Searching for the One

Luke 15:4 ESV  “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?

Jesus addressed the crowd about this very common issue. If you lose one of your hundred, will you not look for it? The obvious answer to that is yes, of course we would. The number in safety is not the concern, but the one at risk is.  While we see this with sheep or cows or horses or any number of other things, it seems that in our spiritual life when we find ourselves in a place of uncertainty, we panic and believe that God has left us or that He no longer cares if He ever did. Doesn’t He see me here, my fear, my struggle, my weak faith, why isn’t He reaching out for me? Well, my friend, He is. It is His nature and always has been.

In the Old Testament, God found Abram in his father’s house, Moses in the wilderness, Gideon in the winepress, Elijah in a cave and Amos among the shepherds. He knew how to reach each one in their season and propel them into their destiny. In some cases they knew they were lost, in others, just hanging out and yet God sought them out at His timing and used them for His glory. Jesus was the same when He walked the earth. He called Nathaniel from under a tree, Zaccheus down from another, visited the Samaritan woman at the well, the cripple at Bethesda’s pool, left the multitudes to free the Gaderene demoniac, came to Peter after the resurrection to restore a broken man and finally, on the road to Damascus, broke the heart and will of a Pharisee named Saul and formed Him into a powerful, useful vessel.

The point in this is for us to realize that God never abandons us, nor fails to know exactly where we are. However, we often need to come to the point that we recognize our great need for Him. Are you feeling that, take comfort in some of His promises. Among them are “I will never leave you nor forsake you”, “If you seek Me, I will be found of You, when you seek Me with all of your heart”, “Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things you do not know” and a hundred more like these. Our God loves us and delights in us far more than we could comprehend. Somehow, let that sink in, take a deep breath and worship Him for His love for us. When you do, He will be found by you, He said so.

Until Next time – Pastor Bob

Just Horsing Around

Recently I was at a training event for young prophets. As part of their exercise, they were to seek to hear God’s voice for individuals. I am always happy to be a guinea pig at such events. You often receive great insight from those who have not had their gift clouded with success. On this occasion, two ladies ministered to me around an idea which centered on the phrase, “you are one who runs ahead of the horses”. An interesting passage of Scripture concerning Elijah, after his victory on Mount Carmel and before he ran away to hide in a cave. One can only wonder what God would mean there.  As with most prophetic things, I thanked them, and took the Word with me to consider and pray and see what He would say to me on the subject.

I realized in contemplating this, they were right, they had nailed it. You see, my personality is that of a race horse. I get to high speed over a short distance. It was a very desirable trait in my business and military life. God has gifted me with being able to look at circumstances, see what needs doing and get after it in short order. Great stuff in a combat circumstance or when sales numbers need to move. It is a blessing in many areas of my life. Making good accurate decisions can be invaluable, but it can also be frightening for those around you. You can seem skittish, unapproachable, maybe even scary like a racehorse. It also creates in me the I’ve finished my race going to take a break weakness. I have to labor to stay focused and on point over longer duration events.

Others I have known are like trotters, they carry a heavier load, more often over a longer distance, but at a slower rate of speed.  These tend to be the more contemplative leaders, when they move it is decisive, when the racehorse is at the first turn, trotters are still coming up to speed. They follow the same path, run for the same goal, the finish line, but they do it in a different, not better manner.

Still others are plow horses, they carry tremendous loads, over incredible distances, seemingly never tiring. They keep the same pace day after day, week after week, year after year, and as they finish one field they move to the next, never in a hurry, always mindful of the Masters hand on the reins.  In fact, they really don’t race at all, they just keep moving.

Interestingly enough, if you place race horses, trotters, and plow horses in the same pasture, they are not jealous of each other. There may be some minor territorial squabbling, but mostly, they eat grass, walk around, lay in the shade and do other horsey things. In fact, if you are not careful, they will breed and reproduce without paying any attention to what kind of horse they are. The offspring will be hybrids often not fit for the task of either of the parents.  They don’t care, you see, they are doing what they were created for, being horses, making more horses. When they do that, they give glory to the Creator by their existence.

