Month: September 2010

Is More Than the Bible Needed for Bible College and Seminary?

Posted on

book-glasses2 Timothy 4:13 (NKJV)

"[13] Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments."

This past week, I had an interesting conversation with a young man that was investigating the possibilities of completing his undergraduate degree through Biblical Life. As we discussed the programs, he asked if we used more than the Bible in our studies. When I replied "of course," he began to chastise me as if I had committed some sin for using materials beside the Word of God in our degree programs.

The attitude of this young man surprised me. When I first surrendered to ministry as a young Baptist boy, my training (even before attending Bible College) was that a minister’s library was essential and, over the years, would become a trusted resource in ministering to the people of God. Great ministers of the past were known for two things: their prayer lives and their diligence in study. All of them had substantial personal libraries. I still remember standing in awe of one great pastor’s office in St. Louis. All four walls of his spacious office were shelves filled with books from floor to ceiling. When he opened his mouth behind the pulpit, the wealth of his knowledge of the Word would fill the hearts and minds of his listeners.

What Made the Apostle Paul so Qualified to Minister to the Gentiles?

The Apostle Paul was a graduate of the School of Hillel. In fact, the wise Gameliel (found in the Book of Acts and highly respected by the Sanhedrin) was Paul’s teacher. Under Gameliel’s instruction, Rabbi Saul (Paul’s Hebrew name) was thoroughly trained in the Torah, the writings, and the prophets. With a solid foundation in the Torah, he was then trained in understanding Greek/Roman mythology and philosophy. He was well versed in showing the superiority of God’s Word over the pagan concepts of these gentile cultures. Without the extensive training he received under Gameliel’s watchful eye, he would have been ill equipped to be the Apostle to the Gentiles.

We should note in 2 Timothy that Paul asked young Timothy to bring his books to him. Most commentators believe that the parchments refer to his scrolls of the Torah, writings, and prophets. As far as the other books, we can only speculate as to what they were. We do know that by his differentiating the books from the parchments, they were not Scriptures.

It was also at the feet of Gameliel that Paul learned the art of writing epistles. It was the leadership style of Gameliel, as a leading member of the Sanhedrin, that Paul used as he was presented with problems throughout the Jewish community and, subsequently, addressed them with biblically based solutions through the writing of epistles. This may be the reason that we have so many writings by the Apostle Paul. His school years trained him to address issues in the communities of faith through the written response.

Foundations for the Hermeneutical Process:

Hermeneutics is the science of biblical interpretation. There are many levels to examine in the proper application of this science.

1. The first step is to look at the context of the sentence, then examine it within the chapter, and then the entire book. Finally look at the concept throughout the Scriptures. It is like dropping a pebble in a pond – all the ripples must be examined. Scripture always interprets Scripture.

2. The next step is to look at the historical and cultural settings of the Scriptures that you are examining. The New Testament has an abundance of Hebraic colloquialisms that are full of meaning. Many ministers completely misinterpret things that Jesus and the Apostles said because they do not understand what was culturally behind what was being said. Such understanding comes from additional books outside of the Word of God.

3. Understanding the basics of Hebrew and Greek is essential for any serious minister. Even if this understanding only comes from knowing your way around Strong’s Concordance, a good Bible dictionary, and lexicons such as Thayer’s for Greek and Brown, Drivers, Biggs for the Hebrew. Digging a little deeper into the original meanings will cause the Word to explode with deeper understanding that can be life-changing. All of these are books beyond just using the Bible.

4. What has God shared with the saints before us? It is right here that some will chide in "See, I do not want manmade doctrines." First, not everything written is manmade doctrines. Many of the saints of old had devotional lives that would put most of today’s ministers to shame. Second, many of their books were what they preached. Like Spurgeon, all those volumes are their sermons written down to inspire those that followed. God even instructed the Prophet Habakkuk to write down what was given to him.

Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV)
2 Then the LORD answered me and said: "Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.

If you do not want to expose yourself to the sermons of these men, then what makes you think others should be exposed to yours? They just need to read the Bible, right?

Finally, after the conversation, I looked up his previous school. Their claim to fame was using only the Word of God. Following this model, they were hard pressed to come up with the curriculum to fulfill the proper requirements for degree programs. They were offering Associate Degrees by completing only 36 semester credit hours and the Bachelor Degree for completing 64! In fact, their Associate, Bachelor, and Master programs combined fall a good number of credits short of a true Bachelor Degree (120). Taking such a strong stance on studying the Word only, and then utilizing such poor standards academically, can bring reproach to the name of Christ. As believers, a commitment to excellence should exist in biblical interpretation, academic standards, and lifestyle.

Let us all have excellence of life, ministry, and education through due diligence in our examination of the greatest book on earth – the Written Word of God!

2 Timothy 2:15 (AMP)

[15] Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.

===============================

© Copyright 2010 by Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E. All Rights Reserved.

===============================

Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.

Chancellor and Founder

Dr. Lake is the chancellor and founder of Biblical Life College & Seminary and serves as an educational consultant for various Christian organizations around the world. He also serves as the Pastor of Biblical Life Assembly in Marshfield, MO. In 2009, Dr. Lake also established Biblical Life Publishing to make the same materials that thousands have enjoyed at BLCS available to everyone. Dr. Lake is listed in the US Registry’s "Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans," Sterling’s "Who’s Who Executive Edition," and the "Who’s Who Among American Teachers" for his accomplishments in ministry.

The Power of Paper

Posted on Updated on

Over the years, I have tried about everything available for planning, goal-setting, and project management. In my earlier years, I tended to be a gadget freak. I used PDAs, which predated the PalmPilot. I have used the Psion 3a, the Casio, various versions of the PalmPilot, various versions of the PocketPC, smartphones and enough software for my personal computers that I could have run NASA. I have settled in on Outlook, PlanPlus for Outlook by Franklin-Covey, MindManager Pro by MindJet and Microsoft Project for my basic recording (once it is developed) and keeping up to date with plans and projects. Now don’t run out and purchase all of these because you may be surprised to find that I use an extremely low tech method of brainstorming and planning: pen and paper! With more years experience than I care to count, I have found pen and paper to be the most powerful medium ever developed.

In Habakkuk, we find God telling the prophet to write down his visions:

KJV Habakkuk 2:2

And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

Although this is used in the context of sharing a vision from God to others, there is a principle here. When we write something down and make it plain to understand, there is an anointing for those that read it to accomplish it.

In the Success Mastery Academy taught by Brian Tracy, he shared powerful information in this area with the attendees (which included many executives from Fortune 500 companies). I am going to share a summary of what he presented. (To be able to get an exact quote, I would have to listen to all twelve hours of the seminar again.) Here is my summary:

In having these men and women prepare their goals for the next year, he had them brainstorm on paper. He shared that there is a “hand to brain connection” discovered by success psychology experts that they cannot yet explain. By writing down the goals, an individual increases his chances of completing them by about 300%. To illustrate this, some in attendance made their lists, only to tuck them away in the folios they use for such conferences, and never looked at them again until the following year. To the surprise of many, when they pulled the paperwork out the next year, they had completed over 70% of the goals that they had written down!

Now imagine what would have happened if they had looked at them each week or rewrote them and expanded them each week. The power of paper is amazing. How many powerful business plans started on the back of a napkin written down during dinner at a neighborhood restaurant? How many world-changing ideas were quickly jotted down on paper when the Holy Spirit first breathed it into the heart of someone!

I personally have found that technology can be a hindrance to establishing goals, brainstorming, and jotting down inspiration or the initial phases of project planning. Paper and pen provide a permanent record of not only the ideas, but the process. It is readily available. You never have to wait for it to boot up. You never will have a pen or paper hang up on you (i.e. the MS blue screen of death). You just grab, write, scribble, draw, sketch and develop!

