Rise Up and Build

by Pastor Bruce Kotila

We have just finished our first Restoring the Foundations Heartland Region Advanced Conference.  It was a full weekend and an amazing time.  Lee and Cindi Whitman, the new Regional Directors of Restoring the Foundations International, were here in Omaha as our keynote speakers and they were awesome job!  We had a leader’s lunch on Friday (8/12), and there were twelve different churches/ ministries represented, with many of them hearing about the ministry for the very first time.  Great connections were made and we have already begun to follow up with several of them.  We had thirty-seven for the Saturday (8/13) training and the Whitmans taught on how we can all become better ministers and ministry recipients.  Lee and Cindi also shared at the Sunday (8/14) night Community Wide Event, with the worship team from Glad Tidings opening us up with a time of praise and worship. We are truly grateful for the Whitmans coming to be with us and for all that God accomplished in moving the ministry forward in our region.

The conference is over but now it is to live into the conference theme of Rise Up and Build.  The phrase comes from Nehemiah 2:18 and was originally a call given by Nehemiah to the people of Israel to rebuild the walls of the city of Jerusalem.  The walls around the city had “been broken down and the gates burned with fire” but God was calling the people to rise up and build.  The people responded to Nehemiah’s call and began the work amid severe resistance, including ridicule, discouragement, verbal intimidation and physical threats.  It was not an easy task but required faith, courage and an uncommon persistence.  In the end the task is accomplished in a remarkable 52 days, making it clear to everyone that ultimately God was the builder.  The conference was not the end of something, but rather the beginning.  It was the beginning of a season of building on the foundation that has already been laid.

As with the rebuilding of the walls of the city of Jerusalem there are a number of tasks that will need to be completed to establish RTF Heartland as a regional ministry for the healing and deliverance of God’s people.  Some of those tasks are already known, others are yet to be revealed.  But the tasks are not our primary focus.  Rather the focus is on becoming the kind of people that God can use to build “a spiritual house of living stones as a habitation for God in the Spirit.”  In my June article I highlighted in a broad way what I believe God has laid before us as a pathway for our success.  By way of review I have listed it below.

Behold the King- We begin by beholding King Jesus in all His glory, majesty, holiness and beauty.  We will respond in worship and praise declaring His love, kindness and power to redeem, to restore and to make whole everyone who returns to Him. 

Become like Him- God the Father works transformation in our hearts, conforming us to the image and likeness of His Son, King Jesus, as we receive His Word and the movement of His Holy Spirit in our lives.  We will grow in our ability to hear His voice and walk in our true identity.

Build His Kingdom- Each of us is called to be His ambassador, representing the kingdom of heaven here on earth.  We will be equipped to better represent the true nature of His Kingdom, a deep experience of covenantal love, authority and power.

If we do not keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, we will become distracted by the resistance of the enemy.  The enemy within (hurts, fears, ungodly beliefs, our flesh) and the enemy on the outside (the world system, Satan and his demons).  The devil knows our fears and he knows our weaknesses and he will be sure to try and exploit them as we seek to bring healing and freedom to God’s people.  The only way to prosper in the midst of this kind of resistance is to keep our eyes on King Jesus, His glory, His majesty, His love and beauty, His authority and power.  Like Peter, who walked on water in the midst of the storm, we can do beyond our own human ability when our eyes our fixed on Jesus but will begin to sink when our vision is diverted to the wind and the waves.  We need to practice beholding the King.

We also need to give ourselves fully to seeking a transformation of our hearts and becoming more like Jesus.  Receiving and extending (abiding in) God’s love, walking in forgiveness and repentance from sin, being careful to not quench, grieve or otherwise resist the Holy Spirit, Biblical stewardship, and choosing to walk by faith and not by sight to name a few. 

It is the practice of these core disciplines, among others, that create the environment for the Holy Spirit to work transformation.  Proper fulfillment of the tasks of building require the ability to hear God’s voice, walk in obedience to it, and remember always whose we are.  We have a responsibility to become more like Jesus.

God is raising up men, women and children who are able to accurately represent Him and His kingdom.  People who understand their true identity that is grounded in an unshakable covenant relationship.  People who have been touched by the Father’s love and long for others to experience the Father’s heart as well.  God is healing and setting free His church in order that they might walk in the good works that God has prepared for them (Ephesians 2:10).  The time is now, and the call is to behold, to become and to build.  And for our encouragement God has made us a promise, a reminder that we can carry with us always. 

From Paul’s prayer for the people at Ephesus, “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)