Expansion

Keith NIxThe Lift Church

What’s the big deal about entering another year? After all, it’s just a date on the calendar. And the calendar we go by is the Gregorian calendar, not God’s!  There is certainly nothing magical about entering a new year. But it gives us a reset button. It is a “get ready, set, go” mark on our calendar; a fresh opportunity for us to experience a better year and to become better people.

In 2016, the Lord spoke to me that 2017 would be the Year of the Open Door for us. And it has been in so many ways. Amazing doors opened for us! Each door God opened enabled us to reach thousands more with the anointing and message of truth. God is ever faithful to fulfill HIs word.

Now as we prepare to enter into 2018, the Lord spoke to me that this is the season to walk through the open door.  More doors are open for us that merely requires us to walk through. In Revelation 3:8, our Lord Jesus says, “See, I have set before you an open door, and no man can close it..”  The many times I read this verse I only envisioned the door as standing wide open with me only needing to step through. And many times that has been precisely the way.

But I realized that sometimes the message is a bit different. There are times when the door is in the closed position. We stand before it and knock, waiting for it to open, and we hear someone say, “Come on in. It’s open.”  Open? No, it is closed. We can’t see beyond the door. We are still stuck on the same side! But the voice insists! “It’s open. Come on in!”

Doors that remain in the closed position but are unlocked are considered open. We stand right now in front of doors that God has supernaturally unlocked for us. All that is separating us from stepping through is an act of obedience. So, we choose to believe and obey. I declare that 2018 is for us and you, The Year of Stepping Through the Open Door!

Six to eight weeks ago, the Lord spoke to Margie one word that complements the word the Lord gave me: “EXPANSION”! As we step through the open door, we will experience expansion. Isaiah 54:2-3 speaks of what 2018 will look like: “Enlarge the place of your tent. And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings: Do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. 3 For you shall expand to the right and to the left, And your descendants will inherit the nations and make the desolate cities inhabited.”

 It’s time for expansion!  We must prepare!  We must by faith, turn the knob, push the door and see it swing wide in front of us. Then we step through and believe for His glory!

Just the beginning of this month, Margie, in prayer again heard the Lord say, “It’s time to go on TV now.” We’ve been praying about this for a long time but waiting for the timing of the Lord. I had already been in talks with the station manager and tentatively set a date for early 2017, but this word came as a clear confirmation. The Lord followed it with a vision where Margie saw my dad as a little boy in front of a TV set! The implications are clear! There is a “Larry Nix” out there somewhere who will encounter Jesus through our media outreach! Just think of the multiplied thousands God has touched through Dad’s ministry, and it all began in front of a TV set. This is what expansion looks like!

Three days following that vision, I received word that our airtime is paid for!  Hallelujah!  And we are stepping through this open door. But we need to upgrade some of our video equipment, we need a new media computer, we must add more lights, and we need to make some changes to our stage design, including floor covering, sound panels, etc. These upgrades alone will literally be in the thousands of dollars. These upgrades will enable us to produce a quality and anointed program that will impact tens of thousands through our streaming, TV and other media outreaches.

And it is time to step into a new dimension of what I call, facility security. The wonderful building, we are currently leasing is still up for sale with an ugly “For Sale” sign, in the front yard. This sign must come down! It is time for the status quo to change! Stepping through the open doors requires faith and obedience on our part and the release of miracle power on God’s part.

Will you help us “stretch the curtains?” I am asking you to pray concerning an end of the year financial gift to help us in this expansion season. Your donation of any amount will be huge for us right now! I believe that your faith-filled prayers and your financial gift will add just what is needed. You and a company of others will stretch the curtains, so many more will experience the goodness of our Lord Jesus!

We will not spare or hold back!  Now is the time to walk through these doors the Lord is unlocking before us. Thank you again!  Together we will see His glory impact this generation in GREAT AWAKENING!

 

 

 

Simply Jesus: This Is Worship!

