Archive for May, 2007
As you may or may not have heard, I am giving the primary leadership to the second prayer room that IHOP-KC is birthing on July 2nd. The current prayer room is now the Global Prayer Room, and is the focal point for our broadcasts and webstream to God-TV and the nations. We have felt the need now for some time to establish a second prayer room on our missions base - one that can continue to function as a “prayer laboratory”, even as we seek to establish the first one as our primary “prayer furnace”.
Night and day for speedy justice
This second prayer room, then, will be known as the “Justice Prayer Room”. Like the Global Prayer Room, this prayer room will also be part of our webcast as we launch. In both prayer rooms, the continual night and day cry according to His heart will help fill bowls of prayer (Rev. 5:8) and stir up the zeal of the Mighty Man of War (Isa. 42:13).
Our entire ministry was birthed on the premise of Luke 18:8 - that there would be a people of faith that would contend night and day for “speedy justice” and not lose heart. Theologically, I define “justice” in context to Matthew 6:9 - “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The establishment of true “justice”, according to Deuteronomy 32:4, is according to God’s nature - as a God of truth He is without injustice, He is fully righteous and upright in all of His ways. “All of His ways are justice,” as Moses said in that passage. And so His will, or His ways, established on the earth are according to His perfect justice - that which is right and true according to His definition and wisdom.
Thus righteous justice runs deeper than the laws of our nation - the true justice of God is found in the reconciliation of all that is outside of His will and outside of unified relationship with Him. The desire of Jesus is to reconcile all of the natural and supernatural order in Himself in fullness (Eph. 1:9-10; Col. 1:19-20). The removal of all that is “wrong” and outside of God’s order and the establishment of all that is “right” according to His soveriegn will is the fullness of justice. Thus, right treatment of the widows and the orphan, righteous legislation to stop the spread of darkness, and the shifting of hearts in a region to agree with God’s righteousness - all of these are part of God’s justice breaking in on the nations of the earth.
Raising up those who will not lose heart
My passion and zeal in establishing this prayer laboratory is to serve all who come to our missions base by training and equipping them to stand, serve, minister, and burn before the Lord in the place of prayer and fasting. My heart is to see a generation that will stand unoffended, crying out night and day for revival with patient endurance and persistent hope. As we equip and train thousands to join the prayer movement in whatever manner God calls, we want to see young adults lay hold of iron in their soul to set themselves in the place of prayer “until”.
Ultimately, the day will come in which these who are being trained and equipped in the Justice Prayer Room will be launched into the prayer movement and all of its various expressions. Some will be “sent” into the prayer furnace of the Global Prayer Room to serve the nations by leading prayer meetings for thousands at a time. Some will be sent to the nations and the various prayer rooms and prayer ministries that will excitedly receive seasoned leaders skilled in the various facets of leading worship, prayer and people. Many will be sent out in the days to come in teams to plant and launch new prayer rooms accross the globe. I cannot wait for those days to come.
What the future holds
We have always known that there would come a time in which we would have a missions base that fueled five prayer rooms. What we are launching next month is simply the next phase in the broader plans of the Lord related to how IHOP-KC serves the prayer movement and His end-time strategies. In the days to come, we hope to launch an International Prayer Room filled with teams of singers, musicians, and leaders from around the nations praying and contending for the earth in their own languages. We hope to establish a Kansas City Prayer Room that will contend night and day for revival in this city. We will see, at some point in the future, a Prayer Room fully dedicated to extravagant worship and contemplative prayer.
Until then, I am honored and humbled to be a part of our present phase of growth. The establishment of the Justice Prayer Room is a critical component of our prophetic history, and our little team is thrilled to be a part of it. I am jealous for the prayers of the saints in these days related to the mandate that we have been given for this spiritual family and for this nation as we contend for God’s justice to be established through historic revival.
May 29th, 2007
In light of my question about the end of the age, Lauren posted an interesting question related to college:
“I really do believe it’s the end of the age, but that’s being challenged by pressures to go to college. My friends once asked me if how sure I was if we are close to the end. My answer was that I am ready to bet my future on it. I only have a year of high school left to make up my mind for sure, but if I believe that we are with in a few decades of Jesus’ return, I don’t want to waste 4 of those years in school getting a degree that will help me make money.
