As we begin a new season here at The Furnace with the soon ending of Summer, I would like to lay out the next quarter of ministry here.
Looking at the next quarter, we will be starting up our Prayer Room with Sunday Night Worship & Intercession beginning September 9th at 6pm. Our prayers will target Kenosha and the surrounding areas with intercession, and we will worship the Lord and minister to Him. On Sunday evenings we hope to partner with other ministries to pray and worship together as the Prayer Room is a Community place of prayer for anyone who would like pray here. Amen!
On Wednesday Evenings beginning the first Wednesday in October, we will have a time of prayer, but it will lead into a Study that will be associated with the Vision of this Church. Why the church was started, and the steps biblically as to what God has visioned us to do to fulfill what he wants done in here. So it’s kind of vision casting, but biblically based for the vision.
Friday Night Burn is what we are calling the Prayer Room on Friday Nights. Alyssa will lead Gen Y & Z 16 to 30’s in intercession and worship those nights beginning at 8pm.
Friday evenings will lead us to fulfill some of the prophecy over The Furnace to reach Millennials, and younger with the Gospel and Disciple them to be lifelong followers of Jesus Christ but also be a catalyst to reach their peers as we look forward to a great end times revival.
Saturdays will remain the same as it is our weekly church service, but we are looking at another evening to possibly have another night the Prayer Room will be open. The Prayer Room is part of our church mandate from Matthew 21 to be a House of Prayer, and we are going to be that.
Worship and prayer leads to intimacy with God, and that always leads to greater things for us personally, as well as the ministry focus of the church.
And moving along, tonight I would like to look at the top priority of The Furnace. I spoke about prayer, and it is a priority, but the first priority is to Ministry to the Lord. We are a House of Prayer, it’s in our name, it is what we have been called to do; to intercede and more, but we have been created to teach and lead in the Worship of the Lord. Above all else that we do as a church and as a ministry, this will be preeminent. We are worshippers and we will worship.
Being 60 years old, and growing up in the church, being exposed to many churches and denominations and fellowships of all types and sizes, I have found that the church has basically cloned itself into being a manmade institution. It has programmed itself to death to follow a model of some sorts and created its own traditions. The Holy Spirit has been sidelined, when He should be in the forefront as He is God, and we as His people should be in community with Him which has not seemed to be the case for 100’s of years.
Only now in the past 25-30 or so years have you heard of churches and ministries who have shunned tradition to seek God in the power and majesty of His Holy Spirit to worship Him in the fullness that He has expected from us in the beginning. Worship comes before works.
As I have been seeking the Lord to about what He wants for this church to fulfill the vision, I have been reading His Word, and I happened to be reading in Matthew chapter 15 where Jesus had a confrontation with the Pharisees right after He healed a bunch of sick people.
Matthew 15:1, “Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”
The Pharisees made up this practice of washing their hands and added it to their law. Jesus tells them:
3, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”
6, “So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.
9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
See, Jesus didn’t have any sympathy with a manmade system that reduced religion to a slavery of outward appearance. “His new kingdom was in the heart, in loving son ship to God, and in faith. All outward observances had value only as expressions of the inner spirit.”
How is the inner spirit created into the divine order of the Kingdom? Easy answer, intimacy with God. Loving God in the first order by knowing Him, and knowing Him by worshipping Him, and being in His presence.
Jesus also accused the Pharisees of putting their commandments on a level with the divine requirements of God’s Word. In doing so, it rendered all of Israel’s worship to be in vain.
The divine authority for what is commanded is greatly weakened when it is mixed up with what is purely human. We can’t mix. It is about God and God alone and nothing we would add in to help Him.
The traditional church today has now convoluted itself with program, and structure and it has lost its way to true Kingdom living and direction. As you can see, we are works oriented. We have to do things. We try to grow the church through works, even though the scripture that came to my mind was:
“Unless the Lord builds a house, the builders labor in vain.” Psalms 127:1
Traditions that have been built on for years which have become a standard, and some of that standard was not from God. It only takes a small amount of ingredient while baking to ruin the whole batch. Injecting our humanity into the things of God instead of injecting something from the Spirit, alters what God intended.
Man like the Pharisees have added on, and added on, and added on, thinking like God needs help. Well He doesn’t. We do. We need to ask again in the Spirit, “Lord! What is your way, what do you want?” Wait, and listen for the answer.
Church leadership needs to move away from the corporate ideals it has let in and move to commune with the Spirit to get direction from Him and not be afraid to do what the Spirit says.
The Spirit does not care if man does not like what He has to say. We are just to be obedient.
Be obedient and believe and you will grow not only in numbers, but spiritual power.
