May 19th, 2011 by Eric Gilmour


“In the presence of the Lord is fullness of Joy and pleasure forever more.”
~Psalm 16.11

His presence in our lives is everything. His presence is our distinguishing factor. Israel was just another nation without the presence of God. They would have been destroyed without God fighting for them. Moses wouldn’t go without His presence. Gideon as one man would deliver the nation because of the presence of the Lord. The prophets stood in the presence of the Lord. John’s revelation was in the presence of the Lord. His presence is everything.

David said, “the nearness of God is my good (Psalm 73.28),” and  “Better is one day in your house than thousands elsewhere… (Psalm 84)”

When the ark of the presence was at the home of Obed-edom everything flourished in his life (2 Sam. 6). So it is with knowing God; the flourishing of your life will be in exact proportion to the attention you give to His presence in your life. Only when His presence is the center-piece of our lives, can He make our lives His masterpiece. “Never let anything get bigger in your consciousness than the awareness of His presence… (Bill Johnson).”

Why is this? Because His presence empowers you to obey, and obedience brings nothing but blessing (Duet 28). Jesus said, “Come to me…I will give you rest (Matthew 11.28).” Isaiah 64 shows us that the Holy Spirit gave them “rest” in the wilderness from which “He lead them.” The leading of the Holy Spirit is in the place of rest. This rest is a place of transcendence above efforts and striving. It is the ceasing of striving. “Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46.10).” It is the ceasing of your Adamic outflow that enables His Divine inflow. Jesus said, “…but the Father who dwells in me, does His works.” This is rest. Man ceasing from his own initiative and resting in the empowerment of the Holy Spirit within him; yielding to His direction and life. This is the end of your own efforts and the beginning of divine enablement.

Jesus said, “I do nothing on my own initiative (John 8.28).” Evangelist David Popovici said to me one day, “our job isn’t to try to become love, but rather to be filled with Him who is love, power, peace and infinitely more.” The totality of a life laid down is the ignition of this divine rest. We don’t stop going after God to rest, we press into Him who is rest to find rest. Rest is spelled, J.E.S.U.S. The tree doesn’t focus on bearing fruit, but on receiving the sap. We cannot pin fruit on the tree. It will just fall off. It must issue out of an inward connection. This inward connection is cultivated in no other place than spending time with God. Waiting in His presence for His voice to enter and quicken us with a revelation of Himself.

“Law” can be seen as a life focused on fruit, while “Spirit” can be seen as sap focused living. This is the higher life. “The mind set on the spirit is life and peace (Romans 6.4).” This is Christianity. Anything else is just another religion; an adherence to principles and efforts for outward modification without an inward transformation. Bill Johnson said, “to desire kingdom principles without His presence, is to desire His kingdom without the King.” In no other religion does one’s God enter into him and perform the works through him. Our character in God is measured by our ability to surrender to Him. One man said it like this, “the greatness of a man’s power is measured by his surrender.” Our ceasing to be is our greatness, for it makes that man a channel of God’s life.

Spending time with God is the training ground for spiritual life. You learn to hear His voice. You learn to feel His impressions. You begin to experience His heart. You sharpen your vision. You get aligned with His thoughts. This is the absolute heart of life in God. Without this time of diligently entering His rest you will die! The gospel taps you into this rest, but you have to be diligent to abide therein. Hebrews 4 shows us the divine paradox of diligently entering His rest. The rest is then laid out as trust (absolute surrender to Jesus) and obedience (the only outflow of such a disposition). It is as simple as salvation. Colossians tells us, “as you received Him, so walk in Him.”

Leonard Ravenhill said it like this, “a man first collapses in the prayer closet.” Meaning, if a man has fallen in his life, he first failed to fall on his knees for strength. E. M. Bounds said, “the devil trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.” Why? Because he knows that he has gone to “fetch strength against him.” I tell you that, “praying men stop sinning and sinning men stop praying (Ravenhill).”

David told us to “Wait upon the Lord.” He also showed us that the secret to supernatural strength in God, is waiting on God (Isa. 40.31;Psalm 27.14).” The rest is entered by those who diligently come to Jesus to wait on Him. The rest is the Spirit. The Spirit of God leads and guides, strengthens and enables. So much so that Paul said in Galatians chapter 5, “if you walk in the Spirit, you will not gratify the desires of sinful nature.”

The Greek word that Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit has many meanings. Jesus said, “The Comforter will come.” This word means, partner, teacher, leader, guide, advocate, strengthener, stand by, helper, intercessor, comforter and counselor.

What confidence! He knew the rest. He knew that it was above efforts and striving. He knew that in the rest, there is only victory. It is the place of hiding “under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91).” It is the place of which David said, “oh God, My Strength (Psalm 18.1).” “You are my hiding place (Psalm 32.7). Prayer is the air of the Christian life. “When we cease to pray we quench the Spirit. When we quench the Spirit we cease to pray (Benny Hinn).”

The revolution of prayer in the Christian life is a major evidence of the infilling of the Spirit.

“Spending time with Jesus is number one. Don’t ever forget that (David Hogan)!”

“To be much for God, we must be much alone with God (Leonard Ravenhill).”

Spending time with God is your sap for fruit and your air for breathing. It is your heart of victory. It is your power for living. Without it, you will die just as sure as a fish out of water. You will become more and more worldly. You will lose your sense of conviction. You will lose sight of your spiritual purpose. You will begin to ooze the poison of the first Adam instead of the life of the last (1 Cor. 15.45). You will cease to find all your satisfaction in God and by default seek satisfaction elsewhere.

“The Kingdom of God is within you.”
~Luke 17.21

The inward surrender of fixed and sustained full attention upon God in waiting and worship is the only way into the presence of God. David said, “To you I lift up my soul (Psalm 143.8).” His mind, will and emotions laid upon the altar unto God. As a cup could never be filled as it spins on the table so our spinning souls must get still before God for Him to flow into us. Madame Guyon said, “God dwells in absolute stillness.” There is no other place in which to meet Him. Just because you are quiet doesn’t mean you are still. Stillness is the soul laid upon the altar of God in worshipful whole-hearted fixation upon God Himself, anticipating the impartation of His life-giving words into your Spirit. This is waiting. We know very little about what is going on while we are on the earth, it is imperative that we are led by the Holy Spirit in prayer. He knows what is going on. Listen to Him. You will not hear Him in any other place than worship, waiting and whole-hearted attention.

