Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Sense of Urgency... In Baptism, The Body of Christ (4)

by Dale Shumaker

A Sense of Urgency by John P. Kotter, change expert, was written just as things began to show dramatic deterioration in the economy. His message is that we need to have a day-to-day sense of urgency in our businesses to maintain business growth. Needless to say, the need to instill a sense of urgency is obvious. A sense of urgency is self-evident as we watch economic news deteriorate almost daily. The time for urgency is now. So, what's Kotter's priority tactics for urgencies?

Strategies for increasing true urgency include:
Giving people important facts. Facts that define new needs, and new goals. It should win over the mind strategy, the thoughts of others. A logical case needs to be accompanied by emotionally compelling needs. The goal is to create true urgency by winning over the hearts and minds, and sufficiently increase the sense of urgency.

Create action that rings an alert, externally oriented, and it constantly purges low value-added activities.

Bring the Outside In.
Bring in from the outside people, and evidence that will show what the outside opportunities and hazards are. Don't always shield people from troubling data. Redecorate your surroundings. Send people out to bring in new information about the world and have a newfound determination to do something with that information. Bring data in and frankly share it.

Behave with Urgency Every Day.
Respond fast, move now. Be visibly urgent. Urgency begets urgency. Ultimately it is often only a steadily growing wave of people behaving with a sense of urgency each and every day that conquers negativity and cynicism.

Your behavior should include... purge and delegate, move with speed, speak with passion, match words and deeds, let them all see it. Be deliberate with a balance of urgent patience. Never act content and each day demonstrate a sense of urgency in meetings, one on ones, emails. Choose words and language that compel urgency.

Find the Opportunity in Crisis.
Proceed cautiously, and remove what neutralizes a sense of urgency, people who want to stay complacent. Crisis can be used to create a sense of urgency. Always think of crisis as potential opportunities. Never forget though that a crisis does not automatically reduce complacency.

Deal with the NoNos, the naysayers.
To reduce complacency, make sure the urgency is visible, unambiguous, related to real business problems, and that it can be solved with small, simple actions. In serious crises, keep people focused on these simple actions they can enact constantly through the day. Big problems are solved through constant simple steps.

Be the example of urgency, set short-term immediate tasks and get short-term commitments. Practice urgency so others see your own demonstration of acting urgently.

When success becomes evident, urgency may wane. To keep up urgency after success, anticipate, in advance, a possible downturn in the sense of urgency. Plan for a solution in advance. As soon as you see urgency start to dip, renew the urgency raising tactics using the heart-head strategy.

As Speed increases, a sense of urgency will only become more essential.
Be exceptionally proactive in assessing how people will react. Plans need to focus on other's hearts as much as their minds. Relaying emotional consequences of action and inaction, are equally important as showing the truth behind the facts.

John Kotter has more for you at

The banning together of Believers after the Acts explosion (Acts 2:1-4), brings us into a new understanding of this dynamic element which now exists called the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Dr. J. Robert Ashcroft elaborates on what this all means in his chapter In Baptism, The Body of Christ.

If anything is to be accomplished for God's Glory and the overall well being of mankind, it must be done through the direction and orchestration provided by the Holy Spirit. It will require the collaborate cooperation of the Believers called the Body of Christ... where Christ's Spirit now exists on earth through man. This union when unified, is so powerful and magnificent, that this is truly another incarnation of God manifesting himself through men and women.

Exploding into civilization, coming and never leaving, the Body of Christ (Believers as one group) is now referred to as The Church. It's all who believe in Jesus as their Lord and ban as one with each other.

God's presence then moves within us rather than something on the outside like ceremonies, temples, altars. We, now as connected Believers are the new Temple where God exists in all the Power just as Jesus had when on the earth. That's why being in unity in heart and Spirit is so huge. This is where all power is now.

The Scriptures say we are built together as the place of habitation of God's Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)

So the believers in unity is the power and significance for seeing the manifest presence of Jesus in our lives today. In the Bible the word manifest means to open to sight. The Holy Spirit has people through whom He can show himself. When the Body of Christ is in proper relationship to God and to one another, The Holy Spirit works through it.

