I.) Know the Master – Intimacy with the Lord. "For God soooooo loved the world, you and I included, that he GAVE EVERYTHING to have us. If God wants us so much that He would ask His Son to leave His glory, become a creature (human being) like us, and die a painful and humiliating death to save us, why is it we seem to want Him so little? He wants to be wanted.

Jesus wept over Jerusalem for not recognizing God's salvation coming to them in Him personally. From Genesis to Revelation we see God pursuing us – to walk with Him in the garden in the cool of the day to knocking on the door of our hearts to fellowship with us. Jesus defined the essence of life by saying it is to know God and Himself, personally/relationally, not just knowledge about Him, and respond to His love with all of our being. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." The Great Commandment. (Mark 12:30) "All my springs of joy are in you." says the psalmist (Psalm 87:7) and Paul prays his passionate prayer that we would be able to grasp how much God loves us. (Eph. 3:16-19) and yet cries out to know Him even more. (Phil. 3:7-10) And Jesus warns us to never put our service for Him above our love relationship with Him. (Rev. 2:1-4) "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect (reflect on or contemplate) the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Cor. 3:18) It is through knowing the Lord intimately and accurately that we come to know ourselves truthfully.

The Pharisees saw God incarnate, the Lord Jesus Christ, right in front of their eyes for three years. He healed the sick, raised the dead, preached with power and authority but they never "saw" Who He really was and thus nailed Him to a cross. In  Matthew 23 He told them how blind they were but they still didn't get it. How could they be so blind?  Our on-going transformation will occur as we know ourselves as God knows us. We need to pray that we will be open to knowing ourselves as God knows us? (The Pharisees weren't). Show me the truth about myself O Lord. (Psalm 139:23-24) and give me the grace to change more and more into your likeness. "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit (or "a spirit") of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe."(Ephesians 1:17-19)

Never stop asking the Lord that you and others may know Him better and better. In addition to our regular time in Scripture, prayer and authentic fellowship with believers I recommend a yearly reading of The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer for growing in intimacy with God.



1) Is your relationship with the Lord deeply personal or primarily functional? An example will help. My relationship with my first wife (as unbelievers) was very impersonal because we never shared our deep feelings about our lives with each other (hopes, dreams, fears, hurts, deep convictions etc.). I made the money she took care of the house and kids. Very functional. We were married, had the marriage certificate, but did not really share our deep feelings with each other. I am thankful to say that my relationship with Kristen is deeply personal. But more so, I continue to pursue a deeply personal relationship with the Lord. We can be saved (have the "certificate") and still have a functional relationship with the Lord; i.e., go to church, do some stuff for Him but not share our hearts with Him. How about you? How would you describe your relationship with your wife/close friends/ family members and with the Lord.


With my wife/close friends, etc 

functional                                                                                                         deeply personal

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 With my Lord:

functional                                                                                                         deeply personal

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Jesus was 100% authentic with His Father and with people. He had a deeply personal relationship with His Father, the disciples and some trusted friends. What steps can you take to grow in becoming a more authentic person with the Lord and with your wife/friends and people in general?

 2) The Pharisees saw God incarnate, the Lord Jesus Christ, right in front of their eyes for three years but they were still so blind. Our on-going transformation will occur as we know ourselves as God knows us. The scary question is where are we blind to Who God really is?  Am I open to knowing myself as God knows me? (The Pharisees weren't). Discuss your "openness to God" at your table. Show me the truth about myself O Lord. (Psalm 139:23-24) and give me the grace to change. How can we grow in my openness to God?


II.) Know the Master's Plan – What on earth am I here for? If the essence of life is a love relationship with the Lord how did Jesus manifest His love relationship with the Father? "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12:31) The Great Commission is the ultimate expression of love for our fellow man, evangelism and disciple-making, so that others too may "know Him" and grow in knowledge of Him as His disciples/learners/students. (Matthew 28:18-20)

In his book, The Master Plan of Evangelism , Robert Coleman discusses in depth the eight principles Jesus used with the Twelve to reach the known world with the gospel. In our modern-day times and methods we have moved further and further away from Christ's powerful plan. Jesus focused on a few men, shared His life with them for three years and went deep with them. He demonstrated in real life what He wanted them to learn and emulate. And when He left them they caught the vision and were gladly willing to sacrifice their life, as He had, so that others may know and love the Lord. Our children, friends and those we hope to influence for Christ can't learn what we don't model and live out in day to day life. We may teach what we believe but we reproduce who we are. Jesus said "Follow Me", i.e., follow My example. The heavens declare the glory of God and the Scriptures tell His Story but Jesus is "the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being" (Heb. 1:3) the Revelation of God.

Read and reread Coleman's book, study the gospels and the life of Christ on a regular basis and point others to Him by words and example as John the Baptist and the writer of Hebrews exhorts us to do: "Behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:29)  "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Heb. 12:2-3)


III.) Know Your Plan for the Master – How has God uniquely equipped and called you to serve Him and reveal Him to others? (Eph. 2:10; 1 Peter 4:10) The "need" is not the call as Oswald Chambers says. The "needs" of people just in our own family and sphere of relationships is enormous. Our unique call is revealed to us by the Lord through our open and intimate relationship with Him. It involves trial and error, pain and failure but we keep at it because God enables us (i.e., it is not the "dream job" the world says will make ME happy). So we must work with God not just for him for natural talent alone is not enough to honor God as Paul realized (2 Cor. 12:7-10); for in our weakness people see God's strength. 

Beware that you don't worship your work and make IT your god. Yet, if you have been called by God to your work and your heart is to serve  and to glorify Him through it (versus money and recognition for yourself) then work at it with all your heart as unto the Lord. (Col. 3:23-24) Remember the secular becomes spiritual IF the focus of your heart is to glorify the Lord. Working for self is temporary and ultimately vain and meaningless as Solomon discovered (Eccl. 1:2) but working for the Lord is fulfilling because we know it has eternal value. "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." (1 Cor. 15:58)

In my career change from business to vocational ministry I read numbers of books and took numerous courses on discovering God's call for my life. I haven't found in one book a match for LifeKeys by Kise, Stark and Hirsh. I encourage you to work through this (let me know if I can help) and write out your personal mission statement as the Lord reveals it to you.


IV.) Do Your Plan for the Master – Complete the work God has called you to do. (Philippians 3:12-14) Seek a spiritual mentor/coach or accountability group to meet with to help you stay on path. I'm not sure I could have stayed on course without the constant encouragement and counsel of men like Ken Boa and Hal Hadden and many of you and other friends and co-laborers. Now more and more of my time is involved with spiritual mentoring and coaching to encourage the men the Lord has brought into my life by working with them in this last area, Doing the Master's Plan, for the good work the Lord has called and empowered them to carry out. Jesus gives us time, talents and treasures and says, "Do business with this until I come back." (Luke 19:13) The ultimate performance review is coming and no one wants to live a wasted life. (Matthew 25:13-30) So make it your highest priority to Know Him more clearly, love Him more dearly and follow Him (His example) more nearly.




3) Compare your "belief system" about life and God to Jesus'  "belief system"(and He was a man like us – except sinless) about life and God.  Your belief system could be seeing life from God's perspective as seen in Scripture or believing what the world around us says life is all about.

  • First list some words or attributes you think Jesus truly believed about His Father and was demonstrated by His actions.
  • Now list some words or attributes you truly believe about your heavenly Father that have been demonstrated by your actions. (It is what we do, how we behave, that demonstrates what we truly believe. James 2:14-26)

One way of thinking about this is asking yourself this question. If God disappeared from my life today what difference would it make? Would anyone notice anything different about you? What would be different?

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