So, what are you saying…

Words are a powerful tool. Words can bring peace and launch wars.

So, what are you saying…

The Unseen

I must make a confession. It’s not easy to face the truth.

The Unseen

Wishing for Tomorrow

Don’t wait for tomorrow to invest in those you love.

Wishing for Tomorrow

These past two weeks have been interesting at our house.  As I have shared with you, the sudden onslaught of a kidney stone during the middle of the night brought great wailing and gnashing of teeth.  For those who’ve never had one, there are only rumors of the divine sanction this offers to those who’ve been chosen.  Let me assure you, it is not a path for the faint of heart!

Not knowing what was wrong, I just prayed for 2 things: the Lord’s quick return or a powerful trance inducing potion to make it go away!  Seeing that Jesus chose to tarry (for the moment), the second option worked just fine.

Sitting later that day at the urologist, I discovered that this “stone” was an itsy-bitsy, scanty, minuscule, petite, puny stone halfway on it’s journey towards freedom.  How in all of God’s creation could this tiny thing cause me so much agony and torment?  Folks, I do not attempt to bamboozle you when I say – it completely ceased all my normal operations for the sole purpose of survival.  If you’ve had one – at this point your hands are lifted high as you shout “AMEN”!

“How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire”!  How can a puny small tiny spark cause a blaze that consumes an entire beautiful forest?  But it does!  That is exactly what James says.  But he’s not talking about a kidney stone.  Instead, something small which can also inflict great sickness:

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.  For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,  but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?  Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. James 3:5-12

James is telling us the dangers of the tongue when used for evil.  But notice, the fire is set by hell and there is no human who can tame the tongue.  Just like a kidney stone – its’ on fire and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.  Instead, I must rely on my Doctor to break it up and remove.  So – only the Holy Spirit can tame our tongue and use it to bring glory to God and build up the body.

A couple of thoughts here:

  • Consider this Biblical truth through a spotlight that shines only on you!  God’s instruction is first and foremost for you.  Or me!  In other words, when I read this, I should NEVER see another person and think “I wish they would practice that” or “I wish someone would tell them that” or “I wish they’d practice what they preach”.  God’s instruction is meant to shine a light on me.  Not him, her or they!  Me Lord…show me!  David understood this as he penned Psalm 139:

                    Search me, O God, and know my heart!
                    Try me and know my thoughts!
                         And see if there be any grievous way in me,
                    and lead me in the way everlasting!

  •         Always use the wisdom and instruction of God’s Word as an invitation to the Holy Spirit to show you grievances.  As it applies to the tongue – you cannot control it, only He can.  That means you have already allowed it to defile your offerings and bring disunity to your family, your home, your church.  Trust me – just like a kidney stone, it has set a blaze to your world and only the Holy Spirit can show you this.
  • My kidney stone is not hurting you!  Aren’t you glad?  Some of you have winced, patted me on the back, offered your prayers.  Some of you have just chuckled and offered a “good luck” while wondering what kind of good stories are forthcoming.  But understand this – your tongue will set a blaze, but it’s first victim is YOU!  But unlike a kidney stone, it is a slow moving cancer that consumes you, changes you, rescinds the power of God in your life, and obliterates your testimony.  It will, with time, reduce you to a bitter, angry and caustic soul.  Now as a reminder – I hope you don’t see another face than your own.  That would be missing the whole point!
  • Own it!  My kidney stone is not yours to bear.  It is mine, all mine.  Every ounce of it was created by me.  Something I drank, ate and consumed over time has transformed into a painful and unwanted journey.  But I can not, in any way, blame my kidney stone on Lisa…or you! (while it might be fun trying – I must admit).  I made it, I must deal with it.  The same is true with our tongue and our actions.  Don’t blame that which is a creation of your own on others.  Although the blame game is rampant in our culture, God’s Word does not give you an option.  Don’t buy the deceit of my pain is your fault, his fault, their fault.  This blaze that has set afire to my world was started by him/them.  Nope!  It’s your fire – own up to it and allow the Holy Spirit to show you how to squelch the pain of it’s flames.