Here are some tips to keep you moving forward:

Always keep something with you to write with. I keep a notepad in my briefcase and on my desks at the office and home at all times. I also carry 3 x 5 cards in my pocket to jot down ideas, tasks, etc. This is paramount to you moving forward in life and ministry. You have no clue how many sermon ideas, inspirational truths and powerful teachings I have lost over the years because I did not write them down the moment they came to me. When the Holy Spirit breathes something into your spirit, there is an anointing for understanding and accomplishment in it. When you write it down, the anointing will stay with what you have  written!

Once you write it down and hash it out on paper, you then can move it to some electronic format. This is really helpful if you are like me; when I write in English, everyone thinks it is in some ancient biblical language. So typing everything out is important for not only yourself, but others as well. Remember to create a file system and ALWAYS keep those papers of hand written inspiration. The anointing to understand and accomplish will always be there for you  to refresh yourself when you need it.

It’s time to pick up your pen – inspiration is about to be loosed in your life!

 ===========================

© Copyright 2008 by Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.  All Rights Reserved

===========================

Profile on Author

Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.

Chancellor and Founder

Dr. Lake is the chancellor and founder of Biblical Life College & Seminary and serves as an educational consultant for various Christian organizations around the world. He also serves as the Pastor of Biblical Life Assembly in Marshfield, MO. Dr. Lake is listed in the US Registry’s “Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans,” Sterling’s “Who’s Who Executive Edition,” and the “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” for his accomplishments in ministry.

Lessons from the Day of Atonement

Posted on

Most of the Body of Christ has gone about their daily business without a clue of the biblical significance of the past few weeks. The centuries of manmade traditions have disenfranchised us from our rich Hebraic heritage and the biblical feasts that belong to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. These biblical feasts serve many purposes:

  • They remind us of what God has done for us.
  • They teach us more about what Jesus has done and will do in the future.
  • They are cycles of God’s process of sanctification in the life of the believer.
  • They are cycles of God’s process of positioning believers for greater blessing.
  • They are God’s way of bringing us back into step with the Kingdom of God. (This one is especially needed in this day since everyone is in step with the current Babylonian system of the world!)

This Wednesday, we will begin filming a new series on “The Feasts of the LORD and Their Spiritual Significance in the Life of the Believer.” This new DVD series is designed to reintroduce believers in Messiah to His Feasts. As we prepare for His coming, we need to get back into the rhythm of His Kingdom; the Feasts play a vital role in our realignment.

Since we are in the middle of the Fall Feasts, I thought it would be a great opportunity to teach on several aspects of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kipper) and how it can apply to becoming more effective in your spiritual walk and ministry. This month’s Mentor Tip is about divine accountability and realignment.

There are many aspects to the Fall Feasts (the Day of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles) that we could cover. The Fall Feasts are all about the second coming of Messiah and become a template to lie over the top of the Book of Revelation to see fully what God is showing us. Without the Fall Feasts’ template, the Book of Revelation is constantly being misinterpreted by believers. We will not be examining the Fall Feasts from an Eschatological view point, but one for daily living.

The Feast of Trumpets signifies a time of announcements from Heaven. It is a time designated by Almighty God when He speaks with greater clarity for the sake of His people. It also begins the countdown to the Day of Atonement called “The Ten Days of Awe.” During the Ten Days of Awe, God’s people spend a great amount of time examining their lives and hearts. They make sure that all relational accounts are settled between them and God as well as between them and their fellow man. There is also intense examination of what they have done with their lives since the last Day of Atonement.

The Fall Feasts teach us the importance of ownership. In fact, the Torah has a great deal to say about ownership of land and property. The concept of ownership is important because it reminds us that this world, our bodies and all other things are owned by a divine Creator, the God of Heaven and Earth. Since He owns this planet and all the people that dwell upon it, we must live our lives with the understanding that one day we will stand before Him to give an account of how we lived our lives and what we accomplished.

This year I have personally done that very thing. I have examined my past year, to include my accomplishments and my failings. During the Ten Days of Awe, I have been repenting, making plans, and making many adjustments. I did not accomplish as much as I wanted to this past year. There were places where I stumbled, dropped the ball or allowed other things to crowd out what was really important.

The Fall Feasts and the Day of Atonement were a type of “wake up” call to me. I have examined every weight that so easily besets me (Heb 12:1), examined what is most needful in my walk and ministry, and have determined to completely devote myself to those things alone.

Devote and devotion are very powerful words. Devote means “to commit to a particular purpose.” Devotion means to have “fervent dedication and loyalty” to something. This not only involves placing a great amount of time and energy into its accomplishment, but to remain loyal to it when distractions present themselves.

Here is what I am going to be devoted to this next year:

  • Writing new courses, articles and books.
  • Researching to ensure accuracy and integrity in all that I teach.
  • Re-teaching every major course I have taught in the past for DVD.

To accomplish this, many things in my life that took the focus away from my pursuits of God are being set aside. The things of the flesh (to include most entertainment) are there to distract us from our purpose, to steal our time, and to steal our focus. I am sure Satan will also bring many opportunities that sound wonderful but are simply distractions. Everything must be weighed concerning what I must give an account to God for and what He has called me to devote myself to. I must then purpose in my heart to remain loyal to those things.

Bringing It Home for You

This time next year the Day of Atonement will roll around again. Will you be prepared to present your life before the judgment bar of God to give an answer for what you have done with those twelve months? Can you give an account for what God has called you to be devoted to so you can work in His fields of service?

It is time for you to take inventory. What has God instructed you to do? Categorize them to include: personal relationships, education, ministry direction, etc. Once you have the categories, examine this past year to see what distracted you or held you back. Make plans to remove those weights!

Now make a list of the things you must devote yourself to. Be specific, and write it with great clarity. This list becomes your litmus test for everything that comes into your life and even how you plan your day. Is it part of your devotion to the accomplishment of something that God has called you to, or is it a distraction to test your loyalty? You are the gatekeeper to your life. The Fall Feasts teach us that it is time to wake up and redeem the time. In fact, the Day of Trumpets is also called “The Awakening Blast.” Consider this your wake up call to enter into Kingdom living with devotion and purpose!

=========================

Copyright 2008 by Michael K. Lake, Th.D.

=========================

Profile on Author

Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.

Chancellor and Founder

Dr. Lake is the chancellor and founder of Biblical Life College & Seminary and serves as an educational consultant for various Christian organizations around the world. He also serves as the Pastor of Biblical Life Assembly in Marshfield, MO. Dr. Lake is listed in the US Registry’s “Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans,” Sterling’s “Who’s Who Executive Edition,” and the “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” for his accomplishments in ministry.

Redream to Redeem

Posted on Updated on

The past several months have been a very powerful time at Biblical Life, both with the Seminary and with our local fellowship. Little did I know when I started the “No More Compromise Series” at our fellowship what God had in store for us. The past several months have been a time for divine realigning with Heaven. In these few short months, we have seen:

  • The birth of the mentoring program, to include the Mentor’s Tips.
  • A breakthrough for writing that I have never experienced before (a real answer to prayer).
  • The prophetic increasing in our meetings with a new level of anointing to bring to pass what was spoken quickly (sometimes instantaneously).
  • God is beginning to realign the lives of both members of our congregation and students as they enter into what God is doing.
  • Financial Breakthroughs: One family even experienced a miracle with being released from the mortgage of their home. We have also seen many other financial turnarounds.
  • Many students have seen breakthroughs in their studies, families and ministries.

