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Matthew Bauer
 

Matthew's Blog

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The Power of ONE

imageThe Power of ONE – What God can do with a willing individual:

I was hiking through the woods several years ago at this gorgeous ravine in western New York (it’s called by many to be the “grand canyon of the East”). I had taken my new apprentice with me to enjoy what was the peak of the fall season. The colors were beautiful, with every tree a different shade of bright reds, deep golden yellows, and fiery oranges that covered the landscape, standing over a 600-foot gorge made up of streams and waterfalls and every bit of natural beauty that God created.

Adam and I were touring the waterfalls, stopping for lunch at the highest one, and working our way down from there. At the lowest falls, we decided to hike across to the other side of the gorge, and after we got there, we climbed to the top of a hill that felt as if it was the highest point in the entire park. The scenery was breathtaking. We climbed to the top of the hill, and we ran into our bookkeeper and her husband. Karen and Bob had been enjoying the day at the park, when God led them to this spot and told them to wait. When we crested the hill, they were full of excitement, and told us the story of why they were waiting there. After a while, we parted ways, and they went down the hill, while we continued on our way.

After a bit of hiking, we came back to that spot at the top of the hill, and I turned to Adam (who had been a Christian for all of 10 months at that point) and said, “this may sound strange (and it certainly was to me – so conservative, restrained, and quiet in my faith), but there’s something here, and I feel like we’re supposed to ‘roar’.”

The park was full of people – probably one of the busiest days for the park during the whole year – but we didn’t care. We let out a huge roar that echoed throughout the ravine. We just looked at each other, thinking, “hmm, that was cool. I wonder what that was for.” Then we walked down the hill and along the side of the cliff. Suddenly I was so drunk in the Spirit, I couldn’t walk straight. I could barely hold myself up. I grabbed the nearest tree and held myself up, unable to speak, but finally able to at least tell Adam what was going on.

After a moment, the Lord spoke to me and I heard Him say, “I’ve made your feet like hind’s feet. Now pick up your bag and walk.” We went back to the other side of the falls, right in the middle of a big crowd of people, and the Lord told me to sit down and open my Bible to Psalm 18. Of course, I was prepared and had my Bible with me (which I normally don’t), and I read, with revelation after revelation, until I got to the part about hind’s feet. I had no idea that was the psalm where that was, and when I read it, I just began laughing in the Spirit.

There’s a bit more to the story after that, but I’ll skip ahead. On the way back to the car, Adam and I were full of life and full of energy, nearly forgetting that we had been out hiking for most of the day. I had a strong feeling that there was something still there where we roared like lions, and so we walked all the way back to that spot. We said “hi” to a nice family at the bottom of the hill and climbed to the top, letting out another huge roar. Again, it echoed through the gorge. Suddenly, I could see a spirit hovering over the Fingerlakes region of NY state, and we began asking the Lord what it was. It was Adam who heard it – it was a spirit of fear. I quickly confirmed it, and we began shouting at the top of our lungs, tearing down the strongholds and taking back the land. Afterward, we roared again in victory, and then were hit by complete exhaustion.

Through another long story of confirmations from around the region (and even from other states) as to what happened in exactly that moment, I was still blown away by the experience. It was so out of the ordinary for me, and was so impactful, but I couldn’t understand why God would use a guy like me to do something so powerful. Who was I that God would choose me for that task?

As I sought the Lord with that question, He gave me a strict rebuke. He showed me one-by-one all the great men and women of the Bible, and then He told me, “Matthew, don’t you think for a second that I can’t or that I won’t do these things in you. For I said even greater things than these will you do.”

I was stunned and silent. Stunned because of the strict rebuke and tone in God’s voice. Silent, because I had nothing more to say after that.

Abraham was just a man, wanting to have a child. Through the faith and obedience of this one man, two great nations were born – the Arabs and the Jews – and through them, “all nations are blessed.”