So where am I going with this. Horses from different backgrounds, different bloodlines, bred for different purposes are content to just be horses together. We as Christians seem to struggle with that. We look at other Christians and wonder why they are not more like me? What is wrong with them? Don’t they see this text, hear this song, dream this dream, how can they not be motivated to move as I am? Well, the truth often is, they think the same way about us. I serve as Pastor of Charismatic/Full Gospel Church. We sing new songs, loud, with drums, guitars and amplifiers, we pray together loudly, sometimes in tongues. It is our tribe, it is who we are. We are not better than those who sing hymns, use organs, kneel and pray and weep quietly in a corner, we are simply chasing after being who we believe God has called us to be. Paul wrote about this to the Corinthian Church.

2 Corinthians 10:12 ESV Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.

There is the truth for us, as individuals, as denominations, and congregations. Don’t compare ourselves with each other, that is foolishness, ignorance, lack of understanding. We should compare ourselves only with the standard of Christ and who He has called us to be. Am I living that to the fullest in my life, and at the same time extending love and grace to others who do that differently, not wrongly, but differently than my personal expression. I am not suggesting overlooking overtly sinful issues, those are for another blog. Simply I am asking can you not judge me for not pulling a plow and I will extend you the same grace for not breaking into a trot.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 ESV Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. (25) Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

Unlike earthly racers, all who run after Christ believing will receive the prize, the prize of life eternal and such heavenly rewards as await those faithful to the call on their lives. Race horses, gallop hard straining ever forward and fulfill your calling. Trotters, maintain your pace steady and powerful to the end, you will be rewarded. Plow Horses, keep pulling, your faithfulness does not go unnoticed by the One who called you to the harness. Be yourself, by being who He called you to be and run well the race set before you. He is cheering you on, calling you home.

Pastor Bob

Pour It Out

A sharing from 2 Kings 4:1-7.The passage is a simple story; a widow of a Godly leader is in financial straits and in danger of losing her house and children.  All she has is a little vial of oil.  Elisha’s word is to gather all the empty containers you can find and fill them up with the little you have.  Does this strike anyone else as strange, or even ridiculous?  And yet, in her obedience she poured out and the oil flowed until all the vessels were full and her immediate and future needs were met!          In meditating on these scriptures I realize that many times I am like the widow, faced with the impossible or the unpleasant, lacking the resources to accomplish the task at hand, and if I am honest, I fear God will not move on my behalf.  With that said, I will share what I see here for your consideration and application to your own lives as you deem fit.

–        She went to the prophet for a word from God. We are a prophetic people, attending and pastoring prophetic churches, in a prophetic fellowship and we have the additional benefit of hearing from God directly.  What is God’s word to you? From the scripture, from the mouths of prophets, from your own prayer life, what is He saying?

–        She did what the prophet said.  It did not make sense but she obeyed!  I find that I, and many others, want to have everything in place, a three, four, or five step plan, a backup plan, and three layers of protection against failure before we will even move. If she had not obeyed, she would not have experienced God’s deliverance. Yes, count the cost, but get ahold of this concept…Faith is spelled R-I-S-K.  If we risk nothing for God we will often achieve the same thing for Him. Nothing!

–        She was desperate. Her life was on the line.  Many times I think we are not desperate because we are too comfortable, we think we have nothing to lose by staying put and yet we lose portions of eternal blessing by being complacent. I don’t think you can work up desperation, but God can place desperation in your heart.  Ask God to make you desperate for His promise to be true in your life.

–        The miracle happened when everything she had was at risk. I can’t imagine the struggle she must have felt when she turned the vial to pour out all she had into an impossibly large group of vessels.  Neither can I imagine her astonishment, her fear turned to joy as vessel after vessel filled.  If we would see God move, we usually must risk being foolish and losing that which we have!

