I’m taking the suggestions below (from the State of the Union post) seriously. My plan this week is to poke a little, disrupt a little, and annoy a little in a post on global warming and human trafficking. My goal is to leave no one happy with me when I am done. Look for that on Wednesday, perhaps.
Tomorrow, I want to declare war on some false mindsets related to evangelism that have led to a far too positive response to Hal Lindhart’s fantastic and necessary message yesterday. More people need to be offended by what Hal said. The fact that most people liked his sermon tells me that there is a real problem in our midst. I intend to take it on.
Then, later this week, I hope to finish up the “Beatitudes” portion of my Sermon on the Mount series. It’s after that point that Jesus’ theology gets really, really disruptive. So, my friends, I have heard you! I have a new zeal to go after some things in my life, my heart, and my ministry. I have an aggression to prophesy the hard things to my soul and be bugged for days afterwards. I invite you to come along for the journey, if you’re up for it. You may not be - I understand.
Hope to see you - keep giving me advice! I love it!
It’s a “double post” day, so please read the first one (”He who spoke…”) and bypass this one. Thanks!
March 5th, 2007
There are two necessary principles to keep in mind as we move forward into the plans and purposes of God’s heart for us. We must keep those principles before us as we cooperate with the grace of God towards us. In an intense season of exhortation, rebuke, and encouragement orchestrated by the Holy Spirit and the leadership of Jesus related to the zeal of His heart for His people, it is easy to fixate on the wrong issues - the negative emotions and fears that threaten to circumvent the work of God to bring us into His purposes.
There are always two options when the Lord speaks and identifies areas in which He longs for us to “come up higher”, whether those areas are related to personal holiness, obedience, ministry, or mindset. Those options, simply put, are always either “yes” or “no”. Most believers, however, have found sophisticated ways to say “no” to God when He stirs repentance and change to equip us for the road ahead. Our refusal is rarely outright or blatant. It often takes the form of helplessness, frustration, or self-pity. The operative word is “unbelief”.
The real issue for us is that God desires to give us a leadership role in the days ahead – a significant one. Location and present function is irrelevant to me – any believer who is reading this needs to understand that every believer on earth in the days to come will operate in a totally different context of life and ministry. Participation in the plans that are on the heart of God at the end of the age is not guaranteed, however. Participation in the things that God has purposed to do in the coming days is directly linked to our participation with His preparatory work in our lives today. All of us can be in the family of God and be loved by God, yet still miss out on the fullness of His plans in our life. This is not a love issue. This is about growing and being prepared to walk out what is ahead.
In His kindness and tenderness towards us, He “coaches” us into the necessary heart attitudes and lifestyles that have the interior qualities needed to endure the trials and pressures that come with leadership, calling, and function in a revival context. He can’t send us into the 100-yard dash if we haven’t trained, prepared, exercised, eaten right, and established the right mindset and conditioning needed to win. This is what Paul was saying in 1 Cor. 9:24-27:
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
Professional athletes are beating their body into submission and running with great resolve to lay hold of a crown that “perishes”. How much more should we seek resolve from the Lord to lay hold of an eternal crown? How much more should we labor to authentically walk out our message to the nations - without disqualification? This is the issue of God’s jealousy and zeal for us and towards us. He is committed to establish qualified messengers who can stand in the face of trial, accusation, and scrutiny. He is committed and jealous to bring you into the fullness of your destiny - the dream of His heart for you and the thing in which He has purposed in His heart for you and I to walk out in the coming days.
We must not shrink back in unbelief, overwhelmed by the number of issues the Lord is highlighting in our midst in His kindness and tenderness towards us. It is our natural response to do so. If we understand that the Lord is really giving us a framework for prayer and partnership - specific issues to ask Him for in regards to receiving help from Him, we are relived of the burden to change ourselves. In speaking from heaven prophetically, identifying issues that need to change, God is not transferring the burden for change back to us. He is simply giving us more specific “prayer points” so that we would know how to more specifically ask for “help”. When we know the issues, we can confidently approach the throne of grace for help in our time of need.
This is neither the time nor the hour to shrink back in self-pity. This is the hour to cry out for help in our time of need. This is the hour to shout “Grace! Grace!” to the mountains and obstacles of the heart that will hinder us greatly in the days ahead. This is the hour to watch the God who spoke a thing, who purposed in His heart to birth a thing, and will be the One who does the thing He has purposed. If we are faithful to go to war in the secret places and areas of need, He will be faithful to give us divine resource to follow through on the “yes!” in our hearts.
He who spoke it will accomplish it. He who wills will do. Do you believe it? Is the season of repentance to wearisome, does the way forward seem too difficult? Don’t shrink back! Don’t retreat, or surrender to self-pity because the issues seem to diverse and insurmountable! Place your hope in God. Put your hope in the only one who has unlimited power to bring you to complete and total victory. He is coming! He is not longing to find “independence” and “capability” in us at His coming. He is hoping to find FAITH in us when He comes. If you have faith to believe that He can deliver you, if you have faith to believe that He can transform your desires and change your understanding, you will stand and not shrink back from the task set before us.
This is true resolve. This is true hope. Ask, and you shall receive resource from heaven to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus laid hold of you. Even so, come Lord Jesus!
March 5th, 2007