This past week as I was preparing my message for our congregation, the Lord was so gracious in giving me a missing piece as I was watching TBN. Bishop Mark Huskins was on the short segment that I was watching. He said one statement that exploded in my spirit and was the missing piece for my message: “You have to redream before you can redeem.” Locally, we have been dealing with Ephesians 5:11-16. In Mentor’s Tip # 5 (Living Life Awake), we also dealt with part of that scripture. In the midst of coming back awake spiritually and realigning ourselves with Heaven, the next question is: “How do I redeem the time?” The answer is in redreaming.

Before I go any further, there are several things that I want to touch on:

a.         The Difference Between a Fleshly Dream and a Spiritual Dream

When I speak of a “dream” I am speaking of the vision, purpose and destiny of your life. Satan has one for you that speaks through your flesh, and God has one for you that was released in your spirit when you were born again. The closer we get to the LORD, the more we move away from sin and the spirit of the world and the more the old fleshly dream dies and a new spiritual dream begins to come alive. The dream or destiny that God has for you is very important. It is part of what will shape you and empower you for the days ahead. A dream or vision can give you strength to go through hard times. Lack of a dream will cause you to stumble even when times are good.

As we realign ourselves with Heaven in this move of God, He is going to begin bringing to life His dream for your life. You have several things that you need to do to guard the dream. First, do not let it be tainted by the flesh or worldliness. Don’t let the devil contaminate what God wants to do through you. You need to realize that Satan will fight you getting a hold of your dream.

He will either bring things of this world into your life or bring discouragement against the dream! You need to get ready to fight his advances. God’s dream for you is worth fighting for. Second, you need to feed the dream. As you meditate on the Word of God and His promises for you, the dream will grow and become stronger. Worshippers always empower their spiritual dream from God. The very presence of God in our lives speaks forth the dream and empowers it. The more time we spend in His Word and in His presence, the clearer the dream will become.

b.         The Conundrum of Dreaming

In the natural, you have to be asleep to dream. The opposite is true in the realm of the spirit. You have to be spiritually awake to dream. This is why everything about the flesh and the spirit of this world tries to put you to sleep. A man or woman with a dream from God can change the world. I remember a powerful man of God that was facing racial hatred and prejudice. What was Dr. King’s response? He said “I have a dream!” A dream from God can change your life, your family, your community, your ministry and even a nation! Wake up and dare to dream with God!

C.            A Dream Brings Change

You will never dream where you are. If you did, it would not be a dream; it would be a reality. In the dream God gives, He will show you new ways of doing things, new ways of thinking, new ways of building and new ways of living. You have to be willing to change yourself to match the dream. That is the purpose of the dream. It is there to show you what you can do if you became what God calls you to be. When you yield to it, you are transformed, and it begins to come to pass. If you refuse to change, it becomes nothing more than a pipe dream — something that will never be because you would not yield to the call.

Your Dream and Your Placement in the Body

To understand what I want to touch on, we will need to look at 1 Peter 2:4-5:

1 Peter 2:4-5 (NKJV)

4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Those of you that are unfamiliar with your Hebraic roots will read right over this and not understand what is in the heart of the Apostle Peter. The Torah teaches that when you build an altar for the Lord, you must use stones that have not been cut. God chooses their shape, not you. You should also never use brick; brick is connected to Babylon and Egypt. In fact, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, in his audio teaching entitled “Genesis Journeys: The Tower of Power,[1]” shares in detail from the Hebrew how God was upset with Nimrod for building the tower from brick. It is also interesting that while the children of Israel were in bondage in Egypt, their task was making bricks.

What is so troublesome about brick? The spiritual emphasis is this: Like natural stones, God has made you an original. There is a uniqueness in you that was created by the hand of God, and the Body of Christ (and the world) need you to move with the way God made you. This is why both the spirit of this world and a religious spirit try to mold everyone into a mold of conformity. This brick-type mold is something God did not create for you to be. It is a mold of sinfulness and uselessness in the Kingdom. We also need to realize that the wounds of the past and circumstances Satan has created around you are there to conform you to his mold and to kill the dream! It is time to break the mold of sin and be free in the ultimate truth of God. This truth is so powerful that when you are born again, God says you become a new creature. (2 Cor 5:17) The old brick mold is now supposed to be dead to you, and you are being transformed into a new original as your mind is renewed to the Word of God (Rom 12:2).

God’s dream for you is crucial! It will bring you back into what you were destined to be. It will take you from being a brick shaped by religion, adversity and pain to a living stone shaped by the hand of God. In a moment you will understand why that is so important.

Have you ever seen a rock fireplace? We have one in our home. Finding the right rocks to make up the face of the fireplace is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. The rocks that are there fit together and will not work anywhere else. You cannot move them around like bricks. Each rock will only function and fit in one specific place. This is what the Apostle Peter was trying to get across to us. You have only one unique place where you will fit in your place in time, space and the Body of Christ. Only in that one place can you plug in, fit in, find fulfillment and be empowered to reach your potential. Only there will you find contentment and will your gifts be fully developed and fully released. Only there will you make the maximum impact upon the world! Can you see why the enemy has worked so hard in destroying your spiritual dream and vision? Can you see why he has hit you so hard with circumstances and pain to mold you into a shape that would not fit?

We are in a time that God is giving us all a grace to realign with Heaven. It is as if He is hitting a “reset” button within the Body of Christ to bring us where we should have been before the devil forced us to detour. (This is only for those that have ears to hear.) Now is not only a time to realign, it is a time to awaken and to dream again! Dare to dream what the Holy Spirit is giving you! Regardless of past hurts, failures and frustrations, dare to be bold in God and to dream. As you dream, the Holy Spirit will remold you back into what He had in mind when He gave you life in your mother’s womb.

The Gold Principle

Remember when Jesus prophesied over the Temple that not one stone would be left upon another? The Romans wanted the gold that was used as mortar between the stones. In the Bible, gold represents holiness. As we leave worldliness and sinfulness of our old nature behind, our nature is covered in a new holiness that is based on God’s Kingdom and the completed work of Messiah. We see this in some of the furniture of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. Wood was overlaid with gold. This represents the natural man being overlaid with true holiness unto the LORD. God’s dream for your life does not bring you into sin; it takes you away from it and can only function properly in true biblical holiness.

Another interesting thing about gold is that it is a powerful conductor. There is less resistance to the moving of power through it. That is why the expensive cables for electronics will have gold plug-ins. Here is the lesson we learn: as we move in true holiness and in our dream, the power that can move through all of us is increased! As each one of us in the Body finds our place and begins to move in it, we all increase in God.

This is why God is realigning us all with Heaven. We can either hold each other back or we can add to each other’s destiny in Christ. God is positioning all of us to move forward. We have been held back for too long!

It is time for you to dream again, redeem the time the enemy has stolen and to become what God has called you to be!

Copyright 2008 by Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.  All rights reserved.


Footnote:

[1] You can purchase this 2 CD series at: http://www.rabbidaniellapin.com . Every believer can benefit from the teaching of this good rabbi.

 =====================

Profile on Author

Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.

Chancellor and Founder

Dr. Lake is the chancellor and founder of Biblical Life College & Seminary and serves as an educational consultant for various Christian organizations around the world. He also serves as the Pastor of Biblical Life Assembly in Marshfield, MO. Dr. Lake is listed in the US Registry’s “Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans,” Sterling’s “Who’s Who Executive Edition,” and the “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” for his accomplishments in ministry.

The Power of Biblical Order

Posted on Updated on

Genesis 1:1-3 (NKJV)

‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Reading Between the Lines

There is so much in the first chapter of Genesis. I have been told by many scholars, both Evangelical and Rabbinical, that one could spend their entire lives in study just to properly understand the first three chapters of this powerful book. To properly understand what God is revealing here, we will need to take a look at the Hebrew in verse two.