This is no secret of what happened. God forecast it through all His prophets in the Old Testament. Jesus is not a stand alone person. We as a unit, united, cooperating, loving each other as One, are Now Jesus. Jesus went from one person to now a Corporate Unit of many who believe in Him connected by God's Very Own Spirit. God's plan could not be aborted by anyone. His people were ready to receive His plan.

They met in one room and waited for this baptism or explosion of Spirit to deluge over them. Those in this room were different nationalities, sexes, religious backgrounds. Yet they came together and waited as One. They were in one accord, in harmony, one mind. The reason it took ten days for all this to happen was maybe it took that long for them to work out the differences, put them aside, and become one. They probably spent much time in self examination.

The power became internal, but manifested itself externally. The word incarnation is an appropriate word here. Its meaning is to embody in Spirit as an earthly form. It is God, Himself, now dwelling in those who received the Holy Spirit.

Then the explosion of the Holy Spirit came..
1. There was sound. It came as a strong wind going through the place.
2. There was something to see. It looked like fire on top of their heads.
3. There was compound reaction: They spoke in languages unknown, but each person hearing His own language. This noise went abroad. Everyone was amazed and marveled at what was happening. All the17 dialects represented heard people praising God in their own language.That very day 3000 more people became Believers and were added to the Body of Christ.

Koinonia emerged. They were no longer just a group meeting together, but an intimacy among them became obviously apparent. It was an intimate sharing fellowship as all things were considered to be in common and shared by all. This was done to such an extent, no one person in the group was without. All needs were met. Individuals seemed to lose individual identities in the group. There was a vicarious unselfishness to share all blessings with each other.

Unity in all things was the word of the day.
1. They were in unity as One with God.
2. They were one in themselves, one with the Holy Spirit now working vigorously through them. They turned over selfish ambitions for God's directives speaking unceasingly through them.
3. They were one with each other. As Peter spoke to the crowd afterward... He was speaking as the whole group of 11 disciples. A unique occurrence.
4. They were in unity with all Believers. Togetherness was the characteristic of the group, as well as the condition behind why they all had so much power now.
5. They were in communication. Now, the Spirit was communicating through them from the Spirit within them. They had God's voice in them speaking to them.
6. They were in unity in material things. They shared things of value with each other... food, clothing, shelter, houses, transportation. Even though most were in poverty, in their sharing they all become a group without any lack among them. Prosperity seems to promote individualism... individualism weakens Spiritual power. Their power came from their sharing... a new concept of power's origins.
7. They were in unity in witnessing. They had favor with all people and people listened to them. They were amazed that they seemed to know so much, and were bold as an authority in their field even though not educated. The warmth and love they had among each other, attracted many to them.

All this centered around the unity of Spirit as One Group they had. When there is disunity, the power is zapped. We should avoid disunity at all costs. Satan's premiere tool to make the Church powerless is to create disunity. When that happens, Power is diluted, exponentially, from the group. To the same degree, when their is unity, power is added exponentially to the group.

The Unity of Believers Brought the manifestation of God's Presence. A common ministry emerges when we are in unity in any group. As one in Spirit, the specific directives of Spirit become apparent for that particular group. Again, that's why Satan attacks to create disunity. Then power wanes.

From this outpouring of Spirit, all forms of power ministry became evident. The Word of God was preached. The prophetic words of God were expressed through common men. As a group they guarded doctrine so it was stable, and there was fellowship.They ate together and shared together.

Believers were without livelihood due to persecution and ostracism. Those were times of deprivation of family and food. They shared the basics of life with each other.

During all this, they were in constant prayer and worship. As one in worship the powers of the Supernatural presence of God created all forms of Supernatural gifts, healings and miracles of immediate manifestations.

The Very World-Creating Spirit of God was at work... regularly. This is our challenge today.To find ourselves completely lost in our Lord Jesus Christ so that we lose sight of all that brings individualism, division, unfeeling relationships within the fellowship. With the Baptism of Spirit in our whole group, many will come running to us.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Peaks and Valleys... in Revelation, The Body of Christ (3)

by Dale Shumaker

Peaks and Valleys
by Spencer Johnson, famous for Who Moved My Cheese, comes up with another allegorical treatment of life-preserving principles. The principles he lays out are simple to grasp, which makes the book valuable because many can easily relate to, and actually use them.

