Knowing God’s name – personal knowledge and encounter

“Intimacy and dependence come only through personal knowledge and encounter. . . .  Knowing God’s name means knowing Him personally and knowing His nature.”- Banning Liebscher

“And those who know your name will put their trust in You; for You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.”- Psalm 9:10

Banning Liebscher continues Chapter 3 of Rooted as he notes many of the truest tests we face in life involve a game of inches.  In other words, these tests reveal our response to the little things that hurt, disappoint, or scare us.  However, Pastor Liebscher cautions, Satan loves to sow doubt in our little cracks of vulnerability.  Just as grass seeds find their way into sidewalk cracks, Satan’s seeds put down roots that chew away at our foundation.  Also, they compromise our ability to withstand bigger tests.

Thus, to build an unshakable trust in God and pass your truest tests, you must allow Him to teach you intimacy and dependence.  Only personal knowledge and encounter assist this process.  Yet, Banning notes, God doesn’t expect us to build trust in Him:

  • blindly, without knowing His character
  • based solely on what we’ve heard about Him

Hence, through the power of the Holy Spirit, trust gets built with personal knowledge.

In conclusion, Pastor Liebscher stresses we must follow God’s lead to a place where we come to know His voice.  Banning explains:

“Hearing His voice is what brings us life.  When we don’t hear His voice, our hearts and spirits starve to death.  We must set up our lives so we are always tuning to His voice.  He wants to give us strength and assurance. . . .  to know that He is with us and that we’re going to be okay.  His voice is going to get us through the process.”

Today’s question: What Scriptures, hymns, or Christian songs deepen your knowing God’s name?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Where w confront our deepest fears and longings”

Places of weakness and vulnerability

“He [God] know our deepest fears and longings better than anyone, and He is supremely confident that these places of weakness and vulnerability are where He can prove Himself trustworthy to us.”- Banning Liebscher

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, is whom I will trust.”- Psalm 18:2 (NKJV)

In Chapter 3 (“The Trust Factor”) of Rooted, Banning Liebscher underscores that God primarily pursues our trust as He develops our root system.  Thus, every key to thriving in the root-building process requires the same crucial factor: trust.  Conversely, Pastor Liebscher notes, anything we do to avoid cooperating with God denotes an act of mistrust.

Furthermore, God not only builds that trust through the process – trust also gets us through the process.  In addition, the author states, trust consists of two basic elements: intimacy and dependence.  These two elements define what Jesus meant when He told us to remain in Him as He remained in the Father.  Most noteworthy, Banning stresses the only way Jesus builds our root system of abiding connection.  It comes through a process that repeatedly asks, “Do you trust Me?”  And our root system grows every time we affirm that trust.

However, it should come as no surprise that Satan primarily targets and assaults our trust in God.  The Enemy dedicates himself to convincing us God either withholds good things or fails to protect us from bad things.

Consequently, we must remember why God leads us into places of vulnerability.  Banning explains it’s in those places where Jesus proves His trustworthiness.  The author writes:

” . . . God leads us into places of vulnerability where the deep things in our hearts are exposed and where He gets to reveal Himself as our protector and the One who fulfills our deepest desires.  He is committed to showing us, through His process in our lives, that we can trust Him with the deep things of our hearts because they are also the deep things of His heart for us.”

Today’s question: What defines your greatest places of weakness and vulnerability?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Knowing God’s name – personal knowledge and encounter”

Learn to love the cave – rooted in faithfulness

“You have to learn to love the cave. . . .  In the cave, you become rooted in faithfulness and obedience to God above all else, and you uproot the weeds of man pleasing and the fear of man.”- Banning Liebscher

“He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.”- Isaiah 49:2 (NIV)

Banning Liebscher concludes Chapter 2 of Rooted as he notes that many people fail to thrive in their current circumstances.  They fail to thrive where God has placed them because they feel God left them behind.  However, rushing to catch up pulls you off base.  In addition, Pastor Liebscher asserts, it’s harmful to rush.  Thus, slowing down is critical to the root-building process.

