Monday, January 31, 2005
From church planter and trainer Natalia Schedrivaya, Russia
"Church growth to me involves spreading the gospel to places where no one goes or wants to go."
"Materialism is the No. 1 enemy of Russian churches. Today pastors are not praying about how to reach those who have not heard the gospel. They are praying, 'God, how can I have a megachurch.' This is where the church in America has been confused. What are our priorities?"
From pastor Sunday Adelaja, Ukraine (largest church of Europe with 30,000 members)
"There is not a sense of desperation for God in the United States.
[Another] problem I see in the American church involves money. The American church is spending most of its money on things that are not priorities of God. If the church doesn't understand the priorities of God before spending its money, then abuse is inevitable."
From the president of the All India Christian Council, Joseph D"Souza, India (he does work among the Dalits--the untouchables)
"The American church has made four critical errors that account for its lack of substantial growth:
1. American Christians have put God in a comfortable box [so that they might have a comfortable life].
2. Faith in the United States has become consumer-oriented. What is God going to do for me?
3. There is an inadequate understanding of suffering and persecution.
4. The American church has ignored the fact that it is no longer the epicenter of global Christianity. The activity of the church has moved to the Southern hemisphere.
From pastor Samuel Lee, Holland
He asks the question, why aren't American churches growing compared to churches in other countries? Here are his conclusions:
1. We must embrace the miraculous. Because America has so many comforts, people don't seem to need miracles. But we need the Holy Spirit's agenda.
2. We must reject Hollywood tendencies. Some churches in the United States look like they are sponsoring fashion shows or TV programs.
3. We must forsake pride. Outsiders read our character, not our bulletins.
Then he says "I wish my American brothers realized how hurtful it is to the cause of Christ when they focus so much on material things."
From pastor Jackson Senyonga, Uganda
He says there are several key reasons why the American church has not grown as rapidly as churches in Africa:
*The American church is more program-oriented than 'presence-oriented'
*The people come to church on their terms and pastors serve those terms rather than God.
*The obedience level is too low.
*America has no time for God.
*The American church suffers from prayerlessness.
From pastor Kong Hee, Singapore
He says that Christians need to do four things to see the same kind of growth they are experiencing in Asia:
1. A commitment to soul-winning
2. A commitment to power evangelism
3. A commitment to discipleship
4. A devotion to missions
From overseer of the African-based denomination RCCG, Enoch Adeboye, Nigeria
"If the American church is to experience the rapid growth that other parts of the world are currently experiencing, then it must have revival. But revival is expensive. It is not cheap. There is a price to pay for revival. A revival takes us back to the basics of Christian principles that are fast disappearing from the Christian horizon. This includes a disciplined life of sincere holiness and a life devoted to prayer and fasting."
Saturday, January 29, 2005
Those who are most disappointed with God are often the ones who know Him the best. After all, you can't be disappointed by someone you don't really care about right?
"For what can be known about God is plain to them, because he has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made." –Romans 1:19-20
I love the beach. I didn't used to. When I was little, I would cower underneath the towel/tent contraption fashioned by my patient mother and expend all my energy avoiding the sand, the sun and certainly the water. Of course, to even get me to cross the threshold to the ocean area required a Mr. Pibb from the Coke machine as a consolation for the torture I knew was awaiting me in the form of sand in my swimsuit and a sunburn on my pale skin. But things change and now, 18 years later, I love the beach, and I hate Mr. Pibb.
My relationship with the ocean after that, however, has been somewhat of a roller coaster. There was the "boogie-board" stage when I was in fourth grade and my brother and I would spend the entire day conquering the waves. There was the sandcastle phase when I was too girly to go in the water but content to be near it and creating something majestic and garnished with mother-of-pearl shells. There was the book period that consisted of a freshly bound page-turner, a chair and me; note no waves involved. Most recently I have entered into the "walks on the beach" chapter, but not in the "I enjoy Italian dinners and long walks on the beach" way. Rather, in the mid-afternoon all-by-myself-meditative-walk kind of a way. I've played out these various relationships with all kinds of beaches: Atlantic, Pacific, Mexican, African and European. The ocean didn’t change; I did.
