Friday, June 23, 2017

Loss of Truth

Last week, I listened to a talk called The Loss of Truth by Ravi Zacharias. He describes how Western Culture has lots its way by ignoring God.

During the talk, Ravi read a poem called Creed by Steve Turner. It cleverly illustrates the futility and folly I have trying to live in God’s world while pretending that he does not exist. The poem is funny and disturbing at the same time.

Creed
We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin.
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don't hurt anyone,
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before during
and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy's OK
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything's getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated.
You can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there's something in horoscopes,
UFO's and bent spoons;
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha
Mohammed and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher although we think
his good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same,
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of
creation sin heaven hell God and salvation.

We believe that after death comes The Nothing
because when you ask the dead what happens
they say Nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied,
then it's compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps Hitler, Stalin and Genghis Khan.

We believe in Masters and Johnson.
What's selected is average.
What's average is normal.
What's normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between
warfare and bloodshed.
Americans should beat their guns into tractors
and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good.
It's only his behaviour that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth
that is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust. History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds.


Steve Turner

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Vision of Cracks

I was struck by an article published on the Elijah List by Lana Vawser at the end of April. It was thrown out so nonchalantly, I wondered if she understood the implications of the vision she shared. Here is what she saw.

I watched as angels of triumph that had been positioned all across the United States began to stomp upon the nation with their feet. As they stomped their feet and the intercession of the people of God were rising up to heaven, I saw a great and mighty shaking that was happening and increasing in the nation.

Yet as these angelic hosts stomped their feet on the land, I saw cracks in the ground beginning to appear, and all the hidden things were being brought to the surface and exposed. What I noticed about these cracks is they spread far and wide all across the United States, but what struck me was the DEPTH of the cracks. As far as they were spreading wide, they were going deep. The shaking was going deeper and deeper and deeper and I heard the words “I am going to the foundations. I am going to the roots. I am uprooting and exposing the weeds and the snares in the foundations. I am uprooting and exposing the weeds in the roots and foundations.” As this shaking was taking place, and the people of God interceding for the nation, I watched as the Lord began to breathe down the generational line, and I saw curses that were established and spoken over the United States being broken. The shaking was revealing the curses and the poison and it was all coming to the surface and another level of the breaking of generational curses of the nation was happening.

I watched this shaking taking place and it was like an earthquake. Many of God’s people were feeling unsettled, some were feeling fearful and discouraged, and I heard the Lord say “Do not mistake the shaking! Do not mistake the shaking! Do not mistake the shaking! The shaking is leading to another level of the chains breaking. The shaking is leading to another level of the chains breaking.

Lana saw cracks spreading far and wide across America. She was stunned by the depth of the cracks.

I do not know how it feels on the inside, but looking from the outside this seems to be a good description of the United States. The nations with “United” in its name seems to be divided in so many directions.

  • political
  • religious
  • racial
  • north-south
  • east-west
  • urban-rural
  • fresh water v blue water economists
  • Progressive Christian v Evangelical Christian
  • 90% v 10%
  • security organisations v political authority
  • Washington elites v the rest
  • financial sector v productive sector
In the vision the cracks went down to the foundation. I presume that this is part of the problem. The cracks and divisions that are currently manifesting are rooted in cracks that were built at the beginning.

While there was a strong Christian influence at the foundation of the United States, there were many other influences all bound together.

  • enlightenment philosophy
  • Greek political thought
  • Roman law
  • free masonry
  • mercantilism
  • slavery
  • deism
  • faith in political power
  • faith in military power.
If I understand the vision correctly, God is allowing the surface cracks to manifest, so that the cracks in the foundation can be exposed. This suggests that the United States is in for some serious shaking.

Lana said that the Lord is declaring “Triumph”, but I am not sure what that means. In my view, the outcome of shaking depends on whether the people of God are prepared.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Gospel Keys (5) Place

Matthew 18:18-19 contains important insights about the Kingdom of God. Jesus promised that his followers will be able to bind the spiritual powers of evil and release angels to do his work.

Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in the spiritual realms, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in spiritual realms (Matt 18:18).
Yet, we are not seeing as much of the spiritual powers of evil being bound as we should expect given Jesus’ promise.

Jesus gave the condition for his promise in the next paragraph.

Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in my name, there am I with them (Matt 18:19-20).
The condition for the victory Jesus promised is two or three disciples gathering together in his name. We assume that if we get together for an hour on Sunday morning or Wednesday evening that is sufficient for Jesus to be present and give the victory promised. I suspect that Jesus had something more permanent in mind.

The first Christians were together in one place.

All who believed were in the same place (Acts 2:44).
Because they had come together, they had strong spiritual protection, and were able establish victory over the spiritual powers of evil.

In contrast, modern Christians are content to live scattered all over the place. Gathering together is limited to an hour on Sunday. This reflects a lack of understanding of the spiritual battle that we are engaged in.

In a war, gathering together is the best defence. The same is true in a spiritual war. Serious defeat of the spiritual powers of evil that Jesus promised, will take more serious gathering together.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Gospel Keys (4) Power Pairs

When Jesus apostled his seventy-two disciples, he sent them out in pairs.

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and apostled them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go (Luke 10:1).
We tend to assume this is optional, but it was an essential aspect of Jesus gospel strategy. The early Christians carried it on after Jesus has ascended.

John had been with Jesus for three years and understood his ways better than anyone. He had experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. If anyone could operate on his own, it would be John. Yet when he went up to the Beautiful Gate of the temple, he paired up with Peter.

By operating as a pair, and accompanied by the Holy Spirit, a crippled man was healed. They proclaimed the gospel boldly to the religious authorities (Acts 3).

Paul always operated in a pair with another person who could compliment his ministry.

To see the gospel advance rapidly, we need to learn how to operate as pairs. For more see Power Pairs.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Gospel Keys (3) Go and Stay

When Jesus apostled the seventy-two disciples, he told them to go to the place he was sending and stay there.

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and apostled them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house (Luke 10:1,2).

Jesus told them to go to where the harvest is ripe and stay there.

This instruction has been mostly ignored. The church tends to settle down where it is. People are invited to come to the church and attend a meeting. Sometimes Christians visit the place where they think the harvest is ripe and invite people to come to their church. This is the wrong way round.

If the gospel is to advance powerfully, there will have to be a lot more going and staying.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Policy Design Fault

Chris Floyd notes that in this century alone, the US and UK have helped destroy two largely secular, multicultural regimes that had stood as bulwarks against the Islamic extremism peddled by allies such as Saudi Arabia, namely Iraq and Libya. A third such country, Syria, has been the target of an ongoing regime change war in which the West and Saudis are openly backing al Qaeda allies and other extremists.

Given that the leaders of the UK and US claim have declared that Islamic terrorism is the primary threat to our civilization and thus counterterrorism is an overarching priority, he asks why they have adopted policies that undermine their objective.

  • If countering Islamic extremism is your priority, then supporting Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya is, to put it mildly, the wrong policy.

  • If it is your priority to combat Islamic extremism which threatens to radicalize citizens of your own country, then giving massive, continuous, unquestioning support to the brutal tyrants who have exported extremist Islam all over the world for decades is, to put it mildly, the wrong policy.

  • If it is your priority to defend your civilization from radical Islamic extremism, then launching war after war after war in Islamic countries with secular governments — and aiding extremist militias in those countries, like al Qaeda, al Nusra, ISIS, and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, founded in the 1990s with support from the West to launch terrorist attacks against the Gadafy regime — are, to put it mildly, the wrong policies.

  • If it is your overarching priority to prevent the spread of hatred, radicalization and revenge, then committing mass murder in drone strikes on villages, weddings, farmers and children is, to put it mildly, the wrong policy.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Gospel Keys (2) Go into the World

In Mark 16:17-18, Jesus promised that signs and wonders would follow those who preach the gospel.

These signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; … they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.

The question we need to ask, is “Where will they follow?”

Jesus gave the answer at the beginning of the message.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel (Matt 16:15).
Deliverance and healing will follow believers when they go into the world.

The church in the west has tended to keep the gifts of healing and deliverance at the front of the church, ministering to long lines of believers. This is the wrong way round.

The gift of healing is for unbelievers, so that when they hear the gospel, they will know it is true. It belongs in the world not in the church.

We all want to see the Holy Spirit healing the sick, but we forget where it happens.

And wherever he went into villages, towns or countryside, they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed (Mark 6:56).
As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by (Acts 5:15).
Large numbers of people were healed in the streets and the market place. This is where the Holy Spirit prefers to work. I suspect that he sometimes gets bored with our meetings and longs to get out into the public places and heal the sick. If we want to see him doing this, we should follow him.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Gospel Keys (1)

Jesus instructed his followers to take the good news of his Kingdom into all the world.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15).
He also gave a very clear strategy for how this should be done.