Some use music, a certain prayer or phrase or some kind of aid to focus completely upon God. Once you are fixed upon God you must be sure to sustain your full attention upon Him in worship, not necessarily with words, but definitely with a whole-hearted surrender of love toward Him. This will cause you to become aware of His nearness that is always with you (Hebrews 13.8). This is the base for all of what God wants to accomplish in your time with Him. Here is the dispensing of the most vital nutrients for Spiritual life. His inflow of peace beyond all understanding and complete fulfillment in the most vulnerable parts of man is the overwhelming satisfaction that transcends anything else that exists. This is where the Scriptures will come alive. In Luke 24, it was only in His presence that the word of God revealed Jesus. “He expounded to them…” The presence of God is the key to the Scriptures because they are locked until He opens them.

From this base of an inward setting of yourself upon Him, prayer becomes a powerfully rich experience, both of your hearts releasing to God and His guiding you by His Spirit in seeing the desires of His heart. Prayer will come alive. And there is simply nothing like it. Nothing touches its caliber of fulfillment and life. You can really tell when a man has touched God in prayer. He becomes addicted to the experience of God in prayer.

It is here that He gives you to drink from the river of His delights (Psalm 36.8). Just as a man cannot drink from the river while he is moving, so the soul must stop its activities if it is to ever drink from this wonderful fulfilling river of God that He has granted us unlimited access to. But stopping is only the beginning. Because worship must transcend expression and become reception or it is of little value. No amount of external contact with the river can quench the inward thirst of the soul. We must drink.

Waiting in His presence is renewing and faith building as you cease your outflow and subject yourself to His lead. It is this submission that releases you from the bondage of your own thinking. It makes you a subject and not the leader, respecting the Holy Spirit as the leader. We must be, “led by the Spirit.”

I know this one thing. Without His presence I don’t stand a chance. Neither do you. It is not God’s plan. He wants everything to hinge upon Him. The oneness of God and man! This is God’s desire. Worship; the inward fixation sustained upon God in the worship of total surrender waiting upon Him and His voice is the divine melting of the soul of Man into the Spirit of God.


[Link to Video]


 

Eric Gilmour is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Revival & Evangelism. Visit his website at agonypress.podbean.com

Posted in Featured Articles, Revival & Prayer Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

December 11th, 2010 by Bryan Anthony

“…. let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak….” -Jacob 1.19

“…. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God….” -1 Pet. 4.11a

We are far too verbose of a people, and this is one of the characteristic signs that we have not been living as priests in the household of God. When we are quick to speak and always wanting to be heard by men there is little or no room for hearing the voice of God, and this affects the manner in which we hear men as well. Hearing is a great pastoral quality, but in our blabbing generation where everyone feels entitled to opinions and sees it as their self-serving right to make themselves known, we are suffering from a real famine of true hearing.

Hear Watchman Nee:

No worker of the Lord can do a good job if he can only speak to others but cannot listen to them. A worker is of little use to God if he can only speak to others, if he can only blast incessantly at others like a firecracker. No worker of the Lord can be an incessant talker. If he can only speak to others, but cannot listen to them and realize their problems through conversation, his usefulness is very limited.

….. This is a serious problem among many people; they simply cannot listen to others. They cannot discern what others have kept within themselves because they are too insensitive. It is impossible to expect such ones to “give…. food at the proper time” (Matt. 24.45).

…. If we cannot understand the audible words from men, how can we understand the words that God speaks to us in our spirit?

(Watchman Nee, The Character of the Lord’s Worker; Living Stream Ministry, pp. 2-5)

It is unfortunately the case that many saints simply talk too much. We need to remove our souls from the busy and boisterous tenor of this age, and to crucify our thoughts and our tongues. We need to clear the way for the voice of the Lord, that we might stand as priests in His house, sounding forth notes that ascend as worship unto Him, and witness unto men. Our innermost parts need to be stilled and our excessive speech truncated, that we might hear His voice, and thus rightly listen to those who are so in need of true bread from heaven.

We cannot speak from heaven unless we have circumcised our hearts and learned to listen to the Lord, and if we are hyper and opinionated rather than speaking with the life and authority of God, it has everything to do with the fact that we have yet to come into a life of authentic surrender and circumspection before Him. This soul sickness will inevitably manifest itself through an inability to listen to others, for if we cannot honor and hear those whom we can see, how can we live as priests before the invisible God?

The measure of holy power in our speaking is intricately linked to the quality of our hearing.

Our opinions may be correct, but they cannot produce life in men. For that holy dynamic to take place, we have got to be priests before God, standing single-eyed in the holy place, with hearts unmoved by the winds of this age. We have got to see Him high and lifted up, recognizing the uncleanness of our own lips- even our correct religious jargon- that He might purge our hearts, tame our tongues, and make us into servants who are fit to preach and bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Posted in The Kingdom of God Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

September 10th, 2010 by David Harwood

Called to Pray:

and from Jesus (the Messiah) the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father… (Revelation 1:5-6a)

In Revelation 1:5 the Messiah Jesus is identified according to His authority. He is the faithful, resurrected witness, the ruler of the governments of this world. This glorious king is also a priest, our “great priest.” (Hebrews 10:21) According to His inherent power and authority, He has made us to be a kingdom of priests. (Revelation 1:6)

Apparently, the believing community has forgotten this primary calling. Generally speaking it is not considered a good thing if someone wakes up and cannot remember where they work or what they do. It is important for every believer to recover and live in this aspect of our identities. We really are priests. (1 Peter 2:5,9)

The Spirit of God, through the Scriptures, shows us our identity and reveals the nature of our Creator. As spiritual priests we know, and freshly discover, Who we worship through the Scriptures. Let us know and rediscover our intercessory priestly priorities as well. For direction in prayer, the first place we go to receive our assignments are the Scriptures. Since we are submitted to God through His Scriptures, let us be attentive to enscriptured apostolic guidance.

Paul gives a doxology in 1 Timothy 1:17 – To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. In the light of the reality that the Messiah Jesus is king, (five verses later) Paul prioritized prayer for governments.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

We are called to pray for the social and economic climate in which we find ourselves. We are called to pray for the structure of civil society to be amenable to the manifestation of the Kingdom of God through the church. To pray for the Kingdom’s purposes to advance in our nation we must identify with the King’s heart for those who govern. First, we must renounce wrath, rebellion and resentment.