Most of us would overlook the word “was” in verse two. Yet the Hebrew reveals so much more:

Was: Strongs # H961 hayah {haw-yaw}[1]

Meaning: 1) to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen, fall out 1 a) (Qal) lal)1 al a) to happen, fall out, occur, take place, come about, come to pass 1 al b) to come about, come to pass 1 a2) to come into being, become 1a2a) to arise, appear, come 1 a2b) to become la2b1) to become 1 a2b2) to become like 1 a2b3) to be instituted, be established 1 a3) to be 1 a3a) to exist, be in existence 1 a3b) to abide, remain, continue (with word of place or time) 1 a3c) to stand, lie, be in, be at, be situated (with word of locality) 1 a3d) to accompany, be with 1 b) (Niphal) 1 bl) to occur, come to pass, be done, be brought about 1 b2) to be done, be finished, be gone Origin: a primitive root [compare 01933]; TWOT – 491; v

Usage: AV – was, come to pass, came, has been, were happened, become, pertained, better for thee; 74

Verse 2 could easily read “And the earth BECAME void.” When God creates something, He does not create something imperfect. Many Evangelical scholars believe that the fall of Lucifer occurred between verses 1 and 2 of Genesis Chapter 1. Sin and darkness bring chaos. The Word also tells us:

1 Corinthians 14:40 (NKJV)

40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

James 3:16 (NKJV)

16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.

When sin takes a hold of the things of the earth, it produces confusion. Let’s look at the Greek word here that James used to properly understand what he was saying.

Confusion: Strongly # G81 akatastasia {ak-at-as-tah-see’-ah} [2]

Meaning: 1) instability, a state of disorder, disturbance, confusion

Origin: from 182; TDNT – 3:446,387; n f

Usage: AV – confusion 2, tumult 2, commotion 1; 5

Chaos, instability and a state of disorder are places that darkness can easily operate and manipulate people and circumstances. No wonder those in the occult promote anarchy.

Biblical law and biblical principles bring stability and order to God’s creation. Stability and order always live within light, thus darkness finds it extremely difficult to operate.

In tip # 5, we touched on “redeeming time.” It takes two elements to redeem time in your life:

1.         You must be living life awake.

2.         As a person that is sanctified and has a sanctified place in sanctified time, you can take control of your time and bring order to it.

Bringing Biblical Order to Creation

Whenever God begins to speak, light always comes. As God begins to bring light to your life, biblical order will always result. Our old nature will fight against biblical order, accountability, Holy Spirit breathed priorities and structure. Our old man prefers disorder. This way he can hide what he is really doing from your new man (i.e. new nature in Christ).

Everyone seems to be interested in bringing biblical order to the Church, to the home or even to society. We have not understood the fact that it must first start with us. As I taught in the Leader of One, you cannot properly lead in your home or ministry until you properly lead yourself! I believe one of the reasons the Church is no longer bringing order to homes or society in general is that believers are not walking in biblical order in their personal lives! We have made everything external, instead of internal. Remember, Jesus taught us:

Luke 17:20-21 (NKJV)

20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

What we are teaching in these Mentor’s Tips is bigger than just you getting organized in your life, to completing your education and starting ministry. Once you bring biblical order to your personal life, you can bring it to your home. Once it is established in your home, you can bring it to your ministry. Once it is established in your ministry, you can begin bringing it to your community.

I am going to recommend two secular books that will help you clear away the clutter. Once the clutter has been taken care of, we can work more on biblical order in your life. As long as the clutter is in the way, it will fight any type of order you need to establish.

  • “Getting Things Done” by David Allen
  • “Time Management from the Inside Out” by Julie Morgenstern

You can get them both from Amazon.Com for $19.20 or you can purchase them in audio format from Audible.Com. (I enjoy listening to books while I do other busy work or workout.)

When you decide to bring order to your personal life, God will begin speaking light into your life and aid you with setting things in order. Here is the important part to remember, as you mature, God wants to do things with you (not for you). Bringing order to your life is what happens when you grow up, so this is something God will not do for you; He will only do it with you.

Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and work with the Holy Spirit? Let’s begin bringing order to our lives and see God work!

© Copyright 2008 by Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.  All Rights Reserved.


Footnotes

[1] Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon. BibleWorks for Windows 7.0. BibleWorks, LLC, Norfolk, VA. Copyright ©  2006

[2] Ibid.

==========================

Profile on Author

Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.

Chancellor and Founder

Dr. Lake is the chancellor and founder of Biblical Life College & Seminary and serves as an educational consultant for various Christian organizations around the world. He also serves as the Pastor of Biblical Life Assembly in Marshfield, MO. Dr. Lake is listed in the US Registry’s “Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans,” Sterling’s “Who’s Who Executive Edition,” and the “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” for his accomplishments in ministry.

The Power of Discipline

Posted on

In this article, we are going to be dealing with the power of discipline. I also want to deal with the conundrum that many believers find themselves in when trying to balance discipline and spontaneity. This will take a little bit of time, but if you will bear with me, you will understand where we are headed.

 Foundational Scripture:

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NKJV)

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

In many of Paul’s epistles, he uses both soldiers and athletes to teach on the necessity of discipline. In a society with Greek influence in athletics and Roman soldiers everywhere enforcing Rome’s peace, there were strong visual illustrations for this apostle of God to use.

Today’s Athlete

What does the daily life of a professional, cutting edge athlete look like here in the U.S.? Do they sit around all day watching TV and eating junk food? Do they skip all of the practices and strategy sessions and only show up for the games? That may be the way the average American prepares for playing on the Church softball team, but not professional sports where millions of dollars are on the line!

The professional athlete will invest countless hours into practice and training. He will stretch his abilities farther each year, learn new plays and tactics and will only allow foods into his body that build, cleanse and strengthen. He will condition his mind to know every play until he can do them in his sleep. He will condition his body so that he executes each play with effortless grace. When he reaches this level, the opposing team finds it almost impossible to stop him! This is the paradigm that the Apostle Paul speaks from when he relates to ministry! So let’s run with that paradigm in this article!

Many times God takes us through the paces to learn a new spiritual habit. We are in “drill” mode, whether in learning to pray, study, apply certain biblical principles or articulate it to the universe. We see no immediate fruit; we just do it over and over again. This is where discipline is so important. Do it just like God told you to do it. Do not deviate from the example. Do it until it becomes second nature to you. You are building a foundation from which to live your life and to minister from.

The Practice

Once you have the basic foundation laid in some areas, God will require you not to be so rigid in the implementation of a thing. In practice, you take the basics of what you have learned and practice flexibility, spontaneity and innovation in your implementation. The discipline is still there, but you have matured to the point where you can join two or three concepts together “on the fly” to counter what an opponent is doing.

I remember an episode from The Unit that I really enjoyed. This episode gave more background on the unit’s newest member (Bob) and how he qualified to become part of this elite team. They had placed a large pile of parts to various handguns in front of these soldiers. They were instructed to put them together blindfolded; they had to use all the parts and there were five weapons there to be assembled. When the first soldier finished, he had five handguns that appeared to be assembled correctly, but he had extra parts. The instructor asked him “Why? Could he guarantee that the five he had assembled would fire, since he had extra parts?” Needless to say, he failed the exercise and never made it to the unit. Then there was Bob. He set there with a big smile on his face. He did not have five weapons, he had seven. Five of them were standard issue and two were smaller weapons. When he was asked how he came up with seven weapons, he responded: “Easy! Start with five and add two!” He demonstrated that he was able to assess the situation, recognize the parts from the standard issue handguns, assemble them and managed to assemble two others that were thrown into the mix. Because of his dedication to discipline, he was able to think creatively and had tipped the odds in his favor. (When you are in a gun fight, seven is better than five.)