I want to pursue the knowledge of God and devote myself to prayer and ministry full time. I know that there is no time to waste, so even in high school I’m trying to pursue God with all my heart. The every day things of life don’t matter as much because they are so temporary.
Dave, what are your thoughts on college? If your own kids were about to graduate from high school, would you rather see them go to FSM or get a college degree?”
I’m going to first give my answer to Lauren’s question, and then use the subject as a springboard to a broader topic related to our time and the end of the age:
Specific to this question, it is well beyond the scope of my understanding to discern the will of God related to the course Lauren’s life should take - and of course, she knows that as well. I will say, however, that the highest thing is not to engage in full-time ministry; 98% of the body of Christ is called to the marketplace, for instance. The highest thing is to be fully given to the will of God for our lives - there can be no lesser or greater thing. Thus many are called by God to serve diligently (and wholeheartedly) in the workplace as a “burning and shining lamp” to those who are lost and in need of salvation. Others are called by God to give themselves in the workplace to prayer and fasting while extravagantly giving to the poor, the needy, or the work of the gospel.
So, statistically, the vast majority of the body of Christ can and should give themselves faithfully to be trained and equipped in all manner of Christian (and non-Christian) colleges and universities. Having been involved now in full-time ministry for the last ten to fifteen years of my life, I have seen very few that have given themselves to labor in a college setting and not use some of their education in a ministry context. In fact, even education that seems “useless” on the front end will often serve a purpose years down the road that will greatly surprise the ones who were sure that they were “wasting” their time. Very little done to please the Lord ends up being wasted energy.
The Ever Present Reality of Work
In the general sense, there is a very natural and common tendency to question the most godly way to spend our time in light of what we believe about the future. It is awesome when we begin to re-evaluate our schedule and priorities in regards to an increasing passion and zeal to spend extravagant time with Jesus in prayer. This is right to do. It is critical that we keep in mind what the “one thing” mandate meant to King David, however. That David could dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life (Ps. 27:4) meant that his primary identity was established as a man of prayer and that his primary desire was to give himself to that pursuit. Still, his primary occupation was to function as the king of Israel - in other words, he was a man of prayer, worship, and extravagent devotion who happened to be a leading government official on the side.
In other words, King David was an extraordinarily busy man.
Almost two thousand years ago, the church at Thessalonica was reminded by Paul that there was a coming day in which Jesus would return with all those who had died as believers (1 Thess. 4:14). The renewed teaching about the end of the age and the Second Coming caused some in the community there to disconnect from life and wait for the events Paul described. This was one reason that Paul wrote his second letter to that group of believers, to exhort the ones among them to continue to work diligently if they wanted to eat (2 Thess. 3:10). They were to not “grow weary in doing good” - but the “good” that Paul was speaking of were related to an honest day’s work, and honest day’s wages, and the consumption of “their own bread”.
As believers, we will be continually given to the sweat and toil of work, in part because of the redemptive nature of it in the manner in which work serves to help redeem the time (Eph. 5:16) by constraining our sinful nature in part (Gen. 3:19). Up until the end we will labor in the mundane and simple (and mostly hidden) manner that pleases God. So in the practical sense, there can be no disconnect from real ( and often burdensome) work that will take up much of our time and energy - particularly in the place of ministry. We will never disconnect from this reality - even in the age to come, though the work will not be burdensome then.
The Great End Times Disconnect
Though it is the end of the age, there is another dimension to our time and work that is critical - the work of establishing the kingdom of God in individual lives, hearts, families, communities, and nations until those last moments before Jesus splits the sky at His return. There is a great disconnect today in the hearts and minds of many believers related to the same issues that the Thessalonian believers faced in their day. It seemed noble to some then to withdraw from society and wait for the greater thing. Today, the inevitability of end times events and our seeming inability to effect change has caused a posture of defeatism and absolutism that leaves little to no role for believers in this hour of history.