The realty is this – we all share the burden!  Built into everyone of us is this tool (the tongue) which affords great praise and adoration to the Father and our brothers/sisters.  But it’s also a time bomb, just ticking and waiting to inflict astonishing misery.  In reality – we all need Jesus!  My Doctor is the only one who can help me deal with this stone (my stone – whom I’ve fondly named “Rocky”)! So it is also true: only Jesus can bring healing to the freshly burned embers of our lives.  So – I offer this corporate prayer:

“Father – your grace is always sufficient for me.  You offer your mercy and kindness to me when I am so undeserving and wayward.  Search me Lord!  Show me Lord!  Forgive me Lord for any way that grieves you or impedes your power and plan for my life.  Fill me up with your Spirit and send me to live a life that shines brightly in a dark world.  Help me to walk in unity with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Allow me to walk in peace and use my tongue for your glory alone!  In Jesus name – amen!”

So let it be!  I join you in this prayer and walk with you in asking God to do the uncomprehensible and miraculous for His glory!

Thou Oh Lord are a shield for me!  The GLORY and breaker of my stone!  Wait…it’s The GLORY and the tamer of my tongue.  NO – actually I believe it’s: The Glory and the Lifter of my head!

 

The devastation from Hurricane Harvey is a reminder of just how quickly a storm can turn our world upside down.  The worst of nature can bring out the best in people.  I watched as the fear of flood caused the people of Texas to reach out to one another without regard to race, ethnicity, culture or economic status.  It’s a beautiful thing with pictures and stories celebrated on the evening news.  Our nation is hungry to see unity.  A devastating storm can do just that!  It reduces us to a place of helplessness in the shadow of a mighty storm.  It’s a reset button; a re-calibration of our compass.

It reminds me of a story found in the Gospels:

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.  And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.  But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”  And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”  And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”     Mark 4:35-41

You know this story.  The scene: Jesus and the disciples on board a fishing boat, at night in the middle of the Sea of Galilee.  Note: the Sea of Galilee lies 700 feet below sea level surrounded by highlands & Mount Hermon to the northeast rising to 9,000 feet above sea level.  The cold highland air meets rising hot air from the sea to create huge storms.

The Greek term for “furious squall” is used here to describe a fierce windstorm which literally means “sea quake”.  It was like a hurricane.  The sides of the fishing boat were low and the boat is taking on water.  For the disciples, this was not something they were going to survive.

And of course, Jesus is laying on a cushion, sound asleep.  He is exhausted from a full day of ministry.  With all that’s happening, he’s sleeping like a baby.  Until, of course, the disciples wake him to ask a poignant question: “Don’t you care that we’re going to die”?

God – where are you when I need you?  Don’t you know I can’t pay my bills, keep this marriage together, survive this diagnosis, overcome this depression & anxiety, reconcile with my brother, beat this addiction?  Don’t you see my enemies surrounding me, hear their insults?  Why are you sleeping when I’m on the verge of death?

Fear replaces faith, even when God is so close you can hear him breathe and feel his heartbeat.

Then Jesus, speaks: “Silence!  Be Still!” or literally “be still, and stay still” and nature responds immediately with a great calm.  The fear of the disciples refers to timidity and lack of confidence in God.  But even so, Jesus transformed the great storm into a great calm with a single breath.

But don’t miss the real gut punch here!  After Jesus had calmed the storm and rebuked them for their lack of faith, this happened:

THEY WERE TERRIFIED – literally “they feared a great fear”.  The great storm that Jesus turned into a great calm now led to great fear! “Who is this that even the wind and sea obey him?”

This is the fear which brings a reset and re-calibration.  It’s me and you eclipsed in the sheer magnitude and power of Almighty God.  It’s a fall on your knees and worship kind of fear.  It’s a fear that brings unity, without question or regard.  It’s a fear that melts away all our other fears.

If you find yourself faced with a hurricane, remember: God is in the boat.  But even more so, when He melts the storm away with a word, concede your flesh and ambitions for a place of humility, subjection and submissiveness before the magnitude of who He is!

There’s never been a better place to be before a Holy God!  And just like those scenes from Texas of help, caring and selflessness in the wake of a storm; choose gentleness and kindness as you lead unity in His Church!