–        The miracle continued until it was complete. God will not leave us exposed, unprotected, or without His provision when we pour our all out for Him. I wonder if, in the middle of her miracle, she worried the oil would stop.  How long can it keep flowing? Scripture promises He who began a good work…will be faithful to complete it.

This is what I see as the personal application for my own life.  The oil, the anointing, the gift He has placed in me is more than sufficient for the work He has called me to.  The anointing doesn’t flow until I have placed myself at risk in His hands.  His calling for the pouring out will likely not make sense and will take more than I think I possess. The container is me, the empty vessels, all those He has placed in my life, friends, neighbors, co-workers and even complete strangers.  If I will pour out what He has given into those He has sent, they will be filled and my purpose will be complete in Him.  I have to go pour out now.  Until next time…Pastor Bob.

A Season to Embrace the Three Fold Calling of God

A consistent event in the prophetic ministry is the encouraging of God’s people to step into a higher level of His calling for their lives. I believe we are often hesitant to step into His calling because we do not truly see ourselves as qualified. I would remind you before releasing this word, that God rarely calls the qualified, but He always qualifies those He calls. For the year of 2014 and beyond I sense the Lord declaring a Three Fold Calling to be embraced by all believers. I believe the Lord would say to us:
“This is a season to rise and embrace my calling and anointing for your life. In this season I am calling you to a three-fold calling of Kings, Priests, and Prophets. Each one who will enter into this anointing, who will accept this calling, will find Kingdom Advance in their life and ministry. The essence of this calling and the effect it will have is demonstrated by the purpose and calling of the individual anointing. The difference will be that as believers operate in this threefold calling, the effect and anointing will be multiplied by the gifts flowing together in My timing and My power.”
“Kings rule over a sphere and area of authority. Within that arena, their authority is absolute, their word the very law of the land. Each of you has a kingdom, an area of influence, a sphere where I have given you the authority to rule in the Spirit and atmosphere of that place. This personal kingdom may be your family, your workplace, your neighborhood or even your nation. Seek me to determine the limits and boundaries of your authority. The Kingly anointing I have for you is the anointing to declare and decree into the heavenlies. You will decree a thing and it will come to pass. This is different from the prophets anointing as you will see because the kingly decree carries with it the force of current law while the prophets decree carries the force of promises to be fulfilled. Seek My face and learn to decree My commands into the heavenlies and as you decree with authority, in faith believing you will see My Kingdom manifest in your kingdom.”
“The Priest approaches Me on behalf of the people. As you approach Me you are to bring the people of your kingdom to Me. The sacrifice of your praise and prayers will release an anointing of grace and mercy upon the ones you bring to Me. The Priestly anointing requires the shameless persistence of one who will come and midnight and refuse to be quieted until I release the bread, the insistence of a widow that cries out continuously for the release of justice against the adversary until My judgment comes. In this season, the Priestly calling will release My provision needed to sustain those in your Kingdom sphere and will release My judgment against the adversary which has resisted your effort to advance.”
“As the Kingly anointing provides order, and the Priestly anointing releases provision and favorable judgment, the Prophetic anointing will release timing and direction. The Prophet represents the My will and plan to the people. In your prophetic calling, I will release words in season, words to advance, words to pull back and words to hold ground. I will reveal the hidden treasures, the secret ingredients, the missing pieces which are required to advance in My plans for you.”
“The prophetic promise, decreed like Kings in heavenly places while humbly holding people before my throne will release demonstration and power not seen in years. The strength of nation shaking revival is contained in this word. So you My children, I am calling you to step in, to rule, to intercede, and to declare, for this is a season for individual believers to embrace My Three Fold calling, to live as Kings and Priests and Prophets daily and see My Kingdom come and My will be done on earth as it is in heaven everywhere you go.”
The above word was received over several days in a season of prayer and preparation for the release of the prophetic in Rochester, NY area for 2014. May it stir you to prayer and seeking of God’s voice for your individual life.
Blessings,
Pastor Bob Grant

The Thin Red Line

Recently our church prayer team visited a like minded church, Faith Chapel in Churchville, NY, for a season of joint prayer.  During that time of prayer, the pastor, Dave Branch, had a vision of a map with a red line connecting Churchville and Attica.  We had some personal discussion and thoughts included the Bloodline of Christ and the Battle Line.  We agreed in the connection between these two bodies and to pray into this vision.  The following is what I believe God is intending for us and for the body at large.

