Friday, May 29, 2009

How Desperately Do We Want Him?

It has been some time since I've visited with you... longer than I would prefer. The pace of life has not allowed me to post until now. I did find another quote from Arthur Wallis' "In the Day of Thy Power" too irresistable to not share with you. It begins Chapter 13, "Paying the Price". The quote is from Duncan Campbell:

"These things spake Jesus, and departed and did hide Himself" (John 12:36). Is God hiding Himself because we are unwilling to face the implications of the cross? We want revival, but are we willing to pay the price? That price is death to the self-life. This surely is the place of victory and the price of revival. For the sake of our Lord, for the sake of perishing souls and the crown rights of our Redeemer, let us face the cross, and in the strength of His grace go through."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wielding the Weapon: Intense Prayer

Arthur Wallis' work, "In the Day of Thy Power" continues to challenge me. As you might guess, the "weapon" Wallis references is prayer, and in this section he refers to a key element of effective prayer: intensity!

Citing David Brainerd's diary, E.M.Bounds says of Brainerd: "His whole life was one of burning prayer to God for the American Indians. By day and by night he prayed. Before preaching and after preaching he prayed. On his bed of straw he prayed. Retiring to the dense and lonely forests he fasted and prayed. Hour by hour, day after day, early morn and late at night, he was praying and fasting, pouring out his soul, interceding, communing with God. He was with God mightily in prayer, and God was with him mightily, and by it he being dead, yet speaketh."

Later, Wallis continues...
"If there are those who read such accounts of intensive praying only to reflect with a sigh, "it is too high, I cannot attain unto it," let them recall that "Elijah was a man of like passion with us", that he was overtaken by fear, despondence, and self-pity, and yet "he prayed fervently" (Jas. 5:17) and prevailed with God. Intensive praying, however cannot be worked up; it is a burden that God places upon prepared hearts. When through the spirit we are possessed with such a consuming desire for revival that we feel we must either pray it down or perish in the attempt, we may be confident that God is going to send it. When the cry of the church is, "give me children or I die," then revival is nigh, even at the doors.

It is said that when Dr. Charles Goodell was sent to a rundown Methodist Church in New York City, his people said to him, "We hardly expect a revival here any more. We had them in years gone by, but times have changed." When Sunday came and he went into his pulpit and looked into the faces of his people he said, "My brethren, they tell me you do not expect a revival here. I am telling you this morning that there will be a revival here, or there will be a funeral in the parsonage.". The revival came, and a church dead and discouraged was quickened into life. Such an inflexible determination, inspired by the Spirit, is the underlying factor behind that intensive praying that prevails with God."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sounding off: Why I Hate Religion

Along the way, I come across writings that express what's in my heart. That's exactly what happened Saturday afternoon. A good friend of mine, Dennis Hall, who is the pastor of Briar Creek Baptist Church here in Charlotte, sent an email about his experience while in California. I believe his piercing words should prompt some soul searching for us all. Are we letting Jesus live in us, or are we propagating religion? Here's Dennis' email:

We (another pastor & his wife) were walking on the Promenade in Santa Monica, CA. This place has a lot of street musicians, vendors and eccletic people...well there were some guys who had a table set up with tracts who approached me. I talked to one. Firstly I was judged b/c I have a mohawk haircut, 2nd I didn't sense any love for me as a person (or for the others out there) just a target, and last after I finally let it out that I was a pastor...they really didn't believe me because of the way I looked. I CAN'T STAND RELIGION!!! And then I got sad. If they treated me this way, I know there were others who are rejecting Jesus because of them! Its really demeaning to be viewed as a potential recruit and not as a person. I can't stand religion! Jesus desires a relationship expressing itself in LOVE!

What made it so ironic was that prior to this incodent, my pastor friend and I were praying for all the people that were out there and God gave us a love and burden for them. So as we walked not only were we enjoying the festive atmosphere but our hearts were filled with compassion for the people. We were speaking for God to show us how these people (with cool & different hairdos like mine) could be reached with the Good News of Christ... and then I was accosted by some well meaning religious folk.

I believe God was showing us this type of evangelism isn't the right way...propagating Jesus without Love isn't sharing Jesus at all...its self indulgence and recruitment.

We must allow the Love of Christ to consume us and the Spirit of Christ to lead us. God wants us to love people and develop relationships with them. They need to sense from us that we really care about them. Jesus was known for His Compassion. Isn't it amazing that people flocked to Jesus. There is something deep in us that is attracted to LOVE.

I believe that before we are called to witness we must first become a witness. We ourselves must have a life altering, ego smashing encounter with the Grace and Love of Jesus!

I conclude that in my humble opinion, Religion is all about control, manipulation and hypocrisy. No one can meet all the standards of the law, yet those areas and rules that they have seemingly and deceptively mastered they set as a standard for others. Yuck! This incident has caused me to seek more diligently the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I want to so abide in Him and He in me that the fruit of His Essence will be available for others to feast.

I hate religion but I'm called to love the religious. Peace! Dennis via California

Monday, May 4, 2009

Filled with the Spirit... For Mission!

We at Catalyst Church in Charlotte were blessed to have Carl and Virginia Herrington back with us on Sunday evening. Carl addressed a subject that was a major reason we were attracted to Newfrontiers... a biblical and missionally functional perspective and experience on the Baptistm in the Holy Spirit.

Carl spoke on how the Holy Spirit empowers us:

to be transformed
to Walk in Unity
to communicate and demonstrate the gospel (in what we say and how we live)

I encourage you to click on the link below to listen to this message on the vital work of the Holy Spirit and how He equips us for the true mission of the church.