My focus tonight comes from the Lord speaking to me about my role, your role, and the church’s role concerning Him and the Kingdom. Kingdom advancement. How we see the world around us. I have a long opening, it is my thoughts, and we will get into the meat of the message, but my thoughts bring me into the world around us. We know our cities where every you live if you’ve been there a while.
We also know the stats about all of the messed up people, crime, sickness, mental health issues, our poor, the sex trafficking around here even, and all of the other ills, and as a pastor and us who are in Christ who are aware and care, what is our response to all of that? Yes we pray about it which has power, but other than that, what do we do?
Some of us don’t want to do anything, some of us do, and those that want to do, in many instances do not know what to do. We know that people need Jesus, but in this day, how do we reach them? Now there are many opinions on this. Yes, we have been commissioned by Christ to reach the lost, but in this age that is changing rapidly, with each generation creating new culture, how do we act or react to it? How does a 60 year old or even a 40 year old communicate to an 18 year old, and especially someone who is in Christ attempting to relate to someone who is not? Just thoughts here. Do we even care? I believe some don’t.
When looking at the Church, we have been putting programs in place for years, throwing money into projects and reacting to the need, but doing a poor job, why? What makes us react to do ministry? Motivation from a book? Someone said something that moved your heart? You saw something and reacted, or was it a prompting from the Holy Spirit?
I have been thinking about us in the States how we have become cookie-cutter it seems with everything. Media, has pushed us into a mold, and in our design, program, and approach even in the church, and it has caused us as believers to follow a set “design” in our worship, prayer, and teaching, conservatively or progressively. What worked well in one place possibly with this group of people, people think it’ll work everywhere. This includes boxing up our spirituality, our daily walk, our church life, and the church as a whole in function. If we peer into the box, we see the structure.
I was speaking to someone at The Buzz this week who is starting a new ministry in the area, and we met because they wanted to hear about the One Thing Conference that Barb, Alyssa, and I attended after Christmas and for them to speak about their new ministry.
And as I spoke to you right after we returned, I told her the focus and outcomes of the conference. I said to her it really caused me to focus on my relationship with my Father in Heaven first, other than putting a focus on building the church.
The building of this church will result from my relationship with God, as well as those who are involved in the church because of their relationship to our Father in Heaven.
I spoke her about Mary of Bethany at the feet of Jesus from Luke 10, her sister’s distractions, and Jesus saying to her, that only the One Thing was needed, Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening intently, and intentionally.
Making me think about Jesus who focused on the Father, and His Kingdom, about what the Father was doing, and how He did what the Father was doing. This comes from John 5:19, and it is beginning to be a theme here at The Furnace this year along with Luke 10. The Holy Spirit is not letting these verses and concepts go away.
John 5:19-21, “So Jesus said, “I speak to you timeless truth. The Son is not able to do anything from himself or through my own initiative. I only do the works that I see the Father doing, for the Son does the same works as his Father. “Because the Father loves his Son so much, he always reveals to me everything that he is about to do. And you will all be amazed when he shows me even greater works than what you’ve seen so far! For just like the Father has power to raise the dead, the Son will raise the dead and give life to whomever he wants.”
Jesus focusing on the important things, and speaking to us that we should focus on the important things too. Jesus said, “the Father loves His Son so much, He always reveals to me everything that He is about to do.”
We as followers of Christ are attached to that statement. Because we who are in Christ who are loved by Jesus, and the Father so much, we are freely given the opportunity to have everything revealed to us too. We are part of the equation now.
Jesus told His Disciples in Matthew 10, “Freely you have received the power of the kingdom.”
John 16:12-15, ““There is so much more I would like to say to you, but it’s more than you can grasp at this moment. But when the truth-giving Spirit comes, he will unveil the reality of every truth within you. He won’t speak his own message, but only what he hears from the Father, and he will reveal prophetically to you what is to come. He will glorify me on the earth, for he will receive from me what is mine and reveal it to you. Everything that belongs to the Father belongs to me—that’s why I say that the Divine Encourager will receive what is mine and reveal it to you.”
If we listen, we will know. The Temple of the Holy Spirit is within us. 1 Corinthians 6:19, so when we settle ourselves down at Jesus feet, and listen, the Spirit of Truth will reveal that truth to us. As we read the Word of God, the Spirit of Truth reveals truth to us. So being in the Word is as important as prayer.