Keith NIxThe Lift Church

“One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. She had put it aside, one cent and then another and then another, in her careful buying of meat and other food. Della counted it three times. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was nothing to do but fall on the bed and cry. So Della did.”

So begins the classic tale titled, The Gift of the Magi, written by O’Henry and published December 10, 1905. It has been in print ever since and adapted multiple times and ways in books, theater, and movies. You most likely remember the story of a young couple entirely in love with each other who each wanted to buy the other something meaningful for Christmas. They were living on the edge of poverty and had no money to purchase what they wanted, so Della sold locks of her beautiful hair to buy Jim an exquisite chain for the expensive pocket watch given to him by his grandfather. Meanwhile, Jim pawned his precious pocket watch to purchase hair combs for her hair.

Although they were each holding gifts that were no longer useful to them, the irony of their extravagant purchases paled in the light of the love they held for one another. Jim and Della Young powerfully demonstrate that true love is unselfish and sacrificially giving.

The great missionary to India, Amy Carmichael, said, “You can always give without loving, but you can never love without giving.” I am in awe of the Magi. They traveled 900 miles motivated to worship simply Jesus. They considered it the highest honor to see the baby and to give Him gifts. They weren’t inspired by what they would receive but what they could provide. This is worship.

Whenever someone says, “I love you.” There is in the statement an implied question, “Do you love me?” Think about it. We love our children unconditionally and communicate our love in a myriad of ways they will never comprehend until they grow to our age. And still, when we say, “I love you” to the little darlings, we enjoy hearing it returned to us. I know Margie, and I do.

God has emphatically declared His love for us in a myriad of ways, but the highest expression is on the Cross! There on Golgotha’s hill, Jesus forever shouts, “I love you!” to all humanity! Corrie Ten Boom once said, “The measure of a life, after all, is not it’s duration but it’s donation.” How do we measure the life and love of God then? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16]

Corrie Ten Boom once said, “The measure of a life, after all, is not it’s duration but it’s donation.” Click To Tweet

Our response to God’s “I love you” is called worship! Worship is our “I love you, too!” Its expression includes singing, the raising of hands, clapping, jumping, and dancing. But worship is far more than what typically defines it in modern Christianity. In reality, worship is a lifestyle.

The lifestyle of worship includes singing and all the above, but at its core, it reaches further inward. Holiness is worship. Prayer is worship. Devotion is worship. Giving is worship. Doing good for others is worship. Simply put, the way I live my life every day when no one is looking is the expression of my worship. Loving God with my life is my response to God’s great “I love you” to me!

Worship Isn’t Always Convenient

I am in awe of the Magi. They traveled 900 miles! Simply to find Jesus and worship. [See Matthew: 2:1-12] The leading religious leaders and scholars were a mere five miles away from where Jesus was born but never made an effort to find Him. Moses didn’t encounter the Almighty in the burning bush until he turned aside from his usual path. [See Exodus 3:3-4] King David, who understood worship like few others, declared that He would not offer anything to God that didn’t cost him personally.

Worship Is An Offering

Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” [Acts 20:35] This phrase, especially in the Aramaic, carries the idea that those who try to give more than they receive are the blessed ones! Indeed this is true of the Magi who made the inconvenient and uncomfortable journey to Bethlehem. They came to worship! And they worshipped by not only bowing low before the King, but they gave gifts of their substance to Him. Gold in recognition that He is King. Frankincense was acknowledging that He is the Great High Priest. And myrrh, rejoicing that His death would bring life to all who believe and receive!

Worship Is Its Own Reward!

Like the Magi of old, true worshippers today consider the blessing of worship to be the right of participation! There is no record of anything they received. We don’t even know if the Child smiled at them. I, of course, assume He did, but I don’t know for sure. What did these men who invested so much of their time, substance, and energy hope to receive from their act of worship? Their joy was merely in the knowledge that they were privileged to recognize Jesus and give themselves to His purpose and plan. THIS IS WORSHIP!