After we have submitted to the preparation time of the drills, God will take us through practice rounds in our lives. These times are more “supervised,” but ample opportunity is given to us to improvise what we have learned in the basics.

The sad part is that many of us never really get to this level because we will not submit to the  drills. We pray and hear nothing. We study and nothing is exciting or life changing. Then we are told to do it all over again. Why? So that when we enter into a situation we know nothing about, we will pray and study our way out of it! If the basics are not in place, you have nothing to stand on to help you overcome. Maybe this is why so many Christians run from meeting to meeting trying to find what they never received in the drills — they are looking for someplace to give them a footing in the game of life!

Three Levels of Discipline and Four Areas of Execution

Three Levels of Discipline:

  • The Drill
  • The Practice
  • The Game

Four Areas of Execution:

  • Prayer
  • Study
  • Application
  • Articulation

[Side Note: Why is discipline so important? The word “Christian” is only used three times in the New Testament. The word “disciple” is used 270 times. The word “disciple” means “one that disciplines his life after someone’s teaching.” In this case, it is the teaching of Messiah (God come in the flesh).]

The Three Levels of Discipline

Personally, I have never served on a professional sports team. I have served in the military, so I am prone to use some examples from my time in the military to bring certain points across.

The Drill

Whether you are learning moves in a contact sport, or you are learning how to take apart and reassemble your weapon, the drill is the time that you do it over and over again until you can  do it without thinking. No immediate fruit is seen during “the drill” time: just doing the same thing over and over again.

When I was going through basic training in the military, I remember one day we spent the entire afternoon taking our M-16s apart and putting them back together. I felt like I took my weapon apart a thousand times that day, only to put it back together and then start all over again. To this day, I think I could assemble one without even looking at it.

At the end of boot camp, our drill sergeant had us perform a demonstration. We were under enemy fire and our weapons had been taken apart for cleaning. How long do you think it took me to assemble my weapon, load it and prepare to fire? Under a minute! I remember him smiling while he said “Congratulations Lake, you get to live today!”

The Game

You know the basic moves. You could do them in your sleep. You have shown the ability to be creative in their application and execution. Now you are facing the giants. You rely on two things: your knowledge of the basics and your ability to hear your coach from the sidelines giving commands. You see, in the game, the coach is the Holy Spirit. You finely tuned your spirit man to Him all of those times you were in prayer. You filled your mind with His game plans when you were in study. Now it is time for the real thing — welcome to ministry.

The Holy Spirit (your coach) is counting on you knowing what He is talking about when He tells you how to handle the enemy and to bring victory to the situation.

“Take this concept! Implement it before the enemy realizes what you are doing. Good. Now use the name of Jesus. Quick, plead the Blood. Now cast it out! That a boy. You did that with grace!”

A fellow that has not done his homework will not recognize these commands: he will pause, stumble and fall.

As we mature, we will be in various places in this cycle. You may be able to play the game with certain moves, but when you are learning something new, you go back to the drills!

The Four Areas of Execution

1.         Prayer

Prayer is a routine, a discipline, a source of life and a conversation. It takes on all of these forms at various times in our lives.

There are many times I have prayed and heard nothing, felt nothing and thought it was a waste of time. So I pushed in harder, stretched further and disciplined myself to keep going no matter what. Then all of a sudden it is like God is right there and drops so much into my spirit man that it takes months to work through it all.

I have asked God about the quiet times. He always refers me back to this scripture:

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)

6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

God wanted to reward me with new revelation; before He could, I had to diligently seek Him. The discipline of diligence in seeking Him opened the door to the reward of revelation.

I can also add that it helped develop a greater sensitivity to His voice and presence. The more I seek Him, the more I become aware of Him and am able to hear His voice in the den of life’s circumstances.

2.         Study

Study is not something you do to make it through Seminary. It is what you do to make it through life! Seminary is the place where you learn the art of study (drill time). We have you study and study and study and study and study and study. It becomes second nature to you. When the enemy throws something at you that is unfamiliar, you instinctively do two things: (1) You seek the face of God about it and (2) you go to your library and search out answers to what is going on.

Proverbs 25:2 (NKJV)

2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. You are never going to get to the deep things of God until you instinctively respond through diligent prayer and study!

3.         Application

What good is all that prayer and study without application? How can application be executed correctly without prayer and study?

God wants you to be victorious and prosper in every situation. But He is limited. God is limited by you. 3 John 2 tells us that God wants us to be in health and prosper, but the limitation is “as your soul prospers.” If you have only learned mole hill moving faith, how are you going to move mountains?

Everything in the Word of God falls into two categories: relationship or application. If my relationship is right with God and His Word, I am in a powerful position for application. Do it just like in the drills: observe what the enemy is trying to do and adjust your strategy. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He gives you insights on new ways to apply the basics. Remember, Jesus always moved in authority and power, but He seldom ministered the same way twice. (He always kept the enemy confused and off guard.)

4.         Articulation

There are four places that we speak and move in authority. We speak to: (1) God, (2) man, (3) the spirit world and (4) to physical circumstances. This is where discipline will pay off. You will know where to speak, how to speak and what to say. Through discipline in the drills and practice, you will understand basic and now advanced warfare. You can sense where the Holy Spirit is leading you before He tells you. You have studied the enemy enough to know his moves and already have several counter punches in mind to block his advances.

Many believers and many ministers never get to application and articulation because they have no discipline in prayer and study! It is time to stop flying by the seat of your pants and to become a disciplined, matured soldier of Christ!

© Copyright 2008 by Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.  All Rights Reserved.

================

Profile on Author

Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.

Chancellor and Founder

Dr. Lake is the chancellor and founder of Biblical Life College & Seminary and serves as an educational consultant for various Christian organizations around the world. He also serves as the Pastor of Biblical Life Assembly in Marshfield, MO. Dr. Lake is listed in the US Registry’s “Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans,” Sterling’s “Who’s Who Executive Edition,” and the “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” for his accomplishments in ministry.

Completing Your Education Can Be Done!

Posted on

Mark 9:23 (NKJV)
23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Any time that we try to move forward in God, the enemy places roadblocks in our way and tells us that it can’t be done.  Those that know God and the power of His Word always gird up their loins with God’s truth and move forward.   From time to time, we need to remind ourselves that Jesus can commission us to be mountain movers!

 Mark 11:22-24 (NKJV)
22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

It is my pleasure to share an article written by Michele Davenport, A.B.S.  She is a recent Biblical Life graduate that faced insurmountable odds, yet was able to cross the graduation finish line in victory!

 ===================================

It Can Be Done!

by Michele Davenport, A.B.S.

 “For nine long years the record of the mile hovered just above four minutes.  As early as 1945, Gunder Haegg had approached the barrier with a time of 4:01.4.  But many people said the limits of physical capacity had been reached; it was impossible to break the four minute barrier.  However in 1954 Roger Bannister broke the tape at 3:59.4.  And what was the result?  Well, as soon as the myth of the “impossible barrier” was dispelled, the four-minute mile was attacked and pierced by many with apparent ease.  In almost no time the four-minute achievement was bettered sixty-six times by twenty-six different runners!  If one dismisses this as merely the power of competition, the point is missed.  There was just as much competition before the four-minute mile was broken.  What the succeeding runners discovered from Bannister was it can be done” [1]

It can be done!  I started my Associates at Biblical Life College and Seminary while my husband and I were stationed in New York.  I was home schooling two children, running a household, working out, and ministering to my unsaved neighbors (who are now in Japan serving the Lord.)