As I continued my discussion about the ministry with this person Wednesday, I was reminded of text that I read about the Apostle Paul and the Prophet and Deliverer Moses and the commissioning of the two into their respective ministry.
Saul who became the Apostle Paul, as we know was a highly educated Pharisee who heavily persecuted Christians as we read in Acts 8. Saul had his moment with Jesus on the Damascus Road in Acts 9. After Jesus reveals himself to Saul, he stayed out of sight for sometime, that time debated by scholars but the Apostle Paul did say he was in Arabia 3 years. The time he spent before doing actual ministry for Jesus, he spent receiving revelation directly from Jesus before being sent out. He did not go out until he was released by the Holy Spirit.
Moses, who I spoke about earlier this year I think, was a highly educated Prince of Egypt, whom went into the desert for 40 years to be prepared by God to be a deliverer of His people. Moses had his moment with God at the Burning Bush on Mount Horeb in Exodus 3.
Both men had face to face meeting with God. God the Father with Moses, and God the Son, with Saul. Both had to be emptied of world knowledge to be of any use for God. Both were hidden away. One to receive revelation of the truth, the other to lose his royalty.
The two are similar to a point. Educated, warrior like, Paul persecuted people, Moses killed an Egyptian. Both became master builders of the faith. Both men led people out of slavery. Both confronted evil. Both were a mouth for God.
Both men had to be put into a position to be able to hear God. Both had to be removed from the noise to hear. When they had their encounter with God, in the awe of His beauty, strength, power, and love, they found that to be close to their Savior was what they needed for life. They found that He was the well they would go to, not only to receive the living water of life, but the revelation how to live in this life. God would guide them.
As we read about their lives, they never had issues with God directly, because of His steadfastness, they always knew where they stood. These were men of great faith. They knew their God. The issues they generally had was with their own people who did not know God.
What stands out to me is that both men had to be brought low to be raised up.
The same standards apply to us. Like it or not. Author Arthur Katz in his book Apostolic Foundations said,
“Are we willing for the humiliation of failure, allowed and established by God Himself, despite our best well meaning intentions. It is out of the debris and death of that failure, and the mortification of it that a man can be formed whom God can send. Can a man be formed in any other way?”
As followers of Christ, we have good intentions. Just as this person I spoke with on Wednesday, they have good intentions. But are our intentions how ever good that they are, in opposition to the purposes of God? Now this person I will say, only moves by revelation through deep prayer. The conversation brought me to think about these things.
I think about all of the zeal I had when I followed Christ in my early twenties. I wanted to do everything. I wasn’t good at much, because I was moving before the time. As I look back over years of stumbling, I found that good intentions mean nothing if those good intentions were not laid out by God. I was attempting to be God creating my own path with my so called good intentions.
I was not ready, because my heart was not ready. I thought it was, or believed it was looking through infant eyes, with an infant’s heart. Maturing took a long time; I had to become a fool to become wise. It took years. When you look at Moses, he was called, but was not qualified yet. 40 years in the desert qualified him. When we are going through the desert times, it is God qualifying us. He qualifies us on His terms not ours. When we fight Him, it takes longer. We may do little things, good things to make us feel good, but the ground moving earth quaking type of life will not happen until the called is qualified.
You may say I don’t want anything earth shaking. We have been called to it. Healing the sick, and setting the captive free and help fulfilling Isaiah 61, is earth shaking for the people on the receiving end. Even a word received from the Spirit to be spoken through you may change a life forever. That is ground moving. We may not be a Moses or an Apostle Paul, but what we have been called to do can be world changing at any point in the spectrum because God is in it. We must believe that. Life changing moments are on an even spectrum with none greater or less. Saying hi to someone and it changes their outlook for the day is as good as praying for someone and they are healed. God is constant, just as eternity is constant, His love is constant, so His view of us is constant. It is hard for us to believe that because we try to look at God as though He is a man.
We have to be in a point where we have a complete awareness of God and who He is, and that comes from closet time. We will find in that time we will receive revelation and experiencing the love of God, to know Him, and know how to love Him.
That revelation of the truth of who God is puts us back into a position where our best intentions are just to sit at the feet of Jesus because we don’t want to leave there. We only leave when led.