Like the Magi of old, true worshippers today consider the blessing of worship to be the right of participation! Click To Tweet

What about you and me? Are we more focused on what we will receive than what we can give? Does the auditorium need to look a certain way? Does the music have to be our style? Does the attire of the singers have to be pleasing to our eyes before we can enter in and truly worship? Are we conscious of His presence in the ordinary mundane moments of living or only in a more important setting with a concert feel?

Do we need convincing of the return on our investment before we can let it leave our hand? Do we need our names on plaques of recognition to motivate our generosity? Are we gladly scheduling family gatherings, office parties and gatherings with friends during the holiday seasons but reluctant to add worship services, prayer gatherings or ministry outreaches?

I am in awe of these unnamed Magi who vanish in history after their act of worship to the King who was but a babe when they saw Him. I too, want to be a wise worshipper and love God as they did, only more! I pray the core of my life will always be, simply Jesus. How about you?

The End Time Sign You Dare Not Miss!

Keith NIxThe Lift Church

In the words of an old Gordon Jenson song, “Signs of the time are everywhere. There’s a brand-new feeling in the air.” These words are ever increasing in their veracity.  All around us, violence is on the rise. The tensions of inter-racial relationships seem to be increasing rather than growing better. Political differences divide our nation like never before in our history. Internationally wars and the rumor of wars abound. Natural catastrophes are occurring on a record-breaking scale.

Deception is on the rise even within the ranks of the church.  Many seem determined to follow after signs blindly even if the source appears questionable. While signs and wonders are still valid for today, Jesus gives us a strong warning about false prophets who would come with great signs and wonders. [See Matthew 24:24]   We dare not qualify something as being of the Lord just because it appears to be supernatural. Jesus instructed us to, “Take heed that no one deceives you.” [Matthew 24:4] The followers of Jesus must be discerning so that no one causes us to wander from the path of truth. The Church must avoid both sensationalism and skepticism; living open to the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit but not ignoring affirmations, attitudes, and actions that are contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said that lawlessness would abound in the last days and we see it on every hand. Many, even in the Church, want to cast off anything that brings restraint to their lifestyle choices. Under the guise of being free, they mistakenly act as if freedom equals a life without boundaries. But real freedom isn’t the right to do our own thing but the enabling of grace to do the God thing! Jesus also predicted that with a lawless attitude true love would grow cold. When people live as their own standard, they inevitably chill in their love toward others.

But real freedom isn’t the right to do our own thing but the enabling of grace to do the God thing! Click To Tweet

These seven continual signs Jesus gave as indicators of the end [See Matthew 24:6-12] are ever increasing in our generation. He then goes on to talk about what can be called climatic signs. He mentions stars falling; the sun darkened, light-less moon sea and waves roaring, etc. [See Matthew 24:29-35 and Luke 21:26] But it seems to me, His most impacting point is the one most easily skimmed over in the search for the signs of His coming.

He says, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating, drinking, marrying, and were given in marriage until the day when Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built.” [Luke 17:26-28] Jesus plainly describes the days of the end as being similar to the time of the flood and the destruction of Sodom and the surrounding cities.

What is amazing is that He doesn’t reference the wickedness of Noah’s time nor the perversion of Lot’s time. What He does reference is the preoccupation of the people with living their lives to the max! Nothing Jesus mentions is inherently sinful. Good food, engaging in commerce, planting, building, and celebrating marriage are all activities that are meant to be enjoyed. But Jesus says the people were so engrossed in the attempt to carve out the best life for themselves and their children that they missed the signs of impending doom and the door of their deliverance.