Similarly, when you plant a garden, there’s little you can do to speed up plant growth.  For example, in most cases overwatering kills plants.  Hence, on a daily basis, plants only absorb a specific amount of water and nutrients.  Also, there’s only so much plants can grow in one day.  And, Banning observes, that holds true for us as well.  When we try to rush our growth, we end up destroying it.  As a result, the author encourages:

“Trust God to get you there in His time.  God will get you to where He wants you, when He wants you, and how He wants to get you there.  If you’re not there, it’s because He doesn’t want you there yet. . . .  But no one can make a God promise happen.  The One who promises is the One who fulfills.

In conclusion, Banning presents the last key to thriving in the root-building process – embrace being hidden.  Furthermore, Banning explains that being hidden means:

  • that we’re not seeking a visible platform for our calling
  • we don’t force open any doors that God has not opened
  • waiting for God to put us in front of others at the right time

Today’s question: What Scriptures enable you to learn to love the cave?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Places of weakness and vulnerability”

Calm, steady, and collected

“God feels no pressure to rush or force His plan for our growth.  He is calm, steady, and collected even when we want to speed things up.  Our frustration will not make God speed up, because He knows we won’t get the results we prayed for.”- Banning Liebscher

As Banning Liebscher continues Chapter 2 of Rooted, he cautions that in order to thrive in the root-building process, you must not rush it.  Thus, Pastor Liebscher explains:

“You must understand that getting out of sync with the timing of God’s seasons puts you in danger.  Every assignment and lesson He gives you adds something crucial to your foundation.  If you don’t have all the components of your foundation, then when God adds the weight of your calling and vision to life, your foundation won’t sustain it.”

Therefore, patience provides the only way to thrive as well as protect the integrity of what God is building.  For rushing growth signals that we fail to understand the vision toward which we’re growing.  Nor, Banning stresses, do we understand that God always calls us to do the impossible.

As a result, God desires to throw us in way over our heads.  There God makes us successful according to His definition of success.  Our own inevitably limited version of our vision pales in comparison.  Furthermore, we must recognize that the Lord’s answering our prayer.  Especially when it seems like things move more slowly than we think they should.  Or aren’t moving forward at all.

In conclusion, even when we want things to speed up, God remains calm, steady, and collected.  And our frustration certainly fails to force God’s hand.

Today’s question: What Bible verses do you rely on to help you become calm, steady and collected?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Learn to love the cave”

Trying to get you off assignment

“The Enemy is trying to get you off assignment.  He wants to distract you with something that God is not emphasizing in your life so that you will miss what God wants to teach you in that moment.”- Banning Liebscher

As Banning Liebscher continues Chapter 2 of Rooted

  • don’t feel passionate about what we’re doing
  • find the wall or task before us harder than we thought
  • judge the task as boring or slow
  • think we should be somewhere else

But, Banning underscores, that’s not how God works.  Hence, the author continues, we arrive at the second key to thriving in God’s root-building process.   That second key= pay attention to and accept the lessons God is trying to teach you in your current assignment and season.  As a result, Pastor Liebscher indicates, you need to show awareness of:

  1. what God’s asking you to put your hands on
  2. what He’s emphasizing for you
  3. the season in which this is happening
  4. God’ teaching of faithfulness in the mundane and difficult – those things that seem distant from your vision and fail to fuel you

In conclusion, Banning reminds us that:

“So many people get stuck in their process and don’t thrive because they constantly want to be somewhere else. . . .  They want the Lord to develp their root systems in the middle of their passions, where they feel most alive.  But it doesn’t alwys work like that.  We don’t get to take only electives when we’re building our root system.”

Today’s question: In what ways does the Enemy aattept to get you off assignment?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Calm, steady, and collected”

Faithfulness to build the wall

“Faithfulness to build the wall is not giving up on your dream; it’s trusting God with your dream.”- Banning Liebscher

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”- Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV)

Banning Liebscher continues Chapter 2 of Rooted as he observes why many people find it hard to focus on the task in front of them.  Because the test in front of us bears no resemblance to the promise, dream, or vision in our hearts.  Thus, Pastor Liebscher underscores, it takes faith and commitment to trust God.  For God gave us both the dream and our current assignment.

