How is everyone tonight? Good to be back. Missed being with all of you. I was praying for you all on the plane to Seattle as we traveled there, and on the boat sitting in Victoria British Columbia at the end of our trip. It was nice for my wife and I to get away together, along with Barb’s Sister Janet and a couple other close friends.
Above all, it was awesome to see God’s creation in its full majesty in the States of Washington and Alaska. Unfettered and untouched wilderness watching wildlife that is free to fly, swim, and roam in that great expense of land in the northwest.
There was such a peace in that sight of creation. And yes there are wolves, bears, and cougars on the ground, eagles and hawks in the air, and killer whales in the sea in the mix out there, that is the reality of current life, but from what we saw there was really relaxing, even when it was raining. It rained in Ketchikan, Alaska when we were visiting the Lindseth’s who live there, but it was so relaxing, and good to see Stephanie and the two boys, while Tim was out on a boat hauling a crane to some island. Tim was on staff with me at Prayer House for you that don’t know.
When looking at God’s peaceful creation that we were immersed in, sitting on the boat I thought of what God intended for us. Through creation, in the beginning, there was a plan for complete perfect beauty and liberty that man was intended to capture and have dominion over on this earth, but we know what happened, the fall.
But even after the fall, God still gives us glimpses of that beautiful past in the present, and a look at the future. A future when the earth will have perfection again, and we who believe, will reign with Christ forever being able to experience that beauty, the liberty, and the majesty of God’s creation into eternity.
A place that will never change because of decay, because death and decay will both be thrown into the fire to be burned up, and only the Glory of the Lord will be present for us to gaze upon.
That should cause the eyes of our heart to be fixed on Jesus and yearn for those days when death will no longer have dominion over this earth, and those that dwell here. Amen!
To get back to the ship and my additional thoughts there. Much of my time was sitting on the back of the boat looking at mountains, and glaciers, and wildlife. Humpback whales, eagles, otters, and so on. The sun set after 10pm later farther north.
When sitting on the back of the boat while we were cruising out of Glacier Bay, I saw whole bunch of sea otters. They were swimming and floating and playing, without a care in the world, sometimes looking up at the boat as we sailed by, and it brought me to think about us again. Us here at the Furnace and just Believers in general. Those little otters could represent us in some ways.
They live in a world of abundance, but don’t abuse that abundance. They are well cared for; you can see it. God looks down on them too. He takes care of them. Look at Matthew 6:26, God takes care of the birds and everything else.
Yes, there are things in the murky deep that could affect those otter’s lives, but the Lord has given them the ability to escape those things. Otters are highly intelligent; they have a high sense of danger to escape. And most of all, Otters are important to the ecosystem around them.
They are actually called a keystone species, because of their large effect on the environment. Without keystone species like the Otter, the ecosystem they live in would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether per those that study them. Wolves are actually a keystone species. They brought balance to Yellowstone National Park when they were re-introduced.
Concerning us as Sons and Daughters of God, without us, the world around us would be dramatically different or cease to exist at all. History has shown that, over and over again. Yes, there are murky things out there (pointing outside), that could affect our lives, but the Lord has given us the ability to escape those things.
He’s called the Holy Spirit. When you are in tune with Him, He will lead you down right paths.
The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3 speaks of Spiritual strength and where it comes from. Not from us, but from the Father to us when we humbly receive it, and because of the strength that we receive, causes us according to the power at work in us received from Him are able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. There is a lot to that, but in this instance, we see the awareness we have in the Spirit.
We have the Word of God, and the Spirit of God, to guide us and give us Spiritual sense to discern and move away from lurking darkness.
That is our intelligence. The Spirit and the Word of God. There is nothing that we can conjure up within ourselves that would compare. Isn’t it funny that animals can sense when a storm is coming, or my dog knows when I don’t feel good or I am sad? That comes from God. He gives us that and much more.
Just as otters are a keystone species for the waters of Alaska, we are the keystone species for the whole earth. It is our responsibility to keep it in balance.
We have been pre-ordained to walk in the fullness that comes from Christ to keep that balance not only in our lives but for everyone and everything else on this earth.
