of seasons, I am promised hope. A hope constant, that does not move amidst the winds of change. The kind of infectious hope surrounding the news of a new born baby, the "newness of life." For this hope, I am thankful today. - Richy Clark
NOTE: We will be creating a new team blog beginning 1/1/10 with the launch of "Radiant Nation."
Monday, August 10, 2009
Part of my New Year's resolution this year, with millions of other people, was to work out regularly. At my first venture into the gym, I became VERY aware of my general scrawny like features. (there are mirrors everywhere) This doesn’t bother me but does seem humorous amoung much bulkier people. Most people in the room were very intense about what they were doing, and stared at themselves constantly while “improving” their physique . I however, was not sure how to use any of the machines, so spent a considerable amount of time jogging in place on a treadmill, going nowhere. I eventually got some instructions from a relative who is into this sort of thing, and was told I need to focus on my “core strength.” That being my back and internal strength of my physical body. So much of my exercises became focused on such, while other folks pumped iron. The idea was, once my core strength was up, I could then focus on the rest of my body becoming stronger.
A great prayer in my heart recently has been to be freshly rooted in the love of God for me. I (we) need this spiritual “core strength” to truly love others and be motivated to serve properly. I am thankful for the Lords dealings, which in my young age of 31, has trimmed back many false motivations in my heart. However, now I am virtually completely unmotivated without a divine infusion of love. This is a good “problem.”
Romans 8:37 says we are “more than conquers, through Him who loved us.” Vs. 15 says we have “received the spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out ‘abba Father.’” We overcome because we are grounded in the love of the Father for us. We are able to effectively love others and serve consistently because Dad is on the sidelines rooting for us.
I am sometimes amazed by how self motivated and consistent some young people are toward their goals. In most of these cases, there is a parent, or parents that have faithfully encouraged them on their journey. They receive strength to face obstacles and press on from this kind of support. Believers that have not had this kind of support can tend to give up easily, be prone to discouragement, and not finish well. However, all of us have access to this “spirit of adoption” that makes us “more than conquerors.”
Many modern “ministries” are launched purely on an individual possesing a grace gift of some sort. With our media driven society, it’s possible to have a ministry come to the limelight prematurely. With a great focus on the externals, many times these flashpot ministries will run themselves dry, ending in some sort of burn out, or even a scandal.
God is raising up end-time ministries that are in for the long haul. Those who’ll endure “to the end.” These groups or individuals will posses an uncanny spiritual core strength able to face and overcome the greatest obstacles the church has ever seen, all the while prospering and advancing the kingdom of God. Steward the oil in your lamp, meditate and receive the love of God for you. Allow him to trim away all false motivations and “strengths.” Let Him be your strength! - Richy Clark
Friday, July 31, 2009
While currently in a season of crying out for fresh spiritual fire, I have found myself freshly aware of my terrible depravity. Figures. This morning I was praying Psalms 51 (which I do often) asking God to “purge” my iniquity.
As my prayer became very intense and I began to see myself lying prostrate before the throne. As this imagery became stronger in my mind I actually thought, “sweet I’m going into a vision.” I knew there was God on the throne and he was surrounded by creatures, I wasn’t able to look directly at Him or the creatures but was aware of them. Around me was many diamonds, but they were flat and like the diamond shape on a playing card, lying seemingly prostrate before the throne. ( I believe these may be other people ) As I continued praying “purge my iniquity,” I saw myself lying in a blackness. I started getting depressed seeing that I was in darkness, it seemed. I continued crying out “purge my iniquity,” hoping that maybe an angel would come with a coal and cleanse my lips, like Isaiah’s experience. (Isaiah 6) Instead, I noticed I was actually lying in and on black coals. Coals that were no longer burning. I became more depressed realizing that all these coals were past times in which the Lord had come and mercifully cleansed my sin. At this point I wanted the vision to change badly. I kept trying to force the vision to be different, trying to imagine that an angel did come after all and cleanse my lips again, making me clean, and making all the blackness go away, but I could not change the vision. I just lay there in darkness, on top of and surrounded by coals, circled by my past failures.