Therefore, Banning exhorts, you must realize that getting you to your dream is God’s job.  Your job, in contrast, consists of the wall in front of you.  Yes, Pastor Liebscher explains, he wholeheartedly believes that you should embrace and pursue the passion in your heart.  However, ultimately, you’re called to be passionate about Jesus and His cause on earth, not your dream.

As a result, the author cautions, if you simply follow your passion you won’t accomplish things for God.  You must show faithfulness and obedience to what God has placed in front of you.  In addition, this will be tested in your life.  Banning asks: Are you more passionate about pursuing a dream or following Jesus?

Pastor Liebscher reminds us – God first develops our root systems.  And He does that through putting our hands to the assignment in front of us.  But, a problem results with making your passion the thing that guides you.  For passion can trick you into avoiding tasks you deem boring.  Yet, these tasks are absolutely vital to get you to where God wants you.

In conclusion, Banning encourages:

” It’s amazing how many believers disqualify themselves and stunt their growth because they don’t just do what’s in front of them.  Do what’s in front of you and do it well.”

Today’s question: What Bible verses sustain faithfulnes to build the wall in front of you? Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Trying to get you off assignment”

The first key to thriving

“The first key to thriving is to focus on building the wall in front of you.”- Banning Liebscher

“Above the Horse Gate, the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house.”- Nehemiah 3:28 (NIV)

In Chapter 2 (“Thriving in the Process”) of Rooted, Banning Liebscher believes it’s possible not only to thrive, but thrive in the midst of your embrace of God’s process and time for root-building.  Therefore, like Paul, we must find God our strength in every situation.  To do so, we must know where to look and how to continue to look in the face of Satan’s distractions.  Typically, Pastor Liebscher notes, the Enemy’s distractions try to get us to:

  1. wish we were in someone else’s process
  2. resist the lessons God’s trying to teach us in our circumstances
  3. rush the process
  4. skip steps in the process

Consequently, falling for any one of these distractions prevents us from thriving.  In addition, ultimately we find ourselves in dangerous places.  However, avoiding these deceptions enables us to find our strength – God.  And we grow regardless of the season or circumstance.

In conclusion, Banning underscores, Nehemiah 3:28 paints a powerful picture for how God works in our lives.  Yet, sometimes we miss what He’s doing right in front of us.  Because we gaze longingly  at other people’s portions of the wall.  We want to build in those areas.  As a result, we fail to see that God’s using what is right in front of us to develop the root system we so desperately need.  Thus, our need for significance makes us look at other areas that (a) feel more exciting or (b) more in line with our vision.

We must accept the place where God has put us or we’ll never thribe.  For that’s the only place God works with us.

Today’s question: How are you thriving as you focus on building the wall in front of you?  Please share.

Tomorrrow’s blog: “Faithfulness to build the wall”

Before He [God] develops our vision

“God always develops us first before He develops our vision.  If we don’t understand this, we will resist Him, get frustrated, and ultimately end up disappointed and disillusioned.”- Banning Liebscher

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”- 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)

As Banning Liebster concludes Chapter 1 of Rooted, he underscores the main thing God wanted David rooted in.  He desired to establish a deep and abiding trust in David’s life.  Therefore, God prepared David in three different soils.

1.  The soil of intimacy.  As a shepherd in the field, David built: (a) a relationship with God through prayer and worship; (b) dependence on God as he privately battled lions and bears; and (c) a secret-place lifestyle.

2.  The soil of serving.  During his two-decade rooting process, David humbly served his father, brothers, and King Saul.  That posture, in turn, positioned David to receive God’s grace.  Furthermore, David chose to trust God to promote him.  As a result, he didn’t take matters into his own hands nor attempt to prove himself.