Joseph was just a man with a dream – a boy, really, when he was sold by his brothers. He didn’t even understand his dream, but through his integrity and faithfulness, one nation was saved and another one was born.

Moses was just a man – a murderer, no less – with nothing but a stutter and a big stick. But because he was obedient to the call, all of Israel was saved. And let’s not forget the voice of Jethro, who called out the best in Moses, and led him to believe in himself enough to answer the call of God on his life.

Ruth was just a woman, begging for food, and Boaz, just a business manager, whose impact has traveled thousands of years because of their faithfulness in the way they raised their family.

Esther was just a woman, with little more to show than her beauty. She knew nothing about being a queen. But through her obedience, through overcoming her fear, and through yet another voice (Mordecai) who inspired her to believe in herself, millions of lives were spared.

Daniel was just a boy when, because of his unwillingness to bow down to other gods, he impacted an entire nation to turn to the Lord, and the stories of his courage still impact nations today.

Then there are the prophets – the single voices crying out on behalf of the Lord, a pinpoint of light that dispelled a nation of darkness. They were just men like us.

Peter was hardly more than a fisherman – but when he raised his voice in Acts 2, the church was born.

Then of course there’s Jesus – and we will do even greater things than He (John 14:12).

And who has the time to speak of more modern world changers like Martin Luther, Charles Wesley, Dwight Moody, William Seymore, Billy Graham…

We tend to idolize these folks, making them out to be more than just men and women. They become mythological heroes in our minds, capable of the superhuman and somehow so much greater than you or I could ever become.

And God said, “Don’t think for a second that I won’t do these things and more in you!”

One voice can change the world. One voice can birth a nation. One voice can inspire the next Moses or Esther to be all they can be. One voice can bring light to a nation in darkness. One voice can bring healing. One voice can build the church. Just one voice – and that voice is your voice.

The Power of ONE – You will have no other gods before Me:

But a voice that changes the world doesn’t come alone. If we’re to do greater things than Jesus did, we need more than ever to tune-in to the voice of the Father. Jesus said He only did what He saw the Father doing and He only said what He heard the Father saying. Jesus knew who He was, without a doubt, but His identity was not wrapped up in His family or His friends. It was not in what He did, or even that He was the Messiah. His identity was secured in His Father and in His Father alone.

If you’ve made it to the end of my book, The Journey to Freedom, you know how important it is to remove some of the negative distractions in our lives. You know how important it is to tune-in to God’s voice to hear Him and see Him clearly, and you know what you need to clean from your life to make that real. Getting rid of distractions is an important part of tuning-in to God’s voice. He said, “You shall have NO other gods before me.” And it is impossible to find our voices without first tuning-in to the ONE voice that matters.

But this isn’t about getting rid of things in your life – it’s not about less TV or less late nights at the office. It’s not about less gossip magazines or stronger Internet filters. It’s about making God your first love. It’s about making him your priority. Will those other things fade into the background when you do that? Sure – “turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” But the focus is on welcoming Jesus – NOT on removing all the other stuff.

When we tune-in to the voice that matters, it is transformational. Just one word from our Father will change our lives. He has that way about Him, you know? He knows just what to say, and just how to say it to touch us in the deep places of our hearts, to completely destroy and rebuild our lives in a moment, to leave us completely and forever changed by the overflow of His heart.

Psalm 29 says, “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders; the Lord is over many waters, the voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes them also skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ok. The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth, and strips the forests bare; and in His temple everyone says ‘Glory!’”

But this same voice that is so powerful to shatter trees and divide flames of fire, is the same gentle voice of which it is said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27) It is this voice, so gentle to lead its sheep, and yet so powerful it makes the earth shake and tremble, that we must let transform us, if we are to find who we are, believe it, and live by it, confident in our worth by the great love of the One who makes us worthy.