And what empowers the principles is Johnson's ability to intertwine them in a story. To truly make principles work, Johnson uses a progressive and constant return to the key principles as he builds the story... an excellent educational treatment. The result... they lock in your brain. Of course the ideal way to get the most benefit from this is to read the book. But for now, here's a short version of the truths in Peaks and Valleys.

Peaks and Valleys is a story of a bright young man who lived unhappily in a valley until he met a man on the peak. While growing up he was happy in the valley, but he lamented that he may have to spend his whole life there as he used to gaze at the peak and wonder about being there. All the jobs he had he never felt satisfied. He sometimes would gaze on the peak and for a while feel satisfied, just thinking about what it would be like on the peak. Maybe life would be different outside the valley. Of course, whenever he shared his dreams with those in the valley, they only criticized or discouraged him from climbing the peak.

So one day, he set out to climb the peak. He put his fear aside and took off on a journey. Unfortunately the trail he followed, ended part of the way up the peak. He got lost in the thicket of the trees. He fell trying to cross a narrow ridge. Got bruised and bled, then found a new path. The warnings of the people in the valley about the terrors of the peak crossed his mind. He continued. Got above the clouds and finally arrived. There he met the old man who changed his life forever.

He learned the Peaks and Valley approach to good and bad times. There the young man discovered three things: how to get out of the valley sooner; how to stay on a Peak longer; and how to have more Peaks and fewer Valleys. You make the good and bad times work for you, worry less and do better. Peaks and Valleys are a part of life. What matters is how we handle each when in them. First separate them from how you feel inside as a person. Each person must win this battle first.

It's most important to realize that Peaks and Valleys are connected. The error you make in Today's Good times create tomorrow's bad times. The wise things you do in Today's Bad times create tomorrow's Good times. We actually create our good and bad times by how we handle each.

Peaks are moments when you appreciate what you have. Valleys are moments when you long for what is missing. You can't always control your external circumstances, but you can control your personal peaks and valleys by what you believe and what you do. What you believe and do makes the difference. You change your valley into a peak, when you find and use the good that is hidden in the bad time. As you do, it is a reality that between peaks there are always valleys.

How you manage the valley determines how soon you reach your next peak. If you do not learn in a valley, you can become bitter. If you learn something valuable, you become better.

The young man went down to the valley to put to work what he learned from the old man, but it only lasted a short time. He wanted to talk to the old man again. But he felt if he returned to the peak, he would be disappointed once more when he returned to the valley. He went to a plateau and thought this over. Nonetheless, he returned to the peak.

This time he was invited to the old man's home. He was a very well off and had a beautiful home, breath-taking scenery with a view over a sparkling lake. There the old man showed him a graph of a heart beat. It had spikes up from the line. That was a healthy heartbeat. The old man pointed out that a healthy heartbeat is like life... it has peaks and valleys. No heartbeat is a straight line... when it does it's dead. But there are plateaus in the heartbeat. These are times of rest to reflect and renew.

Being on a peak too long affects your ego and you become arrogant. In the peak your ego makes things seem better than they are. In the valley the ego makes things seem worse that they are. When you put your ego aside you are more likely to leave a valley sooner.

The way to get to your next peak is to follow your sensible vision. A sensible vision is a vision of a future peak you want to be on that makes good sense to you. Something as big as you can imagine that is also realistic and attainable if you want it enough. Sensible means you can make what you imagine more real to you when you use all your five senses to create an image in such specific, believable detail that you begin to realize you can make it happen.

How you manage your Valley determines how soon you reach your next Peak. The pain in the valley can wake you up to a truth you have been ignoring. You are always creating two visions. A fearful vision or a sensible vision. Many people have as their valley fear. Avoid believing things are better than they really are when you are on the peak or worse than they are when in the valley. Make reality your friend. A personal peak is triumph over fear. Fear traps you from the truth and keeps you from succeeding. When on the peak learn humility and you will stay on the peak longer. At the peak you celebrate life, in the valley you learn about life. Let go of fear and get out of yourself in the valley. This is the first step that gets you moving out of the valley.

