Full Definition of PRETENSE  (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

1   a :  claim made or implied; especially :  one not supported by fact

2   a :  mere ostentation :  pretentiousness pretense — Bennett Cerf>

     b :  a pretentious act or assertion
3      :  an inadequate or insincere attempt to attain a certain condition or quality
4      :  professed rather than real intention or purpose :  pretext pretenses>
5      :  make-believe, fiction

6      :  false show :  simulation pretense of indifference>

For years I have heard stories of incredible, unexplainable happenings in ministry – physical healing, restored marriages, freedom from life-long addictions, salvations, fiscal provision, and more.  It never ceases to amaze me the way that God works, and yet, all too often, I find myself meeting with people who don’t understand why they aren’t experiencing the blessings and miracles that others (in and through Christ) have and are experiencing.

In all honesty…I’ve had these same wonderings in my own life at times; more often than I would care to admit.


Where is the disconnect?

I think far too often people live in pretense and not in the power of the Spirit of God.  In other words, far too many people are far too good at pretending.  They have become fluent in “Christianese” (the ability to speak Christian words and terms).  These people living in pretense are often faithful to attend on Sunday morning, sing the song(s), clap along (some times), mingle with others, drink the free coffee and eat the complimentary doughnuts.  Heck!  If you listen in long enough, these are the same folks that might even let out an “Amen!” in the middle of the message.

They’ve learned to say and do a lot of the “right” things within Christian circles.

Unfortunately there is NO power in pretense!

When it comes to understanding and interacting with the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we often don’t know where to begin.  That, or we just don’t believe that we could ever experience this type of power in our own life.  Maybe it’s because we don’t know where to start.  It’s possible that we don’t feel like we’re worth the effort.  Or could it be that we’re afraid of being let down and disappointed so it seems easier never to have truly acted on the power in an effort to avoid the hurt?  I don’t know?!  Maybe I’m way off or just rambling.  Then again, maybe there’s something to what I’m thinking.

Here’s what the Apostle Paul had to say to the church in Ephesus about moving from pretense to power:

18 “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. 19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”  – Ephesians 1:18-23 (NLT)

If you’re reading this and still with me, DON’T MISS THIS!

The same presence and power of the Holy Spirit that Paul is talking about here is the same power that:

Did I mention that the same presence and power of the Holy Spirit that Paul is talking about is the same power that CONQUERED THE GRAVE?!  

In Paul’s prayer, he intercedes on behalf of the saints (you and me), praying that the veil might be pulled back from our eyes so that we can see in fullness the power that has already been made available to us in and through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit that lives within us.

What this means…

In short…

Is that you and I don’t have to play “Christianese”, but can move beyond pretense and into the power of the Holy Spirit, which is already active in us.  Why?  How?  Because the same Spirit that gave power to Jesus is the same Spirit that lives within us, every believer that has entered into a right relationship with Jesus Christ.

I know it’s hard to fathom.  I get it.  I really do.  It doesn’t always make sense.  I don’t always feel worthy.  I’m not always sure where to begin; how to walk in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.  It takes time.  It takes intentionality.  It takes faith.  It takes stepping up and stepping out and moving from pretense and into the power of the Holy Spirit.

I want to invite you to listen in as I addressed this issue with my church just this last weekend.  Simply click the link below to be a part of the message.

“Moving Beyond Pretense”

I pray that you and I might know the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in and through our lives; that we can move beyond pretense and into the relationship that God designed for us to have, community with Him. 


“As Christians…” – 6 Takeaways From Yesterday’s Message


If you were at Illumination Church yesterday you know that we kicked off a new series we’re calling, “Summer In Ephesians”.  Really what we’re doing is going to take the next 12 weeks to work through the book of Ephesians and I couldn’t be any more excited than I already am about it.

I wanted to distill the message from yesterday down, so I am.  Here are six things that came out of yesterday’s message as well as the passage of scripture that we focused on yesterday.

* Keep an eye out as the video message from Sunday will be posted soon…


  1. As Christians, we must be known by our actions, by what we do and not merely by what we say we are or believe.
  2. As Christians, it is in Jesus’ name that we MUST remain grounded and hyper-focused. Unfortunately it’s really easy to get distracted by the things of this world all around us.  This is all the more reason we have to keep our eyes fixed on Him.
  3. As Christians, it’s imperative that we recognize all that we have is because of God’s grace and in light of this, we give Him all of the praise.
  4. As Christians, God chooses us, but we MUST respond through complete and total surrender.  Our posture of surrender will always ultimately lead to a posture of worship at who God is and what He has done for us by his grace.
  5. As Christians, we are co-heirs with Christ, which means that we can live with anticipation and great expectation for the things to come.
  6. As Christians, we need to remember that God is deserving of all praise in our lives regardless of how we feel, our surroundings and our circumstances.


Here is the passage of Scripture from yesterday’s message.


Greetings from Paul

“This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Spiritual Blessings

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.”