Jesus says the people were so engrossed in the attempt to carve out the best life for themselves and their children that they missed the signs of impending doom. Click To Tweet

Jesus warns us, “Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts become burdened by excessiveness and drunkenness and anxieties of life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.” [Luke 21:34] Deception is not just something we guard against from false prophets. We must guard our hearts against self-deception. James says that we can hear the word, even get excited about it and “Amen” it, but if we don’t put it into practice in our personal lives – we deceive ourselves! [See James 1:22]

Today, our challenge is to learn how to be awake and stay awake to the things of eternity while living here and now. Jesus promised abundant living to His followers and gives “who richly gives us all things to enjoy.” [John 10:10, I Timothy 6:17] It is evident that Abba delights in blessing His children in this life! But He calls us to live with our heart set on His glorious return! The hope of the Church isn’t prosperity, healing, comfortable lives or success. Our blessed hope is the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ! [Titus 2:13]

So we must hold loosely the things you enjoy along the journey! Live. But live with your heart burning with a passion for laying your eyes on the One who loves you completely!  Even so, come Lord Jesus!

The hope of the Church isn’t prosperity, healing, comfortable lives or success. Our blessed hope is the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ! Click To Tweet

 

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Losing Jesus in Church

Keith NIxThe Lift Church

Thousands appear to be losing Jesus in the very place they should find Him. A high percentage of churched young people leave the church after the age of 18, with only a fraction of those leaving ever returning. Sadly, older ones are also dropping out at the very time they should be more and more in!

It is ironic that the first people to lose Jesus in Church were Joseph and Mary.  When He was twelve years old, they went to Jerusalem for the feast. This was a yearly trip for them, and the Bible says when the feast was over, they traveled back to Nazareth, assuming Jesus was with them in the crowd of family and fellow travelers.  They went a full day’s journey before realizing that He wasn’t.  They had left him behind in Jerusalem.

It is ironic that the first people to lose Jesus in Church were Joseph and Mary. Click To Tweet

They immediately turned back and began the search. Although the caravan had only traveled one day away from Him, it took them twice as long to find Him. They found Him in the temple, the recognized house of worship. When they questioned Jesus with concern and perhaps a bit of aggravation (as parents are apt to do when anxious about their children,) His answer is one of gentle rebuke, “How is it that you searched for Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”  [See Luke 2:41-50] In essence, He was saying to them that they should have known where to find Him. He would be in His Father’s house and doing His Father’s work.

If Joseph and Mary can lose Jesus in church, isn’t it possible that we can also? The sad truth is that multiplied thousands have indeed lost Jesus in the very place they should find Him.  Some, like Joseph and Mary, journey through life, supposing that He is with them—when they are in reality, they choose their path and walk away from Him.  Others, like the religious leaders and learned people, stay in the Temple and marvel at His wisdom. They are curious about His ideas, but never come to know Him truly and experience His transforming grace.

We must not fall into either of these traps.  Without Jesus, our gatherings produce nothing more than the comradery of inmates on death row. Without the King, this kingdom has no power to affect the needed change and release the excellent plan of the Lord.

Here are seven keys to help avoid losing Jesus in Church:

 

Key 1: We must be careful that formulas and tradition never replace the reality of His

powerful presence. [ 2 Timothy 3:5]

 

Key 2: We must love truth! Even when it makes us miserable, it will still make us free!

[2 Thessalonians 2:10, John 8:31-32]

 

Key 3: We must seek His way of doing things and right standing with Him as the

highest priority of our lives. [Matthew 6:33]

 

Key 4: We must keep His final words before ascending into Heaven the primary focus

of all we do in ministry. [Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-18, Acts 1:4-8]

 

Key 5: We must know and believe the love He has for us. [I John 4:16]

 

Key 6: We must keep the flame of His Spirit gifts blazing in our hearts.

