Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Revival Hymn

A gripping compilation...and a little insight into what God has been pressing upon my heart...

The Revival Hymn (35 Minutes)

My eyes fill with tears, my skin crawls with goosebumps - I get chills up and down my spine. I sit in wonder at the conviction and truth of this message...I struggle to find the conviction in my own actions to take it up with all reckless abandon. Isn't that the point? To follow Jesus with complete and total reckless abandon?
Matthew 16:25-27
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
I don't so much believe in a "revival of the church" in I do know full well there must be a revival in the hearts of every so called "Christian". The truth is - the church is toothless and ineffective, and the change must start individually...

I pray that for any readers...and you can pray that for me. Reckless abandon to be a Jesus Freak. No more Six Flags Over Jesus.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Self Help Suicide of the Church

Take a look at some of items on the current list of best selling "Christian" books...

The Power of Simple Prayer - "Our prayers are to show our connection to Him, our need for His grace, mercy and blessings. The Power of Simple Prayer can take you to a new level in your relationship with God."

Facing Your Giants - "Let God turn your stumbles into miracles! This blend of biblical truths with everyday examples will help you stare down life’s obstacles with faith."

The Confident Woman - "Discover the keys to becoming a woman who knows she’s loved and refuses to live in fear. Joyce Meyer examines the myth of female meekness and unlocks the power of confident action, love without reservation and sharing God’s grace with courage and conviction."

How to Hear From God - "Learn to recognize God’s voice guiding you in all the details of your life, bringing you closer to Spirit-led abundance as you walk in the fullness of His plan."

Look Great, Feel Great - "From health tips to biblical views on personal care—physical and spiritual—this is one book that will give you a makeover from the inside out!"

The Purpose Driven Life - "This biblically based program guides you on a 40-day spiritual journey to God’s purpose for you, reducing your stress, simplifying your decisions and preparing you for eternity."

Cure for the Common Life - "Experience the 'uncommon' and fulfilling life God intends for you with practical tools for exploring and identifying your own uniqueness."

Becoming a Woman of Freedom - "...will help you identify and lay aside the burdens that can make you feel "stuck" including past hurt and loss, poor self-image, approval seeking, busyness, doubt and fear, and unhealthy influences."

Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival - "Do you feel 'stuck' in your spiritual journey? Are you ready to set sail for personal revival? You'll be renewed and revitalized as you explore topics including honesty, humility, repentance, grace, obedience, and others."

Do you see an alarming pattern here? A few things come to my mind that make me sick to my stomach for the modern day "church". The church is committing massive self prescribed, pastor approved and church condoned Spiritual self help suicide and fleecing the pockets of many, many authors that are only too eager to turn a buck on this massively out of control church identity crisis.

Look at the life of Jesus...and the Apostles. Look at the Spiritual and Biblical giants throughout Christian history (Tozer, Spurgeon, CT Studd, etc.) Do you think they cared a rip about self actualization? About self-help? About reduced stress? Come ON do you think THEY lived their lives? They lived in the extreme of faith, violently pursuing Jesus, aggressively serving others and seeking to save the lost!

Put this into did Jesus, the Apostles and the foundational church of the book of Acts survive without modern day self help Christian books? Can you imagine Paul in prison (or David preparing for battle) reading "Facing Your Giants"? How about Queen Esther pouring over "Becoming a Woman of Freedom"? Maybe Job reading through "Cure for the Common Life" as he faces all his challenges?

Through scripture...ask Paul about his an Apostle and as a martyr.

When did the Holy Scriptures stop being sufficient enough for our lives as believers? Don't get me wrong, there are many, many great books out there. Many outstanding books on Apologetics, studying scripture, etc. Certainly NOT any books about self improvement, self actualization or religious psycho babble.
1 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

1 John 2:3-6
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
That breaths a pretty huge, black and white perspective into the situation doesn't it? Kind of tells me that I better read the Bible so I can know it's commands, know it's standards so I don't "fail the test". So I know who I am to be in Christ, and who He is in me, so I know who God is, what He expects of me. Not some book, by some author making money on my own pitiable desire to feel better about myself and my circumstances.

This "me" generation in the church however is almost certainly for the most part not saved...else would it look so much like the modern day world with it's demanding drive to have everything right and to be everything, to be liked by everyone else inside and outside of the church? Would the divorce rate in the church exceed the divorce rate in the secular world? Would the abortion rate in the church match the abortion rate in the outside world? Teen the church? Backbiting? Church splits? Seeker sensitive and watered down messages?
John 15:19
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
Does the world hate you? It should...and I'm not talking about whining because the nativity scene has been banned from the city park. When you step out and start speaking about Jesus - you'll know. Ever been threatened with or actually arrested for witnessing in public? Ever had someone storm away throwing a tract in the air and cursing your name?
1 Peter 4:12-19
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And,
"If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"
So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

Examine yourself and tell me...why, please tell me WHY the church, pastors and these authors even BEGIN to's necessary that we look, feel and act all polished and that we've got it all together. Then tell me why they tell us it's OK to think that way?

Think about who killed Jesus. It wasn't the was THE CHURCH. Think about why they killed him (in the natural realm). Because he called them to task. The pharisees and hypocrites of his day. Do you think there's any reason why the majority of what calls itself the contemporary church is any different?

When you take up your cross, when you lose your life to find it for Him, when you set out to seek and to save that which is lost, when you bring NOT peace but a sword - your life becomes nothing, your personal feelings and self worth no longer matter!

The souls and eternal destination of the damned is what matters.