The last beach I walked was on the east coast of Florida and was a private beach sprinkled with grandmas walking dogs, grandpas fishing from the shore and the occasional out-of-place teenager. It was the kind of perfect weather that Baywatch always had, and I seized the opportunity. My aunt told me to wear my shoes when I went this time because the local paper said the Man-O-War jellyfish were everywhere. My uncle told me there were not, in fact, any jellyfish on the beach today and I should not wear my shoes. In the moment of decision before I stepped onto the beach, I left my sandals on the bridge and wiggled my toes in the sand.
When I reach the end of the distance I want to walk, I like to stand and face the water and just stare. I like to listen to the receding water and the breeze. I like to let the surf tease my toes. This time, when I looked at the methodic waves coming toward me, I couldn't help but look with awe and horror. This water can kill 175,000 people in the blink of an eye. Everything looked so peaceful and harmonious around me: the boats out in the distance, the little birds hunting on the water's edge, a few whitecaps. Scripture tells us that God has revealed everything we can know about Him in His creation, specifically His power and His nature. He tells us that though they are invisible, they are clearly seen. God manifests His nature in these waves that I don't understand—that both scare me and delights me.
Ignorance prevents the pleasure
"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by an offer of a holiday at sea." —CS Lewis
Under my tent, grumpy and sipping a Mr. Pibb, I thought I was happy and that moving an inch closer to the ocean would be horrid. Looking back, now that I have experienced the water, giggled when the waves made me bob up and down and relished the feel of sand under my feet, I know that I missed out. Deep-sea divers will tell you that you have never experienced the ocean until you've seen its depths. Sailors will claim you can't know the sea intimately until you've spent months sleeping atop its watery surface, feeling the swaying motion of the boat and seeing the terror of its storms. Those who venture out the farthest, who stay the longest and who explore the most find more pleasure in its waters than she who stays on the beach. Those with this intimate knowledge of the ocean look at its surface and know what is beneath, what truth exists beyond the gentle waves and cannot see it simply ever again. Mr. Pibb? What was I thinking?
Terror and delight can come from the same source
“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort, you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” —C. S. Lewis
While postcards and advertisements for destinations like Naples show picturesque, lovely waters, that same water can have enough force to kill hundreds of thousands. Complex, mysterious and even confounding, this paradox produces our fascination. Anyone who has experienced even the slightest pull of a riptide knows the sudden fear and helpless feeling. Yet those exact waves and tides beckon us out into the water, because in them we find pleasure. The ocean has a personality. Experts study it and research it; other people spend their entire lives on the beaches or the water, yet we still cannot fathom or predict its every motion. I was afraid when I was young, and while I may love it now, that fear hasn't fully left. I’ve seen Jaws, after all. The water is a mystery that echoes the peculiar God-nature that marries terrifying, righteous judgment with loving, unwarranted mercy.
Uneasy, but necessary dependence
“'Course he isn't safe, but he's good. He's the King, I tell you.'” —CS Lewis
And so we are dependent on this water. We can’t control it, but we need it—food, climate, transportation and the like. Sometimes we try to tame it into aquariums so we can experience life in its depths without the hassle of going ourselves. With all the imitations, all the alternatives, all the days spent at the pool or building a sandcastle nearby are, of course, only that: fake attempts to render the same pleasure from dangling our feet in as jumping in headfirst. It’s a risk. Sometimes you do get sand in your bathing suit. Sometimes you do get sunburnt. Sometimes there are Man-O-War jellyfish lurking underneath the surface. But I love the beach.
[Beth Stoner is a senior at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. She obviously lives nowhere near a beach, but her computer’s wallpaper tells her differently.]
Friday, January 28, 2005
Thursday, January 27, 2005
A man is absent from church Sunday morning. Where is he? If he is in a hospital having his appendix removed his absence tells us nothing about him except that he is ill; but if he is out on the golf course, that tells us a lot. To go to the hospital is compulsory; to go to the golf course, voluntary. The man is free to choose and he chooses to play instead of to pray. His choice reveals what kind of man he is. Choices always do....
I think it might be well for us to check our spiritual condition occasionally by the simple test of compatibility. When we are free to go, where do we go? In what company do we feel most at home? Where do our thoughts turn when they are free to turn where they will? When the pressure of work or business or school has temporarily lifted and we are able to think of what we will instead of what we must, what do we think of then?