To stay on a Peak longer, be humble and grateful. Do more of what got you there. Keep making things better. Do more for others. Save resources for your coming valley. At work, be of greater service; in life, be more loving.

Life is always a series of peaks and valleys. Learn how to manage each.

In summary: Make reality your friend. Find and use the good hidden in a bad time. Appreciate and manage your good times wisely. Follow your sensible vision. Share it with others... how to make good and bad times work for them.

The Peaks and Valleys interactive community is at

In the chapter, In Revelation, the Body of Christ by Dr. J. Robert Ashcroft, he leads us to the realization that as a body we are Christ, the same as Christ with all of Jesus' power on earth plus more. John the Baptist said this of Jesus, "He speaks God's words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit."( John 3:34, NLT)

So we have, as a Body, One, united, sharing in the Same Spirit, we have all of Spirit that was freely Given to Jesus on earth. We, still on earth, have all of this too... as a Body. Separated from each other we are powerless.

What is so astounding is that Jesus comes to us, even when we lock Him out. The doors where shut and Jesus was locked out. "That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them!" (note John 20:19-23)

In the middle of our turmoil, disheartening experiences, grief, Jesus is there. He comes through all the things that may block Him. He loves us so much, He comes even when we are blocking Him out. They had closed the doors for fear. Their leader was assassinated. Because of their association to him, they may be in jeopardy. Their fear could very likely be, "Am I next?" They just witnessed one of the most horrible deaths, or executions, one could go through. Fear overwhelmed them.

Fear always closes the doors. Fear kept them from seeing the resurrection. Our negative emotions trips our minds up. We need to be aware of what strong negative emotions can do to us. Jesus healed the blind more than likely to heal us out of our own blindness, both physical and spiritual. We can easily be led astray by depending on our limited resources when making decisions. When we lean on our own "flesh," the makeup of our mind and emotions, we limit the very power of God that wants to work in our lives then.

The principle to see is that Jesus came to them when they were gathered together. The secret to Spiritual Power is here: get with other believers when things get really bad, in every crisis and disturbing situation. It is the sure way to take advantage of the law of manifestation... He Will Be There.

When things get bad, we go back to what we have been doing before... Peter went fishing. Being fearful, the thoughts of God had gone out of their mind.They could not sense His Presence. Nothing could stop His coming to them, even walls and locked doors. He breaks through our fears, our flimsy plans to protect us. He will break through our locked up emotions and give the peace of His Presence.

The Manifest Presence of Jesus the Christ with us has these components active and intertwined:
1. Two or more
2. Gathered together
3. In Jesus' Name
That includes the Spiritual interaction of loving each other as Jesus loved us, sharing with each other in thoughts and goods, and serving each other with the attitude of considering others more important than ourselves. When you have all these components in the mix, you can expect the manifest presence of the Lord, that's all the creative powers of God's Spirit at work. (note Matthew 18:18-20, Acts 1-4)

With this, Jesus personal presence is there. Jesus came to His disciples with door's locked and afraid. He addressed their fears first and said, "Peace to you." When clouds of grief surround us we close our eyes to the reality of His closeness. At the Mount of Transfiguration, a cloud kept Jesus' out of sight. Clouds often obscure our vision, although, God is in the clouds. God was in the cloud at the Tabernacle in the wilderness. When clouds of grief or fear surround us, we can know God is in this phenomenon.

In this Manifest Presence we encourage one another and are in intimate fellowship with each other. We, from our hearts, easily enjoy the laws of His manifest presence. He is God and nothing is so comforting as His Presence. In our deepest of hearts, we just want to know He is there. Knowing this we are comforted, we have peace, and His Power comes over us.

The Manifest Presence provides peace. Jesus rebuked the winds when He was in the boat with His disciples and a storm raged around them. He simply said, "Peace, be still." Jesus, now through the Holy Spirit in our lives, says this to the storm that ranges around us, just like when He was there in the same boat. He says to our hearts and emotions, "Peace be Still."

The Manifest Presence provides pleasure and a deep gladness. When the disciples saw the Lord they were elated, ecstatic, spiritually wrapped in intense pleasure. Nothing that man can do can hinder God's purposes from being fulfilled. Healing is ours, eternal life is ours.