It can be done! Eight months after I had started college we received orders to Missouri.  As we prepared for transition the final home school classes had been taught, books had been put away, the last item was positioned on the moving truck, and our good- byes had been said, I was still studying for my classes. 

It can be done!  As the new directions of our lives were leading us west, I quickly realized that some of our toughest challenges still lied ahead but little did I know the challenges I would face personally would be the eventual challenge of my own survival.   We had to find a house, set up camp, and start home schooling again, my girls were becoming young ladies, and my husband was transitioning into his new job as I was trying to stay the course, run the race, and continue my journey at Biblical Life.  It was only moments after we arrived that I knew something was terribly wrong.  My mother’s health was failing her, she was weak, fragile, and fighting for her very life.   For seven months we were in and out of the hospital with my mom, who was also my best friend, seven months she fought for every breathe she breathed and on December 12, 2007 my mother finally  had her crossing over moment that ushered her to the feet of Jesus. I did survive my best friend’s death.  I took several months off from school to mourn my mother’s presence in my life, but then I picked up my books, gathered my strength, and proceeded to the finish line which I crossed on July fifteenth 2010.   Why am I sharing my life with you?  Because it can be done! 

You can start school yourself while your homeschooling two children. You can be a wife, a husband, a mother, a father, a minister of God’s Word, a friend to the lost, the house keeper, the meal maker, the bread winner, the teacher, and the student.  You can start your training in one state only to end up in another.  You can say hello to love ones, and good-bye almost within the same breath, but you can never do any of it without the will to finish.  It can be done!  But it cannot be done alone, you will need the guidance of the Holy Spirit every step of the way

The education I received from Biblical Life College and Seminary has been character building, life-changing, and transforming to the extreme of my own comfort.  Students, sometimes the journey is about the scenery, on occasion the journey is about the geographical location, now and again the journey is about a method or a process, from time to time the journey is about life, and occasionally the journey is about death, but every moment of the journey has the potential to tutor those who say, “It can be done!”   

=================================

About the Author

 Michele enrolled into a customized Associate of Biblical Studies in 2005 and graduated the program Magna Cum Laude in 2010.  She and her husband Marty operate a ministry called “Faith Builders” (http://www.fbministries.com/) in the Kansas City area.   Michele is a Christian columnist for a local paper in Kansas City and she has authored three books: Ripened on the Vine, From My Heart to Yours Devotional, and Unexcused Absence.  All three of her books are available at her ministry website (www.fbministries.com) or on Amazon.

 


Footnote:

[1] McGinnis, Alan Loy. Bringing out the Best in People: How to Enjoy Helping Others Excel.  Augsburg Books, Minneapolis MN.  Copyright 1985.

The Next Step in Your Preparation for Ministry

Posted on Updated on

Student Preparing at Biblical Life College & SeminaryIn my articles entitled “Things You Need to Know Before You Answer the Call to Prepare For Ministry – Part 1 & 2,” I shared about the call to prepare for the ministry and how that a lifestyle of study is a vital part. In this bulletin, I want to address some of the paradigms I hear continually about classroom study verses nontraditional study. To the surprise of many, this discussion will not be about the overall quality of the educational process, per se. Studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Education show that there are no real differences in the educational results of traditionally trained individuals and those that receive their training non-traditionally. The only exception to this rule would be professionals such as medical doctors, etc. Such hands on professions demand residential training.

What I want to discuss are “real world” issues that deal with life in the ministry. I can speak specifically on this issue since our only purpose is to train aspirants of biblical ministry. I have had many tell me that they need “in the classroom” experience, not because they learn more, but because they need that teacher looking over their shoulder and demanding that homework be completed each week. Although all of us have had that low level of personal motivation at one time or another in our lives, it does not work well for those in the ministry. Someone that is truly going to function well in ministry must be:

  • Self-Motivated
  • Self-Disciplined
  • Self-Determined
  • Creative
  • One with a sense of real dedication.

The list could go on and on, but you get the idea. To succeed in ministry, you must stay motivated, disciplined, be creative in your approaches and have the determination to overcome any roadblocks the devil will throw your way. These all can be developed or should I say MUST be developed to complete your education through theological education by extension (TEE) or by whatever other catch phrase they are using in non-traditional education today. You must learn to make study, discipline and creative problem solving a part of your lifestyle, if you are going to succeed in completing your educational journey. The very skills that must be developed to complete your degree will serve you just as well as the knowledge gained in the courses you take throughout your ministry.

Getting Down to the Basics

Step One – You Have Got to Schedule Time to Study.

If you have never used a daily planner, scheduled times or made to-do lists, then you have not been that involved in ministry very long. The more that you have to do, the more necessary proper planning and controlling your time becomes.

“3 Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts.” Prov 24:3 TLB

Although I am not a big fan of the Living Bible, I think that they really hit the mark with this verse. If your life is going to prosper in what God has called you to do, then wise planning, common sense and keeping up to date is a divine must! Get a DayTimer, Franklin-Covey Planner, PDA – whatever you feel comfortable with and start using it. Plan at least three 90 minute sessions of uninterrupted study per week. Then begin working on keeping those appointments and making the best use of that time. You will find that the doers and shakers in the Kingdom of God, as well as in the business world, will constantly schedule everything. In my own life, I schedule times for morning prayer, morning exercise, times for study, writing and (since I love my wife and being married) special times with her each week. What you do not plan for and MAKE time for, you will seldom ever  accomplish. This is a discipline that will serve you for the rest of your life and ministry.

Step Two – Integrate Study Habits into Your Lifestyle

The busier you get in life and ministry, the more you will need to redeem the time that you have for study. As I shared in the last bulletin, once you enter into ministry, you will really begin to study. All the study that you complete in your ministerial preparation is simply the foundation. If we endeavored to develop programs that would prepare you for everything you would face in ministry, you would be in seminary until the age of 70! The purpose of college and seminary is to give you the proper foundation and tools that you will need to use for the rest of your life. So here are some tips for redeeming the time:

1.         Audio Lectures. I cannot stress the power of these enough. It takes time to get the great truths of God deep within our spirit, mind and heart. I was recently listening to another Christian educator that stated for you to retain the information given in a lecture or sermon that you must listen to it at least 12 times. Now I am not saying that you must listen to every BLCS lecture that many times. For the purpose of our courses, I recommend that you listen to each message twice. The first time, just listen through it. Enjoy the teaching and get an overall sense of what is being said. The second time, slow down and take notes. Listen for the things that the Holy Spirit is emphasizing to you. You will be amazed at the revelation knowledge that can be generated in these lectures.

Get creative in your listening times. The wonderful thing about audio tapes, CD and MP3 files is that you can take them with you wherever you go. You can listen to them driving back and forth to work, exercising, doing housework, etc. This is why we have been working day and

night to convert all of our lectures to the MP3 format. Devices like the iPod make this so much easier. On my iPod, I have about 1,000 of my favorite songs, around 37 audio books and at least 70 complete teachings from my favorite bible teachers and preachers. I keep it in my briefcase (which is usually within arm’s reach of me at all times) so I can pick it up and begin using it when I have a few moments. There are things that God is doing in my life and in my spirit that must be nurtured. Anointed teachings have always been one of the ways God has used. Could you have believed that you could have all the lectures from an entire college course sitting in your pocket and ready for your benefit at any time? Don’t you think it’s time that the people of God use these technologies for our benefit?

2.         Keep a textbook and highlighters with you all the time. For a minister, books have always been of utmost importance. While Paul was in prison, he asked for his books to be brought to him. (2 Tim 4:13) An under-read minister is ill prepared for what life brings his way (or the life of his congregation). An underread minister will have congregations that are hyped up every week, but seldom fed! So if you are called to ministry, books and reading will become a vital part of your life for the rest of your life. Might as well get into the habit now.