In reality, the lateness of the hour of human history means a greater urgency and energy that we must expend in the place of prayer, fasting, evangelism, preaching, prophesying, building, shepherding, leading, and every other godly work that helps establish the hearts of men and the society in which they live in the things of the kingdom of God. God desires all men to be saved and to come into the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). This is the hour for mercy to triumph over judgment (Jas. 2:13).
We cannot give ourselves to the place of prayer and fasting and disconnect from advancing the kingdom and winning souls through the gospel. The reason is simple - as we grow in our prayer lives, we will by definition grow in our capacity to love God and men and care deeply about the things that God cares about. Once we are abandoned to the place of prayer, we will then become the most zealous to work and labor to see the nations transformed into the expression and quality of life that Jesus gave everything to see. This will happen fully after His return, but how much can we see and experience of the kingdom of God in our day? How much of our labors matter when He comes? I want to give my life and all of my time, energy, and money to see as much of the kingdom expressed in my life, family, and city as I can before He comes back.
Therefore, those who believe that it is the end of the age should be the first ones giving their whole heart, mind, soul, and strength for the purposes of God in this generation. At the hour of His return, He deserves nothing less.
May 28th, 2007
I haven’t posted much this week for a few reasons - birthing a second prayer room is time-consuming, thus there is much going on in my little world. The other reason I haven’t snuck a post in this week is because I’ve been researching like a madman for my next post examining the emerging church or the “emergent conversation”. I want to understand the dynamics involved so that I do not say anything unfair or out of bounds. I want to accurately represent the viewpoints in question, but to do so takes time.
In the meantime, discuss this little tidbit with me, because I’m curious - do you really live and think like it’s the end of the age? It’s one thing to believe it may be, that it could be, or that it probably is the end of the age; but how are we really living in light of what time it is? If we say it’s the end of the age, how does that information shift our thinking, living, time, and energy?
I wanted to hear from some of you how you are practically walking out the answer to this question - if you are. If you aren’t, I’m interested in that too.
May 26th, 2007
…and I’m glad you’re still with me. A few asides before I post sometime later:
1. I camped. No electricity, no running water in our little cabin - but we had a wood stove. I’m ready for the end of the age - all I need are guns and soup.
2. I avoided ticks. Barely. A few close scrapes and narrow escapes, but I avoided ticks. Never has one man applied so much bug spray to himself.
3. I fought off huge forest creatures. Raccoons and possums mostly. But they were big.
4 . I need a vacation.
May 23rd, 2007
Leaving town, gone ’til Sunday night. The family and I are going…camping! Wow!
First I get a dog…now I’m going camping…
Clearly it’s the end of the age.
Miss you all - see you when I get back.
May 14th, 2007
During the break in my seminar for our Israel Mandate Conference a few months ago, a young woman came up to me and asked me about my opinion of the Emerging Church movement. Limited in my time to answer, I had to come up with something succinct to summarize my thoughts. I responded with the following thought:
“The extreme edge of the holiness movement said, ‘before you have fellowship with us, you must totally embrace holiness’; the reaction of the Emerging Church is to say, ‘I’ll love you unconditionally until you choose to be holy.’ What is needed is a more biblical and less sentimental posture towards human nature - that true love does not shrink back from telling one who is in sin the truth about righteousness, yet is willing to love someone freely as they wrestle with truth’s implications.’”
I went on to talk for a moment about the short-term wisdom of a movement that seems so godly as it is so thoroughly embracing and inclusive towards, for example, homosexuals. It seems so loving during the early stages of the movement to freely and unconditionally embrace the sinner with no immediate pressure to renounce their lifestyle - while simultaneously leaving it vague and ambiguous as to whether or not they even need to. To have so many unsaved people, steeped in their sins, filling these churches around the nation searching for truth seems so wonderful - initially. The critical issue is not knit to the immediate inclusiveness and loving embrace. The “success” or health of a movement is revealed ten to fifteen years later. Has the movement produced the fruits of righteousness? If the homosexual that was initially embraced and loved is still a practicing homosexual ten to fifteen years later, can one honestly endorse the movement? If wholehearted love exhibiting authentic, biblical Christianity is not the end result of the journey, can one honestly testify that they had been traveling on the right road?