The Manifest Presence provides purpose. It seems selfish to be so concerned about our own happiness when the world is in grave misery. God wants us to be glad for a purpose. He sends us to share in His Purposes.... to bring peace, joy, and power to all around us... to bring hope, life and a future to every one we come in contact with. What a tremendous purpose... to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. To accomplish this, God used and uses ordinary people. It can be farmers, janitors, factory line workers, waiters, nurses, tax accountants, carpenters, mechanics, salespeople, a handyman, check out attendants, lawyers... all play a part in this purpose of being the Kingdom of God on earth. He has something special for all of us. When we think of what God sent Jesus to do, and its meaning and impartation to us, the magnitude of this assignment is staggering. As we follow in the life pattern of Jesus, we share in the great mission Jesus was on... to bring hope, salvation, love, power, and eternal wonder to mankind.

We have the assurance that as united believers we have His presence, and if we have His presence all things are, in a true reality, possible. God's callings are His enablements. He enables us to the assignments He gives us. We can expect supernatural signs to follow. As the Scriptures say, "These signs shall follow them who believe in Him." It's up to us.

We have a choice, to use His Presence or lose it for sake of inactivity in Him. If we think we can just take Him, to soak in His Presence in prayer and worship and not share, we fail in the task God has commanded each of us to perform. We are to share all the love, joy, power that is coming into our lives. Those who hoard the gifts God gives them will lose them. The faithful servants who invest His Gifts in others will have even more and those who don't use them will have them handed over to those using them.

Our lives are about finding needs and filling them. As we attempt Great things for God, He is there backing us up and filling us with His Power. We are being filled with a Divine supply. As we unite with another believer we see this being true. Then we become the manifestation of Jesus, as the Body of Christ.

The Manifest Presence provides power. We are not called to do the impossible, but to know that Jesus will provide the power to be and to do His will. Jesus breathed on them and said "Receive the Holy Spirit," which is Creative, Energizing, Exciting. This is the same Spirit responsible for the original creation of man that was breathed into us. We are to participate in redeeming action which takes personal sacrifice and transforms it with ability and power to share and serve our generation. His Spirit makes it all possible. His Spirit with us is His Presence with us. Thus we have the power to be and do. (Acts 1:8)

Hopefully, the awareness this brings is finding a newer and greater significance to our meeting together as believers. Greater awareness may result in our recognizing the presence of the Lord with us. The Body of Christ manifests in these times of fellowship. Whenever two or more believers meet in the name of Jesus in Prayer, the potential is immeasurable.

The importance that lies in how we relate to each other cannot be stressed enough. It must be a sacrificial love, a compassionate love. Love implies a giver and a receiver. The Body of Christ gathered together, one in Spirit, manifests the presence of the Lord. When His Presence manifests, the Body of Christ increases in love, power and size.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Big Idea... In Mystery, The Body of Christ (2)

by Dale Shumaker

The Big Idea by Donny Deutsch, the reality show host for business dreamers, says now is the best time to make your entrepreneur dream come true... to making your first million. Our business culture is going through the most radical transformation since the industrial revolution. And all the churning in the economy is showing signs that the unemployment line is really your soul getting you to move on your dream at this time.

The first advice from the Deutsch road to success is do what you love. Do what you are passionate about, and if you aren't passionate about what you are doing now, find it and pursue it. Trust that inner voice and don't let anyone talk you out of it. Your big idea starts with an observation, your awareness. What do you see that needs to be done or made and you can do it?

How do you get your dream to reality and then make millions? Deutsch has many big idea lessons throughout his book. Here's a few of them. Ignorance can be bliss and you can bring something totally new to the marketplace when you don't know everything. Starting out with a new idea, many will get excited with you and want to help you get there. Funding many times comes from family and friends first.

Discipline, teamwork, courage and building winning combinations will create a solid foundation for your business. Many services exist on the web that help people with the big idea to get it going. You can learn how to do it by devoting an hour a day to study on how to do it, and getting around business groups who are doing it. Keep a notebook with you at all times to collect ideas that come along where ever you go. Childhood dreams can be your incubator for adult success.