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
Jesus laid out the path for the church to prosper, and it began with Ministry to the Lord.
For us, we have to look back at the beginning of the church, after Jesus ascended into Heaven, when He told the church to wait for the Holy Spirit. So we read beginning in Acts Chapter 1:12, it says:
“Then they returned to Jerusalem (speaking of the Disciples) from the mount called Olivet, (where Jesus ascended) which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying,”
Acts 1:14,” All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. (the company of persons was in all about 120)
So we have the beginnings of the church, all together and praying in the upper room where they were waiting for the promise of the Holy Spirit. They waited 10 days. So for ten days they worshipped and prayed. I would believe that during that 10 days if they were not in the beginning, that by then they would be in one accord, wouldn’t they? So they pray and wait.
In Acts 2 after the wait, the promise comes, the coming of the Holy Spirit.
They worshipped, they prayed, and they waited. This seemed to be a model for the first church. Before you move, you worship, you pray, and wait for an answer. Where today, it appears we are really good at moving quickly because we don’t want to wait for anything. And I’m not just speaking about us personally, but as a church.
Being in ministry for over 30 years, and being in the church my whole life, I have seen it. When it comes to starting something new, could be a new program, new ministry, or a new church, the church has programed it to the nth degree. They know the cost, they have a book to read, what teaching is needed to create the perfect people for leadership. They even interview people who would be the best match because of their corporate skills.
Here is the church in Acts 13 and what they did.
There is a meeting in the church at Antioch, it had prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul. And it reads,
“While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Fasting and ministering to the Lord is not a quick event. They don’t say how long they ministered to the Lord and fasted, but fasting of this magnitude generally isn’t like they missed breakfast.
They were seeking God. During the process, they heard from the Holy Spirit. Did they jump up and send them off? No! They kept up ministering to the Lord and fasting, then they laid hands on them and sent them off. In verse 13:4, it says so, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went…” They were not sent out because they may fit the job, they were sent out after confirmation from the Holy Spirit.
Man did not lead this move of ministry by any means. It was the people of God in ministry to the Lord through worship and prayer and fasting that they heard from God.
That is the only way. That is the only way to be done here.
It’s unfortunate that we in the church think we have built a better model, but what has been lost is God first in all of the creation of everything ministry wise. In Genesis, the first thing we read is the Spirit of God hovering over the waters before anything begins. God already had a plan, and His Spirit went before Him to implement that plan.
Would we not think that God has a specific plan for us individually and as a church and that His plan is not cookie cutter by any means? Would not God come up with the ultimate plan for us directed by His Spirit?
Men and women have heard from God over the ages to do ministry; His way through the power of the Holy Spirit. Men and women seeking His heart in worship giving Him honor and glory connecting to Him and seeking direction, and waiting for the Spirits guidance. When God reveals, He will always make it grow, and prosper because it is created by His standards through His will by our obedience.
The 12 Disciples, and the rest of the 120 did it right in the beginning of Book of Acts. They prayed; they ministered to the Lord and waited. The word “prayer” used in Acts 1:14, where it says that “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer,” is the Greek word proseuchē (pros-yoo-khay').
The prefix pros would convey the sense of being immediately before Him. It means to look up. The rest of the word means to have a sense of adoration, devotion, and worship through the mouth, speaking out to God. Prayers or worship appealing to God for His presence adoring Him.
Proseuche (pros-yoo-khay') is the word used in “My House shall be called a House of Prayer. It’s to be a house of adoration, devotion, and worship that appeals to God for His Presence.
When you look at the word “prayer” used in Acts 1:24, where the disciples prayed to appoint a replacement for Judas, the word prayer is the Greek word Proseuchomai (pro-yoo-khamy) which is the prayer of submission, confession, petition, and intercession. You can see the difference there. Proseuchomai is when we pray prayers of intercession, or guidance or need. Where proseuchē (pros-yoo-khay') is us thanking God, and worship Him for who is.
Proseuchē (pros-yoo-khay') prayer is to minister to the Lord. That’s what the first church did, but that is what God has always intended. We see it when He established the priesthood with Aaron the brother of Moses, and we see it continuing throughout the Old Testament.
“Aaron who was Moses’ brother was set apart, he and his descendants forever, to consecrate the most holy things, to offer sacrifices before the LORD, to minister before him and to pronounce blessings in his name forever.” 1 Chronicles 23:13
Speaking of the Levites the priestly cast of Israel, God said “My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.” 2 Chronicles 29:11
King David was chief setting up 24/7 ministry to the Lord that has been spoken of many times before, that caused a season of time in Israel to be the most prosperous.
