It has been a bit since I have blogged but you need to know I blog AS THE SPIRIT leads. No need to bloviate, many ministry leaders are out there tweeting minute by minute. Let me just say I am still struck by what Rev. Billy Graham said about a year ago now. Billy said that because he was not in the Word and prayer sufficiently before he spoke the value of what he said was greatly diminished. I WAIT before I SPEAK.
Anyway the other day Mike Stand of the old garage band the ALTAR BOYS posted this on FB:
I contend that we are engaged in a cultural and spiritual battle the likes that this country has not seen for a long time – perhaps since the Civil War, maybe even the rough times in 60s..I don’t know, but it is pretty “Hairy” – for lack of a better term. I’m watching closely, reading, praying and “purposely refraining” from direct comment on a number of issues. However, I will say this: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
One of his friends posted this in response
Whether your rich or poor, democrat or republican, lost or found, people just seem to be self absorbed to the max. I know selfishness has been troubling sin throughout the ages, but seems like people don’t want to reflect on dying to self anymore because there’s too much “noise” in the world. “What’s the latest news cycle, and what’s my agenda to support?” How about a simple, who are the people God has given me to SERVE each day, whoever that is, and being thankful for the opportunity. I’m just saying, If we all had the desire and the will to try, that’s the hope I keep in these troubling times. This is God’s sanity for me in this evil world that we do live in. Hope that’s not preachy, I’m new at this social media stuff?
I was struck particularly by the comment “If we all had the desire and the will to try.” Well permit me to go back to the THIS IS A FOOTBALL thought.
Here again is a very conscientious believer so troubled by the lack of response of the world and the church to the Gospel, i.e. THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NEAR. The Kingdom of God is defined clearly as HIS WILL. Strangely the Earth and it’s immediate surroundings are the only place in creation where God permits His will not to be done thus we pray THY KINGDOM COME THEY WILL BE DONE! (Luke 4:43, Matthew 4:17, Psalm 103:17, 93:1-2, Daniel 4:3, 7:14 are only a few OT and NT verses that deal with the KINGDOM.)
No one has ever told him that “willing” will not get it done. Desire has a chance if the authentic VISION is cast to the world. The VISION of what life in the Kingdom NOW entails. A life living in the center of GOD’s WILL. Remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s command to his students? Dietrich said do not be consumed by if you are doing good or bad only be concerned if YOU ARE IN GOD’s WILL. Attempting to “will” something causes us to be consumed with our behavior being good or bad and ignores the transformative process of being in GOD’s WILL.
Desperate times call for intense radical action! It’s time all the pragmatism leaves the church and people are taught from the pulpit, in bible class, in serving, in youth classes etc, HOW TO HEAR GOD and BE IN HIS WILL!! WEEK BY WEEK BY WEEK!
In the church I serve the guest pastor three weeks ago ROCKED MY WORLD. He actually told the congregation that most of them sadly were clueless on how to hear God and be in His presence. He opined that for many it had been decades since they had felt His presence. At the end of the message he challenged them to be in the Psalms 30 min a day for several weeks and listen to what God had for them and begin to hear Him and OBEY! This is what should take place in the church daily until the end of time. Radical? No! It is the way the early believers lived until the church and state got chummy decades of centuries past. Radical? No! Because it is clear the pragmatism of the church today leaves people with broken cisterns that leak and run dry. Jesus said His living water never runs dry!! Living water is the WORD hidden in your heart! LIVING WATER is His voice in your life constant and clear for direction and discipline! LIVING WATER leads to a transformative life where you become like CHRIST in thought, word and deed living out the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT as a DEFAULT response to whatever comes your way day by day.
So when we are given a clear VISION of what life in the Kingdom is like here and now one would have to be impaired spiritually not to be consumed with DESIRE to live in it and the MEANS to live in it are the Spiritual Disciplines.
What is the VISION of life in the Kingdom NOW: It is a VISION that has to be given by God Himself in our times with Him suited to our condition. Some verses to help you further with this are 2Peter 1:4, 1John 3:1-2. That is why it is so critical to learn how to hear and obey!
So as Mike Stand’s friend wrote people seem to be so “self-absorbed to the max.” WHY NOT? They sit in the presence of the god of this world and take on the character of that god. They are given the VISION of life in their kingdom and to hell with everybody else. They are taught 24-7 how to live in their kingdom. The church does not have a chance at only 1 hour 1 day a week.
BUT IF PEOPLE ARE TAUGHT HOW TO HEAR GOD AND HIS DIRECTION AND CATCH THE VISION OF LIFE IN HIS KINGDOM THEY CAN SLOWLY BEGIN TO REDUCE THE 24-7 lies they are taught and replace them with life giving direction and guidance i.e. SPIRITUAL FORMATION to CHRISTLIKENESS.
Look at COL 3:1-17. That’s the bottom line of VISION, INTENT and MEANS. MEMORIZE IT, WHAT? YOU ARE KIDDING. NO, MEMORIZE IT!! That would be a great start to your worldly reduction diet!!
Beginning sitting before the TRIUNE GOD in silence and just listen, sit with the WORD and MEDITATE on a passage from JOHN or PSALMS for a good period and record the direction the HOLY SPIRIT gives you.
Find a church that is not pragmatic in their approach to ministry! A church that teaches you how to be in God’s presence, and brings you into His presence.
You cannot will yourself to do anything- GOOD or EVIL. The evil society does is not willed it is learned by sitting under the teaching and guidance of the gods and idols of these times. They give direction and guidance 24-7 not 1 hour 1 day a week! They teach your kingdom come or their kingdom come-DO YOU GET THAT???!!
to be continued….