Routine often dulls us to the majestic and beautiful.  That which we see and enjoy on a daily basis succumbs to the certainty that it/he/she will always be there.  We often take for granted those who are closest to us until it’s too late.

This summer, while at the beach, I played in the sun until I got burned.  And then I sat in the shade complaining about the heat and sunburn and wishing I had a little respite from the singe of the sun’s rays.

But the past February, I longed for just a flicker of warmth and the feel of the sun on my face and it’s steady warmth to sooth my pale soul.  I was homesick for the very thing in the summer which I wished would wane.

Every day we’ve had on this earth, the sun has risen and set in it’s path.  We set our clocks by it’s course and we live out our schedules completely tethered to the sun’s timetable.  We just take it for granted.

It is God, who at the beginning of the age of this earth created the sun and set her course:

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.  And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.  And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.  Genesis 1:14-19

Yet today she will go dark.  That which we have grown to rely upon and take for granted will be momentarily snuffed out.

This time, we’re expecting it.  We have our certified viewing glasses.  NASA has given us the forecast schedule and it’s a big party.

Next time, it will be unexpected.  That which we have taken for granted will be darkened as a sign in the heavens:

“The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.”  Joel 2:31

“I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood;”  Revelation 6:12

Today, as we enjoy the total eclipse of the sun, remember to pause and give thanks for it’s light – for it is a gift from God.  When she peeks her head back out from behind the moon, pause and give thanks for His grace that gives us a second chance.

And finally – do as the scripture says:

From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!
Psalm 133:3

Praise Him for this day, for the Word tells us His day of judgement which will darken the earth will surely come!

So let your LIGHT shine!

 

 

This year, Concord Worship is doing something we’ve never done before. We’re bringing back some old but familiar friends. Familiar to many who grew up with them and new to those who might not have grown up in the church. And of course brand new to this current generation.

In the race to be relevant and fresh in our worship, we sometimes overlook classics; if freshened and renewed, can once again bring impact to our worship and encouragement to our congregations.

And so it is with today’s sample – premiered on Easter Sunday at Concord and made available as a free download.

With a new arrangement by the Concord team, we revived an old acquaintance, dressed him up and brought him back to the table. We found it to be a powerful moment, almost like welcoming home a good friend you haven’t seen in a while.  Plus surprisingly, it had a multi-generational impact.

Here are 3 major ways we accomplished this:

  1. Add a new arrangement.  We gave it a fresh treatment that feels different.  A new melodic motive in the accompaniment adds more appeal.

  2. Don’t complicate the vocals.  We didn’t add layers of complicated parts.  We also didn’t mess with the original melody.

  3. Add a new chorus on the end.  This takes it to a whole other level and creates the final punch it needed.

Take a listen above and see what you think. Then go to this link and following the instructions for a free download: www.fbconcord.org/music

In a sea of change and a season of political headliners, most of us are legitimately concerned about our country and where our culture is headed.  Politics have become really nasty, bitter and causes great dissension in our nation.  If you eat from that plate, you will dine on a constant diet of poison.

But we should engage and we should be an element of change.  That’s what we’re called to do.  So we pray for revival in our nation.  And we pray for revival in our churches.  We come on Sundays asking God to “fill this temple”.

Yet I believe we’re missing an important point.  God doesn’t desire to send revival or fill the temple.  He desires to bring revival to me…to fill me up as His Holy Temple!  He desires to see His Church on fire for Him with you and I filled with the Holy Spirit.  That’s it!

Galatians 5 is a pretty clear picture of what a follower of Jesus looks like.  They bear fruit.  That’s it!  Fruit – tangible and obvious.

Signs of a Spirit-filled life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control.

Signs of a flesh-filled life: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,envy,drunkenness

It’s time we stop praying for God to send revival in our nation or church and ask God to send revival in me.  Me…not him or her or them.  Me!  It’s time we bear good fruit and hold each other accountable then call out the bad for what it is.

You ready for that?  It’s our choice…Spirit-filled life is the way of Jesus.  It’s what we were made for!