Your frustrations with "there's got to be a better way" can be the open door to your big idea. Fix it, and start toward your million: there's probably a lot out there who feel the same way you do. The five steps to a better way are acknowledge it, own it, make it, wear it, sell it.

What is humanity longing to respond to. Can you create a new twist on it? Sell it to your neighborhood.

Will your idea make millions? Every successful product answers these questions: Does it have a million-dollar name? packaging? price point? market?

Break out of the box and be an innovator. Innovators have 5 qualities. "How would I approach this business challenge if I had no preconceived notions of how it should be done? If it has never been done that way before it may need to be done that way now. If it has been done, it can be done with another unique twist. Embrace your individuality and let that be your distinction. Challenge every day assumptions and create disruptions. Your innovations may be in your living room, kitchen, staring at you every day... just waiting for your personal, ingenious touch to it.
You have a right to make your dream a reality. So declare..."Why Not me!" You're personally entitled to do the work you love, live your life as you want to live it, and be all the things you want to be.

Do the process...
What is your mission statement?
What is your profile... uniquely appealing about you?
Who's the target market?
What's your media plan?
Who's on your board of directors?

Success is a democracy. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't join. If you got a revolutionary idea the chorus may clamor against you, but do it anyway. Someday they will be working for you.

If you want to succeed in life, write your own script. Don't be shackled to your failed scripts of the past. Build on your inner strengths like you build muscles, and draw on them during the inevitable crises of life and business. Tragedies show us what we are really made of, testing our will and resolve. Listen to your heart. If you feel a need, chances are others do too. Persistence always pays.

Dig beneath no's. Make a "no" a beginning not an ending, and no's are universal... they don't apply to everyone.

Prepare for the marathon, not the sprint. Prosper where planted, create value and results for others. Don't let big ego's fool you... many may have small bank accounts. Opportunity should not compromise your identity. The most important quality is attitude.

In parts 4 and 5 of the book Deutsch takes you down the road to your first million and shows you how to break down roadblocks.

Our attitudes in our relationships may be worth more than gold. Some say it takes money to make money to get the first million. Not necessarily so. The Internet and other avenues open up great doors we can begin opening when opening the business. Business tips to keep at the front are make people feel welcomed the first time you meet them. Be loyal to those loyal to you.

Showing gratitude goes a long way. Never display arrogance in your business and life. Make customers feel they are part of the family. All the money in the world won't make your idea work if it is a lousy idea. And all the poverty in the world won't stop your idea if it is great.

It is possible to shortcut the road to your first million.
1. Claim the spotlight. Put yourself out there. Be bold and make key contacts.
2. Put a stake in the ground. When the vision is hot, even before the plan is finished, claim the vision as yours. This initial energy you get from your vision is vital to maintaining momentum.
3. Use technology to leap ahead. Build a blogging audience first. The web has many services free, inexpensive and quickly accessible.
4. Team up, not down. Make key people partners. Keep your ego in check and get people better than you. Find others who love what they do too, to be along side you.

Having old fashioned family values is at the top good business that works. Your core values need to be unwavering and woven into all fabric of your business. Having a great story with a great product equal marketing success... a great idea, a passion people relate to, a news hook. Network success brings success. Network to help others as well as yourself. Target one key person. Make yourself prominent in the community. Tap into the virtual world. Ask for what you want.

Breaking through roadblocks. Put all your money, or in absence of money your time, all your energy, all you got behind your business idea. The path to money starts with your own money, then money from friends and family, then peer to peer lending, or next a small business loan, or partnering up, and finally find an angel. In most cases the new idea is launched with the help of those you know... yourself, family, peers. Get in the right trade shows. Be ready to expand your vision, find new applications that will attract new customers.

The blueprint to launching your business has 12 steps, (including 50 questions to answer).
1. Write your mission statement. 2. Describe your product or service.
3. Conduct market research. 4. Create your business plan.
5. Build your network. 6. Formalize your ideas.
7. Create a prototype. 8. Hold focus groups.
9. Find manufacturing and distribution. 10. Launch your website.
11. Publicize your idea. 12. Pitch potential suppliers/customers.