Balance comes by what Alyssa spoke about last week.
All things begin with God; all things are for Him.
We were created to love God, know God, and serve God because of love and knowledge of God we receive in His Presence.
We were created to give God glory and honor. Our lives are to be the Glory of God. We are to give Him our adoration through our living and our exaltation of Him above all creation. We worship, and come into a position of humility, and freely receive all that God wants to give us.
Our lives then just serve, because our nature is the nature of God. Because He loves us, and wants the best for us.
Our nature will only be transformed in the cloud of His presence. In His Presence there is no compelling to love God or His people, it is a natural attribute received from God. We are consumed in His love, so we love back.
We can have the knowledge of God because of His Word, but to be about the Spirit of God only comes from being in His Presence. The Old Testament Prophets walked in supernatural faith because of the Presence, and we see in the New Testament too. Believers in Christ doing the miraculous because they knew their God through Christ because of relationship with Him. It’s all about relationship.
We are to be people of His Presence. When you live the Presence, and love the Lord God with everything that you have, everything you are about comes into balance. As we can see, we are an imbalanced people. The church is out of balance as a whole. Program cannot trump relationship. Nor can it trump unbridled worship and prayer.
Heaven is Balance, Heaven is perfection, why because the Glory of God is there. The Glory is in His Presence.
During King David’s reign, Israel lived in prosperity and balance at least for a time because the Political as well as the Spiritual leadership of the nation lived in a relationship with God in the Presence of God. The Tabernacle was the focal point, because God was there. His presence was there. His Glory was there.
Even though the Spirit of the Lord left the Temple in Ezekiel 10, the Spirit the Lord came back and this time into man in Acts 2. Balance came back. It existed in the church, through the people. And we see this in Acts 2.
Act 2:43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done
The Gifts of the Spirit were in full operation through God’s people. Restoration.
Act 2:44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.
There was no division, the people were one people. A true community.
Act 2:45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
Pure Religion was taking place, not man made, and to the point that no one had need.
Act 2:46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
Again, one community, and they were happy, glad, generous. All this lacking today. Wow! (Seattle) And I would believe that if someone came from another community, they were welcomed in as one of their own in the new, a true union of heart because the church was a generous people. All because they lived in the Presence, and the knowledge and the love of God was in them. It wasn’t about them. It was about God.
Act 2:47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
The people because of their lives, had influence with others, and here it says with all the people.
These people lived a balanced life in Christ and He gave them favor.
I was reading a post by James Goll this morning. He is a excellent author and considered a Prophet to the Church, and he posted this morning:
“Your life as a Christian should make others question their disbelief in God.”
That was played out in the Acts 2 church. They were balanced in all respects because of relationship.
This union of people was because of their believe in Jesus Christ, but it all started because they did what Jesus did.
By having union with the Father, and together in the Upper Room, began their journey to connect with the Presence as Jesus did, to know the Father’s heart, to give him Glory with not only their mouths and minister to Him, but to be His hands and feet, “to bring good news to the poor; ….to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; and to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor.”
I was thinking about all of this on that boat, and it brought me back to the vision of why this church was planted. And it comes from these verses and chapters:
From Isaiah Chapter 56, where the Lord speaks of the salvation of non-Jews, He says about us:
Isa 56:5, ”I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.
6 “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him,to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants,
(we have been called to minister to the Lord, to love the name of the Lord, and be His servants. I believe Alyssa implied that last week. But this kind of goes against the model of the church today doesn’t it? God says minister to me. Wow! So it’s not about numbers, it’s not about programs, it’s not about structured timed worship directed at people, it’s all about God.)
RememberAct 2:47,“And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” We minister to God; He supplies the increase.
everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant—
Isaiah 56:7, “Even those I will bring to My holy mountain. And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” Or in some versions, a house of prayer for all nations.
This Furnace will be a House of Prayer to minister to God, to love His name, to love His Son, and be His servants. That is what God intended, and that is what we will do. Another verse:
Matthew 11:12, "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”
We will be fervent intercessors for the people. What we have received from the Lord from His Presence in the Spirit, we will cry out day and night as Watchmen over this city and beyond to bring justice and restoration to the people. We well know as we minister to the Lord, He reveals His mysteries to us, His inner workings of revival and awakenings, and restoration, but we as His people must be focused on Him to receive these revelations. Then speak those revelations to rip individuals and groups of people out of the hand of the enemy.
