Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Through the Church

Let me just tell you what's been going on in my mind. After listening to the Art Katz messages (I've gotten through the first one, am listening to the second) I've come to realize the obviousness of the truth. That we are in the last of the last days. Now, this has been taught to me my entire life, seriously, since I was a child I've been told about the Second Coming, about the White Throne Judgment, about the Great Tribulation, but all of this has been taught with the caveat that we, as a church, will be "raptured." That meant I wasn't going to have to deal with any of that. I would just be blissfully taken off to heaven without so much as a thought for my life back on earth.

Now, after studying the second coming of Christ, I know that Jesus will not be removing us from the coming trials. This doesn't scare me like it used to. In fact, it excites me. Ephesians 3:10-13 says "His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory."

Take notice of the words "through the church" because Art Katz pointed at those words to highlight that WE as a people will fulfill what God has made creation for. He put together this whole world, allowed it to develop its own system and autonomy, so that God's system and authority would be contrasted with it. That his truth and worldview would be gleaming and bright against the backdrop of this dark and perverse world system. And that "through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known" to the world, to the spirit world, to all creation. We are the instruments of his song on this earth, as I said in my previous post, and it will be heard everywhere.

Mr. Katz (not Harry) also conjectures that the second coming isn't just a chronological date but it may be a time set up based on what the church is doing. That if there is to be a second coming it won't come until the church has fulfilled its purposes. So HOW MUCH MORE should that encourage us to haste the coming of our Lord! Our obedience in This Generation can bring about the end (thank God) and usher in the Kingdom of Heaven in actuality, not just in spirituality. His call to the church has been the same throughout man's history, so why not continue it with the same urgency as our past brothers and sisiters.

I'm really excited by all this and I am more motivated than ever to not waste the time I have been allotted. If in my lifetime we all end up martyred for our faith in the United States, praise God! But failing that, there are countries in this world where it is already illegal to do the things we do. Let us imagine we are there, serving with those brothers and sisters, and give our lives an urgency that will make us faithful to our father. And if God directs us, let us actually go to those places!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Crucified with Christ

(The Message) Galatians 19-21What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

Here we are. Lowly Christians. Thinking we are something great, or worse, thinking we are supposed to be something great. I am a wretch! I am nothing! I am dust! Oh, God remind me of that daily. You are sovereign. You are HOLY! You are the all seeing, all knowing, all powerful, almighty GOD! Why do I presume to know anything, to see anything, to have control at all?

I plead with you God, come down! Come down and wash away this apathetic nature rooted so deeply in me. Wash away the disgusting garment of complacency that I wear. Come down and eliminate my need for the approval of men! The need for the gratitude of friends. The need for their praise and admiration over my love for you!

Grace us with a "called out-ness" like never before Lord. Father fill us with a need to separate ourselves from this world system. Father break us of our old ways, our old attitudes. Father make us so like you that Jesus is the only one we're even close to resembling. Abba, daddy I am lost in a sea of sin and I've known you and I miss you. I miss your presence Lord, so much that I'm crying right now to feel it again. I miss the beauty of your awesome love filling every word of my mouth. Abba! Abba! WE NEED YOU!


Because these are the last days. These are the last of the last days. The end has been near for 2,000 years and just as Art Katz said, if the disciples lived as though the end was immanent then HOW MUCH MORE should we?

We are on the cusp of needing every verse we've memorized, on the brink of needing every bill paid in full, on the edge of detaching from this world system in order to survive.

I admit I sound absolutely crazy right now. I think this is quite silly. But listen, what else is going to motivate you? What else is going to motivate me? Nothing but the immanence of God's kingdom. IT'S AT HAND! Jesus preached that everywhere. And we are to repeat this cry. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, repent and be saved!

Therfore, we are to live as though we are crucified with Christ. It is entirely necessary in the day we are in. Our lives are not our own and yet we live like they are. God is gracious to bless us with prosperity, jobs, houses, cars, but we need to be faithful to live for His Kingdom, not our own. With our actions, decisions and lives, not just our thoughts, words, and hearts.

The internal cry is LIFE ABUNDANT (John 10:10) eternal life (John 3:16) because to live is Christ and to die is gain. That internal cry needs to become an external action that moves us, that forces us to be a called out people. TO BE A CHURCH! With all our might! With all our strength, with all our earthly wealth.

What does this look like?

Practically speaking: make new decisions. Consider what you have now, what things aren't necessary? What can be removed? What can be changed quickly? What can be changed over 5 years? Getting out of debt? Moving to a smaller house? Selling some of your junk or luxeries?