“And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of Jehovah, and to record, and to thank and praise Jehovah, the God of Israel: : 5 Asaph the chief, and next to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah, and Obed-edom. And Jeiel praised with instruments of harps and with lyres; and Asaph made a sound with cymbals.
6 Also Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests praised with trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God. 7 Then on that day David first delivered this psalm into the hand of Asaph and his brothers in order to thank Jehovah: 1Ch 16:8 Give thanks to Jehovah, call on His name, make known His deeds among the people.
9 Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him, talk of all His wondrous works. 10 Glory in His holy name, let the heart of those who seek Jehovah rejoice. 11 Seek Jehovah and His strength; seek His face continually.:12 Remember His marvelous works which He had done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,” 1 Chronicles 16-4-12
King David directed his kingdom to worship the Lord to thank Him, and give Him praise to minister back to the Lord as God had intended. Why, because King David was a worshipper and knew the heart of God.
In the Old Testament, ministering to the Lord was restricted to the priesthood. Yes, they did carry out their responsibility to offer sacrifices to the people. But those sacrifices were to honor God. It was a form of worship. Sacrifice was not only to cover sin, but to give Him recognition that he is God, and what He did for them. God commanded it, and in obedience they followed what God commanded. It was all worship.
God said, “My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me.” In Psalm 101:6. The blameless in heart, the pure will see God.
God had always intended for man to worship Him. We were created to give worship. We are worshippers. It is a part of our being. When we come to Christ and we receive the Holy Spirit, our hearts then yearn to know God. The Spirit is our connection. When Jesus said, “On earth as it is in Heaven” We have to think about our ministry to the Lord.
In the Apostle John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ, the idea of ministering seems to center around a constant recognition of the character and nature of God, from the angelic beings that proclaim His holiness, and His work of salvation, who in response bow down before the throne saying “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain”.
When reading Revelation Chapter 4, we read about the four living creatures who have eyes all about them with four faces, and four wings who cry day and night saying “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.” And whenever the creatures give glory and honor, there are 24 elders who wear crowns who sit on 24 thrones in the presence of Jesus who fall down and cast their crowns before Him and they say, “O Lord, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You created all things, and for Your will they are and were created.”
Revelation 5 reads of angels worshipping the Lamb of God, thousands and thousands, and thousand thousands.
They are saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
It’s all about worship. And there in heaven, its day and night worship.
The common thread here seems to be an awesome recognition of the greatness and majesty of the character of God and the recognition of His love for the people through His great acts.
Ministering to God should involve an obedient response to God’s character and work, or how worship itself may be defined: “The obedient response to the revealed nature, character, and work of God.”
As we worship God, we are ministering to Him. The more that we understand about who God is and what He has done, the more that we can allow Him to renew and remold our minds and our thinking.
God doesn’t need anything, I know we know that. So there is no real need for Him that we might possible meet. But God does have desires: He desires to have a relationship with us. He knows that the most satisfying relationship that meets our inmost needs is found in our recognition of who He is and our submission to the plan that He has for us.
When we view the Old testament, we may feel that, “well that was for the priests to did.” Well guess what? Because of Jesus and now the Spirit of God residing in us, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are now Priests to God.
1Corinthians 6:19 “do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,”
1Peter 2:5, “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Concerning our priesthood, we can look all the way back to Exodus 19:4. God had intended that all of His people were to be priests unto Him. And when speaking to Moses on Sinai, he told Moses to tell the people that.
Exodus 19:4, “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
Yes, God said that. But the Children of Israel blew it, so the Aaron and the Levites were only tasked to be priests. But we have come full circle with Jesus Christ. What God said to the children of Israel He has fulfilled in us.
As priests unto God, it is our responsibility to continue to minister unto the Lord, as His priests. We are to worship like they are doing in heaven right now.
Our worship, our ministry to Him who sits on the throne will not only draw us to know Him intimately, but through the Holy Spirit, we will receive personal revelation, corporate revelation, and it will lead to open doors in this ministry to actually do the work that he has called us to do.
Worship brings us into the Throne Room. Worship brings us close to God. Worship brings revelation. Worship brings faith for the impossible because we know God. Worship then opens up possibilities to realities of the greatness of God to be manifest in our lives that bring Him more glory, but frees us from ourselves to new life. Amen!
You may think, I don’t feel like I am a priest like the Apostle Peter said. Well we can. The priests of old had to consecrate themselves to the Lord. Then they could enter into His presence. Well we need to do that too. Daily. Daily we arise to new life. Daily we lay our lives down and pick up our cross and follow Jesus and walk in the covering of the Holy Spirit. We walk covered in His presence and worship with all we have. Amen!