Renounce Wrath, Rebellion and Resentment:

Here’s a principle offered by an apostle: Peter wrote that husbands must live “in an understanding way” with their wives “so that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7b) There is an analogy to be made concerning prayer for our government. We must make sure that our hearts are right with God before we can expect to be heard.

To wisely pray we must have hearts that are free from wrath and rebellion.

Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. (1 Timothy 2:8)

Wrath” in this context has to do with being angry at the repressive Roman regime. The dissension spoken of in this verse is not referring to rebellion within the church. It is speaking directly to the priestly call to pray for those who ruled a godless, amoral, idolatrous, tyrannical empire. This follows the instruction of the Messiah Jesus. He told us that if we are to effectively pray we must have hearts that are free from resentment.

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25)

Anger, rebellion and rancor pollute the streams of our relationship with God and revelation from God. Let us rid ourselves of the deception that we will be enabled to maintain holy intercessory interaction while ignoring this important injunction.

Honoring God’s Heart:

We must diligently watch over our hearts.

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

Many who read this may view President Obama and this administration as adversaries of important godly priorities. I am not contending with that perspective. However, let me ask us a question – what is it about loving our adversaries that we don’t understand? Jesus shed His blood for those who were adverse to God’s righteousness. He loved His enemies. He died for sinners. He expects us to reflect this love, even in the light of serious political oppression.

The degree of despotism experienced by Israel under Roman occupation and what we are enduring in our nation is not worthy of comparison. Yet, Jesus said this, “And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” (Matthew 5:41) What a test this verse provides for many of us in this current political climate. Look at this section of Scripture that follows:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

How serious is the oppression we are enduring? In comparison to what believers suffer throughout the world, we are not suffering. If we cannot walk in love during this season, how can we hope to do so in a time of serious tribulation?

Here’s something else to consider for those seeking to fulfill their role as priests: Can we come before God, through the blood of Jesus with an attitude which is antithetical to the motive which caused this blood to be offered? Dare we come with a different spirit? His blood speaks love and cries out for forgiveness. If we are to effectively pray for our nation’s leaders we must have a similar spirit.

To pray effectively there must be a thorough, heartfelt, renunciation of anger and rebellion. To be heard in heaven, we must honor the heart of God by embracing His love for His enemies.

During this time before the elections, let us consider our ways, return to the Lord and pray that righteousness would be exalted.

Posted in Law & Politics Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

May 15th, 2010 by Bryan Anthony

“Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.” -Acts 8.4

A man’s adherence to a doctrine or Christian theme in an ideal religious atmosphere can be a very dubious thing. When we are in our preferred sanctuaries, listening to our preferred worship songs, and standing alongside our preferred co-members, there is little to test the reality of the faith that we profess.

Western Christianity, which usually functions along utilitarian, humanistic, and convenient lines, is radically removed from the kind of gritty and authentic faith that was the experience of the early Church. If all the glitter and all the facades were removed, we would find in the Church a corporate character quite different than what we may have appreciated and even boasted of when we could only see on a surface level.

The line of inward consecration has been deviated from, the experience of raw faith in the realm of actual life has not been a chief emphasis, and the overall condition of truth and reality has been too infrequently realized by the best of our Church going members.

The depth and profundity of our life in God is not revealed amidst the choruses and events as much as it is revealed when the press of everyday experience is bearing down upon us.

When Saul of Tarsus spearheaded the movement of persecution against Jewish believers in the first century, a great scattering took place. But what was the response of these saints who had been displaced, losing their homes and their possessions while simultaneously being disowned by their own relatives?

“Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.”

What would our response have been?

When the real press of life bears down upon us, when conflict increases and opposition arises against us, it is in that moment that we see the degree to which our hearts have been given to Jesus Christ. It may not be in a city-wide persecution against the saints, though I’m convinced that those kinds of realities are likely to increase in the Western world.

It may be in the press of financial challenge, or being misunderstood by a family member, or being falsely accused at work, or being touched with depression or confusion about life or calling. It may be in some other pressing issue; something minor like a bad look from a brother in the Church, or something heavier like some type of life tragedy. Whatever the press may be, the manner of our response is itself the revelation of our true character. Our mouths and minds will reveal the real state of our hearts.

These saints, when displaced and disowned, hated and rejected, went into the uttermost parts of the earth proclaiming that Jesus Christ was crucified and raised up, for their view of life was not earthbound, but preeminently God-centered. We need to be delivered from the power of self-centric living, and lifted into the heights of true worship, where the line of consecration is drawn in truth and reality, and where God gets the glory out of the nit and grit of our everyday lives.

The apostles knew no other brand of the faith than that which was lived upon the lines of total inward consecration to Jesus Christ, and that is why “great glory” attended their lives. Do we wish for some cheaper brand of Christianity?

Posted in The Kingdom of God Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

January 9th, 2010 by Bryan Anthony

The Sense of God’s Holiness

‘Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.’ -Lev. 10.3

The nations are perishing and the Church is languishing for want of the knowledge of God. This generation of American souls is largely ignorant of the God of the Scriptures, and we have been too preoccupied and distracted by this world to come into that knowledge ourselves. We have preached a hollow message that bears little resemblance to the revelation of God set forth by the apostles and prophets, and the condition of our nation testifies to it.

We have made light of sin, made the faith into a mere subculture, and the cities of America remain mostly unconvinced of the reality of God. We have not demonstrated His love and purity, for we have been functioning along the lines of the world, catering to self and living under the intoxicating influences of a consumeristic society.

This story of Aaron’s sons rattles our presumptuous definitions of God, and while it may seem unsavory or distasteful to consider, it is a vital portion of Scripture that needs to be reflected on. We need to reckon with passages like this until we break into a fuller understanding of who the Lord is, for if we pick and choose passages only of our own liking, we end up forming distorted views of God. Indeed, we all see in part, but to willfully neglect an aspect of who He is according to the Scriptures is to open the gate to deception.

I believe the message of His great love must increase and be shouted from the rooftops, but if He has also shown Himself as holy, and we fail to see Him as He has revealed Himself, what foundation do we have? His attributes are not categories that we can pick based on personal preference, as if the Bible was a menu at a restaurant. His traits are intertwined and tied up with His Person, and every revelation of God given in the Scriptures is a glimpse into His great heart. We cannot discard the portions that seem less appealing. If we do that, we have created our own view instead of receiving His. At best, our revelation of God will be a partial foundation, and that is not sufficient for a life of discipleship, nor will it hold in days of great trial and upheaval. We need to be rooted and grounded in His great love and purity, walking in the joy of communion and the fear of the Lord, for this alone will fit us to glorify Him in the day of His power.