The answer to these questions may tell us more about ourselves than we can comfortably accept. But we had better face up to things. We haven't too much time at the most. Man: The Dwelling Place of God, 158-161.
Monday, January 24, 2005
I mean the verse speaks for itself. But what does that look like practically on a campus full of 15+ fellowships?
I've lost faith in man to make unity. No matter how much I may try to convince myself that if I just do something more, that something will happen...it doesn't work that way. We labor faithfully and trust the LORD with the Harvest. That's it. That's how we do it with evangelism, and any other thing...why is it so hard for me to grasp this principle for unity?
God, when will things change? All creation groans for the maturing of sons and daughters...God, when does this campus wake-up and run hard after You? When do we realize that it is impossible to run hard by ourselves?
REVOLUTION CRY, CAN YOU FEEL IT?
But scientific study and cultural criticism have never succeeded in persuading Americans to give up their televisions. “Throughout our history with The Box,” argues Bruce Gronbeck, “we have believed fervently that it brings good, not bad; that even when it’s bad it can be controlled; and that when we cannot control ourselves a technology will arise to help us do it.” TiVo is precisely this kind of technology. By helping us control what we watch and when we watch it, we mistakenly believe that we are also exercising a broader self-control over our television viewing habits; by only watching what we want to watch, we reason, we will watch less. But early evidence suggests that this is not the case. TiVo users actually end up watching more hours of television every week, including shows they might have skipped without regret if they were not available “on demand.” By emphasizing the efficiency of the technology—rather than what the technology is making more efficient—we avoid having to ask whether we really should be watching so much television in the first place, or reflect upon what television does to our intellect and character.
Friday, January 21, 2005
Is anything else worth living for?
What can I do with my obsession?I see a vision...a vision of a generation on fire for God. A generation of those absolutely ruined by the majestic and splendor of knowing Jesus Christ as their Lord, Savior, and friend. A generation that pursues relationship above anything else. Passionate relationship with God and relationship with others. A generation not contained by the confines of religion, empty motions, labels, not even Christianity...a generation who is willing to take up their cross and follow Jesus Christ...even if it means leaving behind a dead church. A generation willing to go into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit so they can return full of the Holy Spirit.
With the things I cannot see
Is there madness in my being?
Is it wind that blows the trees?
Sometimes you're further than the moon
Sometimes you're closer than my skin
And you surround me like a winter fog
You've come and burned me with a kiss
And my heart burns for you
And my heart burns
And I'm so filthy with my sin
I carry pride like a disease
You know I'm stubborn God and I'm longing
to be close
You burn me deeper than I know
I feel lonely without hope
I feel desperate without vision
You wrap around me like a winter coat
You come and free me like a bird
I see a vision:
- lounges in Muir filled with people, incapacitated on the floor by the Spirit of God. i see RA's ministering in the prophetic... small gatherings, essentially church, being raised up in the dorms and apartments all around campus.
- I see a 24/7 house of prayer being raised up at UCSD, which will contend with all other houses of prayer. It will be the place of governmental authority...I see churches in the area working together to provide infrastructure and support, and fellowships playing a huge role in spurring this on. I see this house of prayer somewhere near PC, International Center...I see non-believers coming in for prayer and for ministry. When campus tours come around, I believe that guides will bring people to visit the UCSD House of Prayer, because signs and wonders, and the awe and presence of God will rest in that place.
- I see prayer meetings springing up around campus, spurred by no more than love responses of a grateful heart. Believer's gathering together to worship and pray, an act as natural as friends getting together to hangout. They will be tiny houses of prayer. This will be the fuel that energizes and sustains this move of God.
- I see baptisms in the Price Center fountain. The Holy Spirit conviction falling on believers in class, at work, in line for food at price center. There will be a tangible weight of the Holy Spirit on this campus.
- I see a huge worship and prayer gathering at the bottom of Giesel, facing Warren lawn. It will be unintentionally evangelistic, the presence of God will draw people there. I can see something like it happening on RIMAC field...it going on for several days, with thousands of people getting saved throughout the campus in the process. I can see people running out of class and running to the fields for their "God-fix." People just desperate for a touch from God. This will be a sign of revival breaking forth.