Recently, while trying to be a good husband, I’ve watched (endured) an HGTV show with Lisa called Fixer Upper.  Lisa loves the show and really wanted to share it with me.  Although I’m in amazement of how they do what they do, for the most part, I end up drooling through half the show and eventually falling unconscious until I get an elbow in the ribs.  Of course, I was never asleep, just resting my eyes for a moment…no big deal.

The stars of the show take a run down dilapidated house and restore it.  They basically take a piece of junk and make it new.  It’s amazing.  The end result seems almost impossible.  How in the world could you begin with something in such bad condition and end up with a masterpiece.

When we, as a TV audience, are given a glimpse of the house in the “before” condition, there is no way most of us could visualize a pathway where this out of date, run down, aged, tired, used house becomes a work of art.

But it does!

And you know why?  Because someone with the power to transform sees potential.  When everyone else says “tear it down” these architects of renewal say “we’ll make it new”.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and gazed at a reflection that feels out of date, run down, aged and tired?  Or maybe you feel useless and valueless.  You just can’t see the potential anymore.  Irregardless of your age you might just feel like the house that simply is what it is: worn, weary and spent.  Your soul is tired and your heart has lost it’s passion.

From Psalm 23:3 falls a small nugget of truth that cracks the foundation of lies with a bold and beautiful truth: “He RESTORES my soul.”

God is the architect of transformation.  He sees you as you are and offers you a full restoration.  A transformation.  A restoration!

It’s more than paint and spackling.  It’s not cosmetic but foundational.  He longs to rebuild your walls, shore up your foundation and add some new features.  He sees you as a masterpiece, even before the work has begun.  He sees the end result way before the job has broken ground.

Today, if this is you, then you need a restoration.  It all begins with a view of what He sees.  The journey begins with a tiny glimpse of the plan from the Grand Architect.  See you as He sees you!

You are a pearl of great worth.  You are a masterpiece under construction.

Completion date sometime after your spirit escapes the bounds of this life!  Make sure you’re there for the unveiling!

It’ll be a moment you won’t want to miss!

You’re INVITED

A couple of weeks ago I put an amazing article of technology on Jake’s jeep.  To his great dismay, wailing and gnashing of teeth – I connected a little thing called HUM. This amazing contraption gives me his exact location, speed and alerts me to reckless driving (strong braking and so forth).  Isn’t that brilliant?

I am so (heavy emphasis on SO) glad my parents had nothing remotely like this when I was 16!

As a parent, I want to control the circumstances around my son’s driving.  I desire to protect him…even when I’m not around.  I feel like it’s an extra level of safety and a defense from the things I can’t possibly control.

And there’s the word: CONTROL

Let’s just be real honest here; we are control freaks.  We live under this veiled assumption that we have dominion over our lives.  We like to believe we control the circumstances surrounding us by the way we interact with it.  By pure influence, tactical reasoning, situational response and stealth we can control our footing or position in this ever changing world.

We say we believe God’s sovereignty and lean towards faith.  But just in case God falls asleep or forbid it that His will is different from ours, we place a tracking devise to make sure He’s headed where we want to go!

“Lord bless me and my family” (as long as you give me the salary, retirement account, the house and boat I want).

“Lord, show me your ways” (as long as I don’t have to compromise my comfort).

“Lord, win our community for Christ and His Kingdom” (as long as I don’t have to engage in awkward hallway conversations about you).

“Lord bless our church” (as long as that preacher gives me my kind of sermon, my kids think it’s hip, and the music doesn’t lull me to sleep).

A really hard and often uncomfortable truth for me is this: I control absolutely nothing except the choices I make. My very heartbeat is subject to the quantity of days given by God before it’s first beat.  My only control: the choice for whom it beats!  This world and all it’s charms or His pleasure.

Jesus asks us this question: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Luke 6:46

So I sit here looking at this HUM app on my phone.  I’m checking to make sure my son is safely where he’s suppose to be.  Just information really.  Not that I can do anything about it.  But it makes me feel better.  I’m in control.

All the time the Spirit is whispering: “he’s not yours, he’s mine.  I love him more than you ever will and I will send my angels to protect him.  His righteousness is my work.  His obedience is my work.  Don’t call me Lord and not trust one of your greatest worldly possessions to me.  I am shaping His heart for those things that are eternal.”

