Saturday, June 18, 2016
Saturday, October 25, 2014
For a long while now I have come to loathe the word "revival". I know it's just a word, and we mean it for good, yet why would we speak of the past when we really mean, and really need the future? Why would I speak of being dead when that is all "I" have ever been?
To be revived means to be returned to life, or to be returned to a former state. It supposes first that "I" am either dead, or that my current status is somehow lacking from some time in the past. Do I remember some time that was somehow better with God? Am I yearning to return to a point in time that was spiritually more fulfilling? What about the God of the Bible suggests that this is the sort of relationship that I want with Him, or better yet, that He wants with me?
As one who is well steeped in American evangelical churching and it's notion of "revival", and particularly the conservative Southern variety, I can only hope in my heart of hearts that this is NOT what we really mean (or want) when we use this word. My historical picture of revival is a week-long series of church services conspicuous by the requirement that he who preaches be from the outside...a revivalist. You can keep that term as well. My heart wants nothing to do with it either.
God is speaking today, and loudly, that he wishes encounter. Real, personal, life-changing, Spirit-led encounter. You see, before I come to Jesus, I am dead in my sinful nature. Then when I open that door upon which Jesus knocks, I encounter all three persons of the trinity. Notably, being "saved" means a confirmation of my death, not a resurrection of MY life; rather a confirmation of the resurrection of the life of Jesus in me! The Spirit of Christ lives in me. Jesus mediates on my behalf to the greatest Father of all. I have no need to be revived thank-you-very-much. But I have an insatiable need for encounter.
"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you."
Encounter is about drawing nearer still. It says, "More of You God! I hunger and thirst for You!". Nowhere do I find or sense God telling his people to return to a former state of relationship with Him. Yes, His chosen nation wavered, wandered and wondered, but God's call wasn't for them to return to a previous state. It was always a call to return to intimate relationship, and to a relationship that would grow and blossom, and be able to handle the unlimited nature of His promise.
Well that promise lives in me and it need not be revived. The Promise seeks encounter. That's the new word.
Friday, March 07, 2014
In the New Testament we learn that, as believers, we are a royal priesthood. As a priest, our one "career" is to minister to God. As part of the King's royal family, we enjoy unfettered access to the throne room and His presence.
We can enter into the presence of the King at ANY moment, without being summoned. Christ finished this work on the cross! I need not ask permission to enter, I need not examine my own worthiness, because there is no such thing. I am DECLARED worthy by the King. I may ALWAYS enter in...to minister to Him, for that is my "career" as His priest.
"Boldly approach the throne of grace..."
Here's a great piece of news. God decides the "how" of my ministry to Him. So in worship, I may boldly approach to receive my assignment from the King of Glory! He is, after all, the audience of One.
Monday, July 15, 2013
-- Isaiah 32:1-4 NLT
I have been reading a multi-thousand-page series of fictional novels about a mythical medieval land that has been rocked by a murdered king and all of the machinations surrounding the struggle to sit upon that vacant throne. This event threw the land into a chaotic situation where five claimant kings vie for power. In the current book, one king, the only king who truly has a right to the throne, is on the move and he is intent on claiming what is rightfully his. City by city he begins to conquer, win over or cajole the major lords and chieftans as he sweeps toward the seat of power.
There is also a wave in our world today that is bringing the people of the Earth in line with the one true king who has the only rightful claim to the throne of our hearts as well as the throne of His creation. Jesus Christ is his name.
As the mythical king goes from conquest to conquest, his army forms up around him, and he sends scouts to see what the enemy might have in the way of numbers and armament and provisions. The scouts can also detect any sympathies that the local population may have to the rightful king, to see if they might side with him in the battle to come. In victory these sympathizers will be rewarded.
So it is with our King Jesus. There are no questions about the Enemy however. Jesus knows him intimately. But the Holy Spirit scouts the land and searches for people who are sensitive to Him, who want more of Him, who will surrender to Him, and who are willing to engage in the fight WITH Him. His glory will pour out on His true followers.
"[U]ntil at last the Spirit is poured out on us from heaven. Then the wilderness will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops. Justice will rule in the wilderness and righteousness in the fertile field. And this righteousness will bring peace. Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in safety, quietly at home. They will be at rest."
-- Isaiah 32:15-18 NLT
Make no mistake, the King is coming! The question to answer is whether we will be standing with Him, or standing idly by as others join in with Him for His glory.
Monday, March 18, 2013
Thursday, March 07, 2013
The main character takes his 12 year old son to the "city" for the rite of passage of becoming a man, and to hear the "assignments" from their liege lord for the coming year. You see, this man is apparently some sort of soldier for hire.
On their journey to the city, they have made camp and recline by the fire to rest for the night. The father begins a conversation with his son which I found intriguing.
"Are you ready to receive your arm ring and become a man?"
"And what does a man do?"
"He looks after his family."
From the mind of a 12 year old comes his picture of manhood; a picture he has painted primarily from watching his father. It occurs to me that our world today is not so different. We men demonstrate manhood to our sons by our actions every day. We teach them to fight, but for what? We fight, sometimes physically, sometimes politically, sometimes emotionally, or we fight in our dedication to things. For things like cars or sports teams or clothes or whatever the toy of the day might be. We teach them to fight on behalf of their flesh. But do we teach them the value of their heart? That their heart is worth fighting for? Jesus thought my heart was worth fighting for or he would never have come.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. -- John 10:10 ESV
An abundant life begins in the heart.
This passage in John 10 speaks about how the Good Shepherd fights for his sheep. Jesus fought and died for your heart. For your son's heart to be in Christ, that is certainly something worth fighting for.
Friday, January 18, 2013
"Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from before your birth,
carried from the womb;
even to your old age I am he,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save."
Before we were knit in our mother's womb, He carried us.
When we broke forth into the light of this world, He carried us.
Day by day, even as we believe that we carry ourselves, He carries us.
As our eyes begin to grow dim, He will carry us.
When our Earthly time is done, He will carry us -- AWAY!