- I believe this move of God will marked by several things: holiness, there will be a radical holiness and fear of the Lord...not the type that is legalistic, not rules and regulations...but the type of holiness and fear that comes from an unwillingness to compromise because they don't want anything to hinder their intimacy with God; remarkable unity among the body of believers, it will be an example to other colleges and to the city; an extravagant love for the lost. the heart of God for the lost is going to imparted into believers, and we will WEEP corporately for the lost. This will overflow into a massive missions movement where we will see people take an entire year off to do missions in Israel, China, and the inner city.
- I can see all the fellowships all fitted and placed into the body of Christ, functioning in UNITY. I believe several of the Asian fellowships will merge together as a sign of unity. I believe that this will mark the signs of the coming move of God. Their eyes will all be focused on the head, Jesus Christ, and they will be consumed with His glory on this campus.
There is coming a love revolution: the love of Jesus Christ for His bride and for this generation. Satan, watch out. We've got big sticks...you may have tried to wipe out this Moses generation, this Esther generation...but this means we get double, triple anointing; for we carry with us not just our destines, but the destinies of those aborted.
Jesus will receive His inheritance in this generation: voluntary lovesick worshippers who will be led to the cross. I do not say that on my authority, but by the heart of the Father and the word of God.Boo yah.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
"The missional church is incarnational, not attractional, in its ecclesiology. By incarnational, we mean it does not create sanctified spaces into which unbelievers must come to encounter the gospel. Rather the missional church disassembles itself and seeps into the cracks and crevices of a society in order to be Christ to those who don't yet know Him."
"The missional church is messianic, not dualistic in its spirituality. That is, it adopts the worldview Of Jesus the Messiah, rather than that of the Greco-Roman empire. Instead of seeing the world as divided between the sacred (religious) and profane (irreligious), like Christ it sees the world and God's place in it as more holistic and integrated."
"The missional church adopts an apostolic rather than a hierarchical, mode of leadership. By apostolic, we mean a mode of leadership that recognizes the fivefold model detailed by Paul in Ephesians 4. It abandons the triangular hierarchies of the traditional church and embraces a biblical, flat-leadership community that unleashes the gifts of evangelism, apostleship, and prophecy, as well as the currently popular pastoral and teaching gifts."
For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
25See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. 26And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, "YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN." 27This expression, "Yet once more," denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Interesting articles yeah? I'm not really sure whether I can conclude that the tsunami is a result of a judgment on the house of God...but I do know that in the coming days, everything that is not founded on the rock of God will indeed be shaken.
1 Corinthians 15
34Think straight. Awaken to the holiness of life. No more playing fast and loose with resurrection facts. Ignorance of God is a luxury you can't afford in times like these. Aren't you embarrassed that you've let this kind of thing go on as long as you have?
Another version says: "Be sober-minded as you ought and stop sinning..."
Why, God, a massive Tsunami Devastation?
by Mercy Simson
My heart wails for the loss of thousands of my country men, one third of them being children. There is no word that can express the pains of the orphans and widows, the poor and the needy. In a fraction of a second people were made homeless and aliens in their own country. Those who survied, have to leave their dead behind without any proper burial. We do not know anymore who to cry for, the dead or the suvivours. Their safety and security is in ruins. This disaster is beyond mourning. All of a sudden within a very few hours tens of thousand of people are dead and billions of dollars of destruction struck various countries. Who can explain this? What mind is able to grasp the situation? What technology could have prevented such a destruction? Thousands of Christians are lying face down in the throne room of God asking for his grace and favour, forgiveness and love, help and healing. Many thousands are asking: “Why has the Lord done such a thing? Is not God slow to anger and full of compassion? Did he warn his people when they felt secured?”
Beyond the chocolate side of God
We have seen what a Tsunami can do. But how can a mere man stand in front of God when He comes in his fury? Then there is no escape. So the question is: what has made God “come in his fury?” For many this is very difficult to comprehend. For thousands of years we have preached the chocolate side of God. We have preached just what the people would like to hear. We do not want to hear much about a God that is different from a loving Dad. But He also is a consuming fire, the hammer that breaks the rock, the double edged sword, the twisting of oaks, the flashes of lightning, the jealous one, the father who disciplines, the winnowing fork, the one one the judgement throne ... an the one who disciplines those whom he loves. Yes, God can be provoked by our actions. What have we, His people, done that He couldn't turn back His anger? Did we escape but merely? And why were we spared?