Deutsch identifies many websites per chapter to help you make it work. He's created a resource guide to traject your idea connecting you to many valuable tributaries of other specialized resources. Truly a work of great value to make it happen.The Big Idea website is part of Cnbc.

In Mystery, Dr. J. Robert Ashcroft in the Body of Christ takes us down the road to Emmaus. It is a lonely road thinking the most important person in our lives is gone. As they communed together on this road these two followers of Jesus didn't even recognize it was Jesus with them. (Note Luke 24:13-18)

They were intense in their conversation. They were so intense that the one they loved appeared and they didn't even recognize Him. The point here is Jesus pays particular attention to believers in Harmony and meeting in His name. They were so in the natural, that the Supernatural was apparent but not obvious to them. We fail to identify the presence of Christ in our daily lives and activities. We have not suffered the cross, thus we are not able to fully appreciate the Spirit and identify it at work in our lives. So, the presence of the Lord escapes us as it normally would seem present.

What the cross means for us is death to the self-life.
As we are able to disconnect the sovereignty of self, we are able to enthrone the sovereignty of the Spirit. The New Testament and the Body of Christ helps us to become sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

On the road to Emmaus, the two were preoccupied with their thoughts... of the temporal, the natural, and were blinded to the presence of Jesus, the Spirit of God. In so many instances, the Lord is with us and we don't even know it.

Can anything separate us from the Lord? We are promised of His presence when two or more meet and Jesus is the center of our interests. We can be blinded by grief like these two and fail to see Jesus being with us in our human circumstances.

If Christ came to them in the midst of their doubt, he will come to us in our time of anxiety. Understanding the powers of Spiritual relationship among believers should calm our anxieties in the face of loss.

Jesus after His death, resurrection and even appearance to the disciples stood on the shores and they again didn't recognize Him. (John 21:1)

This Spiritual blindness that afflicts us from time to time is caused by inattention, panic, grief, even ecstasy. It keeps us from seeing Jesus who is with us. We must allow Him to teach us to "see" Him in all the ways He may manifest himself to us. We can become so self-absorbed we are indeed blind to Him being beside us.

The point is that Jesus was with them. He has promised to be with those who meet in His Spirit and in His name. He keeps His promises even though we don't recognize it. When we don't recognize Him we become people of despair and a sad countenance. Like us, they were trying so hard to figure things out, in their own human thoughts, they totally missed Him.

We cannot see God when we limit seeing Him to our own intelligence. Our own intelligence, in absence of Spiritual intelligence, makes us sluggish, and dull-witted simpletons. God said His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8)

We have one solution: the Holy Spirit must totally over take our lives so we can be responsive to each occasion of His Presence with us. We must turn our eyes from the temporal, natural, and be fixed on the Heavenly, the Supernatural. "I will teach you all things," Jesus. (John 14:26)

Our part is to desire Him, seek Him diligently with all of our hearts. He has told us that in the day we seek him diligently with our hearts we will be found by Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Once you have felt the presence of the Lord you hunger for more, continually. Once you have recognized Him you long for His communication. It is in the time of the evening shadows when we may feel that Jesus is not with us. We want His presence in the dark times of our lives... times of uncertainty...times of loneliness...times that are threatening.

His promise: "where two or three are gathered in My Name.... there I am." (Matthew 18:20) If we desire Him, He will not disappoint us. It is comforting to know that if we call on another believer friend, meet in Jesus' Name, the promise of the Holy Spirit, creative power of everything, is guaranteed.

When does He meet us? He meets us in the common activities of our lives. He is the center of our focus. He blesses our bread. It is in our sharing that He is revealed to us. When did they recognize Him... during the breaking and sharing of bread. When we are broken, and then share, His power erupts.

Additional emphasis should be placed on that it is in the sharing that He becomes known to us. We cannot keep Jesus to ourselves as our own little treasure. Jesus must be shared to be ours.

Just remember. Jesus' appearance may be a mystery. He appears in ways we least expect. He will come to us, but not as we may naturally think. He delights to surprise us, so be attentive to Him as He appears in surprising ways.

Live expectantly and Jesus will appear in the most unexpected ways...He truly delights to surprise you.