This was the point I was making, in essence, in my post about Barack Obama’s faith last week. You will know a tree by its fruit - those who follow you will only do (to a measure) what you have done recently. The memory of radical holiness and dedicated godliness is an insufficient motivator for the next generation - only a fresh and vibrant Christianity infused with life from the Spirit has the power to be contagious. The “fever” that is caught from the one who carries an authentic faith in Christ carries the symptoms of longing to know God and a hunger and a thirst to be with Him. In the deep stirring that is awakened within by the Holy Spirit, true faith is likewise awakened to live differently by the power of the Holy One.
Responding to God vs. Reacting to Men
How does one lay hold of such a faith? From what source are we drawing the power to convert men’s souls and deliver them from death? While I do not have a problem with excellent methodology, I wonder how much substance there is to the emerging church movement beyond a methodology that evolved out of its reaction to the seeker-sensitive movement? There is a longing to be missional all throughout the movement, or, in less cultural terminology, there is a desire to be relevant to a lost and dying generation. Philosophically, the question that emerged over the last few decades of church growth and the drifting of a young adult generation was simple: what really is the best way to reach the children of postmodern culture? In examining the methodology of the modern seeker-sensitive church, the emergent leader felt as if the techniques employed would fill mega-churches with those who were 35 and older.
How then, to take the gospel to young adults? Seminal works and enlightened study uncovered the model, brilliant men employed it in their home groups and young adult gatherings. Then, in my opinion, the worst thing possible happened to the Emerging Church movement. Their ideas worked. Young adults connected. Churches and mega-churches were born from the seed-bed of ideas that originated as a reaction to an unsatisfactory methodology. As with Obama, however, these men misdiagnosed the problem - and thus their “cure” for irrelevant, outdated expressions of Christianity revolved simply around the delivering (in a holistic manner) of an ancient message to the next generation in a manner that was connectible. The lifestyle of that message (love) also had to be experienced amongst a people for it to take hold their lives.
Again, it was, in its simplicity, a theological and practical reaction to the ineffective models of the last few decades. In that reaction a different expression that seemed more earthy, real, and honest took hold and captivated leaders that were looking for something more authentic than the next marketing survey. The counter-culture reaction will always have, built into it, a certain appeal - particularly among young adults. So what again would be the problem?
Love is about obedience
The Emergent movement has, in my opinion, settled for a definition of love that is vastly inferior to the true love of Christ. I’ll put it this way, and perhaps this is too unkind: in it’s reaction to what it deemed as the inferior methodology of the seeker-sensitive movement, the Emerging Church movement implemented what they saw as a vastly superior methodology (and lifestyle practice) of implementing what was in essence the same message. In reacting to a broken methodology few stopped to wonder about whether or not a broken message needed fixing.
This is the posture of weak and broken men who cannot react to the inadequacies of other weak and broken men: to respond to the invitation of God to rend our hearts in repentance, prayer, and fasting. Methodology and practice must flow from internal transformation and true fellowship and communion with the Living God. What is our “reasonable service” that Paul asked of us as believers in Romans 12:1 but to present our bodies on the altar of sacrifice - laying down the whole of our lives - as the manner in which we enter into the same love that Christ has for us? We were made for wholehearted love, which involves more than believing we are loved and then in turn love others. The social activism that is intrinsic to the call of the Emergent movement is a noble call, but woefully incomplete.
We were not made to love, nor were we even made to love “much”. We are called to love wholeheartedly, voluntarily. In other words, our destiny and our hope is that we become consumed by a love that costs us everything yet is well worth the sacrifice. Love hears and obeys. Love delights in the pain and the cost of obedience. Love is far more than acceptance and service, it involves deep and costly sacrifice. I want to call the church to the kind of love Jesus had in mind when He prayed for us in the upper room thousands of years ago. I want to express the kind of love that enters into by grace the beauty of His holiness, embracing a kingdom lifestyle that authentically reflects the dream of His heart for the Bride.
