God Hears Your Prayers

Jeremiah 29-12

God hears your prayers, every one of them! In Jeremiah 29:12 the scripture says, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you…” God hears and He answers well. The scripture goes on to say in verse 13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart…” The Holy Bible knows nothing of half heartedness. It knows nothing of the religion of appearences. It knows nothing of a heart that wants to appear ‘God given’ but is actually withheld and self guided. In the Holy Scriptures you see people who are all in! You see people who come to the end of themselves who go to God and cry out to Him and we ask for Him and we seek Him with all of our hearts!

The truth is, the Savior on the cross knows nothing of half heartedness and God will not accept half heartedness on our part. But when we seek Him, we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our heart! “I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” (Jeremiah 29:14) God never intended for us to love anyone or anything more than Him! And in prayer, we have this amazing opportunity to open up the corridors of Heaven itself, for our hearts and for the world around us! -Dr. Drew Shofner

It's Never Too Late To Let Love Win!

let love win
We're all masters at missing the point. Almost all of the ugliness and damage that has been done in Christian and church history is because we miss the point. One of the crucial turning points of faith is rejecting the legalism that the human heart longs for. Legalism (religious rules) is a cheap alternative to grace-based living from a broken heart!
The truth is, there is something foundational that has to happen before you can ever be an authentic follower of Jesus Christ. To be an authentic follower of Jesus, something has to happen in your life that is about brokenness. Whether we can get to Jesus or not, really depends on our brokenness. We all want to find ways around our brokenness but you really can't do it because to be 'unbroken,' means that you're still in control!
When I talk about unbroken, I'm talking about us demanding control --that's the issue!
To come to Jesus requires a brokenness of surrender where you and I experience the pain of giving up control. Us wanting control is kind of an insanity loop that brings it's own kind of brokenness to life. 

It's kind of like steering the car and pressing on the brake after it goes off the cliff! Yes, you have control of the wheel but you're not really doing a whole lot of good in the situation. So it's like we're in a control that's not working but we don't want to give up control to a God who will make life work!
When we move toward Jesus without being broken, we get religion. Religion is based on a lot of things, but in addition to control, religion is based on rules. These rules can be written and unwritten. We come up with all of these rules and rituals and we're just making stuff up. We need to call ourselves out on our own hypocrisy and recognize that legalism is like gravity, it's a downward pull!
Part of authentic faith is recognizing that I am broken, that I am in danger, and that I need help. Jesus is the rescuer, and the process of rushing to Jesus is where the healing begins! 
Jesus takes our lives and brings us into a relationship where we soar! When we believe, Jesus helps us defy the gravity of earth and its brokenness.
If you've been broken and you've come to Jesus and experienced real hope in life, if you're not very very careful, at some point, you will stop soaking in the presence of God and experiencing the warmth and joy of God. If you're not careful in your spiritual journey, you're going to take a step back into the deadly ease of legalism and you're going to give in to the downward pull of rules, of ritual and of empty living!
In biblical Christianity we are only justified by faith through grace and our faith is based in the person of Jesus Christ! The justification that you and I have is the same, it is the love of God in the life of Jesus! (Ephesians 2:8-9)

It is a gift! So I cannot be proud of something I did not earn. I received this, and there is a real humility that comes when we understand that our justification comes from Jesus and not ourselves! 
Jesus' touch means something --it's a reason to celebrate, a reason to live, and to lift our hands and praise our God! It transforms us from living soul sick to becoming eternally alive!
What God said in the Old Testament is true for all of us, "These dead bones of ours can live again!" It's the breath of God --an up close and personal encounter that changes everything! (Ezekiel 37)
But Jesus only touches the willing, broken hearted people (Matthew Chapter 9).

If you want Jesus, you've got to run to Him! You've got to be broken and you've got to get on your knees and beg for a life change --that's when Jesus gets real! The rest is just religious garbage and legalistic lies! Until we're desperate in need and willingly loved, we'll die in the distance of legalism! 
There are so many of us longing to be loved but we're just not willing. Believe you can be loved! Let love win -it's never too late to let love win! -Dr. Drew Shofner

You can't let Jesus in and keep Him out!

Letting Jesus in

In Matthew 13:33 Jesus told a parable: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough."

Jesus has told us what The Kingdom is like and you and I need to make sure that what we're experiencing with what we call 'God' is letting Jesus into every area of our life and letting Him transform. It is not religion, to where we pretend that Jesus can come into here and here but He can't come in here! 

To be a follower of Jesus Christ means that He is Lord over all areas of our life! It's not about us trying hard and working at transformation - it's just about letting Him in!

The truth is, when we invite The King into our home, our home becomes His home! There's a title exchange. We trade kingdoms!

If you retain control of any area of your life, you're shutting Jesus out! 

If there is an area of your life that is persistent darkness, persistent anger, persistent fear. If there is an area of your life that is persistently broken, where resentments are nurtured, where loneliness is forever consuming, where pain never becomes less -those are areas where you're not letting the Savior in and where you won't let the yeast fall. Because wherever Jesus enters into, He enters in and transforms all of it! 

When we keep Christ out of parts of our life, we're really keeping Christ out of all of our lives! When we shut Him out, we shut growth out, we shut light out, we shut life out! You can't let Jesus in and keep Him out!

When Jesus comes in like yeast in the dough, there's an effect! It's not a magic wand and it's not instant, but when we open up our life to Jesus Christ, He comes into our life. We don't have to do anything other than let Him in and refuse to keep Him out! He begins to do the change, He begins to do the transformation by His power and His work in us. He will absolutely change and transform everything! That's the work of a living God --it's not us! 