He has revealed both His “kindness” and His “severity” for a reason (Rom. 11.22). It is not merely so that our systematic theology will be accurate. He has revealed Himself in this way because this is who He is, and to know Him and love Him as He is, that alone is eternal life.

Decades ago, A.W. Tozer wrote:

I refer to the loss of the concept of majesty from the popular religious mind. The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men. This she has done not deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge, and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic.

…. The world is evil, the times are waxing late, and the glory of God has departed from the church as the fiery cloud once lifted from the door of the Temple in the sight of Ezekiel the prophet.

The God of Abraham has withdrawn His conscious Presence from us, and another God whom our fathers knew not is making himself at home among us.

(A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy; Harper & Brothers, 1961; pp. 6, 49)

I am convinced that Tozer’s words are profoundly true of the Church in our times, and one of the chief reasons for this loss of majesty is that we have diminished- perhaps unconsciously- the sense of God’s holiness. We need a recovery of reverence, hatred for sin, and a baptism of fire to purge us of the arrogance and strutting that still marks too many of our lives and ministries.

There are wonderful teachings on the love of God in circulation, and I pray they continue to increase as our hearts enlarge in the experience of His kindness and compassion. But we are radically lacking a sense of His holiness, and since He is both loving beyond comprehension, and holy beyond description, the whole counsel of Scripture is essential for a true knowledge of God. Passages like this from Leviticus 10 provide a crucial vantage point for our understanding of Who God is.

Aaron’s sons, along with the people of Israel, had witnessed the majesty of God at the end of chapter 9. “The glory of the Lord appeared to all the people,” “fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering,” “and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.” (9.23-24)

Without a doubt, the scene was exhilarating, and the sense of God’s mercy and holiness was overwhelming for all who were present. Reverence and joy mingled within them, and the people fell prostrate with shouts of praise and awe issuing forth. What happened next is both devastating and sobering.

“Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.” (10.1-2)

We don’t know exactly what prompted Nadab and Abihu to perform what is recorded in chapter 10. Were they trying to reproduce the elation of the previous event? Were they wanting their names to be recognized before the people, rather than being jealous for the glory of God’s name? We don’t have the answer to every question here, but we do know that the fire they offered was not authorized by the Lord. It was offered in their “respective firepans,” and its source was of men rather than of God. It was “strange” and unholy, something “which He had not commanded them.”

It was so offensive to the Lord that “fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.”

At this point it is easy for our hearts to short-circuit. We lose touch with the raw reality of the Biblical passage. We cannot fathom the thought that the very fire of God Himself actually came out from the holy place and devoured the sons of Aaron. Our view of the Lord is casual and light, and the idea of judgment is foreign to most modern believers. If the idea of God’s wrath is agreed to in a credal way, it often bears a feeling of unreality, and the idea of judgment actually touching men on the earth seems fictitious or mythical.

But that does not discount the truth of the passage, and we need to realize that this is an actual historical event. It is not allegorical or symbolic, but a true piece of our heritage in the faith. It is meant to bring to us what it brought to Moses, Aaron, and the people of God; namely, a sense of His holiness, and an awareness that He does not tolerate sin, nor any activity that is carried out in His name that misrepresents His glory.

Just when we might have blamed the event on some demonic attack, Moses gives clarity to what has occurred.

“Moses then said to Aaron, ‘This is what the LORD spoke of when he said:
‘Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.’
Aaron remained silent.” (v. 3)

This event of judgment, which gripped the community of Israel with holy fear, is completely intertwined with the revelation of God in the Scriptures. It is just as much a revelation of His personality as was His washing of the disciples feet, His blessing of little children, and His raising of Lazarus from the dead. It is a revelation of God’s holiness, and it is one that we need desperately to recover. He is holy, and we cannot use Him for our purposes.

This hits home in a concentrated way in this present generation. Perhaps the fouls committed against the sense of His holiness are no more flagrant than in certain segments of the Charismatic Church, where charisma and gifting are often elevated while the Scriptures and the character of Christ are undervalued.

My heart aches in this hour of often flippant faith, when silliness and frivolity are equated with “liberty in the Spirit,” and when anyone with jealousy for truth and reality is accused of having a religious spirit.

When I see men placing a low value on the Scriptures, or labeling anyone with passion for the Word a “pharisee,” I tremble on the inside.

When I see men acting as if they are inhaling the Holy Spirit through imaginary marijuana joints, calling it “Jehovajuana” and claiming that they are “toking the Ghost,” I am mortified at the total loss of reverence for God. There is absolutely nothing holy about such activity! It is a deplorable and scandalous example of strange and unauthorized fire.

When I see men boasting of great power and bragging about the international influence of their ministries while the sense of His holiness is absent, it makes me apprehensive.

When a so-called “revivalist” can shed his wife and marry another woman with no Scriptural grounds, only to re-enter public ministry with the blessing of well-known leaders, I am filled with concern. This has happened many times over the years, and I am wondering where the standard of truth has gone!

I want to be merciful towards all men, but there has to come a point where the gullibility and lack of discernment are spoken against. I don’t think we are far from Tozer’s description, that “another God whom our fathers knew not is making himself at home among us.”

A few of my mentors have even encountered a trend among “worship-leaders,” where they will use profanity, or do other wild and crazy things in services, claiming that by this absurdity they are “shaking the religious spirit off of the crowd.” I cannot give words to how far we have fallen.

You may say that I have a religious spirit myself, but I cannot give my soul over to these expressions of spiritual activity that militate against the revelation of God that I have received over the course of my life in God. He is holy, holy, holy, and the line of revelation from Genesis to Revelation does not alter one bit. He is kinder and more loving than we can describe, but He is pure and just as well, His judgments have already touched the earth, and He is still slated to return as both Savior and Judge.

We do need to desire “earnestly” the gifts of the Spirit and the outpouring of His power. We need to be awakened more and more to the depth of His great love and compassion. And indeed, when the Spirit of God moves in power, things will happen that we cannot explain and that take us by surprise. But what has happened to the fear of the Lord?

