Sunday, October 17, 2010

Does the title fit?

I have been so challenged in my time here at IHOP-KC so far.  I love it!  I’m kind of freaking out about how I’m going to adjust to regular life after these last 5 1/2 weeks come to an end.  It was extraordinarily hard acclimating to my “normal” life when I came back after a weekend here in May.  This place is one of a kind.  An entire group of people giving there lives over 100% to pursuing God and His will.  People are afraid to date because they don’t want to be out of God’s will.  That doesn’t happen anywhere!!  Our world is the way it is because people so often don’t care or listen to God.  They just do as they please or decide that He said, “yes” because it is what they want.

This past weekend we attended the Prayer and Prophetic Conference.  One of the greatest things that I have been challenged with is standing firm in my faith even unto death.  I entitled this blog as “Fearless Obedience” because I want it.  I know I am weak and do not have it. 
Could I, in the face of being sawed in half like Isaiah be as strong as he was?  Would I shrink back knowing that possibly I could be crucified like Peter? See, we are so comfortable here in America. Honestly, I believe that’s why we are not standing up firmly for what is right according to scripture and the will of God.  There is coming a day when possible death for our beliefs will no longer be a fleeting thought for us.  There is coming a day when this will be our reality.  This is the reality for many all over the world, but there is coming a day when it will be ours here in America as well.  The statistics I’ve been learning of Americans who are serious Christians is staggering. A large portion of Americans call themselves “Christians”, but when asked specific questions about their faith seemingly have shown hardly any evidence of it.  We like to say, “Well, Only God knows their hearts”.  But, let us not forget this scripture, Matthew 15:17-19“But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It's from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, and cussing. That's what pollutes.” Luke 6:43-45 "You don't get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It's who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds. 46-47"Why are you so polite with me, always saying 'Yes, sir,' and 'That's right, sir,' but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.”
I believe that the phrase, “God knows our hearts” is a nice little epitaph to make us feel better about not living our lives out boldly for God.  I think it has become a crutch we use and the truth in the phrase is gone when we frequently use it to comfort ourselves while we sin.  This is the truth and we need to have boldness and speak it out.  We are a people who have a stronger fear of man than of God.  And I will be the first to stand and say I am so very guilty!  Father forgive me! 
Paul was just as guilty when he went to Mars Hill to preach the gospel.  He watered the truth down to make it more relevant to the culture and people.  It was one of the very few times he tried to minimize the amount of feathers he ruffled. This is something I am seeing all over the place and again, I too am guilty.  Pastors are trying to keep people in their churches by pleasing the pew warmers.  Us pew warmers are trying to be nice to our unsaved friends and let them know we are “tolerant”.  Is allowing them to go to Hell being a nice friend?  I think we are the worst friends in the world if we allow that to happen.  We have to realize that watering it down is getting us NOWHERE!!
Look at the state of our country and tell me if you think we’ve really been speaking the truth and going out there and fighting for it all the way?  Look at all the lost people who think they are saved.  Hell is a real place and yes, people are really going there if they don’t stand for Christ FOR REAL.  And I’m not talking about some watered down, westernized version of Christianity.  I’m talking about an on fire, for real, Hell is real and so is our God, I’m speaking the truth and don’t care what you say or do to me Christianity. 
1 Corinthians 1:17-20 17 “God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him. And he didn't send me to do it with a lot of fancy rhetoric of my own, lest the powerful action at the center—Christ on the Cross—be trivialized into mere words.’
18-21’The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It's written, I'll turn conventional wisdom on its head, I'll expose so-called experts as crackpots.
So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn't God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.”
So that’s it.  People are looking for love, answers, peace, joy, security and whatever else in all the wrong places.  Our world is a mess and people are wondering why.  So what if we get a little egg on our face and people think we are not being “tolerant”.  Speaking the truth IN LOVE is what we are called to do.  We are not called to be inoffensive and make sure everyone feels real good about themselves all the time.
I had never heard Lou Engle speak until this weekend.  He sooooooo challenged my heart, mind and spirit.  I feel like the worst Christian.  He was talking and I thought, “Am I even saved?!”  He’s wonderful and speaks the truth like John the Baptist.  Praise God for him!  He spoke on prophecy and said, “ The prophetic gifts bring forth the mind of God.  We need to be delivered from the triviality of the prophetic, for it is the voice of God speaking!” Then he quoted this from a book, “To stifle a thought from God is no small sin.”  Then later he said, “Prophecy is the embodiment of the Word.  The person who speaks prophecy must become the prophecy, the Word.”    We know that the Word was with God and the Word was God and the Word become flesh in Christ.  So therefore, if we are Christians which literally means “little Christs” then we have an obligation to be The Word”.  We must eat the scroll and be it.

Hebrews 11:29 “By faith the people passed through the Red Sea[d] as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.  30By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.
 31By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[e] 32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned[f]; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.  39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Hebrews 12:1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Yes, Church is fun!

If you think I've been sitting in silence with calm churchy music and organs playing in a dark room since September.  . . you are sorely mistaken!  Tonight is our last Awakening Service and I want you to be a part!  Go to this link: tonight from 7:00pm - 1am EST and enjoy! 
If you can't jump, dance, scream and sing for Jesus, then what are you doing?  I bet you do that at concerts. (and now I am giving. . ."the look")