When I bring the Ocean Depths over you
This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I make you a desolate city, like cities no longer inhabited, and when I bring the ocean depths over you and its vast waters cover you then I will bring you down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of long ago. I will make you dwell in the earth below, as in ancient ruins, with those who go down to the pit, and you will not return or take your place in the land of the living. I will bring you to a horrible end and you will be no more. You will be sought, but you will never again be found, declares the Sovereign LORD.” Ezekiel26:19 – 21
"See the storm of the Lord will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly" Jer.23:19-20.
The countries that are hit by the Dec 26th Tsunami definitely have still a majority of inhabitants who worship false Gods, including Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. In India in one district alone 2000 Catholics who were in a sunday morning mass were completly wiped out – all dead. The tourists, many of them who enjoy themselves limitlessly in Phuket had no time to repent for their deeds. The continuing blood shed of the murdered Christians in Indonesia cries out to God from their ground. In all this, did the small children deserve such a wrath of God? Let my bones tremble at the holiness of God. I do not deserve any answer from the Almighty. God has spoken prophetically many times about Tsunamis. Again and again he warned, but it wasn't taken serious. We all seem to love prophecies of revival. But what of judgement and correction? Who are we to choose to listen to one aspect –and reject the other?
For whom then to weep?
What a horrible thing has happened to us. How did we get so remote from God's heart? He has called us to be his servants to the lost world. But we have made him our servant for our needs. We are supposed to do justice and be righteous. But in His own church, God sees horrible injustice and unrighteousness. Corruption and misuse of power is daringly evident. Instead of correction and discipline we rather embrace to live a lie, a life of many double standards. We take even the slightest correction as a groundless criticism and personal attack. We seize those who warn us of the dangers to come and we judge them. And even worse, we lead God's people astray by using His own name. We tolerate sin in the church. We baptise cats and dogs, we bless homosexuals.We divorce and remarry. We live in adulterous relationships. We are unwilling to reform our old ways. We feel secured in our slippery path. We are unable to discern evil from good, holiness from uncleanliness. We hardly see a difference between a Christian and a Non-Christian in everyday life. We are full of greed and lust.We are concerned about expanding our own ministries and building our own panelled houses just like those in the secular business world do. We have set our hearts on dishonest gain and extortion.We copy the secular systems to run our conferences and schools. We are so much involved in buying and selling Christian things. We run fleshly profitable businesses by using what belongs to God. We have given Mammon an honourable place in our pious religious church systems. We have made ourselves busy, making our own idols and worshipping what our hands have created. We care less to stand in the council of God. We have proclaimed our own soothing words to the people so that they will like us and pay us. We have cared less to be just and right. We have closed our eyes to the aliens in our countries. We have refused to rescue the oppressed from the cruelty of their oppressors. We have not paid attention to defend the cause of the poor and the needy. We have done wrong to our own Christian brothers and sisters. We have done enough destruction to His church and His sheep. We follow an ungodly course. Because of US ungodliness has spread throughout our land. We have gone astray from our Creator. Who shall we weep for, the dead or those who are being spared?
Therefore what do we do?
1. Wake up to build His Kingdom – together. With how much more fury can God hurl us out of his sight if we continue to take the days of grace as granted? As the whole world is trying to hasten the humanitarian relief efforts and to reconstruct the tourism industry, do we hear God hastening us all over the world to wake up to build His Kingdom? It definitely is NOT the time now to expand our one little church or mega church. It is now the time to die for our human dreams, for our selfish lifestyles and to live for God's purposes selflessly. He is not coming back with his furious passion for our little church or our mega church, He comes for HIS bride in his splendour and majesty. The body of Christ in each region needs as much regionally coordinated efforts as it needs in the Tsunami hit areas.