Also, what should you be doing to prepare? Memorize scripture! So fill your heart with God's word that it sustains you when your bible is illegal.

All of this is very radical talk but I don't think it's too radical as to not be practical. I'm not saying the end is in 1 year, or even 10. But wouldn't it be nice to be prepared? God is motivating his people.

We are the instruments of his song on this earth. The tools of his harvest in this world. Let us not be dull or out of tune, but FULLY READY to proclaim, shout, and magnify the cry coming from the Holy Spirit now. Repent and be baptized for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!


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Friday, June 20, 2008

Quit hanging out at the gate!

Matt 7:13-14
13"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

7Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

The way to Heaven is a narrow way. The door to the Kingdom of Heaven is a narrow gate. Jesus states plainly that he is the gate and that all must enter through Him.

Well, last night I clearly heard God saying to me "Quit hangin' out at the gate!" Meaning, "Quit sitting there where you first came to know Christ, and ENTER the Kingdom of Heaven."

No more excuses, no more half-surrender, no more verbal submission. Only proclamations, full-surrender, physical submission, complete laying down of my life.


Ask, Seek, Knock.

I ask the Spirit to guide me
I seek Jesus and the narrow way He set for us in his teachings and life.
I knock on the door of heaven until it's open so wide it's hitting the wall it's hanging on.

All I am, Jesus, for your Kingdom's cause.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What is Revival? (John Piper's words)

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When I pray for revival my first prayer is Lord pour out your spirit in such a way that your people desire Christ more than they desire anything. Pour out your spirit in such a way that we are disentangled from the world and radically devoted and full of allegiance to Jesus more than we want anything in this world (a wedding, retirement, a child, a new job). Make us Love you Father, that's revival. Revival is not first miracles, like gifts of healing, it's not first prophetic utterances, it's not first speaking in tongues as precious as those things are. Revival is first a white hot love for Jesus Christ. That makes you ready to die gladly at any moment. And leave EVERYTHING behind for the surpassing worth of gaining Christ, that's revival.

It is possible to love the gift of healing and to love health more than we love going to be with Christ. It is possible to have the gift of prophecy and to have it and crave pornography more than we crave the second coming. It is possible to speak in tongues and to love your gold rings and your $1200 suits and your $40,000 cars more than you love the gain of death. Therefore never is it first those things in praying for revival, it's always first take out the heart of stone and make it a heart of flesh so that we love Christ more than ANYTHING. That leaving everything here if we might just gain Christ would be all our joy, that's revival.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

God's Voice

In front of me is empty highway for miles and miles, 11:30pm. It's dark, save for the pool of light my headlights cast in front of me. For some reason, maybe the prompting of the Holy Spirit, maybe the intuition of the sensitive, I hear in my head "Pull over and pray." I debate, in my head and a little out loud whether or not I should, and then I do. I signal to no one that I'm moving from the left lane, to the right, from the right lane to the shoulder. I sit and pray for about 30 seconds until I feel silly, sitting alone on the highway, in the dark.

No cars behind, no cars in front, nothing but blackness and that pool of light.

I drive back into the right lane, signaling to no one. About 200 yards down the road, in the median, in total seclusion, headlights dead, inside lights off, a state trooper. "Wow" I say, "Wow, God so that's what you sound like? I've always known your voice, but I don't think I thought it was yours."

This taught me a couple things. 1. Obey the traffic laws no matter what time of night it is. 2. And more importantly, listen for the prompting of the Spirit. Also, I like the spiritual picture of a dark highway with only headlights as vision. The path that God puts us on often times is a journey of obedience, with only the next step in sight. Whereas the path we try to get ourselves on is one where we can see for miles and know every turn ahead. How boring that is!

Knowing God's voice is the main lesson and the main goal of any believer. To hear it when you're on the street talking to a homeless person. To hear it when you're talking to a friend, when you're in line at a store, when you're alone in your car. When you're reading your bible. God gives us a taste of his presence and a whiff of his scent so we know he's near and we know what turn is next.

This morning during prayer we discovered through Chris Bressoud's insights that following God really is pretty simple. Like a tree our job is simply to soak in the illumination, the sunlight, of the Word and drink in the water of the Spirit. By being, not doing, we bear fruit. Of course we will be doing things left and right when we first seek the kingdom and God's teachings. But it's not our doing that makes us BE the way God intends us to be. It's our being that moves us to do what God is prompting.

Therefore, wait, watch, listen, and read. Mix this with obedience. You'll grow and bear fruit.

God bless.