I believe the Lord shared with me Thin Red Line – Red Ball Express – Red Phone.

My first impression was this is the Bloodline of Christ.  Then I realized the red line goes beyond the Blood Line although that is included.  He showed me a map with pins and red string between them representing a likeminded network of bodies that are pursuing a pure move of His Spirit in our nation in our day.  The red line is also a battle line, think “Thin Red Line”, the connected bodies of believers that stand between the souls of men and judgment.  Working together they add souls to the Kingdom and they are strengthened because of their connection to each other and to “ME”…”A threefold cord is not quickly broken”.

The Red Ball Express was the name given to the supply line that ran from the French Coast to fuel General Patton’s advancing army in Germany.  The Americans were racing to beat the Russians to Berlin.  Often they had to stop because of lack of supply.  The Red Ball Express was a continuous unbroken stream of transport that ran to keep tanks and men supplied so the advance could continue.  God says “I have planned a continuous stream of heavenly supply, Spirit filled power, discernment, weapons of warfare and that which is necessary for the natural support of the supernatural army which is carrying the battle to the enemy.”  

The “Red Phone” is the hot line to the commander in chief.  No waiting outside, we have a direct connection through Christ and the Holy Spirit to receive orders from the commander.  These orders include where and when and how to advance, when to hold the line and wait, when to regroup and refresh in preparation for the next orders to advance.  All efforts should be focused on either preparation for advancing or actually advancing the Kingdom.

No advancing army builds lasting structures, only temporary, needs based facilities.  Advancing armies set up temporary command posts in captured enemy strongholds and from the enemy’s former location they launch out to overcome the remaining forces of the enemy.  “Do not let your structures and plans become so inflexible as to be unable to move and launch out in a new direction.  Classes, schedules, order of service and more should be quickly bent to My new orders.  If it cannot bend and accommodate new direction, it is not of Me.”

Finally, I believe the Lord would say “By the authority or the bloodline, you are to connect and cooperate on the battle line, with full confidence knowing that My supply lines are steady and full according to your needs for the carrying out of My orders.  Advance the Kingdom, preach the Gospel in signs, wonders, demonstration and power.  Advance ahead of the supply, it will catch up.  Spend time with me daily listening to My commands.  Battle directions often change without notice.  Be not afraid, I am with you and My supply waits at every commanded destination.”

Church, it is time to move out.

Pastor Bob.

A Call to Prayer

I have been praying about the potential entry into a war with Syria.  While I agree that horrible atrocities have been committed on the Syrian people and I am not insensitive to their cries, my spirit remains troubled within me.  Something is not as it seems.  Yesterday I posted an entry that said I sensed an unforeseen danger in a Syrian war.  It wasn’t loss of life or world opinion that haunted me, but something hidden, deeper, more sinister that caused my concern.  What is it?  Our military is more than capable, the cause seemingly just…but something lingers, no lurks because that is what evil does, it lurks just outside of actual perception, waiting for the precise moment of exposure to strike.  It was with this feeling that I went to bed and awoke this morning.  On my heart was a need to hear God’s answer, to find some smattering of His wisdom, some way to pray more effectively, to avoid direct contact with the enemy that would overwhelm us without His protection.

Then an answer seemed to come.  “My son, the unforeseen danger in Syria is two territorial spirits operating in cooperation with two more spirits in Washington, D.C.  The spirits of rebellion and murder have conspired to create such an atrocity as to provoke a reaction by the only nation strong enough and seemingly moral enough to stop the atrocity from continuing.  In Washington, the combined voices of seduction and pride whisper ‘no one else has the courage, you are the only one, the one who cares, the one who is strong and moral, the one who must stop the slaughter.’”