I am convinced that our unwillingness to come into the knowledge of God, as the Scriptures have revealed Him, has produced the seedbed for our sub-apostolic Christianity. Before the cities of the earth will be “turned upside down,” we need to regain the majesty of the revelation of God Himself. We need to turn from sin and return to the God of glory, to the Scriptures, to prayer and fasting, to worship and obedience.

We have lost the sense of His holiness, and I fear the consequences are much worse than the immediate judgment of two priestly sons. The Lord has permitted many to veer off into their own ideas of Himself, even while chasing supernatural activity, and their stupor grows heavier the more and more men make light of sin and neglect the Scriptures. A widespread famine of the true knowledge of God is even more tragic than the death of Aaron’s sons. Entire movements are chugging along without a sense of His holiness, quite at home with sin, and so intermingled with the world that there is no “distinction between the holy and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean.” (Lev. 10.10)

We cannot rightly value the kindness and mercy of the Lord if we have diminished the bright light of His holiness and the radical nature of His hatred for sin.

We are more like the 1st-century Church at Corinth than we realize, and the word of the apostle Paul is the same to us as it was to them. He did not doubt the validity of their gifts, nor did he consider them unbelievers. But he had serious correction to give as well, for they were veering off in the wrong direction:

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’ Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” -1 Cor. 15.33-34

Oh, for the true knowledge of God! For the joy of communion and the trembling of reverence! The salvation of Israel and the nations, and the raising of our sons and daughters depends entirely upon the measure to which we have come into the knowledge of God, as He truly is. He kindly invites us into the purity and joy of union with Himself, for which reason we have been saved. We need to be enlarged in His love. We need the sense of His holiness. May we hear from God Himself in this hour.

Lord, our lips are unclean, and we live amongst a people of unclean lips. We have failed to see You as You are, but You have been so gracious to give us the Scriptures. You have been so gracious to send Your Son. You are merciful enough to send us Your Spirit and to lead us into all truth. You have been so patient with us. Would you wake us up to the reality of Your holiness? We want to turn from silliness and deception, and to come into the apostolic faith of the Scriptures. Make us a people of humility, holiness, love, and power. Let us come into the sense of Your holiness, that a line of distinction may be drawn in the earth again. Let us know You as you are, and let Your name be honored and glorified above all.

Posted in The Kingdom of God Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

November 3rd, 2009 by Michael L. Brown

It happened in the vestibule
At ten one Sunday morn;
A haggard-looking church-goer
Sat plaintive and forlorn.

Then suddenly he rose and found
A hungry-looking Christian;
He took his hand, took him aside,
And asked him a straight question:

“You’ve read the Word; you know the Book;
The promises are clear.
But have you seen the living God?
Have you found Him here?

Have you experienced holy fire
The Spirit in His power,
A mighty wave, a rushing wind,
A flame that does devour?

Is there something more you’re seeking,
So high, so wide, so deep?
Do you find yourself frustrated?
Is church putting you to sleep?

Then listen well, your heart is ripe;
My tale I will tell.
This story is your story too,
And it’s your tale as well.

For thirty years I’ve been in church,
It seemed like a good show.
But now I’ve got to meet with God —
Do you know where to go?

I’m trapped in mundane worship times,
The praises have grown cold;
The preaching’s dry and dusty,
The teaching stale like mold!

Each service feels like a rerun,
The songs all sound the same;
The prophecies are so hollow —
Not worthy of the name!

Words, more words — they’re everywhere,
But oh there is a stink!
Words, more words — they’re everywhere,
But none to make us think!

We lack the heavenly Presence,
It’s clear we’re in a rut;
I’m desperate for revival —
It burns within my gut!

I’m love-sick for my Jesus,
So hungry for my Lord;
Just longing for my Savior;
God knows that I’m so bored!

Is there someone who can help me,
Who’s touched the real thing?
A man who’s heard from heaven —
With a word from God to bring?

Are there prophets burning with fire,
Servants who are ablaze?
Anointed and overflowing,
Appointed for these days?

Do they carry the Spirit’s burden,
And breathe the Lord God’s breath?
Are they set apart and holy,
Obedient to death?

I hear the words of the Master,
‘Come follow Me,’ He said.
If some Christians go their own way;
I’ll go with Him instead!

Oh please, don’t do as I have done,
And waste so many years.
Don’t wait and wait for endless months;
Move on! Outgrow your fears!

Forget the twelve step programs;
A seminar won’t do.
You need a touch from heaven,
To fill you through and through.

There must be change in your life —
A work of God that’s real.
Don’t fool yourself with worn clichés —
Don’t let the devil steal!

Don’t miss out on God’s presence
Or let these hours pass;
Don’t stop your soul from hungering;
Get out of the morass!

Dear friend, you are not crazy;
Dear saint, you are not mad;
There really is a problem,
It’s true, you have been had!

There’s more! There’s more! Believe it!
There is that place in God.
There are holy visitations,
New paths that must be trod.

Will you get up like old Pilgrim,
And seek that better way?
Will you go forth on that journey
No matter what men say?

Will you go out now and meet Him,
And leave the crowd behind,
Forsaking dead traditions,
If Jesus you will find?

It’s not in another meeting,
A nicely packaged hour;
Another harmless service,
Devoid of heaven’s power.

It’s not in another teaching,
Three points to fill your head.
The Word is always vibrant;
But this stuff is so dead!

We need God to send His Spirit,
To fully take control,
To transform every member,
To come and make them whole!

Enough with man’s religion;
Enough with earthly plans;
Enough with our new programs;
Produced by fleshly hands.”

Just then in strode the pastor
His calling to fulfill;
Just doing his weekly duty —
Then he became frozen still.

For astir was that parishioner
He grasped the preacher’s clothes,
And grasped the preacher’s soul as well —
And in that grasp he froze.

“Oh pastor, enter the prayer room
And shut yourself inside.
Be emptied of competition,
And crucify your pride!

Pray for holy visitations,
Caught up alone with Him,
Consumed with heavenly vision —
That’s where you must begin!

You won’t find Him in a textbook,
Buried on page twenty-two.
He is the living God who acts —
He wants to move in you!

It’s not only the ‘apostles’
He’ll bless and send and use;
He will saturate your own soul,
If you will not refuse.

So arise, get up, pursue Him,
Jesus your true best Friend!
He is worthy of devotion,
He’s faithful to the end!