2. Show people where the Rock is. We see heart moving scenes in the media. People running in panic in India because of false alarms, fear gripped all over, grabbing their loved ones, no where to put their hope in. And, in then the next scene, we see women kneeling down in the church, crying out their hearts to their father. When everyone else is in despair and running to save themselves, only Christians know where to run to – the Rock of Salvation. The living God is the only Hope and the only Life. His love is stronger than the Tsunami. His waves of compassion are as high as the heavens. He even writhes in pain for his people, He intercedes with deep sighs and grief.
3. Explain the water. Firstly, God sends water as a judgement sign to wash away those things that are not built on the right foundation (Mt 7,24-28). Secondly, water is a sign of blessing for the nourishment of new plants to grow.
4. Seek His face. Let us make every effort to beg God to show us his face and not his back to his people. There is still a lot to be done.
5. Scream out for our own deliverance. I believe the time has come for us Christians to ask God to sift us with his double edged sword. Where we are in bondage to human systems, trapped in demonic cages, let us learn to scream out to Him for deliverance from the bondage of a dictating Self, asking God forever to cater to our ever-increasing “needs”. Let us realize with intensity and clarity that God Himself has needs and plans, too. Our place is to help Him fulfill his Supreme plans, not to make him part of our small human plans. Then we will learn to fit into His Story – even at the end of time.
SOURCE: Spiritual Tsunami
The Current Spiritual Tsunami - God is Shaking and Watering
The 26th of December is a day, when people in many parts of the world feast drink and celebrate themselves under the name of Christmas. It is also the day that in Roman Catholic Cultures is remembered as “Stephens Day” – a day to remember the first Martyr of the Christian faith, Stephen (Acts 6). Today, Prof. David Barrett estimates an average of 166.000 Christians martyrs per year. Do the stones scream? Does God´s earth revolt? Interestingly, this day, the 26th of December, has a stunning history of catastrophes:
The Natural as a mirror of the Supernatural
It is sound biblical teaching that the Natural is a mirror of the Supernatural. “The spiritual did not come first, but the natural – and after that the spiritual” (1 Cor 15). A God that is actively participating and even shaping the things of this world is definitely not only informed about current events, He has actively allowed this to happen. This can only mean one of two things: he either (passively) allows judgement, or he actively judges by means predicted in the New Testament as pre-endtime announcements of impending judgement: war, deseases, inflation, earthquakes (Mt 24).
Earth Axis moved 8 cm
The Tsunami has created a shift in the earth axis: scientists say, it has moved up to 8 cms. Has the spiritual axis of Christianity moved, too?
God is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people with his sword: the Leviathan, the monster of the sea. The earth is defiled by its people, who have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore…The foundations of the earth shake, the earth is split asunder, it reels like a drunkard, so heavy is the guilt of its rebellion…” (Isa 24)
God is no Santa Claus
A need-driven church-culture, infotainment-preaching, cheap grace, selfish denomination-building have created a Church that is no Church in the biblical sense any more. The seeds of humanism, individualism, the worship of our own opinions and the works of our own hands, powered by plain, widespread disobedience and rebellion to God has created a Church-shaped Religion that is geared to maximize the flesh. It has discovered God as our universal servant – his duty is to provide everything from health and wealth, fun, business and marriage partners (if we feel so, even more than one) and parking lots - and he´d better do so on time, or else we switch church. Libertinistic do-as-you-please-Christianity has not only dethroned the biblical God as King and Lord. It is worshipping two new Gods: individualism and the socalled freedom, to do as one wants. By default it installs personal wellness as the new judgement seat, and rejects any biblical standards, laws or statutes, violates every sound biblical discipling and building patterns. Of course, it protests loudly at even a hint of a present or future judgement of God as a threatening concept for little children. It is drunk with the image of a materially successful and independent individual, blessed endlessly by a purely loving God who is far removed from everyday life - a lovely, nice and cuddly grandfather, smoking his pipe in his rocking chair and benevolently giving gifts. I call this “Santa Claus Deism”, the pagan concept that God, after creating the world is not any more actively involved in the current world affairs. This caricature of God Is not only a diabolic distortion of the true God, it serves to cradle billions of people in ignorance and sin. But this caricature won´t carry people: it will split open like a soap bubble – specially when a crisis comes. Such selfmade sunshine theologies and American-dream-supporting church-systems will not be able to give any solid answers to the increasing questions our societies face: why all that pain, divorce, drugs, porno-addictions, pathological depressions, fits of rage and fear, ADD, suffering, unemployment, terrorism, demonisation and insecurity? And it will deceive and fail us, it won´t deliver a truly safe path into the future, especially in this Inspiration Age that we have already entered.