Like Delilah calling to Samson ‘the Philistines are upon you’ we are urged to rise up and scatter the enemy, but like Samson, our strength, our righteous relationship with God has been sacrificed through abortion and greed and numerous other rejections of His call to be a separate and holy people.  If we enter into a battle with these spirits with only the natural tools of war at our disposal, we are doomed to defeat.

But there is hope – that hope is the Church – for only the Church, the true Church of born again blood bought saints have the right to claim the promise of 2Chronicles 7:14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  Only we, the true believers can repent, can fast and pray, can call on the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to rise and shake Himself for battle.  This is a rallying cry for our generation – To Arms Church, get on your knees, and cry out to the only one who delivers.  Pray without ceasing for His grace to come like rain and His judgment to expose the powers and principalities that would seek to wipe the name of Jesus and Israel from the face of the earth.  Press in like you have never pressed in before, this is a time of desperation, but the voices of the few crying out in faith can and will turn the tide of evil once again.  Pray for our leaders, pray for Israel and pray for the innocents in Syria that God’s wisdom and deliverance will come.  Pray until He moves.

In His Service, Pastor Bob

Propelled by Divine Influence 2

It has been too long since I have followed up on the previous posting.  This year has so far been very eventful with salvations, baptisms, weddings, funerals and all the events of life and ministry that show up in a church setting.  What has resulted is that I have been lazy about writing for this blog.  Bad place to be lazy I know, but I need you to simply forgive me and I will try to be more timely in the postings.

But what of the things I believe God shared, about being propelled by Divine Impulse.  First while I know some readers may be skeptical about God speaking to people today.  I don’t consider myself special, super spiritual, or of any real importance to those beyond my immediate circle of friends and family.  Why would God speak to me?  My answer to that is, if I pray and believe it makes a difference, then when the praying is over and the time for action has come, that which I hold in my heart, which gives me His peace is His answer.  It will line up with scripture; it will likely be confirmed multiple times in multiple ways.  Even my non-charismatic friends pray expecting an answer and the act of what is in their heart to do.  I choose to declare that God speaks to my heart and to the hearts of all men.  So if I really believe this is from God, and read it out publicly, and publish it on the web, then what is my personal responsibility?

My Bible tells me Jesus said this Luke 8:21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” This is not the only place Jesus said this, in fact the emphasis on listening carefully and responding obediently is a recurrent theme.  Jesus said He only listened to His Father.  The Holy Spirit on speaks what the Father says.  In fact to hear the voice of God, the impulse, the leading of the Spirit, the impression of what to do and to remain nonresponsive is in fact an act of rebellion.  I will not presume tell you what you should do, but I will tell what I have done and share what I have seen in the months since last writing.

First, I have increased my prayer and quiet time.  If nothing else, I am more peaceful, more focused on Jesus, better schooled in His Word, in other words, I have drawn closer to God, a good thing for all of us to do.

Secondly, we changed our midweek service into a prayer service.  We place music on in the background and spend time thanking God for all He has done, inviting Him to possess more of our lives, asking the Holy Spirit to manifest in ways that we can observe and feel and at the end of a time of prayer, we share and compare our impressions of what was heard.  I am amazed at the number of times where people praying silently at different areas write down the same thing.  What is more impressive is when one has an impression and others have parts that seem disconnected until they are shared together.  The body being built up by that which each member supplies.  Our prayer teams are more convinced than ever that God hears and responds to their prayers.  As a result, we pray more fervently and believe we see more of His activity in the public arena.  We are now praying for others in settings outside the church and sharing faith more boldly.

In my personal ministry, since a vacation trip to our hometown at the end of June, I have not been in a service where there was not some sense of the Spirit of God moving in power.  Perhaps someone would have a word of encouragement to share, but the most moving times have been in praying for people.  Individuals are praying for each other and seeing God answer.  In my personal life, I have shared with people on impulse, prayed with understanding into events I had no knowledge of, and seen at least 10 people report the dissipation of pain or other symptoms while praying personally with them.  In short, I am seeking to be propelled by Divine Influence, modeling that for our congregation, providing a platform for them to do the same and we are seeing Him respond to our prayers.