Why should you starve on crusty bread,
And crawl along the ground?
Your Savior is your source of life,
Seek Him, let joy abound!

Renew your life, refresh your heart,
Press in, take hold, pray through.
Put first things first, make God your goal;
What else have you to do?

Your Bible schooling stole your zeal,
Church life has drained you dry;
You used to have such childlike faith,
Now budgets have your eye!

You used to be so passionate,
So innocent and free
Now you’ve become professional;
You’ll preach for a good fee!

Oh, set your sights on higher goals
And not on dollar bills.
Live in the light of Judgment Day;
Ambition always kills!

Let Jesus be your daily Guide,
Put Him where He belongs;
And soon His presence will arrive;
His praise will fill your songs!

Simplicity will be your style,
Devotion your new goal;
Communion will become your aim,
God’s life will flood your soul!

Oh, take your eyes off numbers,
Church growth can be a trap!
Go out and make disciples.
Go out and bridge the gap!

Pour your life out for broken lives —
Let God your heart break too.
Take up the cross, deny yourself;
Just live His will to do!

Wake up, be brave, be honest;
Today — oh hear His voice!
Be ruthless with your schedule;
Seek GOD. Make that your choice.

You won’t find Him in your planner,
No committee has the key.
You’ll find Him when your soul cries out,
‘There must be more for me!’

‘There must be more than building funds,
And sessions past midnight,
And endless talks with leadership,
Disputing who is right.

Somehow I know I’ve been misled;
The model doesn’t work.
I’m not called as an executive,
Nor should I be a clerk.

I’m called to be a man of God,
A man who’s Spirit led,
A healer of the sick and lame
Someday to raise the dead!’

And with that cry new life will rise,
Your heart will be revived;
Heaven’s light will flood your soul —
You will not be denied!”

The parishioner then turned his gaze
Away from flesh and blood:
He looked to Him who sends the showers,
To Him who sends the flood.

“Today, O Lord, do hear our voice,
And pour Your Spirit out.
Saturate the thirsty ground.
End this spiritual drought!

Revive us with Your Presence,
Renew us from above;
Touch the flock called by Your name;
Come fill us with Your love!

Do greater works in our day,
Than that which You have done.
Bring the fullness of Your rains,
And glorify Your Son!”

That old church-goer spoke no more.
Another voice was heard.
Yet not the voice of flesh and blood:
It was our Father’s word.

And if you listen closely,
Beyond this little rhyme,
You’ll hear Him speaking clearly:
“My children, it is time.”

Posted in The Kingdom of God Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

October 10th, 2009 by M. French

It’s John Lennon’s birthday today, and as often happens with figures like Lennon, discussion on the meaning of his life and legacy is coming forth. Who was he? A pop artist? A product of marketing geniuses? A lost soul in need of boundaries and structure? Perhaps he was many of these things, but I think a keen insight into who he really was came in an interview in which he was asked whether his songs “Give Peace a Chance” and “Power to the People” were propaganda songs. His reply was, “Sure. So was ‘All You Need Is Love’. I’m a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change.”

True, the change he was seeking was at best insufficient, and at worst destructive, but one can’t help but respect that he saw himself, in the end, as a “revolutionary artist.” This brings up the question though, if John Lennon was attempting to change the world through art with his human-inspired message, where are the revolutionary artists in the Kingdom of God who will change the world with their God-inspired message? Who is going beyond simply writing nice worship songs, and creating music that will change and inspire an entire generation to unashamedly follow the Messiah and love God with all their being?

With this question in mind, here are are a list of my top 3 Jesus propaganda songs. These are songs that have gone beyond being “nice” Christian songs, and have attempted to do something more. One strips, one convicts, and the other ignites. May they inspire the budding revolutionary artists in our midst to affect change through their chosen mediums:

3. How He Loves – John Mark McMillan

Something of a departure from the other songs on this list, while still being propaganda in a similar vein to John Lennon’s “All You Need is Love,” “How He Loves” has become more anthem than song, and is some of the rawest music you’ll ever hear. Written the day after John Mark McMillan’s best friend died in a car-wreck, it provides verses that strip you of all your defenses, and resolves in a chorus that lifts you into a place that would seem too good to be true, if not for the deep abiding knowledge that it is perhaps the truest statement you’ve ever heard (the chorus stands alone as one of only two or three I never tire of singing). “How he loves us, oh, how he loves us.”

And for everyone that has issues with the lyric “heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss” (David Crowder changed this lyric on his cover of the song), don’t worry, this lyric is not about tongue-kissing God, it’s about the realm of heaven meeting the realm of earth, with the result being something that is both beautiful and messy (and what’s messier than a sloppy wet kiss?). John Mark discusses this lyric and how people reacted to David Crowder changing it on his blog:

Some folks are genuinely sad because a song so personal to them seems to have been messed with, and others seem to be glad that you can now sing this song in church with your grandparents. I understand both of those sentiments, and don’t have an issue with either. Still many of the people, on both ends, who seem to be making a big deal out of it, have both seemed to misunderstand the lyric. It seems that people either hate it or love it because they think I’m some how talking about kissing God. Please folks, I never ever, ever, ever, thought of this line as though it was talking about kissing God. Please read the words.

“HEAVEN meets EARTH like a sloppy wet kiss”

The idea behind the lyric is that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth converge in a way that is both beautiful and awkwardly messy. Think about the birth of a child, or even the death of Jesus himself. These miracles are both incredibly beautiful and incredibly sloppy (“gory” may be more realistic, but “Heaven meets earth like a gory mess” didn’t seem to have the same ring). Why does the church have such a problem with things being sloppy? Do we really think we’re fooling anyone on Sunday morning, especially God? Are we going to offend him? I mean, he’s seen us naked in the shower all week and knows our worst thoughts, and still thinks we’re awesome. What if we took all the energy we spent faking and used that energy to enjoy the Lord instead? That could be revolutionary!

Revolutionary indeed. The video below is from The Call: Nashville, and begins with John Mark talking about what inspired the song.

[Link to Video]

He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.

Oh, how He loves us so
Oh, how He loves us
How He loves us so.

Yeah, He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves.

So we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest
And I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way

That he loves us,
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves

2. Send the Fire – William Booth

Will­iam Booth published this hymn in the Sal­va­tion Ar­my’s War Cry hymnal in 1894. This song delivers a cry for God to send the fire of the Holy Spirit into our lives that we might wreck the world for the glory of the Messiah. When the fire comes, the lyrics declare, “every trace of sin” will be burned up, we will “live a dying world to save,” and the revolution will “now begin.” Lord, send the fire! The video below is a rendition of the song performed by Lindell Cooley at The Call: Nashville.