Unfortunately, there are a few parts of his strategy that the church has fairly steadfastly refused to adopt.

1. Wait for the Spirit
Jesus told his disciples that they should wait until they received the power of the Holy Spirit.

Stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49).
This is fairly basic. The gospel cannot be proclaimed effectively without the power of the Holy Spirit, because the gospel needs to be confirmed with healings and deliverance that prove God’s love and mercy and confirm that the spiritual powers of evil have been defeated. The good news of Jesus death, resurrection and ascension if incomplete without the power of the Holy Spirit.

Powerful preaching, clever visuals, smart programs and great music will never fill the gap.

The fields are still white, so we desperately need “power from on high”.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Gospel is Real

Many evangelical believers prefer Paul’s letters to the gospels. I can sort of understand why. Paul expects us to believes that Jesus died and has risen to God’s right hand. In the abstract, these truths are easy to accept.

I have just been reading Mark’s gospel. It is full of healing and deliverance from evil spirits for ordinary people in the midst of everyday of life. If these things are not part of our every day experience, this is quite confronting.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Religious State

The Iranian philosopher Abdolkarim Soroush said something like this.

In a religious state, religion becomes vulnerable to politics. To criticise the state is to criticise the religion. If the critics of the state are right, religion could turn out to be flawed, even endangered. If religion could not be blamed, critics of the state must be apostates who cannot be tolerated.
The United States has had a religious state, but the last sentence in the quote did not apply. Criticism has been tolerated. However, the first part of the quote does apply. The failure of the state blackened the reputation of Christianity.

Now a new secular religious state is emerging in it's place. The last sentence in the quote does apply to the secular state.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Pentecost

Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday. All over the world followers of Jesus longed for a fuller experience of the Holy Spirit.

The songs pleaded for the Holy Spirit to come. Prayers implored him to come and refresh us.

The motives behind the songs and prayers are good, but I wonder if we have this the wrong way round.

The prayer and the songs make it should like the problem is with God, and that he needs to do something.

He poured out the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and he has never called him back. He has already done his bit.
That means that if our experience is below par, the problem must be with us, not with him.

Perhaps we should be asking if we have grieved the Holy Spirit, and what we need to do to put that right.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Kingdom Authority

Authority is the heart of every kingdom. If there is no authority, there is no kingdom. Therefore, to understand the Kingdom of God, we must understand how authority works, in heaven and on earth.

Everything in this universe is shaped by authority. In the beginning God said, “Let it be” and it was. He had authority over everything. Two chapters later, God said, “Let us give authority to humans”. Why on earth did he do that? When Jesus was being tempted, the devil said, “I have authority over all the kingdoms of the world”. How did that happen? When Jesus preached the gospel, the people recognised his authority. Who gave him authority? By the end of the gospel Jesus was saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”. How did that happen? The Book of Revelation says that Jesus has authority to open the scrolls that release God’s activity on earth. How does that work?

My book called Kingdom Authority describes the history of authority in both the spiritual and physical realms. It explains the big authority shifts that have had massive impacts on earth. Most theologies jump from the fall straight to the cross, without much need for the stuff in between. That is a mistake, as if we ignore the events described in the Old Testament, we will fail to understand everything God is doing, and the big authority shifts that have constrained him.

If we do not know about authority, we will not understand why evil has been so active on earth. God gave authority over the earth to humans. The forces of evil have been active on earth, because humans gave them authority, while God did not have the authority he needed to deal with evil. It took a special human do that, and until he came the powers of evil had a ball.

Big Questions
Jesus preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God. This raises a couple of serious questions.

Jesus prayed that God’s authority would be done on earth and it is in heaven. How did the God who created the universe end up losing authority over the earth? What happened on earth and in heaven that meant his authority on earth has to be restored?

Why has God taken so long? Things went wrong on earth right at the beginning. Yet God let thousands of years go by before he sent Jesus to put things right. Why did he let evil go on for so long, before something about it?

To understand these questions, we must understand the working of authority and the big shifts in authority that have shaped history on earth. The big shifts in authority are described in Kingdom Authority. This book is a prequel to a book called The Government of God that I will be publishing in June. It will show how the principles in Kingdom Authority are applied in practice.