What are we lacking in our computerized, fast paced and very often overwhelming world? In aworld that constantly tries to make us believe that the old times have passed away, all around us we constantly hear “this ishistory, which is good to know but the time of God’s warriors and Hisheroes, prophets, people walking in great authority and power isover.” They say, “We are living in a different era… Those kinds of people were needed at that time, but not now… We have our churches, a roof over our heads and a reasonable amount of peace”. The feeling that we have been created for something bigger has been buried somewhere or was suppressed by those who are not doing anything, or virtually nothing, and sometimes, subconsciously, do not want others to do what they are unwilling to do. Is it not true that constantly it is said to us that “some things are just not possible”.
A few years ago, I heard someone assert that, “Those who are saying that this cannot be done get in the way of those who are doing it.” What an amazing truth this is.
Okay then, let’s get straight to the point. Let’s look at the question before us, “What is the role of the Church and what is keeping us, heirs of God’s blessings, from fulfilling that mandate?” For many years sitting in a church pew, I heard, I have to admit, many good sermons about different Biblical accounts of conquerors aligning themselves to the promises of God. Accounts of David’s victory against Goliath, about Daniel in the lions’ den, about Esther and her brave stand before the king, against the law, staring into the eye of death. Accounts of the apostles and their, out of this world, stance that is recorded in the book of Acts, when they without compromise, filled with the HolySpirit, stood before the most powerful people of this world, preaching to them the good news, and quite often paying for this boldness, which seemed like arrogance to the leaders, with their lives. But it was not in vain, for through their efforts, cities were overturned and the message of the gospel was spread to the whole known world. Naturally, the question is asked, “Who were those people, anyway?”, and “How are we different from them?”
Now to address the answer.
We read from the wordof God in James chapter 5:17 “Elijah was a man just like us. “In the 11th Chapter in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, weare told very plainly of people like ourselves, flesh and bones, who were of great faith. The problem, then, lies with ourselves. It’s not God that, somewhere along the way, changed His tactics regarding the plan of salvation and how He leads His children through this life, but rather we lost something that enables us to overturn cities, that changes the course of history and brings sinners to the place of forgiveness and repentance; to the cross. What is this”something”? What are we too often lacking? It is faith my brothers and sisters… faith is what is lacking.
All of those people trusted the Living God, the One who is the author and finisher of our faith. The very One that holds our lives in the palm of His hand and the One that says in His Word, “If you love Me obey My commandments”.
So how is it with us? Now the truth…
We desire great things but at the same time we refuse to pay the price that is required to achieve that. Quite often we believe in the lie that we cannot achieve something because… and there lies the whole problem. Reasons and excuses too numerous to measure… “It’s not yet time… we don’t have enough finances… it’s too late… we have to wait for a better time, when people’s hearts will be more open…” and on and on. I am telling you that those are just excuses which cover something much more dangerous. Something that is in our hearts. In the best case scenario, it is ignorance or lack of knowledge of God’s Word, in the worst scenario, it’s fear. Yes, that’s right fear.
My wife constantly reminds me that people love to spiritualize their position, a very comfortable one I might add, to excuse them for doing something for the Kingdom of God and at the same time covering their cowardice, disobedience to Jesus and lack of standing for Him.
I will try to present this a little more succinctly. Some time ago, my wife and I were invited to his big church. The pastor was very well known from TV programs. My friend was very excited about our visit. He had indicated that his church was on fire for the Lord. The service started with music and worship, prayers and then a big chunk of the congregation stood and moved to the middle of the sanctuary carrying different items; some had tambourines, some had drums, and my friend was carrying a stick. Then I noticed several people taking ornamental swords and shields down from the walls.
Then it started. With the beat in the style of a really nice military march music, people started to declare the word of God in song and prayer. They were walking and marching in a circle. The effect was really impressive. You could feel the atmosphere of a battlefield, like real conquerors entering the promised land. The more people were joining them, the more the atmosphere was getting thicker. You could hear the cry for our cities and our nation, who left God in pursuit of materialism and self-gratification. I myself had an enormous desire to join them in their march; to grab for a sword and shout with the rest, “It is true, our God is mighty and strong, unbeatable in the battlefield and we are His army.” But as a guest, I decided to wait for what was coming next. You could clearly see by the looks on their faces, happiness, joy, they were truly proud of what was happening. When the music ended, everyone of them sat down on their pew and very slowly, the pastor stood up and started to preach.