[Link to Video]

Thou Christ of burning, cleansing flame,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Thy blood bought gift today we claim,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Look down and see this waiting host,
Give us the promised Holy Ghost;
We want another Pentecost,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

God of Elijah, hear our cry:
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To make us fit to live or die,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To burn up every trace of sin,
To bring the light and glory in,
The revolution now begin,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

’Tis fire we want, for fire we plead,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
The fire will meet our every need,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
For strength to ever do the right,
For grace to conquer in the fight,
For power to walk the world in white,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

To make our weak hearts strong and brave,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To live a dying world to save,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
O see us on Thy altar lay
Our lives, our all, this very day;
To crown the offering now we pray,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

1. Asleep in the Light – Keith Green

Where to begin with this song? I remember first reading some of the lyrics of this song and wondering with amazement that such a song had ever existed. Where did it come from? All I had heard up to that point in my life as a believer were songs that, while true as far as things went, never seemed to really inspire or convict me. “All this and heaven, too?” seemed to be as deep as most of the songs I played as a worship leader or listened to on Christian radio would go. But this… this was a song that pierced my heart and shook me up. “The world is sleeping in the dark, That the church can’t fight, cause it’s asleep in the light.” Yes, this song was right! Yet I’d never heard anyone in the church say it, let alone a musician. “God’s calling and you’re the one, but like Jonah you run, He’s told you to speak, but you keep holding it in.” This is what I did. This is what my friends did. Yes, yes, yes! This is me!

After searching for this mysterious musician online, I was saddened to learn that the musician I’d been waiting for since I’d been saved had been dead for 20 years! Oh, how deflating that was. Still, his music speaks even from his grave. Lovely sweet positive music this is not. It’s real and devastating, yet hopeful in the midst of its honesty, and by the end of the song you’re not singing about how much more committed and devoted you will be to God, you are singing about “coming away” with Jesus. Honestly coming before the Master and exposing to him your compromise, fear, and selfishness, and embracing his power and passion to live an internally consistent, Jesus-exalting existence. This is the answer to the dilemma posed by the song. “Come away, from this mess, come away with Me, My love.”

[Link to Video]

Do you see, do you see, all the people sinking down,
Don’t you care, don’t you care, are you gonna let them drown,
How can you be so numb, not to care if they come,
You close your eyes and pretend the job’s done.

Oh Bless me Lord, bless me Lord, you know it’s all I ever hear,
No one aches, no one hurts, no one even sheds one tear,
But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds, and He cares for your needs,
And you just lay back and keep soaking it in, oh, can’t you see it’s such sin?
Cause He brings people to your door,
And you turn them away, as you smile and say,

God bless you, be at peace, and all Heaven just weeps,
Cause Jesus came to your door, you’ve left Him out on the streets.

Open up, open up, and give yourself away,
You’ve seen the need, you hear the cry, so how can you delay,
God’s calling and you’re the one, but like Jonah you run,
He’s told you to speak, but you keep holding it in,
Oh, can’t you see it’s such sin?

The world is sleeping in the dark,
That the church can’t fight, cause it’s asleep in the light,
How can you be so dead, when you’ve been so well fed,
Jesus rose from the grave, and you, you can’t even get out of bed,
Oh, Jesus rose from the dead, come on, get out of your bed.

How can you be so numb, not to care if they come,
You close your eyes and pretend the job’s done,
You close your eyes and pretend the job’s done,
Don’t close your eyes, don’t pretend the job’s done.
Come away, come away, come away with Me, My love,
Come away, from this mess, come away with Me, My love.

Posted in News, Revolution & Justice Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

September 9th, 2009 by M. French

From the Christian Defense Coalition:

Do you believe 27 hours of prayer and worship can change history?

We do.

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” -Jeremiah 29:12-13

On Sunday, September 13, at 7:00 P.M. Christians will be gathering on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol for 27 hours of intercession and worship. Believers will be crying out for God to intervene in the national health care debate and ensure that taxpayer funds and not used to pay for abortions.

This marks the first full week that Congress is in session after the August recess.

If public monies are used to pay for abortions, it would add at least 25 years in our struggle to end abortion in America because abortion would then become an entitlement. It would also place our nation on a collision course with God’s judgment because every citizen will be subsidizing the crushing of human rights and social justice by paying for abortions. In other words, Christians would now be responsible for the shedding of innocent blood.

The future of our nation is at stake. It is time for the church to rise up and be a prophetic witness and powerful voice for justice.

We do not have to be helpless bystanders as events unfold on the world stage. But through intercession and worship, we can help change and shape history.

These 27 hours can change the future of our nation forever and help ignite a sovereign move of God that will bring spiritual awakening and cultural reformation to America. As we gather on the lawn of the Capitol in repentance and passion we believe that the Holy Spirit will move in a powerful way.

We have already seen God do amazing things as Christians gathered on Capitol Hill at the end of July to pray for a delay on the Health Care vote until after the August recess. Against all odds, God answered that prayer in a dramatic way and the vote was delayed. The Holy Spirit is now calling us back to prayer.

We prayerfully ask you to consider coming to Washington, D.C. to be a part of this historic 27 hours. It is imperative that the Church step of their apathy and indifference and into the purposes of God for this hour.

Schedule for September 13-14, 2009
at the West Lawn of the United States Capitol:

Sunday, September 13:
Prayer and worship begins at 7:00 P.M on the west lawn of the Capitol and continues until Monday at 10:00 P.M.

Monday, September 14:
Prayer and worship all day on the west lawn of the Capitol until 10:00 P.M.

11:00 A.M. on the west lawn of the Capitol
We will gather to walk over and pray for the 435 members of
the House of Representatives.

1:00 P.M. on the west lawn of the Capitol
We will gather to walk over and pray for the 100 members of the Senate.

For more information call:
540.538.4741 >> 540.538.3762 >> 202.547.1735

27 hours is sponsored by:
The Christian Defense Coalition, Bound for Life, The Fredericksburg Prayer Furnace, Generation Life, Survivors, Grace Church of Fredericksburg, Operation Rescue, Pro-Life Unity, The National Black Pro-Life Union, Faith and Action, The Network of Politically Active Christians, and the Family Research Council.