My choice is in the Lordship of Christ.  He really is Lord!  Over it all…every little bit of it!  It’s actually true. And it’s worthy of your deepest surrender and choice too!  As only a faithful father can, He is shaping you for the eternal.

 

Very soon we will enter the week of passover observance. And so it was on the eve of the cross Jesus gathered with His disciples in the upper room to observe passover; a traditional feast they had each participated in countless times. It was a recognition of God’s covenant with His people. They would break bread and take the cup to remember the miraculous salvation of the Hebrews from the angel of death and thus the oppression of Pharaoh.

It was a covenant that would soon be updated! For it would, in just a brief moment, be eclipsed by the a bold pronouncement from Christ Himself: “This is MY BODY…this is MY BLOOD”! The new covenant was now replacing the old.

In a fraction of a moment, God replaced a lamb for The Lamb of God!

Sin once forgiven for a moment, now forgotten for eternity through the Lamb – our sin debt paid in full.
Now the Angel of Death would pass over us. The red crimson blood was placed on our forehead, upon our heart and the sting of death banished from all who find shelter in the shadow of His mercy.
Next week Passover begins. Our Jewish brothers and sisters will gather to reflect on the faithfulness of Yaweh to deliver His people.

They will worship under the old covenant. Yet still His chosen people.

For it is through the line of David that we as gentiles find our salvation.
And because of this they’ve become the most persecuted people since the call of Abraham and the birth of a new nation. Today I can’t help but be drawn to the plight of Israel. I sense God’s longing to bring them home to Himself. I sense time is fleeting and we must be praying for the salvation of Israel.
Have you ever noticed how so much political unrest and deep hatred centers around Israel?  She is a democratic nation surrounded by enemies on all sides.  Yet, even so, she continues to thrive and prosper.  We would be wise to remember God’s covenant with His people, for it has no expiration date.  We are commanded to pray for Israel (Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. – Psalm 122:6).

Pray we must…speak out we must…and be prepare to always defend our scriptural allies! Good Friday is a convergence of Passover and The Lamb of God!

The symbolism is profound and has deep meaning. Don’t miss it! God leaves nothing to chance.
Jesus was the Messiah who fulfilled every prophecy and now stands as the Lion of Judah!
He has come to save His covenant people and we have the enormous benefit of being the orphaned child, adopted, upgraded and placed at the same table with His chosen.
Thank you Jesus!

NY Times

In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s as war was breaking out in Europe, there were many American’s who desired to remain neutral.  Although concerned for the suffering of our allies, World War One had caused the bulk of our country to become weary of war.  Within the country we were still in recovery from the Great Depression.  We certainly had our own problems without taking on another overseas conflict.  We would watch from a far with concern.  We would help Great Britain by FDR’s Lend Lease program.  But that’s it…let’s not get involved.

Isolationism.  That was our mindset.  What happens over there, as concerning as it may be, will not effect us over here.  Not until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor did that change.  And boy did it change!  The rest is history…

Recently I’ve been troubled by the Western Church’s isolationism toward Israel.  What happens over there, even though we are concerned, certainly won’t effect us over here.  Right?

I believe we are seeing a gradual shift in politics and world sentiment that will set up prophetic events…potentially in our lifetime. 

As the world becomes more and more anti-Israel, we will begin to see obvious signs of God’s supernatural intervention and protection of His covenant people.  So what do we do?

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.  Psalm 122:6-9

As you watch the news…as you see the rockets firing…as you hear & see the hatred – pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  If it were not for God’s covenant people, we as gentiles would not know salvation – for salvation flows through her veins to us.  Remember what Jesus said in John 4:22 – “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews”.  Not FOR the Jews but FROM – “springs” from or “through”.

So…where is the Church?  Why is she silent?

This past spring, my son and I visited Haiti for the first time.  Jake is 14 years old and I knew this would be a powerful moment in his spiritual growth.  One day our team visited a village surrounding a Voodoo temple.  As we walked into the village I quickly felt oppression in my spirit and could see it in the eyes of the people.  Although we were not there long, Jake picked up on it.  He become very disturbed, pleaded with me to leave…NOW!  Once we got back on the bus we had a great teachable moment.