My encouragement to you is this.  Press in to the Lord.  Believe He not only hears your prayers but speaks in answer to them.  Check your believed answers with scripture.  Act on your impressions in faith and expect God to move.  As I heard once and have repeated numerous times, faith is spelled R-I-S-K.  Take a risk and let God propel you towards His purpose for your life.

Pastor Bob

Propelled By Divine Impulse

During my personal time with the Lord on January 9, 2013, I believe I heard the following:

          “This is a season of seeming contradictions.  It seems as if evil has taken over the nation.  It seems as if people are not interested in Me.  It seems as if My Church has lost power and influence in the public arena and it even seems as if the Church will be driven underground and die.  But, this is not the reality, it is the illusion.  These things appear to be true only to the natural eye and the natural mind but, to My people, led by My Spirit, this is to be your finest hour.

          Yes the enemy has come in, but like a flood, My Spirit has raised a standard against him.  Yes people have rejected the way of religion and the traditionally organized church, that way is powerless, but they hunger for the power of My Spirit.  They hunger for the Church that will stand in faith and declare My Truth unwaveringly, a Church that will call on Me for My Power in impossible situations and expect Me to move.  Have I not promised that the people who know Me as their God will do great exploits.  Well, this is that hour, but you must know me.  My Spirit will lead you into the battle, not the battle in media, courtrooms, and politics, not the public arena, but the battle in heavenly places where the souls of men are at stake.  Yes the Church will seemingly get smaller and fall away from public influence, but again, this is only an illusion.  My Church is those who believe I am able, those who commit all to me, and they will arise in this season.  Evil will be thrown back, not in the public arena but in the hearts of men.  Evil rulers will fall, again, not in the public arena, but in the hearts of men.  My Church, My Bride, will arise, thrive, and move closer to being without spot or blemish in this season.  The resulting change in men’s hearts is the victory.  With that change, will in fact come some change in the public arena, but My Kingdom is not now and never was of this world.  This world is the training ground and yes, even the battleground to enter My Kingdom, to seize it forcefully as a prize to be won. 

          How can this be you ask?  Many have preached Your truth, prayed for the sick, shared the gospel, even seen the manifestations of Your miracles demonstrated and yet things have seemed to continually decline.  True enough, many have stood in faith, believed without doubting, held on in impossible situations, prophesied to dead ears and yes, things seem to have gotten worse.  This has been a season of shaking.  Pecan growers have all of their trees shaken annually, not only to remove the nuts, but to remove the dead branches.  The shaking increases the productivity of the tree by removing that which is unproductive and stimulating the life that flows within.  In the same way, this has been My shaking.  Dead things are falling away from My Body.  Sure some lifeless organizations will continue to exist, propped up by men’s vain imaginations and even by the enemy in a show of deception, but they are and will continue to be powerless in the season ahead. 

          What is ahead is a season of being propelled by Divine impulse.  You must be closely attuned to My Spirit in order for this to manifest in your life.  Return to the early stories, the ones recorded as your example and see.  Look at the times My People, in impossible situations, acted by faith in a seemingly irrational manner on a Divine Impulse and saw My hand move and bring great victories on their behalf.  Look at Gideon’s 300, Jericho’s wall, a shepherd boy’s sling against a giant warrior; all were irrational actions under a Divine Impulse.  In the season ahead, I am calling My Church to be free to follow My Spirit.  This may require you to scrap programs, abandon buildings, restructure services, change directions midstream or just quit one thing and start something completely new.  When I call you to those things, people will think you have lost your mind.  For that reason, it is imperative that you know My voice and respond quickly with willing obedience which will bring My victory and encourage those who are willing to take the risk.  This is a season, to listen closely, and rely on Me even more completely, because I have been shaking and will continue to shake My Church until only those who truly want Me will remain.  Hold on to Me, I am holding on to you.  I will not let you go, but will lead you in this season.  Be prepared to be propelled by Divine Impulse.”