After a while, he said how recently God had put on his heart the condition of the city and the neighbourhood the church was in. That people all around them were dying. He continued to speak of how great a tragedy this was and of how those people when they die, if nothing was done, would go straight to hell. And at the same time this church was close to the desperate people surrounding them. Then he said something that I will probably never forget for the rest of my life. This very well known TV preacher confessed that Jesus commanded him to take the church where the people are, outside, but he simply didn’t know how. He was asking for help.
Just a half hour before many people were dancing, many were shouting, many declared the Word of God and His promises. Yet now, not a single person came forward, not one stood up and said to the pastor let’s do this, let’s do that, I have an idea for evangelism, nothing like that, there was just overwhelming silence. I was sitting there pierced through by the reality of the sad truth, that this church had absolutely no clue about how to win the hearts of men, that God himself died for. I couldn’t take it anymore. I went to the pastor telling him stories about what was happening on the streets of Calgary, that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. I told him that we had a problem with sharing our faith as well, before, but now there are hundreds that come, and thousands are being touched by His grace. I explained that this is just fear that they have to break through. That perfect love casts out all fear… That if God is with us, who can be against us? I continued that Jesus commanded us to go and preach the gospel to all creation, and that’s only possible outside where there are people, trees, and birds, etc. Because, it is written that all of creation cries out for the manifestations of the sons of God. The church is needed to teach and build each other up with the word of God, but Jesus showed us what we are to do, and how we are to do it. We must simply imitate Him.
Are we not followers of Christ? Jesus spent more time outside the synagogue than inside. Isn’t that true? The pastor was looking at me with a confused look in his eye, so I continued, “Take this fire that you have hear, and spark for God, in your neighbourhoods, in your city like the apostles before you. An army is an army when it comes out and retakes what was stolen, defends when the need comes, and is not hiding within the four walls of their buildings because an army that hides is destined for failure and total annihilation. My listener completely disagreed. He was not able to imagine himself in leadership of people that are coming out publicly in an open battlefield to conquer. For this man, that was something unimaginable.
We left this place very sad. The truth is that this leader represents the current state of most Christians in the modern day church. So what are we to do? I, myself, am tired of people that talk too much but do very little. They know how to pray, they declare and dance, but when it comes to the reality of the real battlefield where people’s lives are at stake, heaven or hell is in the balance, they are hiding behind their four walls. I am also tired of listening to yet another person, at yet another conference, that speaks very well but he himself is just a mover (flies from one place to another) charging a fee to be heard. That fee, to hear the preaching, can be sometimes $100 per person, just to hear the free gospel of Jesus Christ. They forget the words from the living God, “freely you have received, freely give”. I have also had enough of people that are using the pulpit for their own private endeavours, spiritualizing everything that they do.
I also know that many of you my brothers and sisters, are tired of this as well. Please understand me well, we are to preach and to teach, but most importantly we are to be doers of the word and not only hearers, not just being messengers but modellers of the Word of God. Okay, but how? Without examples, around us, it’s very difficult. How do we find the right method, an effective evangelistic tool that brings the harvest? The harvest is the whole essence of what we are called to go after. At the end of the day, what counts is God and His will and I believe that’s what you are desiring also, that you don’t want to be just a marionette army like in my friend’s church. Beautifully dressed, in shining armour, with a belt and a sword, with a shield in their hands, walking in a circle and there lies the problem, just going in circles.
The army that is afraid to cross the threshold of their own building becomes an army of marionettes that too often are merely actors who’s strings are being pulled by the puppet masters, the pastors. I remember once, God showed me a beautiful young stallion his muscles and power manifested through his every move. When he ran, it looked like he was going to crush the ground under his hooves, unbroken and wild, displaying beauty and power. God spoke, confirming my thoughts, “Do you see him? He is beautiful, powerful… and totally useless. How long can you look at him? Eventually, you will be bored and you will walk away. A horse, no matter how wonderful and mighty, without a bit, bridle and reigns, is unusable. You can only look at it and when it’s unyielding and disobedient, in rebellion, it becomes dangerous for himself and for everyone around him.”
What does this mean to you? That you may have great fire, great drive, awesome talents given to you by God, but you have to remember, all of these were given to you by and through Jesus, for His purposes and His Kingdom. Bridled correctly, God can accomplish much through you, but unbridled and self-willed can at best make you useless, and at worst dangerous to everyone around you. God requires, from us, obedience through submission and He wants to lead us, and the truth is that we gave our lives over to Him.
Let us all ask God for an obedient heart and the ability to follow His commands.
We are so excited that the second comic is coming
Here is the preview of the first five pages. When the Lord blesses us with finances, hopefully before Christmas, we will get it printed ready for people to enjoy. Let us know what you think about how the comic is coming along.
We bless you in thename of Jesus Christ of Nazareth