So I then began to drift out of the vision, becoming more aware of my surroundings in the natural. I was glad that God had cleansed me so many times, but not satisfied with what I was seeing, nor feeling resolved. After a few minutes, I heard a small voice in my mind say, “My work is complete, I’m going to light that coal on fire.” - Richy Clark
Monday, July 27, 2009
God loves us whether we feel Him or not! He is faithful whether we are aware of His faithfulness or not; but, how healthy is it for a church or ministry to overly emphasize our lack of encounter? This can be similar to making doctrine to justify a lack of healing in our midst. Is it fruitful for a congregation to regularly emphasize and dwell upon our weakness? (albeit somewhat true) To say that we don’t have to shout when we pray, be excited when we worship, or feel emotional about Jesus? Is it healthy to believe we may live our lives without feeling His presence, “as long as we believe we are faithful!”?
If we make it a practice to emphasize what we should not be doing, because certain forms or beliefs are deemed religious or insincere, we risk creating a counter-movement that is equally religious and insincere.
If we make doctrine (written or cultural) based on our lack of spiritual experience or breakthrough, we risk creating an atmosphere of false contentment, where the church is not contending for a greater manifestation of God in their midst.
I have a confession, I want to feel God! I want to be filled continually with His unspeakable joy! I want to weep when He weeps, laugh when he laughs. God is emotional, and so am I. I want to be continually spiritually discontent causing me to cry out for a greater breakthrough for my generation, all the while being completely content in Christ’s sufficiency for me. I will shout in worship, if my heart says shout!
Listen, there truly is a lot of flakey mess in the body of Christ! And I certainly believe churches should be taught to avoid certain practices and excesses. However, we must have an overriding emphasis on who we are in Christ, (the resurrected side of the cross) and help create an atmosphere of faith for greater breakthrough by raising the bar of our spiritual expectancy. As Paul stated, “earnestly desiring spiritual gifts…”
God doesn’t necessarily respond to those who have an excessive amount of self control, but those who have faith!
Yes, He likes us just as we are, and Yes He wants us to contend for more.
- Richy Clark
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
So, it’s easy for these churches and ministers to see no need to seek God for a greater manifestation of His power when there is an appearance of success.** Presently, a cry for divine empowerment may only be heard in the context of seeking strength to continue their programs.
In Acts 4 we read of the story where the apostles (who had previously had an “infilling” of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2) cry out for divine empowerment, and get it by an obvious manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
Why did the Apostles have this cry for divine empowerment in Acts 4?
1. They understood what true disciples were. The results they were seeking were very different than many churches today. They were commissioned to make disciples, not church members. This required the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to speak an anointed truth that “cut to the heart” of the listeners, resulting in repentance.
2. Their strategy was power. That is, they depended on the Holy Spirit’s power to heal people to prove that Jesus was alive! No street dramas, no bands, just power to heal. Their strategy? Display God’s love through His power. Preach the Gospel.
3. They were facing persecution. They needed divine boldness to continue preaching openly in the face of potential death. The guys leading this prayer meeting still felt the wounds of persecution upon their backs. Jesus had commissioned them to preach, and they needed boldness to obey.
So why don’t we have great power manifest in the church at large? Well, I’m not sure we have the same understanding and goals as the first church. May we get a fresh revelation of Jesus, our condition, and His commission to us! This would have us crying out with faith for a true baptism of the Holy Spirit!
“Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”
- Richy Clark
* Does God want us to feel good about ourselves? Well yes, in the context of taking on HIS righteousness through repentance and faith. Does God want to bless us? Yes. Does God want to bless us with a new car, house, job… not biblically guaranteed by any means. In fact quite the opposite is presented in the Gospels! He wants to bless us with HIM!
**By the way, I’m all for being “seeker sensitive” as long as we are leading people to water!