Be Blessed

Pastor Bob

Evil Abounds

I have waited several days to write this.  I looked and listened to the media, the politicians, the spiritual and community leaders as I pondered the events at Sandy Creek and groaned within myself at what all sane people would agree was a senseless slaughter of innocents, and I waited.  But today I can wait no more.  My voice is small, its reach is limited but it is time and beyond time for all voices great and small to arise and cry out for the deliverance of our God.  Many will not read beyond that line, but I implore you to give five minutes to the balance of this writing.

Truth! I will not debate absolute truth here but rather I will declare that which I hold to be true.  We, mankind, are born into a fallen world destined for destruction.  Nothing we do can change or avert that.  One day the world we know will cease to exist as it is because evil will have reached its fulfillment.  Man himself is born to a fallen nature, I don’t need scripture or Sunday School to tell me that, I can look at history and the world around and see countless examples where children and adults, when left unrestrained by law and faith become completely and mercilessly evil, seeking only the pleasure of the individual for the moment with no regard for others.  What then is the source of all this evil and what if anything is the solution?

There is a God, and at this point many will say “where was He at Sandy Creek”.  He was there, as many better and wiser than I have said, comforting children, causing unarmed adults to face an attacker in their defense, protecting others, welcoming the departed into His presence.  All those things are true as far as they go.  Others have said, we have rejected His presence in our schools, our courts, our communities and our conversation, so why should we be surprised when He does not spring to our defense.  Again, there is an argument to be made for this and it has merit as far as it goes.  What has been sorely lacking in my opinion is a third element which does not negate the others but goes to fill in the gaps between them. That element is the existence of evil.

God is perfect, just, righteous and absolute.  Man rejected Him as creator and rebelled against Him and allowed evil to enter in to a perfect world.   Since that time, there has been a battle between good and evil for the souls of men.  This is not a battle with equal power because God could simply destroy all evil with a word from His lips and it would no longer exist.  However, instantly destroying evil would also destroy the creation that God holds closest to His heart, mankind.  Instead, God has chosen to love His fallen creation and to rescue it through extending an invitation to love Him in return.  We will return to this thought.

A battle supposes an enemy, an opposing force.  Well we have one, a guerilla fighter leading a band of ruthless, bloodthirsty cutthroats whose only aim is destruction because they know victory is impossible.  This is Satan and the demonic forces that abound with him.  Perhaps their greatest accomplishment is to persuade most of the scientific, medical, and educational community to relegate the existence of such creatures to folklore, myths and fairy tales for children.  This persuasion allows these fighters to operate unseen and unnoticed by all but a few who would be spiritually sensitive to their presence.  It is here, in the unseen world where the battle for men’s souls takes place and it is in our natural world where it explodes in tragedy.

By now, some heads are shaking and eyes rolling, but let me encourage you just a little longer and you will see.  It doesn’t begin with bloodshed, but with the whispered thought, “it’s only a little lie, no one will know”.  Then later the thoughts of “they are just seeking to keep me from having fun” so we violate our parents curfew, or the speed limit, or take a drink, try a drug or some other thing.  It is a false freedom that is promised, the freedom of choice without consequence and that freedom does not exist.  Later the voices rise to answer the challenge to that freedom and it brings anger as the answer.  Harsh words, gestures, angry looks, physical violence.  We have all had these thoughts at some level.  They don’t come from within, but are planted from outside and we nurture them.  This is the arena of the demonic.  It cannot be controlled by meditation, by good thoughts, or balanced by good deeds.  Neither can it be controlled by assigning it a name, classifying it as a disease, prescribing medication or behavioral therapy.  Evil must be confronted and defeated where it is, but how.