Make sure to take part if you’re in the D.C. area!

Posted in Law & Politics, News Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

September 7th, 2009 by Bryan Anthony

2580183410_f41cf5311bHigh definition colors, lights and themes flash,
Rush-hour movement, talk-radio blasts, cars dash,
Goings-on for the day, busy minds rehash,
Without thinking of You.

E-mails zing by the millions, ’round the globe flying,
Salesmen manipulate naive shoppers, prying,
Lottery ticket holder wins a few grand, sighing,
With no room for You.

Theaters fill with eager souls, anticipating the latest,
Boasts echo from arrogant athletes, “I am the greatest!”
Middle East breathes peace for one brief hiatus,
With no regard for You.

Stadiums overflow with painted men, worshipping names,
Names of chiseled figures, skilled at playing games,
Enduring snow, sleet, hail, heat, or heavy rains,
Could this be for You?

Bars full of drunkards, cursing others, adulterating,
Sunday afternoon gluttons, bloated from “buffeting”,
Preacher clicking the mouse in his office, masturbating,
Hiding from all but You.

Church-going man screaming at wife and kids,
Christian contractor making unjust bids,
Mother kills infant and claims it was SIDS,
Breaking the heart of You.

Government waters down murder in the womb,
Brides are unnecessary, groom marries groom,
Preachers envy preachers, their mouths open tombs,
Inviting wrath from You.

Emergents emerged, new programs gain momentum,
“Apostles” have built their empires, but who sent them?
Lacking humility, promoting their books and systems,
In the name of who?

Lord, in this hour when true love has waxed cold,
And we’ve lost the fire of the prophets of old,
For we’ve shirked the heat that would try us as gold,
We need mercy from You.

O, that my eyes were a fountain of tears,
Flowing copiously all of my years,
Until mercy breaks in, until heaven hears,
Until we see You.

Wake us from sleeping, give us Your own view,
Break us with weeping, to love as You do,
Shake us from what’s fleeting, O make us true,
Like You. Only You.

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

November 18th, 2008 by M. French

Editor’s Note: More information concerning our sources for this story can be found here: Kingdoms in Conflict Followup

A group of homosexual protesters turned violent on Friday, Nov. 14th when an outreach team from the Justice House of Prayer gathered together to worship on the streets of the Castro District in San Francisco. These young Christians had been meeting to worship and reach out to the Castro community on Friday nights for months, with this being their first time in the community since the passing of Proposition 8 in California, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman and has sparked nationwide protests from the GLBT community.

While the outreach team sang worship songs, the homosexual protesters became erroneously convinced that the group from JHOP was there to protest the “No on 8” Campaign that the GLBT community has been promoting throughout the country. A crowd gathered around the JHOP team as they sang “Amazing Grace”, and as tensions mounted, the crowd began shouting vulgarities and taunts at the Christians, eventually throwing hot coffee, alcohol, and soda at the group, and according to some at the scene, even spitting on them, all the while blowing whistles inches from their ears. As the scene progressed, the team was also shoved, had their personal belongings stolen, and were hit and kicked, requiring them to call the police. Eventually, a riot team was called in to protect the victims as they worshiped. One victim said that when one of the homosexuals was confronted by a young woman for stealing her Bible, “he responded by hitting her on the head with the Bible, shoving her to the ground, and kicking her.” When asked by the police if she wanted to press charges, she declined, choosing to extend forgiveness to her attacker instead.

Violence and verbal abuse weren’t the only things they had to endure however, as perverse acts of molestation also took place. According to one of the victims, individuals in the crowd touched and grabbed them, tried to remove their pants, and even made attempts to penetrate them anally with foreign objects.  Following this, the police had to surround the outreach team to protect them from the mob, and confront a man who threatened the team leader with death. The police asked the outreach group to leave for their protection due to the violence of the crowd, despite the police presence. They escorted the group during the long walk back to their van, followed by the mob who continued to shout, chant and blow whistles. The press only arrived in time to capture some of their walk back to the van, and you can view the raw footage of this here (YouTube version posted below).

Incredibly, the article published by the news team from KTVU in San Francisco has many of the facts of the event wrong, but with the only interviews performed being from the homosexual community, rather than representatives from both sides or even the police who were called to protect the victims, who should be surprised? The group who went from JHOP to the Castro area was not “marching” to support Proposition 8, nor did they blatantly “confront” anyone from the homosexual community on Friday night. And despite the aggressive nature of the mob, KTVU fails to mention it in the least, and even quotes a homosexual man who says “Their rights were respected…They got a chance to go ahead and pray on the sidewalk and I had the opportunity to express my freedom of speech which is telling them to get out of my neighborhood.” (emphasis mine) They also quote another homosexual man saying “It’s not religious. It’s not a racial thing. It’s about hate. We’re trying to send a message across the world that we’re standing up and we don’t want this to go on anymore.” But they print not a word from a police officer or one of the victims of the attack.

“Their rights were respected?” As hot coffee and other things are thrown on them, their belongings are stolen, and they are physically and sexually assaulted? “It’s about hate?” Since when is praying and singing hymns classifiable as hatred? Emotions are running very high within the GLBT community, but the actions of some of the protesters have overstepped the laws of the nation as well as the “tolerance” and “equality” that they themselves demand of those who believe in God’s design of marriage between a man and a woman. The victims from JHOP attacked in the Castro district would have been well within their rights to press charges, but instead they chose to love and forgive instead of meeting hatred with hatred, or even seeking justice from the laws which protect members of both sides of the issue.

The heart of the group who was chased out of the Castro district is this:

We don’t want to convert gays to straight people. We want them to know the Love of Jesus Christ. Even if someone never becomes attracted to the other sex, they can still love Jesus Christ with all their heart, mind, and soul. As the mob raged, all I could pray was “God have mercy.”

Every one of us stands in need of the mercy of God, without exception. Let us pray for God to have mercy on the GLBT community, that they would have a true encounter with the Spirit of God who is the very embodiment of love, holiness, and truth, and that we may be able to reach out to them with a heart of compassion for the heavy struggle facing those who deal with this issue which lies at the very core of the way they identify themselves. Which one among us has not needed God to redefine core beliefs about who we are/were? The transformation must be accomplished by the Spirit, not the strength of men. We must cry out to Messiah Jesus to have mercy!

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