3.  The soil of community.  While holed up in the cave of Adullam with four hundred men, David learned to:

  • truly lead others
  • trust his friends and brothers as well as God
  • encourage and inspire
  • take hits
  • model a standard of honor
  • lead with a vision

Most noteworthy, each of these three soils provided different, yet equally necessary ingredients to develop and strengthen David’s root system.  And if David needed to be planted in those three soils, so do we.

In addition, God starts the process right where you are and will get you to your proper destination.  So, Pastor Lucado exhorts, embrace God’s root-building process.  Choose to be a finisher who’s rooted.

Today’s question: How has the Lord developed you before developing your vision?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The first key to thriving”

Pursuing God’s call – how strong we finish

Anybody can start a race.  The real question over our lives is not how strong we will begin our race to pursue God’s call but how strong we will finish it.”- Banning Liebscher

“Let us finish with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.”- Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)

Banning Liebscher continues Chapter 1 of Rooted as he explains why finishers impress.  Finishers see what many people fail to see.  As a result, finishers understand the infinite superiority of God’s version of success.  In contrast,the world’s version falls far short.  While the number of warm bodies in the pews on Sunday morning or Facebook likes may reveal some aspects of fruitfulness, at best they’re temporal measures of success.

However, Pastor Liebscher observes, lasting fruit only blossoms through the long faith journey.  That’s when we put our roots down deep in Jesus.  Thus, the only thing to matter at the end of our lives is whether our hearts aligned with Jesus.  The success of our resultant long-term fruit must motivate us to embrace Christ’s root-building process.

Therefore, Banning expresses his passion over calling and equipping believers to not only embrace but thrive in God’s root-building process.  To that end, the author states that he:

  • wrote Rooted in order to take a look at Scripture and learn what to expect as God works to establish your deep roots
  • wants to free you in the knowledge that youre right where God wants you
  • plns to set you up to recognize and work with God as He builds you so that you dont resist Him

In conclusion, Pastor Liebscher notes that in Rooted we’ll study King David’s life.  Consequently, we’ll look at the different elements God used to develop his root system.  As you’ll read in the next blog, Banning observes that God prepared David in three different soils.

Today’s question: What Scriptures strenghten you in pursuing God’s call?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Before He [God] develops our vision”

Bearing abundant, enduring fruit

“For you to bear abundant, enduring fruit, God needs to make you bigger on the inside than you are on the outside.  You have to let Him build your root system in secret before He leads you into making visible impact in the world.” – Banning Liebscher

As Banning Liebscher continues Chapter 1 of Rooted, he underscores what a plant needs to survive, much less bear fruit.  For a plant to thrive, its root system must take up more space underground than the visible plant takes above ground.  Similarly, your heart represents your point of connection with Jesus.  It’s in you heart where your relationship with Him becomes rooted.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus wants to develop His heart-to-heart connection with you to the point where you:

  • become fully united with Him
  • think like He thinks
  • speak like He speaks
  • do what He does
  • remain in Him, producing fruit that lasts

Most noteworthy, Banning observes, if you study those people in Scripture with a lasting impact, you’ll find God led them through a season of preparation.  Thus, examples include Joseph (thirteen years), Moses (forty years), David (seventeen to twenty years), and Jesus (thirty years).  Of course, Jesus’ ministry is without parallel.

However, Pastor Liebscher considers King David’s unique for two reasons.  Because of:

  1. his incredible legacy
  2. the depth of iinsight the Bible gives us into how God established roots in David’s life.

Furthermore, Banning looks at David as a prototype of New Testament believers.  In particular, that results from David’s unique intimacy with God as well as his understanding of God’s desire for a pure heart more than “sacrifice and offering” (Psalm 40:6).

Yet, all this fruit gets traced back to a single, defining moment. That moment? – when Samuel showed up at Jesse’s house to anoint David the next king of Israel.  From that point on, God began to build David’s roots.  Hence, Pastor Liebscher explores this in detail throughout the rest of Rooted.

Today’s question: What Bible verses help(ed) you reach the point of bearing abundanat, enduring fruit?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Pursuing God’s call – how strong you finish”