Thus we come to the truth I cling to.  God made a way for us in this.  That way is Jesus.  Those who believe this and accept Jesus must also accept we are born into a war between the Kingdom of Light and the Kingdom of Darkness.  What we often fail to accept and act on is that our entire lives after accepting Christ is to be the life of a warrior fighting not to defeat darkness, but to rescue from darkness.  Darkness will have this world, not the next.  All we can retrieve from this world is the souls of men.  Ephesians 6 describes the Great War, the levels of demonic authority, the armor of the Christian, and the two weapons – The word of God – and Prayer.  We alone on the face of the earth have the right to declare God’s love and acceptance of those who will believe, and we alone have the right to petition God to move and intervene and the right to expect that movement to come in power.

As God’s ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven, our job is not to resist the government, to fight the scientific community, the educational system and such, but instead to engage the enemy in the arena of the supernatural by bringing prayer and scripture to bear on behalf of these organizations instead of against them.  People are never our enemy; they are the prisoners and tools of the enemy.  By engaging him directly, some of them will be set free.  Can we prevent another Sandy Creek?  Not in my opinion, but we can battle the enemy constantly and delay such events and set free some of his prisoners as well.  It is time friends to engage in the battle.

Pastor Bob

Standing On His Promise

We Pastor’s can be an insecure bunch.  I am approaching seven years here at New Life and was reviewing with one of my mentors my concerns over how I was progressing in the ministry.  As he kindly pointed out some of the positive things, one of them was you have kept the prophetic vision of the church before the people.  Then he remarked about recently speaking to a significant group of pastors.  The question he asked was “How many of you are holding on to a prophetic vision, or a heartfelt promise from the Lord?”.  To his surprise, only about 10% of the group acknowledged they were looking for the fulfillment of some promise that had not yet come to pass.  My response was “a prophetic word is an I.O.U. from God”.  Then as I thought about it, I said, “No, it is more than an I.O.U., it is a promissory note.”

As I drove home after the meeting, I continued to linger over the thought of a promissory note.  A promissory note is a negotiable instrument, wherein the issuer makes an unconditional promise in writing to pay a determinate sum of money to the payee, either at a fixed or determinable future time or on demand of the payee, under specific terms.  This fascinates me because I have always believed we have a part to play in prophecy.  We should all have a promise of God we are holding on to.  Proverbs 29:18 ESV  Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.  One translation says people perish without vision. 

So let us consider prophecy as a promissory note.  First, the issuer is God.  I didn’t request the prophecy, it was sent to me.  Therefore, since God is the issuer, payment in full is guaranteed when the conditions are met.  So what are the conditions.  First is faith.  If I really believe God has given this word, then I must hold onto it.  It is the promise of God that keeps us alive and moving forward in hope.  I have about 8 personal promises that I am currently holding on to.  Some keep me focused on my pastoral duties and some help me stay true in my personal life.  I must always look to God in faith and hold the promises up to Him for fulfillment.  Isa 43:26 ESV  Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set forth your case, that you may be proved right.  Not only are we to remind Him of his promises, He argues with us and for us, so that He may fulfill that which He has promised.

Secondly, to my faith, I must add action.  It may be recording and declaring the word in prayer or it may be some physical act.  If we look at Paul who received a prophetic word that he would be a messenger to the gentiles, we find in Acts 16, Paul attempting to take the gospel into Asia and God resisting him until he turned west into Macedonia.  Pursue the promise.  Search out the scriptures, cover it in prayer, engage others to pray with you, do what it takes to make yourself available for God to move in your life.  Might be drastic, quit a job, sell a home; or it may be simple, just believe.

Finally the issue of time.  In my personal life I have seen promises happen in as little as six months, some took as much as twelve years and some even longer because they have not yet happened.  When it takes long, look back to faith, do I still believe it is a word from God.  If so, keep Him in reminder of it. Then make sure I am positioned as best as I can be to receive the word.  Finally know this, no promise from God is empty or without value.  Isa 55:10-11 ESV  “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,  (11)  so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

If you don’t have a word from God, go after one.  Sit under the prophets, seek His face, search the scriptures and grab one.  When you get it, hold on to it.  A word from God is His priceless guarantee to do you good.

Be Blessed,

Pastor Bob