You should keep the textbook of the current course you are studying with you along with a set of highlighters. (My favorite highlighters are the Zazzle by Zebra. They work the best of any I have tested and a five color pack is available at Wal-Mart or Staples.) When you get a few spare moments, jump into your next chapter. Again, like with the audio lectures,

read through the chapter first. Then go back over it again, highlighting important statements or information. If a statement is used by the Holy Spirit to spur another thought or idea, I will usually write it in the margin of the book. This way I can use it later.

Once you have read through the chapter twice, then go to the workbook and answer the questions asked. You will find many times that the statements you highlighted are the same statements the professor found important enough to write questions around.

Step Three – You Have Got to Have a Prayer Life

It is the power of the Holy Spirit and His anointing that will take these studies and transform your life. You have got to stay plugged into God. Every failure in ministry (or in a godly life) can be attributed to a failure in prayer. While you are scheduling time to study, listen to lectures or even time with your wife, remember to schedule time with God. That time breathes life into us and rejuvenates our spirit and soul.

A Final Thought

We get many questions about on-line studies. Although these work well for completing an MBA for the busy businessman, I am not fully convinced that it is the most conducive medium for training aspirants of ministry. Why? – for the very reasons I have already given. You need the time listening to anointed teachers to produce life transformations and divine impartations. You need time contemplating what is written in the books to stretch your heart and soul so that the Kingdom of God is increased in your life. For the minister, it is more than just the accumulation of knowledge. It is cultivating an environment for spiritual revelation and impartation. Without creating this type of spiritual atmosphere, I am afraid we will produce a generation of ministers that make ministry a business instead of a lifestyle!

===========================

Copyright 2008 by Michael K. Lake, Th.D.

===========================

Profile on Author

Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.

Chancellor and Founder

Dr. Lake is the chancellor and founder of Biblical Life College & Seminary and serves as an educational consultant for various Christian organizations around the world. He also serves as the Pastor of Biblical Life Assembly in Marshfield, MO. Dr. Lake is listed in the US Registry’s “Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans,” Sterling’s “Who’s Who Executive Edition,” and the “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” for his accomplishments in ministry.

Things You Need to Know Before You Answer the Call to Prepare For Ministry – Part 2

Posted on

BLCS StudentThe express purpose of these articles is twofold: (1) to provide additional information for those seeking to begin and/or continue their education for ministry via nontraditional methods; and (2) to provide supportive instruction for our students that are already involved in continuing their education. In the first bulletin, we dealt with many “Prospective Student” issues, such as:

  •   The call to ministry is a call to a lifetime of study.
  • Lack of transformation in the traditional Greco-Roman based educational model.
  • Abuses in nontraditional education:
  • Abuse of issuing unrealistic life experience credits.
  • Abuse of improper course examinations (i.e. open book exams).
  • Abuse of so watering down the educational process that no thesis or dissertation is required
  • at the Master’s and Doctoral levels.
  • How proper education should provide the research & study tools you will use the rest of your life.

In the second issue, we gave solid tips to current students on how to get into the swing of study once again. These tools can be used well after a student graduates. In fact, as ministers they should be using them the rest of their lives.

With all of that said, let’s move on to the subject of this bulletin. We all should be familiar with the call to ministry. If you are not, the first thing I would ask you is: “Why are you looking to study for the ministry?” It is a calling where you know in the very depths of your heart that God has called you to one of the fivefold offices of ministry listed in Ephesians 4. You can run from it, but you can’t hide from it. It is in your heart and in your blood. You know that if you do not follow after the call and prepare for it that you will be miserable and miss God’s best in your life. I have been involved in nontraditional education now for nearly a quarter of a century. Like the country singer used to sing, “I was country when country wasn’t cool.” Well, I was involved in theological education by extension (TEE) when it wasn’t cool either! In the early `80’s, we were pioneering many of the standards that are now common place in TEE. I said all that to say this, I have been around the block in training ministers for effective ministry. You need to realize that not only do you have a call to ministry, but you have a call to a specific school that you are to study with as well!

You need to realize that each school is different. God has placed certain emphases within each school. I am not talking about denominational differences either – although that can be a consideration for you. Each school will speak into your life in different ways and will give you different tools and paradigms for ministry. One school will have a set of tools and paradigms that you will need while another will not. This is not a matter of accreditation or cost. It is a matter of what the school speaks into your life. What makes this harder to realize is that you cannot always tell it from just looking at courses listed for a particular program or degree. There is an anointing and a spirit or attitude about each school that is imparted to their students. Unfortunately, in many traditional schools, the only spirit or attitude passed on is one of haughtiness and superiority.

Here are some steps to make the right choice:

1.         PRAY. Ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you begin looking at schools and requesting catalogs. Does the Holy Spirit witness to you that you should look further into this school? Does the website information agree with your spirit?

2.         Get the catalogs. If you feel the witnessing of the Holy Spirit about a particular school, request or download the catalog. If you download it, take the time to print it out.

3. Prayerfully read over the catalogs. Look for the Holy Spirit to speak to you as you read over them. He is trying to help you narrow the list of schools. You should have two piles of catalogs now – (1) the “no witness” pile and (2) the “Spirit-felt witness” pile.

4. Go back to the website. See if they have bulletins, articles, newsletters and samples of their courses on-line. See if they have some sample course lectures in MP3 or real audio stream. Read over the articles, sample lessons and listen to the sample lectures.

Now stop right here. What are you looking for: easy courses; something you can complete quickly? If you are, you need to go back to Mark 11 and learn the lesson of why Jesus cursed the fig tree. You need to look for materials that speak to your heart, that add something substantial to your spirit man, and that call for personal transformation. If the Holy Spirit is already speaking to you through the samples, how much more will He speak and transform your life through the complete program!

You will find articles, sample lessons and MP3 lectures at two locations on our website. Those URL is:

http://www.biblical-life.com/library/library.htm

Take the time to download everything you can there. (For the MP3 files, DSL will help.) Read through them, listen to them and seek the face of God while you are doing it.

5.         Pick the right school & count the cost. Once you have found the school that is witnessed most by the Holy Spirit and their literature and samples speak most to your life, you are ready to count the cost. Now I am not just talking about the financial investment you are getting ready to make. That is important, and Jesus warns us to consider this before beginning such an endeavor (Luke 14:28-30). More than the financial investment, I am talking about several other things you must invest just as much of:

  • Time
  • Discipline
  • Determination
  • Prayer

You must be willing to roll up your sleeves and invest these things too. Without them, you will

never graduate. You also need to realize another important truth. Are you ready? The level of determination, discipline, prayer and time you invest in this call of preparation is the same level you will have in actually “doing” the ministry. If you can’t get it right here, you likely will not develop it once you are in full-time ministry! When you are ordained or installed as a Pastor, there is no super anointing that drives these things into your life. They are cultivated from the time you answer the call, and they are matured through the preparation process. So don’t drop the ball once you enroll. Make a schedule for prayer and study. Keep at it day after day – whether it is convenient or not (the devil will make sure it is never convenient). Take the time and do not let anything else steal that time from you. Make every study session count for the Kingdom.

6.     Make application to the school the Holy Spirit has led you to. Don’t sit on it, take action and follow the leading and peace of the Holy Spirit.

7.     Get your materials, make your plan of action, make your schedule and begin growing. Your life and the lives of those you minister to will never be the same!

