Friday, February 6, 2014
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Be prepared, Friend!
As I spent time seeking the Lord about this new year, He impressed on me 4 areas where we, people of the Word and the Spirit, can expect great challenges in 2015. Two will come from the world, and two will be in the Church. I thought you might find them interesting.
1. Islamic violence. People will be murdered for their faith at an increasing rate. This trend will find its way to the United States this year. In addition to the obvious challenges of increasing physical danger, we will be challenged to remember that Muslims are human beings for whom Christ died. We must be prepared to love our enemies and be unintimidated in lovingly sharing the Gospel with them.
2. Homosexual activism. In the United States, we will be faced with the challenge of how to deal with sexual sin in general and homosexuality in particular. The wedge of so-called “gay marriage” (there is no such thing, but that is what the culture calls it) will be used to attack the church. We will be challenged to extend grace while being vilified, sued, and picketed. Loving people without compromising principle is a huge challenge in our day. I am well convinced that if we walk properly, we will infuriate both the world and the religious.
3. Goofy grace. Believe it or not, there is a controversy in Church-world over the exact nature of grace. This will be a point of contention for some who apparently don’t have anything constructive to do. Some say we never have to ask forgiveness once we are saved. Others are adamant that we must fervently enumerate every failure or God will reject us. The resolution is simple. When I offend my Dad, I feel terrible. I ask His forgiveness because it is the right thing to do. He never ceases to love me, and I never lose my Sonship. We will be challenged to press on with God without entering the strife around us. (Reference my opus entitled, “You’re a Keeper!” for a more in depth study.)
4. The move of the Spirit. The pressure from the newly prominent Christian establishment will continue to sideline the manifestation of the Spirit. The argument will be that we must appeal to the lost and unchurched in our services, and that speaking in tongues and other Pentecostal activities will scare them away. Instead we must get more professional and scripted in our presentations. We will be challenged to walk in what we know concerning the Holy Spirit, while making sure we explain to new folks what is going on. As the last days progress, we are obligated to present a Gospel of love and power and reality that can actually save and heal and deliver. If we don’t, who will? (Check out “Is There an Interpreter in the House?” for help in this area)
Scripture Reading: Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. "Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come." This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. (1Ti 4:7-9 NLT)
Somebody Said: "Many churches of all persuasions are hiring research agencies to poll neighborhoods, asking what kind of church they prefer. Then the local churches design themselves to fit the desires of the people. True faith in God that demands selflessness is being replaced by trendy religion that serves the selfish.” Billy Graham
It is the last hour. We will face challenges to what we believe, who we think we are, and to what we hold as valuable. We will have opportunities for heroism. I pray some of us will show up.