Battle Stations….(Enough with absorbing attacks; it's time to hit back!)
In the movie Hunt for Red October, there is a gripping scene that paints a picture of where CRCC is right now. Russian Captain Marko Ramius and his submarine crew are submerged and navigating deep and dangerous underwater canyons. It is a demonstration of both skill and experience. They had just begun their righteous mission of delivering one of the world’s most dangerous weapons (the submarine itself, designed to start a war with the United States) to America in the hopes of averting World War III. They slipped away silently, but after being sabotaged by a member of the crew, they had been found out. In the scene, the dialog went something like this:
Sonar officer: “Captain, we’ve just be over-flown by a low altitude, multi-engine turboprop!” (A sub-hunting aircraft)
Captain: “Put it on audio.”
Sonar officer: “Water entry of small objects!!!”
Executive officer: “Sonobuoys.” (Devices that send out audio signals to detect underwater objects.)
Executive officer: “Should we bottom the boat Captain?!?!” (Essentially, put the ship on the ocean floor and hope they are not heard.)
Captain: “Too late for that now…Battlestations.”
And as the scene plays out, their discovery almost cost them their lives. The aircraft launched a torpedo that nearly destroys the ship. Now, what does all this have to do with CRCC you might be asking? :)
We’ve been discovered. Our righteous mission to preach the unfettered, unadorned, and uncut Gospel unashamedly in order to Reach, Teach, and Release Hurting People through the Power of Jesus Christ is not going unmet! Although I’m not an alarmist, nor am I into conjecture and hyperbole, I’m certain of this: Satan and the forces of hell are launching torpedoes!
Remember friends…Satan hates Christ. Satan hates His Gospel. And Satan hates anyone who will not bow to the pressure of cultural relativism and “Christian” conformism. We’ve been cruising along “under the ocean” grinning and preaching and having a good old time. But the “Word” is out!
Why am I saying this? Because of the evidence. Too many marriages are struggling for no reason. Too many saints are dealing with overwhelming money pressure. Too many blessed children and teens don’t know the Gospel and/or are struggling with rebellion and despair. Too many believers stay in a constant state of disconnection. There is too much inconsistency in our intentional efforts to read and study and grow in the Lord at home. There is too little discipleship and too much assimilation of cultural entertainment in most lives. And there is too much compromise in our homes!
Yes, I know it doesn’t seem that way. We show up on Sunday and everything seems so good. We worship, preach, hug and greet. People in Care Group smile and laugh and wave. Everything seems so nice. And don’t get me wrong; we aren’t faking it. We have an awesome ministry and our God has been faithful! But the Lord has revealed that we are under a vicious assault: our children, our relationship covenants, our bodies, and our leaders. It is a direct result of daring to preach the Gospel of Christ Jesus without compromise. It is a direct result of refusing to turn the Gospel into motivational speeches. It is a direct result of moving closer and closer to a New Testament Church where we not only worship, but we also do His Will; where we not only dance and shout, we also implement discipline and submit; where we not only grow but we give; where we not only enjoy His love, but we also seek and disciple the lost!
In other words, we are entering another phase of our growth in the Lord. The first phase (over the last two years) was the reestablishment of a Christ foundation. Now we are dealing with the results of that: greater levels of joy by many, but also attacks by the Enemy of Christ and the emergence of areas of darkness in our lives that the Word and the Spirit have exposed that we might be holy. And since we have decided to fight for our children, the attacks have intensified....
So again, let me be clear: Battlestations! (This is not a drill….)
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor 10:3-5)
Just as Captain Ramius gave instructions to his crew to save the ship in the aforementioned scene (and in the scene some argued with him as he was trying to save their lives…been there!!!!), I’ll offer some counsel to help our “ship” get to the destination God has prepared for us:
1. Consult the War Manual. Determine in your spirit to read, search out, and obey God’s Word at all costs. The path to victory isn’t found on Facebook. It is found in the Word of God! Popular psychology is not the answer; what God says is the answer!
2. Man your station. When battlestations is sounded onboard a Navy ship, NOBODY is in their rack, working out, or eating. EVERYONE is preparing for war. CRCC, now is the time to plug in. Be at church every single Sunday if you can. Don’t miss Care Group. Don't neglect family worship and catechism. Everybody pick a ministry and put your hand to the plow. Every parent take up battle positions at home. Engage the enemy!
3. Obey at all costs. When Christ our Commanding Officer issues orders, obey. To win this fight, we must realize that our obedience must never be bound to our feelings. Feelings have a way of betraying us. One of the greatest lies the Enemy has embedded within the culture is that all feelings are valid. Human feelings are only valid when they line up with eternal truth. They are invalid when they flow from flesh and are contrary to God’s Word.
4. Increase maneuvering speed. When any battle begins, so does the speed of the combatants. There is no time to lose. A war posture and a battle mindset must be in place now! At the rate our covenants and children are being attacked, we must fight now. The fight against sin must be engaged with swiftness and determination. Just like the nation of Israel at times in the Old Testament, the overabundance of our blessings has made us slothful and slow. We must pick up the pace.
5. Deploy countermeasures. Prayer, fasting, and praise are common countermeasures. Others are love, forgiveness, giving monetarily (because of its affect on the heart) and consistent service. But to me, the one that sums up all the others is love-based obedience. Peter called this obedience in our battle against the Enemy “standing firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9). That is what we must do. It is the shield of faith that that extinguishes the flaming “torpedoes” of the evil one (Eph 6:16).
6. Counterattack. Stand on the Word! Draw your sword (Eph 6:17)! Snapshot on 1 & 2! (Submarine-speak for “fire!!!” LOL). You see my friends, we lose sometimes because we don’t speak or believe or obey the Word. When temptations or tough decisions arise, the Word is not our first consideration. All too often we are ruled by our desires and we resist God’s accountability. But in order to fight back, take authority by saying what God said in His word and doing it! Teach your children to do the same!
7. Assist the wounded. Sadly, there will be casualties. When I first began teaching that “Jesus is Enough” I knew it would be tough. But admittedly, I didn’t realize the depth to which our faith and joy was linked to circumstances instead of Christ, and I didn’t realize how the right message would bring us into conflict with so much evil. Now that we are fighting for our children, it's even worse! So look around. See who is hurting. Then go to their rescue. Realize that in battle, healing the hurting is almost always painful because there is little time for anesthetics and hospital room niceties. But the struggle for the hearts of our children, the future of our marriages and singles, the souls of lost people, and our Kingdom Potential to me is a life or death struggle. So if we must endure pain to save lives, so be it.
At the end of the movie, Ramius and a primary character named Jack Ryan are floating along on the Red October in safety, having reached the destination. They are chatting and reflecting in a very peaceful and tranquil scene, looking at a calm and serene river, breeze blowing and danger past. The battle is over and times of circumstantial joy and serenity await. Friends, Christ promised us the same (Rev 21-22)! But until then, we are in the thick of the fight for the Truth of Jesus Christ. So let’s come about smartly, engines all ahead full, weapons warm and ready, and take the fight to the enemy.
That is all.....