Self help books have no meaning in this context. Self help books are for the pharisees and hypocrites of this day, because just as then, they are still self absorbed, self seeking, luke warm and will be spewed out.

Does that make you burn? Got some angst about what I pointed out? Examine your response in light of scripture.

I don't have all the answers, rest assured the answers can be found in the "Gospel writ in burnished rows of steel". Examine it, seek it, find it...change the world because of it. Don't expect that your life will be changed to something "easier", "better", "less stressful" or somehow "perfected" because of it.

Quit looking at your own life through your own perceptions and feelings...look at others through the eyes of Jesus and you'll forget about your own "troubles".

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sowing Seeds at DIA

My daughter returned from her five week missions trip to China last night (with TwentyFourSeven Leadership Academy)...the flight was scheduled to arrive at DIA at 7:22pm. We figured why not arrive early because DIA is just as full of lost people as any other place...and most are just standing around and WAITING with nothing else to we arrived at 5pm.

It's amazing how we both still struggle with that hideous fear thing that is born out of our fear of man! Compassion beat out fear and the conversations started.

I'm amazed at the way God has answered my prayers about my fears several times when I've been out witnessing. The first two people I talked to last night were soundly saved...and didn't take offense at me asking pretty direct and probing questions about their salvation. Dick is from Colorado Springs and goes to Village Seven Presbyterian...his daughter is a missionary to Ireland. Roosevelt is an accountant for some church off Jet Wing and at least had the "right answers".

I've lost count of the number of times God has calmed my fears and helped me out of my comfort zone by bringing a believer to me first on several witnessing outings. Thank you Lord.

I talked to quite a few people last night and I got shot down very soundly twice. One guy was working behind the counter at Hertz, the other guy was a security guard just standing around. I offered both of them $1 million bills...asking them the million dollar question. The security guard just shook his head and wouldn't even speak, it was kind of weird and awkward. The Hertz guy was not very entertained by the question but answered "Heaven"...and he was clearly agitated (he actually started lightly banging his computer mouse on the counter top). I asked him why he answered "Heaven" and he said "I can't answer that right now" and would not accept the $1 million bill. I thanked him and walked away...fully expecting that he'd call security and I'd be answering to them (and witnessing to them) any minute.

That's when I walked around to the baggage claim area and had an amazing 15 minute conversation with a guy from Senegal. My first ever conversation with a Muslim...he's a Muslim because his family has been for generation after generation. And it was awesome! I thank Ray Comfort for all that I've learned about Biblical Evangelism and I appreciate his heart in that regard, but when it comes to reaching people with black and white logical and reasoned responses and evidences for the TRUTH I have to thank Mark Cahill. If you have not read "One Thing You Can't Do In Heaven" AND "One Heart Beat Away" - get copies and read them ASAP.

He now has a good understanding of God's moral law, judgment and GRACE. He was so open and honest...and he desires to know the TRUTH, because it doesn't matter what anyone "believes". The ONLY thing that matters is the truth! He even gave me his email address because he wants to KNOW the truth but he had to get back to work (baggage handler).

I had a very fun moment too...who knows, it might even have an eternal consequence. I was standing there waiting for God to point the next person out to me. I was watching people coming through the arrival area at DIA (near the fountains)...and I see this couple, I was like "Wait a minute...I know who that is!".

I walked up behind this guy and say "Mr. Dobson?" He turns around and I say (handing him a $1 million)..."Thanks a million for all that you do". I turn to his wife and say "And here Mrs Shirley (not sure why I didn't say "Mrs Dobson")'s a million for you too." James Dobson looks at the $1 million with a beaming smile on his face and says..."Well goodness...thank you very much." Looks at my pocket and sees my wad of millions hanging out and says "Looks like you have plenty to give out!". I said "Thanks again" and turned and walked away. I turned back to see them walking away and checking out the million dollar bills.

My daughter's flight delays stacked up...and the flight ended up being an hour and a half hour and a half of divine intervention...

And then there was Damien. I sat down next to him and started talking about waiting at the airport...some chit chat. He said that he had been to Malaysia a few years back and his friends were Muslims. I hadn't even taken the conversation in a spiritual direction yet. I prodded him with the "So do YOU have much of a Spiritual background?" He was somewhat agnostic...had grown up in the Catholic church, typical dead religion story now out in the world trying to figure things out.

We got rolling into the conversation, talking about the moral law, judgment, grace. He admits to me "Man, when you sat down and started talking I was saying to myself 'oh man, I just want to sit here by myself'....but now I'm really into this conversation". He also asked me toward the end of the conversation, very honestly and candidly..."So out of all these people in the airport - why did you come and talk to me? What made you think I was going to hell?" I told's not like he's got a flashing neon sign over his head...flashing in bright red letters "Hell". I explained that if there's even the slightest chance of anyone going to hell, I'm motivated out of my concern for their eternal destiny to speak to them about the truth. So I try to engage as many people in that simple conversation as possible. I had tears in my eyes...he was definitely moved by that.

We talked for a good 20 minutes until my daughter's flight arrived - and I feel guilty for leaving at that time, my daughter is saved, Damien isn't and she certainly would understand that. Damien and I also talked about the fact that the only thing that matters is the TRUTH. The Holy Spirit has Damien's wheels turning.

I just wanted to share the DIA experience last night.

BTW - Pray for Dany (my wife)...she talked to quite a few people last night and left them with tracts, but she's having a real battle with directing the conversation to eternal matters. She knows full well it's first an issue of obedience and then an issue of compassion - but fear has been winning and she's getting pretty beat up about it.