You see, if Jesus isn't in it all, is He in at all? We gotta ask the question! 

Religion let's you compartmentalize life. The Kingdom of Heaven is not like religion that leaves you in control of this area of life and that area of life. The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast and when it is sprinkled into your life, it will work it into every area of your life and it will have its transforming effect!

The Kingdom of God coming inside of you and rising up and making you great in the eyes of God is not going to be what you think it will be - so let it be different! If you've had religion in your life, understand that what you need is Jesus. All the dough had to do was receive the yeast! -Dr. Drew Shofner

Religion is a cheap substitute for the real presence of God in relationship.

religion is a cheap substitute

Religion is a counterfeit presence. It is God - controlled. Religion is a cheap substitute for the real presence of God in relationship. It somehow morphs into substituting appearances, control, judgement and rules for the graceful presence of an invisible God!

But religion feels "good." Religion "justifies us." Religion gives me a platform to climb up on and judge you!

The truth is, religion is dead, religion is from hell, but it doesn't always start that way. I don't think the Pharisees woke up and said "I'm going to be fake today." I don't think many people grow up wanting to be legalistic, but the trouble with legalism is that it has no grace and the trouble with liberalism is that it has no faith. The kingdom of God is where Jesus was and the scripture tells us He came full of grace and truth. It's not one or the other, it's both!

In religion, we're just concerned about how we look. We are so concerned with appearances but God wants us to think of Kingdom - first and last. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus said, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Not to worry about religion and appearances and being in control!

Religion will always let you be in control of yourself and others but control is from hell - that's why demons posses and the Spirit of God inspires!

The kingdom of God is the actual presence revealed through a childlike faith in Jesus and when the kingdom of God comes in our lives, it comes by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:9)

We trust the grace of God and we just love our dad back because we are loved in relationship as His kids!

You and I are the body of Christ that God has sent into the world to reveal His kingdom! In everything, all of our God thoughts should be about Jesus and God's kingdom -first and last! When you and I learn to think kingdom, it changes everything! -Dr. Drew Shofner

Come to me…and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11-28

I want you for just one second to picture yourself as the greatest success that you can imagine. What does that look like? I want to suggest that God has a different picture than whatever your vision is. God has a different picture of what you, at your most successful, looks like. I believe with all of my heart that the greatest success of your adult life is to change and become like a well-loved child, like your Father's child!

Much of what you think is "God" may actually just be religious culture. There is a kingdom right behind the veil from where God is reaching out to us through Jesus and we have to break through the veil of human religion, human legalism and human practice and that's where the kingdom comes!

There is "human religion" and then there is the Kingdom of Heaven. There's what we can see with our physical eyes and there's an eternal reality we cannot see. There's what we think is God and there's what is God. There's what we think is true and there's what is true. I want you to just understand that in the religions of men and women, do not automatically assume that those are the same as the kingdom of God!

The kingdom of God is right here around us yet most of us cannot perceive it. Again it's like this room being filled with AM and FM radio waves, there music of every kind playing at this very moment but we're not tuned in! The most dangerous place to be is getting used to hearing and able to ignore. We're used to hearing about the love of God but then we're able to go about our lives the same old dead adult way and it's wrong, it's dead and it's not the kingdom of God that has come. It may be religion and the culture of what you see all around you, but it is not the Kingdom of Heaven come to earth in Christ!

There is an eternal unseen kingdom that is so close to you that you wouldn't believe it, but God wants you to and here's how you get there:

Jesus said something in Matthew 18:3, and it is the key to the kingdom of God. "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven."

Let that sink in. To all the "religious people" who wear robes, have titles and power and use it against - Jesus would say change! You're not on the right track, you have to change and completely become like a little child. In fact, unless you do, you will never see the kingdom of Heaven. So, what Jesus is doing is reversing the whole course of life in a broken world -He's redeeming it!

All kind of crazy things happen as we grow up and there's a deadening of the soul as we continue to walk this path of adulthood in a broken world. We begin life as a little child but along the way we lose our 'kid' and we lose our wonder. We lose our joy and we become self conscience and self critical. We become power seeking and power reaching. We begin to learn racism and classism. We begin to think about ourselves instead of others. We're so eager to grow up and what happens to us is life sucking. It's deadening and we start to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, but Jesus says I'm going to reverse the whole course of life for you!

In Matthew 11:28, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yolk upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yolk is easy and my burden is light." Jesus was speaking to all the adults who were dead in wonder.

"Come to me" - you gotta take the step! You can't sit back and wait for something else to happen! The ball is in your court, stop waiting for God to make a move when He's already moved all of hell out of your way in the cross!

You were never designed to carry the weight of this broken world.

You were never designed to carry the weight of what God died to bear for you!

Guys, we are the children of God if we have become followers of Jesus and fellow brothers and sisters of Jesus who is the Son. Jesus made us sons and Paul says He sent The Spirit of His son into our hearts! This is not a metaphor this is a defining reality. The spirit who calls out "Abba, Father." It is an Aramaic term, it really doesn't mean father, it means "daddy," and The Spirit of the son lives inside of you if you're a follower of Jesus!

According to Galatians 5:22-23, This is what the spirit produces when the spirit is inside of you, "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." --That's what the spirit of God produces!

You and I have to choose whether we're going to listen soul deep to Jesus and live letting the Father carry the burdens of life or whether we're going to listen to ourselves and die carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. You see when we've become broken by God, we become children who humbly and wholeheartedly place themselves under Jesus' Infinite authority and Jesus said "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." -Dr. Drew Shofner


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