Biblical Life College and Seminary has an emphasis on “where the rubber meets the road” theology. The Word is meant to be lived, not debated. We also place great emphasis on being Spirit-Filled and a balanced understanding of our Hebraic Heritage. This may or may not be right for you. What you do need to know is unless you have taken the steps I have outlined here, you may pick the wrong school. One thing that you need to lay aside in this journey is the attitude that you are shopping at some super store. It is not how cheap you can get the education or how quickly. Both may in the end lead you down the wrong path. Where is the Holy Spirit leading you? What school will place the most spiritual truths and biblical transformations into your life? These are the right questions to ask that will lead you to the school Almighty God has called you to study with!

If you are called to study with Biblical Life College and Seminary, it will be my greatest pleasure to welcome you as a new member of our student family. If God is calling you to another school, I ask that God would give you the grace and wisdom to find that school and to enroll.

=============

Copyright 2008 by Michael K. Lake, Th.D.

==============

Profile on Author

Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.

Chancellor and Founder

Dr. Lake is the chancellor and founder of Biblical Life College & Seminary and serves as an educational consultant for various Christian organizations around the world. He also serves as the Pastor of Biblical Life Assembly in Marshfield, MO. Dr. Lake is listed in the US Registry’s “Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans,” Sterling’s “Who’s Who Executive Edition,” and the “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” for his accomplishments in ministry.

Things You Need to Know Before You Answer the Call to Prepare For Ministry – Part 1

Posted on

“Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.” 2 Tim 2:15 AMP

You have felt the leading of the Holy Spirit to start or continue your education for ministry. That is one of the reasons you contacted Biblical Life College & Seminary. You know you must start working on getting that degree, whether it is an undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degree. You know that it is a tool that you need to take you to the next level in ministry.

I want to take a few moments to examine these words of encouragement from the Apostle Paul to Young Minister Timothy. I also want to use them to debunk some of the trends in nontraditional theological education that is not only grieving my spirit, but I believe, the Holy Spirit as well.

First, most scholars agree that 2 Timothy was the last epistle the Apostle Paul ever wrote. Some even believe that he finished it the night before he became a martyr for the sake of the Gospel. Paul was not writing this letter at the beginning of Timothy’s training for ministry. Timothy was already a graduate of Paul’s School of Theology and had ministered with Paul for years. These words serve as a reminder to Timothy (and to us) that a call to ministry is a call to a lifetime of study. I love how the Amplified Bible brings out the shades of meanings in the original Greek text. “Timothy, study, be eager to study, do your utmost in filling yourself with the Word . . .” These words were written to a man that had been mentored by the Apostle Paul. Who could have asked for a better mentor, save Jesus Himself! Yet, at the end of that mentorship, the Apostle says “be eager and do your utmost in your studies.”

One of the things that we have missed in becoming so Greco-Roman minded in our Western culture is we believe that when we receive a degree we have arrived. Our words to describe those that gain graduate level degrees in ministry or theology are: scholar, master teacher, and theologian. All of these are high sounding words that place the individual above everyone else. In our Hebraic Heritage, a Jewish scholar is called a “Sage.” Sage means a “master learner.” When he arrives, if you will, he arrives at a place to really start learning. What a difference!

This Greco-Roman mindset has permeated education, especially nontraditional theological education. Many schools boast of not how much you will learn or how much the courses will transform your life. Rather they boast at how fast they can get their degree on your wall. It is an injustice to all true theological education AND an injustice to all the saints that have gone on before us.

The abuse of life experience credits is rampant in our industry. I do not care how long you have been in ministry, the rule of thumb is a maximum of 30 semester credit hours (SCHS) at the undergraduate level. Anything more than that is cheating you and anyone you minister to. Now, if you have written books and taught extended series (10 sessions or more), those things can be examined and additional credit can be give. There is a difference. Concrete accomplishments are measured, evaluated and converted to credits. These credits are not just looking at a resume. Let me share with you a true story to prove my point:

At Biblical Life College and Seminary, we offer LECs based on documented ministry, credits for works completed such as books and extended teaching series. We also offer an Experiential Exam. This exam is one big bad bear of an exam to take – 160 essay questions. It is designed to find out what the individual knows and doesn’t know. It also helps us fill in the educational gaps he has. About ten years ago, we had a seasoned minister that was a regional director for a small Pentecostal denomination contacted us. He wanted to complete his undergraduate degree. He presented an impressive looking resume documenting 25 years of ministry with his denomination. He had not written any books or audio taped any extended teaching series. He wanted more than just the 30 SCHS that could be given for his documented ministry. We set up a time for him to take our exam locally under the supervision of a proctor. When I scored his exam, I could not believe my eyes. Out of 160 questions, he only got two correct. He even missed “Who wrote the book of Exodus?” Which is one of the easiest questions on the exam (all lengthy exams should have a freebee or two). After reviewing everything, I designed a 110 SCH program for him. I told him that with his low score that he should not even receive the full 30 SCHS based on his resume. It would be an educational blunder on our part and an injustice to him and anyone he ministered to. I really strove to design a course of study that would enable him to have the wealth of knowledge that someone in his position should really have. I did not hear from him for about three months. One day I receive an envelope from him in the mail. Naturally, I thought it was his enrollment form. “Surely he prayed through and God placed it upon his heart to really get the education that he (and all those he was leading) needed” I thought. To my surprise, all is contained was a photocopy of his brand new Bachelor degree from a well known nontraditional seminary in Florida. As I prayed about it, the Lord reminded me of the fig tree that He had cursed. Why did He curse the fig tree? Because it was presenting itself as something it was not. This man was like a fig tree full of leaves (i.e. a degree certificate hanging on the wall), but no fruit (of a real education) in his life.

The second abuse is open book exams. Come on friends! Even in High School, closed book exams are the standard! Open book exams render the education to an Institute level – not college or seminary. I don’t care what they call the school or who they are accredited by. It is institute level training, plain and simple!

The third abuse is not requiring a Thesis at the Masters level or a Dissertation at the Doctoral level. These are standards with hundreds of years of tradition. The thesis or dissertation is the proof that you have gained the knowledge and competence to receive the degree. When someone tells me they have a doctorate degree, it is not the certificate I want to look at, it is the dissertation. I want to see and read through the documentation of what God has spoken into their lives.

Finally let me answer the question on why you do not want to speed through the process. A valid college or seminary degree should do several things:

1.         It should stretch you intellectually and spiritually. Easy courses do nothing for you.

2.         There should be spiritual dynamics that transform your life as you go through them. [If the education does not transform you, what are you going to use to transform others with?] This is also the reason we have developed courses with audio lectures. You can listen to them again and again to get them into your heart. That’s where the transformation will take place!

3.         The education should build within you the tools you will need for a lifestyle of study and research.

The study and research does not end when you graduate. Your graduation marks a place in your life where you are really ready to begin the research of a lifetime. That’s what Paul was reminding Timothy of. That is what I want to stress. You are beginning an educational journey that will take you the rest of your life to do correctly. You need it. Everyone that you will ever minister to needs you to have it. Don’t get caught up in the worldly idea of rushing to get the degree on your wall. Why not strive to get every ounce of knowledge, spiritual transformation and research skills possible from the school you are going to study with. Make sure you do not just have the leaves on your tree. Instead, be sure you are loaded down with the fruits of your education.

===================================

Copyright 2008 by Michael K. Lake, Th.D.

===================================

Profile on Author

Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.

Chancellor and Founder

Dr. Lake is the chancellor and founder of Biblical Life College & Seminary and serves as an educational consultant for various Christian organizations around the world. He also serves as the Pastor of Biblical Life Assembly in Marshfield, MO. Dr. Lake is listed in the US Registry’s “Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans,” Sterling’s “Who’s Who Executive Edition,” and the “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” for his accomplishments in ministry.