I shared with him as I do with you now: evil rarely shows it’s hand.  It has the ability to cloak itself and most often can only be discerned through the Spirit.

It disguises itself in robes of light and takes on the look of righteousness.  And that is the darkest, ugliest and most disturbing of all.  For it’s true purpose is to attack the church and tear her apart from within – limb by limb.  This evil turns us against one another through gossip, backbiting, slander, and all around grumbling and fighting in the church.  All the while causing us to forget WHO we are and WHAT we are called to be.

As God’s prophetic timetable ticks towards midnight – the church is fighting, bickering or just too self consumed to notice.  And evil, the same we openly felt in the voodoo temple, now concealed – lulls the sleeping giant into an isolationism of our own making.  That same evil that longs to destroy God’s covenant people of Israel has it’s eye on the Church.

Brother’s and Sisters, it’s time we wake up and start acting like the Body of Christ…the one for which our Lord gave His life.

So I encourage you to be aware and keep your eyes open to what our Hebrew brothers and sisters are enduring – and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  Let’s not be isolationists – but help carry this burden and fulfill our scriptural command.  Talk about it in your families and be aware that the prophetic time table is ticking…faster and faster every day, month and year.  Be aware that we may see God’s hand in this lifetime. Then – turn your heart towards Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith!  All these things must be fulfilled – and then you will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds.

Even so – come quickly Lord Jesus!

Recently I’ve been watching the mega snow catastrophe in Atlanta.  No one saw it coming.  No one that is, except the National Weather Service, which issued the proper warning in plenty of time to avert a crisis.  But instead, the city went about it’s normal functions choosing to ignore the impossible was not only possible but probable.  In the end, the prophets of weather were ignored; their voice too familiar and the sounding alarm meaningless.  Until it was too late!  Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes”.

It’s important to understand, prophets of the Old Testament who summoned the Nation of Israel back to God are alive and well in today’s church; calling the church back to Biblical obedience and Spirit filled living.  They sound the warning…the alarm of coming persecution.  God will deal with dissension and disunity in His Church.  And trust me, it won’t be pretty!

It would be easy to think the prophets would call out this sinful and lost culture.  We assume the darkest and most depraved world in which will live would be the target.  We would be very wrong.  The Spirit has given the prophets for the church…for that is where the darkest most vile, reprehensible and sickening sin festers.  Clothed, all the while, in garments of light.  It is by far the most dangerous and destructive.  And be warned…it will be the target of God’s justice and wrath.

Throughout the scriptures, God purges and cleans His people through the vehicle of persecution.  He reveals His sheep and scatters the goats.  It’s Jesus who prunes and cast aside all that does not bear fruit:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”  John 15

Today’s western church is amassed in self spiritual pride and heresy.  She is garnished with hypocrites who think nothing of chasing fame, wealth, and sexual immorality.  But even more dangerous, are those who clothe themselves as spiritual giants.  Hidden is their true nature of condemnation and divisiveness.  They bring disunity to the Body and manufacture gossip with great talent and amazing deceit.  They cloak their poisonous gossip in spiritual banter with appearances of wisdom and concern. They turn on their leaders and Pastors with pious spirituality; all the while in direct and resolute defiance of God’s Word. They are tried and true Pharisees.  They are vipers!  Paul warns us in Titus 3:

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.  As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.”

There is a storm gathering.  But this storm is heaven sent for the purging and cleansing of His Church.  It’s time we stop discarding the warning of His prophets and begin to return to full obedience of His Word and wrap ourselves in the joy and love of His Spirit.  The dead branches will be cut and discarded.  And when it happens rejoice!  For new growth will follow.

Stay tuned for the next posting as we explore the signs and symptoms of the pharisees among us.  We’ll explore 5 Biblical signs of a pharisee within the church and the prophets who call their bluff.

 

 

Page 1 of 41234
Please wait...

Subscribe to receive blog updates

Want to be notified whenever Jeff publishes a new article? It is a quick and painless process. Just enter your email address and name below and we will keep you posted.