[2 Timothy 1:6]

 

Key 7: We must love God with all that we are and love others as we love

ourselves. [Matthew 22:36-40]

 

Key 8: We must trust enough to surrender completely to Him! Laying down our lives,

taking up our cross and following where He leads. [Mark 8:34-38]

 

Our generation desperately needs to see Jesus: the living, loving Savior-King. We must help people of every age distinguish between pseudo-Christian religious activity and the truth of the real Jesus. He is still busy doing His Father’s work, in all who believe and yield to Him.  Let’s do all we can to make Jesus famous in this generation! Let’s continue to lift Him high and do our best to get preachers, singers, musicians, organizations and ourselves out of the way so people can see Jesus and get to know Him. When they do, they will never be same!

We must help people of every age distinguish between pseudo-Christian religious activity and the truth of the real Jesus. Click To Tweet

Worship While You Fast

Keith NIxThe Lift Church

When we think of fasting, it is usually only regarding what we need to receive from the Lord. And it is true that fasting moves us to the place where we can receive what God already desires to release to us. But fasting should be more than us just doing without and pleading with God for breakthrough’s in our lives. There is a fascinating passage regarding fasting found in Acts 13! The writer gives us a list of prophets and teachers at the church in Antioch and then tells us that “One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them, and sent them on their way..” [Acts 13:1-3] This is a fascinating passage because it makes a direct correlation between fasting and worship.

How often do you connect worship with fasting? I believe worship is one of the most overlooked elements of effective fasting.  As you fast, I encourage you to set aside time to wait in His presence and minister to the Lord only. I am amazed by the idea that we can “bless” the Lord. King David commanded the people of Israel to, “Bless the LORD your God.” [1 Ch. 29: 20 NKJV] Typically; it is the greater who blesses, the lesser. However, there is a genuine and tangible way in which we, who are the lessers, are called to be a blessing to the Greatest!

Worship is one of the most overlooked elements of effective fasting. Click To Tweet

Worship is not about stroking God’s ego. Thankfully, He is not an egotistical maniac! Neither is worship about bribing God, so He will give us what we want. He is just as much God without our worship as He is with it. And He is just as good before we worship as He is after. Yet, our worship blesses Him. Our service ministers to His heart. It seems He enjoys spending time with us as much as we enjoy spending time with Him. WOW. What a privilege! What an honor for our presence to be so valued by the One who has fulness of joy [fulness of all things] in His presence. [See Psalm 16:11]

It seems He enjoys spending time with us as much as we enjoy spending time with Him. WOW. What a privilege! Click To Tweet

In Antioch the prophets and teachers took some time to go without food and just spend time worshipping the Lord. It seems they had no agenda but to minister to the Lord and love Jesus. Andrew Murray said, “Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.” They fasted to let go of the visible, natural things and they grasped hold of the King of the Kingdom. Worship is a key element in setting yourself in a position to hear the heart of God. During your days of fasting, set your heart above everything else to pursue the presence of King Jesus.

They fasted to let go of the visible, natural things so they could grab hold of the King of the Kingdom. Click To Tweet

Let your reward be Jesus. His promise to Abraham is His promise to you, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”  [Gen. 15:1 NKJV] As you learn to value His presence and seek Him you will soon discover that all you need is in Him.  When you get Jesus, He is what you need! As they worshipped with fasting, the Holy Spirit gave them instructions that would change the course of multitudes, indeed the course of history!  The instruction to appoint and send Saul and Barnabas to the Gentile world proved to be the key to the release of multitudes! Think about it: their time of worshipping with fasting, literally changed the world and is the reason you and I are followers of Jesus Christ! If Paul had not taken the gospel to Rome, it would not now be known in the United States where I am writing, and many of you are right now reading. This one instruction affected all of humanity from the first century to the twenty-first.

I wonder what might happen in our lives as we delight in delighting His heart through worship with fasting? I set myself in agreement with you that as you worship while fasting, you will experience breakthrough! As you bless the Lord, you will be blessed! As you minister to Him, He will minister to you! As you lift your voice to Him, He will speak to you! Keep your focus on Jesus, and you will rejoice as you rest in the fulfillment of His promises to you, in you and through you.


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