In my book, I tell the story of a vision I had, skipping down the road with Jesus – having a great time together, laughing, smiling, and confident in all things, not because of me, but because of who I was following. Yet, when He spoke to me about it, and asked, “why aren’t you like this all the time?” I said, “it’s because You’re not there,” and it broke my heart.

The time we spend with our Lord, the time we spend listening to His voice, the time we spend at His feet, letting His words transform us, letting His truth heal us, letting His peace consume us, letting ourselves be known by His identity – to be the spittin’ image of our Father – this is where we will find our voice. This is where we will find ourselves, our purpose, our being, our understanding. This is where we will hear what the Father is saying and see what the Father is doing, and this is where we will find the stories of all the great men and women in the Bible playing out through the even greater miracles in our own lives.

The Power of ONE – When all our voices join together in unison:

To find our voice is one thing, and to know who we are in Christ is essential, but until we discover what (or who) our voice is for, it serves little purpose but to please our own ears. Yes, there is peace and joy and wonder in knowing who we are and living by it without apology. But without purpose to our voice, it remains lost from affecting the rest of the world. It remains lost from its Kingdom purpose, and it remains void of filling the great commission to “go into all the earth and make disciples.” (Matthew 28:19)

You see, all of creation is groaning, longing for us to find our voice and use it again to rule the earth, to bring creation under the authority of Heaven, to restore peace, to restore joy, to establish blessing and honor in the earth under the headship of Jesus. But this will take more than just you or I.

Once we have found our own voices, we will finally be free to receive the influence of others who have found their voices, WITHOUT the threat of losing our identities in the process. When we are confident in our worth and when our security is in Christ, we can begin to come together with the voices of the rest of the body. Like any good relationship, we participate in the give-and-take that values and honors the voices of others, knowing that our voice matters, too. In the end, despite our different perspectives of the truth (which are often all correct, but just incomplete), we can come together to find a greater truth than each of us could find on our own. It is then that our voices become stronger through the bonds of unity.

And so this is the purpose of sharing our voices, not only that we can arrive at a greater truth –discovering more of God and being able to know Him more intimately – but also to bring the unity of the brethren, to bring the voices of many into the voice of ONE. For if ONE voice can have such an impact, imagine when an entire nation lifts its voice as ONE, or when an entire species finds their voice together (heck, if every frog or cricket or dog on this planet would sound its voice together, it would change the world!). It was one of Jesus’ last cries, that we become ONE as He and the Father are ONE.

Larry Stockstill does this thing in one of his messages, where he has the entire body shout out “AS ONE” at the top of their lungs. It’s a powerful move for any body, and he references the scene in The Gladiator, where Maximus unites the Barbarian Horde against the Roman soldiers in the great Coliseum. It was the first time the Horde had won, and it brought favor to the gladiators, eventually winning their freedom. This scene is powerful, because it not only depicts the importance of unity (for none could have been victorious by themselves), but it also shows the value of one voice. It was because Maximus knew his place – had found his voice – and because he used it to unite the other voices around him (calling out the strengths in others, and helping them to find their voices as they served one another in the collective), that they were all led to victory.

It was just like the ONE voice that led God to confuse the builders of Babel, saying, “Indeed the people are ONE… If they can accomplish this, then nothing will be impossible for them.” (Genesis 11:6) Of course, their demise was because of the voice they were missing… the voice of THE ONE leading and guiding them. They had unity, and they may have had some sense of individual purpose apart from God, but without being tuned-in to the voice of the Lord, they were still lost in their purpose as God’s creation.

It’s when these three things come together: knowing ourselves and being confident in our identity (finding our voice), being tuned-in to the voice of our Father, and joining our voices together in unity, there is no bound to the church’s glory! There is no bound for God’s truth and healing to flow. There is no bound to the miracles and wonders that will fill the earth – the greater-than-these miracles that have never before been seen, heard, or written.

This is what will happen when we LIFT OUR VOICE!

Posted: 6/4/2012 2:37:12 AM by Matthew Bauer | with 0 comments


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