I do not want this call and yearning to love to come as a reaction to what I might perceive as a weakness or deficiency in other streams of the Body of Christ. I want a love that flows out of my heart as a joyous response to the continual promptings of the Holy Spirit in the place of prayer and communion with the Father. I want to grow and increase in my yearnings and longings for Him - my life becoming defined by a simple cry: “I want more of You!” I feel as if, in the desire of the leadership of the Emergent movement to improve upon the weaknesses of those who plowed the ground before them, they have at the same time missed the simplicity of love in their desire to express it rightly.
In yet another reaction to the excess and weakness of the Western church, Brian MacLaren (one of the fathers of the Emergent movement) has given a call to those within his sphere to embrace what is known as preterism. The excess that he is reacting to is the passivity of a church that has embraced an escapist (pre-trib) end-times view and thus disconnected a bit from social activism. In his zeal to see a church that is relevant in the affairs of this life, expressing the love of Christ through social activism, he has called the church to dismiss the prophetic and the future specultating and embrace a here and now kingdom mentality. While his heart may be in the right place, he has made a grave error. This, however, is the fruit of reactionism. When one is consistently “reactionary” in their posture towards the church and its weaknesses rather than responsive to the Lord in the place of prayer, one will then be unintentionally resolved to focus on the wrong issues.
I want to examine the implications of what Brian Maclaren is urging another day. For now I simply want to remind myself of my limitations and lack of information regarding root issues and problems I would want to acquire a platform to solve. I do not want to react to what I perceive to be serious errors in the Emergent movement. I want to respond to God and do what is required from His perspective to prepare myself, my family, and those whom He would send me to serve in the coming hour to endure the storm of trouble that is coming to the whole earth. I want to walk worthy of His calling, being fruitful in every good work, filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. So, rather than react, I pray this simple prayer again today:
May 9th, 2007
I’m just getting back on my feet and feeling back to normal again tonight after some forced rest and many different kinds of medicine. Thanks so much for the prayers and kind words.
In fact, it seems as if much is getting back to normal again - the rains have stopped, our flooded basement is drying out, some dude is mowing his lawn at 1 in the morning down the road from me…you know, things like that.
The other thing that is getting back to somewhere around normal is related to the cryptic comment left on my site earlier today:
“Slike - the gravy train of free articles is coming to a screeching halt. I am about to get back in the game.”
Faaaaantastic. This little ray of sunshine as the clouds parted on IHOP-KC’s eighth birthday was left by none other than Randy Bohlender himself, the patriarch of blogging around these here parts. In fact, his re-introductory post can be found here.
I love it. Great news. Welcome back, Randy.
I’ll miss the gravy train thingy, though. Mmmmm. Gravy.
May 7th, 2007
I’ve been out of action yesterday and a little today because I’ve been hit with the flu. Yuck. Fever, cough, tiredness, the whole en-hhil-ada. That’s not a typo. I want you to actually say enchilada that way. Someday I’ll talk about that right way to say conga (it’s not “caaanga”, as they say in Boston). Anyhow, I’m recovering and going for it in the prayer room today - but I’m not 100% functional.
The plan is, in my mind, to write something tonight. Or sleep. One of the two.
May 4th, 2007
If you can’t find the time to read “Dreams From My Father” or, “The Audacity of Hope”, then perhaps you can read the “Cliff’s Notes” summary given recently by the New York Times, as reporter Jodi Kantor examines Barack Obama’s faith. I’m not a conspiracy theorist when it comes to issues of media bias - I tend to view conspiracy theories as those musings that attribute far too much thoughtful, strategic thinking and planning on the part of those who constitute any kind of “right-wing conspiracy” or “liberal bias”. Of course a bias exists. Reporters are not automatons or robots able to divorce how they perceive the world, what is noteworthy, or what stories need to be told from their worldview and life philosophy. No one reads the New York Times for the facts. In the information age, the facts come quickly and fade from their importance just as quickly. People want to know more than “what” in our postmodern time - they want to know “why”.
This article, in fact, is exactly in line with modern reporting - particularly in regards to the media pace-setters. It presents, in fact, the reverse of the above premise: it feeds hungry information junkies the “why” as a means of providing a very interesting and noteworthy “what”. In other words, the reporter already assumes you knew the initial “what”, or facts of the matter: Barack Obama is a man of faith. Her job, then, is to report to you why that is. In doing so, she is presenting to Democratic voters in the south and the principled swing voters throughout the nation a very appealing “what” - a presidential candidate that actually possesses a substantive faith. A similar article ran in the Times regarding Hillary Clinton’s Methodist faith a few months ago in Newsweek.
