Sunday, October 25, 2009

Others May, You Cannot

Once again my friend Don Atkin sent another another heart provoking article. This one is from G.D. Watson. I believe I read this some years ago. I can testify how easy it is to "go with the flow" and blend in with most people are doing. Perhaps if more of us took this to heart, we would see more true transformation in our lives and churches. What do you think?


If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25 )

If God has called you to be truly like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. He will put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be allowed to follow other Christians. In many ways, He seems to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

Others who seem to be very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and scheme to carry out their plans, but you cannot. If you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

Others can brag about themselves, their work, their successes, their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. If you begin to do so, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you only on a day-to-day basis, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, a helpless dependence on Him and His unseen treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored and put forward while keeping you hidden in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade.

God may let others be great, but keep you small. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. Then, to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done; this to teach you the message of the Cross, humility, and something of the value of being cloaked with His nature.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, and with a jealous love rebuke you for careless words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.
So make up your mind that God is infinite and Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own, and that He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you.

God will take you at your word. If you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things that you cannot. Settle it forever; you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand or closing your eyes in ways which others are not dealt with. However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven, the high calling of God.

G.D.Watson (1845-1924) was a Wesleyan Methodist minister and evangelist based in Los Angeles. His evangelistic campaigns took him to England, the West Indies, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Korea. He also wrote several books.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Proclaiming Christ Alone

In this very busy season of life, I have somehow squeezed in blocks of time to do a lot of reading. Most are new or relatively new books... some by new friends I met at the Global Communion conference here in Charlotte last month. But I believe the Spirit prompted me to order and read a real classic.

The Gospel Blimp was published back in 1960. (Before I was even born!) I came across it as a teenager. It struck a chord back then. It did so in a more significant way this time around. Without telling too much its really a modern day parable about what we call "evangelism" and "ministry". I urge you to find a copy and read it. (I found my used copy on Amazon for less than 5 bucks, including shipping).

To make sure we get the message, Joseph Bayly's final chapter "Interpretation", drives home the moral of his fictional but terribly biting commentary on our modern religious enterprises. One section deals a devastating blow to any of our efforts that add human causes, no matter how noble, to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe it is avery timely and prophetic warning to us Christ followers here in America, as we deal with profound economic and political challenges:

"... adding anything to the gospel of Christ must weaken it. Jesus Christ refused to fall into this trap. "My kingdom," He said, "is not of this world". And as if to emphasize the point, He chose disciples of the most diverse poltical opinions: Matthew, the collaborator with Rome, and Simon, member of the Canaaan-ite resistance movement against Rome

I do not suggest that any area of contemporary life should be excluded from Biblical insights and prophetic preaching. But areas of proper concern for Christians within the Church are not our message to the world outside.

We preach Christ, not the capitalistic system. We seek to bring our neighbors to faith in HIm, not to our opinion about free enterprise. To tie Jesus Christ to the very best human system is to tie a star, light years distant, to a dead horse here on earth. Neither star nor Christ will thus be bound.

Further, our unsaved neighbors include those who do not hold our political, economic and social opinions. We may not care for the opinions they hold, but Jesus Christ died for socialists as well as capitalists, for members of the A.F.L..-C.I.O. as well as members of N.A.M.(this is the National Association of Manufacturers-I had to look this up) , for (African Americans) as well as whites. Shall we interpose our opinions between the Lord Jesus Christ and men for whom He died?

"If our gospel be hid in America today" (to paraphrase II Corinthians 4:3-7) "it is hid to (African Americans) and other minority groups, to members of labor unions, to the unchurched, the poor, the unwanted.

""Now we know that the god of this world has blinded their minds, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine in their hearts.

"But in view of this, we should be all the more careful not to preach ourselves, or our opinions, but Christ Jesus the Lord. As for ourselves, we should be mere servants, showing love to our neighbors for Jesus' sake.

"And when we fall short in our witness (as we surely will), when our love weakens, what then? Then we know afresh that we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us."

Therefore, let us trust the Sovereign God, not our human organizations or institutions. And let us seek to be men and women like the Lord Jesus Christ, friends of publicans and sinners, yet "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners" (Hebrews 7:26).

And if He dashes our proud blimps to earth, we know this, that he designs thereby to bring sons to glory."

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Real Last Move of God

This is a season of adjustment. Its a joy to be away from the religious rat race. Along with dear friends, we are learning how to "be the church" instead of "having church". So you can understand why the words below struck a chord in my heart. My friend Don Atkin sent this along this evening. I hope you are encouraged by it just as I was:

The real last move of God doesn't need a man to lead it, doesn't need a band to hype it, doesn't need a building to corral it, doesn't need a billboard to promote it, doesn't need intercessors to pray it in, doesn't need a TV show or even a microphone to barker it, doesn't need a PR program to defend it. Can't take up an offering for it or seed into it, can't hype or manipulate it, can't own it.

It has already begun in the secret places of men's hearts, men who rarely even know one another. It is already taking place in the hidden corners of David's cave of Adullam where a few misfits and malcontents have hidden out in Jesus and are being quietly shaped into a might army of glorified sons. A few here and there are being knitted together in love whose light, when they cross paths, becomes greater than the sum of the two, or three, or four, or whatever number they are.

It is the light of life, the very life of God they radiate, exposing the darkness and causing turmoil everywhere they go—unspoken, but spoken against; loving, but hated by the world; merciful, but treated unmercifully; strong through brokenness; powerful in weakness; mighty men of valor without guile or malice; strong and powerful in the Lord without gender.

Released one by one, becoming two by two, becoming four by four, then eight by eight—on an exponential curve. Yes, a movement to end all revivals.

Can't start it, can't stop it, can't own it, can't harness it, can't telecast it, can't alter it, can't do anything about it. It is already in motion and is bigger than any man or collection of men. It is the coming forth of Zion, the ushering in of Tabernacles—the feast of Ingathering; that is, Jesus gathering into Himself His true assembly of called-out-ones.

These are those who are called, chosen, and will be found faithful. Nevertheless, whosoever will may come. Either way, all were known before the foundation of the world.

Charles Newbold, Jr.

June 21, 2008