The “If” Word.
Mar 15, 2023
Jesus’ confrontation with the devil in the desert is full of insight. One in particular that demands our attention is the way Satan tried to get Jesus to question his identity. Two of the three temptations recorded in Luke 4 begins with, “If you are the Son of God…”
Let’s rewind a bit; Jesus was birthed as an infant, and had to grow in every way the same as us. And just like we need to learn our innate gifts and identities, Jesus had to learn his. Day by day, and year by year Jesus had to grow into the knowledge that he was indeed the Son of God. I’m sure there were days he believed it, and other days in which he was not so sure. His divinity undoubtedly struggled against his humanity. Now, on the threshold of his ministry, the Spirit recognized Jesus was ready, and led him to face the evil one. Interestingly, the first and foremost goal Satan had in that moment was to get Jesus questioning his identity as the Messiah. So out came the “If” word. But it did not throw Jesus; he knew who he was by then.
There is a battle for our ministerial identity too. The strongman uses the “If” word as much on us as he did in Luke 4. But Jesus looks at us and calls us: “Evangelist”, “Discipler”, “Preacher”, “Man of God”, “Woman of God”, “Leader”, and “Dinner Church Pastor”. You and your teams identity has been pressed into your soul by Jesus Himself. So, do not let any voice from the darkness speak to you. Set your Jesus Tables with purpose; Preach your Jesus Stories with power; Pray healing into the life of every troubled person in your room. This is the heritage and calling of Dinner Church leaders…INCLUDING YOU!
Blessings & Boldness,
Dr. Verlon and Melodee Fosner have led a multi-site Assemblies of God Dinner Church in Seattle, Washington since 1999 (www.CommunityDinners.com). In this decade when more churches in the U.S. are declining than thriving, and when ninety-six churches a week are closing, Verlon and Melodee sensed that a different way of doing church was needed for their 100-year old Seattle congregation. It soon became obvious that they were not the only ones in need of a different path. They joined the FX team in 2016 and founded the Dinner Church Collective. And then in 2019 founded the Dinner Church School of Leadership. There is a lot to be gained when church leaders begin to see open doors in the American landscape that they had previously overlooked. Therein lies the journey for those who will forge a new future for the American Church.
By: Julie Fehrenbacher
Thanks for that encouragement Verlon! We need the reminder that the one who calls us and prepares us believes in us and shields us from the voices of doubt that surround us.
By: David Bennett
We face the same enemy using the same tactics in our lives as He did with Jesus and if he succeeds the work of God is greatly impeded and sometimes even halted. We cannot lose sight who the place where our identity is rooted. This is such an important battle ground … it’s the space where we rise to victory or yield in defeat. The imprint of God in us can never be filled by anyone or anything else, it is space only filled by Him. An incredible observation that can help anyone watching as it helps us to understand where our enemy will be working in our lives. If he can get us to doubt long enough he might just find a way to derail our lives for the moment or even longer. The best thing we can do in battle is remember who we are connected to and what they means for our lives.
By: Josh Gering
May the Lord deliver us from the misnomer that ministry is a place to build our kingdom and make a name for ourselves. Thank you for the reminder to lean into Jesus. He is the one we obey, the one who calls us, and the one who provides. Lord, let us serve the least of these because your kingdom is big enough for the isolated and those whose resources are less. Let our heart and aim be about the kingdom and souls instead of big buildings and budgets.
By: Sandy Johnson
Thank you for that powerful encouragement Verlon. When we remember who we are and who has called us, we can walk in the authority from heaven knowing that lives will be transformed for eternity because of our obedience.
By: Steven Curry
If Jesus questioned His identity, it ended at an early age (12). I do understand the point Dr Fosner is trying to get across. That “if” word. Such a small word, but it can reek havoc on any of us. We know Satan’s available tools are limited and that he works through repetition trying to drive a wedge between God and us. Satan used that word repeatedly trying to get Jesus to cave. Praise God it didn’t work.
That time in Jesus life was written for us as well as generations before us. It shows that Satan hasn’t learned much, because he still uses that tactic today. How many times have we heard that little word whispered in our minds. Steven, “If your really doing what Christ called you to do, why do you have so many struggles?” Or, “If you really are a follower of Christ, why do you keep sinning? That’s not what a real man (or woman) of God does.” Same ol’ schtick.
“You and your teams identity has been pressed into your soul by Jesus Himself.” I cling to this and share it with our team on a regular basis.
Good words Dr.