When you look at Moses and the Apostle Paul, both men became deliverers, and especially Moses. When he was in Egypt, his people were oppressed and cried out to God. Moses went into the desert for 40 years, and the Children of Israel were still in the same place of oppression. God knew that, but He wanted the perfect man to confront Pharaoh and free His people even though it took 40 years. Moses would have ever been ready 40 years earlier. He was called, but he was an infant and would have failed miserably, especially in the face of Pharaoh.
We must get it into ourselves that trials, and times of stretching out in the desert as we may see it, or plateau as some may say, is part of the growth relationship, because the trials create the man or the woman into the likeness of God.
We must learn to live through the trials of life knowing that God is doing a big thing in us, conforming us to His standards, and His mind, and His focus so that we move out in the appointed time so that God’s outcome that He had in mind will take place. Not always what we had in mind.
The trials cause us to die to self. When we die to self, we have no expectations other than listen to the voice. To that whisper. Being humble and waiting for the Master’s voice reveals the priestly nature we have been called to. The priests in the Old Testament had to wait seven days until they could participate in service to the Lord. Seven is the number of completion. Completion of waiting means that our fleshly well intentions die to self, and we are ready for the Word of God and our priestly activity.
I think that is why we have been seeing failure in the church today with influence, and not seeing a move of God like in the past.
“Impatience, self-will, and religious ambition the necessity to always do and to be seen doing and recognized for it, is the death to the purposes of God.” (Arthur Katz Apostolic Foundations pg. 11, paragraph 3)
We fail because we didn’t wait. That is hard for us because we want to do something, but then there is God. Yes God. God may be raising up people to do. God knows that today is just like the times of the Children in Israel in their bondage. People need restoration and healing, but He is in the preparation period. He is preparing in the Spirit what needs to be accomplished so that His Will be done on earth as it is in heaven. His will, not ours. It is not just an on the earth thing that we try to cram through because we see a need.
There will always be a need until the last day.
Our response to need should be at the feet of Jesus, listening and looking intently on the Savior. If we get a response, then amen, if not, we stay soaking in the Presence of our Savior, and loving on Him.
I’m going to end with this, some closing thoughts as I feel I have been all over the place.
I believe the distinct characteristic of a group of believers who are seeing a move of God in their midst are those who have a knowledge of God as He thinks of Himself, and not how we may think of Him. That type of knowledge comes from revelation that takes time, and trial, and failure where our inner man is tore down and God rebuilds us. We cannot look at God with an intellectual mind. Both Moses and the Apostle Paul had that, but it was time having their inner man basically destroyed by wrestling with God, and wrestling with His Holiness, and righteousness, in His judgments, that they were cleansed of human direction and thought. They saw it to be worthless.
As the Word says, we need the Mind of Christ, because the Mind of Christ is the Mind of God because they are One. As we need to be one with them, as we have been talking about that for some time.
There are many in the church who are stagnant or have not accomplished much for the Kingdom or have floundered in their walk with Christ because I believe they fear God, they fear to screw up, they fear what they might find out about themselves. They fear failure. That’s living by the law.
Our Christian walk should not be based on the fear of God, or the law of God, if it is, its because they don’t know God. If they knew the heart of God as they pursue Him, they would find out that God is a Father. He is not a judge where we seem to put Him. God is a God who loves His Children and He loved us so much He sent His one and only Son to die for us, and He loved us so much that He put His Holy Spirit in us so we have a connection that was so close there we be no way we could not have communion with Him in the most intimate way.
When we experience the love of God, our Christian walk is not based on fear, but on love. We don’t have to work at our salvation in an attempt to be good. We actually love God and His grace naturally flows through us, and sin, and doubt, and fear have no place. We understand that Jesus is the prize and we try not just to be good, just to get to heaven.
Because of God’s perfect love in us, we will find that we have the knowledge of God, and the ear of God, and decisions to sit, move, go, build, or to do anything else will only happen because God has had His way with us, and we are emptied out, and only He remains.
The church today would do good to just stop, and learn to love the Lord. He loves back. And through that love, He burns off all the junk that keeps us from hearing His voice, and our Priestly nature as I said earlier will come forth. It may take time, it may not feel good, but it is eternally worth it.
It’s my prayer that we who have been called by His name will see our priestly calling, by coming under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and posture ourselves to not move until we hear the still small voice speaking to us in the secret place, and live like dead people, people who are dead to this world who will see such wonder and the majesty of Jesus Christ in our daily lives that we will be at first amazed, but then we will be confident in everything we can accomplish in His name.
I’m ready, are you?