It’s a reasonable faith that is the subject of these presentations, a depiction of the kind of faith that stirs the complacent and provokes the selfish to do similar good works and have a like-minded concern for the down-trodden, or the “underdog”, the concept that Obama credits with his conversion to Christianity. It is a variation of a theme - faith as the vehicle for hope related to great societal change: all that is wrong being set right in a manner that expresses true justice for the weak and the hopeless. Isn’t this what we all are striving for - and isn’t this something that all should celebrate? Obama’s social and societal concerns appear to be noble and his intentions sound? If you are nodding your head “yes”, at this point, you really won’t care for what I say next.
What does your faith draw men towards?
Hear me when I say this - the fact that the New York Times has an affinity for Obama’s version of Christianity does not make it illegitimate in my eyes. I would, however, suggest that you read the previous paragraph again and tell me what is missing. In my opinion, the initial by-product of my faith in Christ should not be to stir men and women to good works and worthy causes. If you come away from talking with me and are not stirred to:
1. Know Jesus (and study the Bible) and / or
2. Pray more
…than I am going to have to confess, repent, and try again. I was commissioned to draw all men to the Beautiful One, the Desire of All Nations - the Risen King who is the only One worthy of such pursuit. I yearn and long within myself to be a true friend of the Bridegroom, and as such my prayer life is in part a pursuit of authentic loyalty through a transformed heart that draws no attention to myself or my own cause. I want to be a living advertisement for those things that burn on the heart of Jesus. Once we connect to Him in prayer, subject then to the tenderizing work of the Holy Spirit and ignited with a heavenly fire within, we will then receive our mandate and can go forth from that place in confidence that we have been sent by the King and are safely subject to His will.
Obama’s faith is the kind of faith that stirs the soul within itself to act as the first response to need and lack. As a gifted, competent, and capable man, one like Obama would feel a deep responsibility to do his part when made aware of the societal deficiencies and racial inequities that those around him experience on a daily basis. While sounding benevolent and reasonable, Obama falls victim to the most seductive deceit in all of history: the need to play the messiah for those who are in need. Obama’s faith is the kind of message that draws men to themselves as the solution to the problem. Thus it becomes (with seemingly good intentions), even initially (and fully expressed eventually), outrageously anti-messiah in spirit and in truth.
Men are sinners that need to be saved
The first sign of one who is “anti-messiah” is that they misdiagnose the problem. Thus, rather than preaching Jesus, they spend much of their time identifying problems and challenging people to change / learn compassion / get perspective in order to solve the problem. Pick any issue - race, poverty,the environment, peace, etc. The solution, ultimately, is that men would be transformed and renewed in their innermost being that they might walk in true meekness and love. This can only happen through encounter with Jesus Himself, of course. It takes repentance, it takes a conviction to leave our sinful ways, and it takes a continual heart cry in prayer to ask for help, or grace, in our times of need. It takes work to come into true godliness and holiness - work that most do not want to give themselves to. It is far easier to either preach easy forgiveness or social action as a way of appeasing the guilt of the wounded conscience.
The “what” and the “why” that is being presented to our generation falls woefully and tragically short of the truth of the gospel and the reality of the power of the kingdom of God to bring deep and eternal change. This issue, of course, goes deeper than a politician from Illinois and reaches into the depths of what it means to be the church in this hour to a lost and broken world. The solution, of course, runs far deeper than an introduction of the weak to a strong God whose love is relevant to their struggle. It lies in our willingness to confront our sin, repent, and continually and daily appeal to God to do what only He can do. This is not the popular theological conclusion of the day however, and the journey of the heart towards voluntary love and voluntary weakness is repulsive and foolish to the strong. It is, in fact, as it always has been, since the first man went his own way in his attempt to attain knowledge and insight to the world apart from the Living God.
Thanks to Randy B. - I could not have asked for a better introduction to my examination of the emergent church.
May 1st, 2007