The below five points continue to churn and burn in my mind and heart. Recently, as Americans took to the streets in gay pride parades, blatantly and unashamedly glorying in unrighteousness, I thought of these words again. Maybe I should do more with them than post them on my blog! LOL Anywho....
2 Peter 1:19-21 says, "And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
Let me tell you what I believe is happening….
1. God is telling us to return to doing Kingdom business according to Kingdom Mandates.
2. Kingdom Mandates are not found on Wall Street or secular books on psychology or leadership theory. Kingdom Mandates are found in the Word of God! Listen to the Bible…
• Psalms 19:7-11 (ESV) The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; (8) the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; (9) the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. (10) More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. (11) Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
• 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (17) that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
• 2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV) Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
• Acts 20:26-28 (ESV) Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, (27) for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. (28) Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
3. God is calling His church BACK to the Word (Sola Scriptura!) to fix what ails us; the problem is very few of His people want to go!
4. But dear friends, a return to the Word IS THE ONLY way to see revival! It is the only way to establish the Dominion Mandate, I define like this:
- The Dominion Mandate is the command to establish the rule of Jesus Christ in all areas and jurisdictions of life (the Family, the Church, and the State); the intentional expansion of His Kingdom by His subjects, the preaching of the Gospel, the discipling of hearts, and the raising up of godly generations that declare, “Your Kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
5. This can only be done through Spirit-Led obedience to the Word of God!!
A few thoughts from the Peter's words:
1. In context, by saying “more sure,” Peter was saying “much better” than clever tales and myths about God and His Kingdom. He was saying that there is a higher standard than the imaginations and concoctions of men. He was saying there is no higher authority and Christ’s living Word!
2. “Paying attention” to the prophetic word is critical, and the only way we can “do well” from a Kingdom perspective. The prophetic voice of God is not something we make up. The prophets always call people to return to the Word and to obedience. The prophetic voice of God is simply that…a renewed “paying attention” to what God has said and commanded.
3. It is obvious that “men love darkness” better than light! But Christ and His word are lights shining in a dark place! Look at our marriages! Dark! Look at the effectiveness of the Lord’s church in culture! Dark! Look at the worldviews of our children! Dark! Look at love for holiness! Dark! God’s Word is a “lamp to our feet and a light to our path! (Ps 119:105)
4. God inspired men to write down His word not to be casually consulted; but to be rigorously and lovingly followed!
5. God in His love and mercy is calling us to follow His instructions that we might truly advance His Kingdom in this hour!
Five “NEW” way He wants to Change His Church! (Actually, it's all "OLD") :)
1. God want us to Reclaim the Gospel (The Message of the Kingdom)
- It’s not about fulfillment; it’s about forgiveness! It’s not about felt needs; it’s about man’s desperate need for one who can cleanse us from sin! The Gospel isn't about our dreams and visions; it's about Christ restoring our fellowship with Him through His blood!
- It was never about how we dress, what we drive, or where we dwell…it was about Jesus and the wonder of His work. This led to the declaration at CRCC that Jesus is Enough! Christianity is at it's core, a carrying of Christ's cross!
- The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." (23) And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (24) For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (25) For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? (26) For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." (Luk 9:22-26 ESV)
- Somewhere along the line, we’ve told people to come to Christ for what they can get from Him. We must return to making sure the true, biblical salvation process is truly preached…brokenness over sin (the knowledge of which comes from the Law, Rom 3:20) and then a turn to Christ for the forgiveness of sin!
- We must be more passionate about sharing the Gospel, but it must be the TRUE, WHOLE, Gospel! Nothing else saves!
2. God wants us to Reestablish Holiness (The Lifestyle of the Kingdom)
- God values righteousness. Christ came to deal with the sin problem! The underlying issue of the day is immorality (1 Thes 4:1-8). But many times it is here where contemporary ministry decides that the sin issue is too hard, too off-putting, too confrontational to mess with.
- So words like sin, hell, wrath, judgment, submit, obey, and repent are taken out of the televised broadcasts, substituted with blessing, breakthrough and "your miracle"! These things have their place but we have ignored half the message!