And lastly, from Isaiah 61, which Jesus speaks forth in Luke 4.
Luke 4:18-19, ““The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
It will be our responsibility because of the unction of Holy Spirit to move out to be Jesus to the people because the Presence of the Lord provokes us to do so. But we do not move until we are moved by the Spirit to do it.
We will not be the church of the program; we’re going to be the church of the Presence.
And this will be hard for some people, because the church is so works oriented. Our so called work, or calling is to minister to the Lord first, then everything falls into place afterward. Our hearts must be readjusted to a focus on our Father in Heaven. Jesus’ heart was always focused in the presence of the Father. That was His first focus daily, ministry came afterward as He came upon the people. That has always been the model for His people for His church. Commandment number 1. “You shall have no other God before me.” Period. “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart soul mind and strength.”
That is why this church is not the church for everyone. As a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, we will minister to the Lord first. The Lord will ordain the time for other ministry by the church as a whole. He will open those doors, and those doors will be opened in the areas we influence. But that does not keep us from personal ministry to bring restoration others. We will not wait for the church to act. We must do what we are prompted to do by the Spirit.
Yes, part of the vision for The Furnace is a Dream Center where people’s needs are met in many different ways. But the Jesus’ heart was that His Church would be the church not of a building, but be the Ecclesia as He called it, the called out ones, the elected, the chosen. The ones who will have impact in the market place, the ones who will be among the people showing them the Kingdom.
Our mission is to bring the Presence to the people. People who are in need in so many ways who will be attracted to those who carry the Presence. Be like Jesus who was the Presence.
People ran to Him. And even today, the Holy Spirit directs hurting people to the Presence. Because we who speak the language of Angels, who carry the Presence, who believe in what Jesus said, have an ability that comes directly from Heaven to set the captives free.
I may have said this before, but it is so in my mind. I have told the Lord that I want to be reborn again. I want to be reborn back into His Word of truth, His teachings, His lifestyle, and His pursuit of the Father. I want to cast off any of man’s teachings and directions and any box that I have been put in by them or myself that has kept me from seeing Him clearly and having true understanding of the culture He wants me to live in to know Him, and serve Him.
And I want us to live and breathe that culture that He has established. The vision that He gave me for this ministry will only happen if it is His ministry and not mine or anyone else’s.
This church has been established to change the religious culture of this region into being a witness culture for Jesus Christ. To expose the Kingdom of God to people so they will be healed and restored. But above all, that they would fall in love with Jesus and see the Father and know the Father as He wishes to be known to give Him glory and to minister to Him as He is worthy of.
The Furnace is to be a Witness Culture for the Region, because we live a Kingdom Culture established by God through Jesus Christ, and we will be people of the Presence. Our focus especially when we gather will about allowing his presence to consume us here, so we take him out there to change the atmosphere where ever we go.
I’d like to point out that our Prayer Room is open on Wednesday Nights where our focus is on getting into His Presence, and if spontaneous prayer breaks out, that’s cool too.
Friday Nights our Prayer Room is open for youth. High School, College, and other millennials. We want to make it a night where that age group can worship and pray together to meet with the Father in Spirit and truth.
Our Prayer Room is not just for the Furnace; it is for all of the Church of Jesus Christ to participate in.
I’d like to end this preaching time in prayer so we will focus on allowing the Spirit of God to continue to do what He wants to do tonight. Alyssa will continue in Worship and you can get out and move around, come up here, stay where you are or sit in the back, but let’s allow the Spirit to come in and do what He wants to do. If you need prayer we’ll be off to the side and pray for you.
Father in heaven, we invite your presence here now. Like in the days of old when you descended on the Tabernacle. Descend here. Consume us here in your Glory. We give you praise and honor now. We glorify your name and invite you in. We are in no rush. Your Sons and Daughters cry out to you to be in Your presence. Come now oh Lord, come now.