- Peter wrote: “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, (15) but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, (16) since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." (1Pe 1:14-16 ESV)
- Paul wrote to the church at Corinth: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (15) What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? (16) What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, (18) and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty." (2Co 6:14-18 ESV)
- Again, because we are so concerned with attracting sinners, we’ve forgotten that if we use carnal to attract carnal, God is not glorified and most sinners are not truly saved!
- We are called to live in a manner that pleases God!
3. God wants us to Ready the Church through Stewardship (To Resource the Kingdom)
- There is a fiscal famine coming. Not only that, but will the church be ready when our non-profit status is threatened because we take stands on the Word to the glory of God?
- So based on the principles of Scripture, we have embarked upon a long journey to help God’s people get free from debt, save, and give with KINGDOM in mind!
- “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” (Pr 22:7)
- “You shall lend to many nations but you shall not borrow.” (Deut 28:12)
- Debt in Scripture was associated with cursing not blessing. (Deut 28:44; 1 Sam 22:2)
- We’ve handled our money like the world, and it shows!
- But God is calling His people to a higher standard. What if we all as individuals got out of debt, had a real savings, and were free to use all our income to God’s glory? What if the church did the same?
- How many children could we adopt? How many widows could we serve? How many orphans could we feed?
4. God wants us to Reform the Family (The Foundation of the Kingdom)
- Despite all our youth programs, events, strategies, rock climbing walls, playstation rooms, and hip hop concerts, we are losing 70-88% of our children by the end of their freshman year in college!!!
- Beginning in the middle of 2009, God led me to reevaluate and review our ministry to children. After 13 years of ministry, that review was VERY difficult for me and my staff. Why?
- Because our church began with a foundational purpose to reach out to young people and we didn’t like the results we saw!
- We literally went “line by line,” naming children by name we’d had the privilege to serve over the years, and that process broke our hearts. We literally cried.
- How did sweet little Davante become a thug? How did precious little Tamika get so far off track? Aisha has how many babies? Jonathan is a homosexual?!? Fredrick is in college but has become an atheist? A 5 Percenter? A Muslim? What in the world happened?
- Precious friends, so many of our children, the same ones who danced to Mary Mary, sang Kirk Franklin’s songs, went to youth camp, ushered, and wore call the cool church t-shirts were no longer serving Christ in any meaningful way.
- 56% of “church youth” say that humans cannot grasp the meaning of truth. 85% of “church youth” say that what is right for one person in a given situation may not be right for another person in the exact same situation. This is called situational ethics, or moral relativism. The majority of teens believe Jesus sinned during His early ministry. Only 5% of church teens possess a biblical worldview.
- In his book, Already Gone, Ken Ham explains that what we see freshman year, happened in their junior high years, and the college dropout rates are just the manifestation.
- The only REAL answer is a return to the Word on how to raise and disciple children!
- We must reestablish the biblical role of the father and encourage parents to disciple and train their own children in the Word. (Deut 6).
- We have to reestablish bible teaching and catechism in our homes, truly oversee our children’s education (the primary source of their worldview…15,000 instructional hours), and create church structures that keep the family together!
- Deut 6:5-7 ESV You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (6) And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. (7) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
5. God want us to Restore Trust in Leadership (The Integrity of the Kingdom)
- Now more than ever, pastors need to see themselves as holy, humble shepherds. Integrity must become even more important than "vision" that God might bless ministry efforts. I truly want pastors to know that faithfulness is their measure of true success.
- I urge all pastors and elders to adopt overlapping shields of accountability and work hard to be the kind of pastors and leaders God desires, modeling ourselves more after the Master than the Mogul.
- I’m encouraging pastors to:
- Make integrity a high value. Be a man of absolute holiness.
- Place his home above the church. 1 Timothy 3 is crystal clear on this.
- Preach more expository messages. This gives people the whole counsel of God and protects and matures the church.
- Be accountable. Pastors are just sheep too and we need to be accountable.
- Establish biblical eldership in the local church. Regardless of your overall polity, a plurality of elders is needed in some form.
- Lead by example. Reach out. Share your faith. Keep discipling.