Any sober statistical glance at todays traditional Churchianity will show us that it is being shaken to the core, as, for example, John Noble in his excellent book “The Shaking” documents. Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch in “The Shaping of Things to Come” (a must read) document the cul-de-sac situation of traditional Christendom, because it is hopelessly attractive, dualistic and hierarchical. And many Christians are listening! As a result, a change of global proportions, of reformational dimensions, is under way. But what of those that won´t change? I personally believe for a number of reasons that remnants of traditional Churchianity will always remain. These remnants will have one of two choices: either they will enter even further into spiritual oblivion, exist in a laggard-minded, hyper-conservative and basically fearful bubble of religious selfpreservation until the funds last. Or, traditional churches will join the rank of those streams that flow into an ocean of religious and selfcentered ecumenism. There, people will eventually believe everything as long as it is not written in the Bible. There, God is reduced to a distant author of a set of interesting but not binding “world ethics”, and because everything is so do-able, people make themselves hyper-busy in the sense of a churchy version of the UN. Since God sems dead, all work has do be done by humans. And so they fight poverty with the means of Mammon, become activists with endless political and liberal programmes, all unknowingly geared to ultimately procure a religious red carpet for a false Messiah, the Anti-Christ. At least someone will have to welcome this person with shouts of Halleluja and Glory…
A Tsunami of Grace and Judgement
And at the very same time, we can see, if we look, a new day, a day of spirtual harvest of truly biblical proportions, with new plants and seeds of God that sprout, grow and blossom. There is not only a “Tsunami of Jugement” – there is also a “Tsunami of Grace” – and we need to see both, otherwise be become unbalanced and unhealthy enthusiasts.
I see a relationship between the Dec. 26th, 2004 natural Tsunami and a Spiritual Tsunami of God, that many healthy prophets have seen and spoken of in recent years. The Tsunami of God does two things: to wash away everything that has no sound foundation. This is the judging, cleansing, terrifying aspect. And sadly many Christians, it has been prophecied and you can see it happen right now with your own eyes, will be and are being washed away with it, not because God wants that at all, but because they are heavily burdened with their own parcels, idols, baggages and rubbish they just won´t let go of when the waves come. Or they are lead astray by false shepheards that tend themselves. Or, educated beyond obedience, they have built their life-castle on sand (Mt 7). And so they are dragged under by their own choice, not by God´s design. In comparison with these two Tsunamis I see these striking similarities:
What does this mean
It means God is doing two things:
1) He is actively judging the church through allowing it to enter a Babylonian Captivity. In my latest book, The Price of Money (published 1/2005, in German only so far), I document that if the Holy Spirit is no longer the driving force of the Church, Mammon is. And Mamon and Babylon have a very interesting relationship. Part of this Captivity is the current obsession with hyper-activistic high adrenalin programmes and approaches (G12, Willowcreek, EE etc.) celebrated as saviours for a run-down system. This is why it was spot-on what a Korean pastor’s final comment was, after touring the US: “Its amazing what you people can do without the Holy Spirit”.
I have been amongst those inviting Bill Hybels to Germany in 1993, because I saw the desperate state of Evangelical Christianity here. Not listening to prophetic or strategic issues at all, I hoped they will at least listen to one of their own best. And they did. But what if Willowcreek starts petering out, loosing its own youth, as it is starting to happen right now, after some time bored stiff with weekly confernces called services in sinfully costly new temples of glas, with polished and glib messages for the “seekers”? Will 10.000s of WillowCreek Idolaters (people who naively believe the lie: “copy Willowcreek and have similar results”) fall into a dark pit of self-pity? Who ever warned them? And which Guru to follow now? This all reminds vividly of the people of Israel under the rule of Pharao: in the past they built Pharaos structures with bricks, but now they also have to come up with the straw and work double-time. And a whole world is deprived of the Gospel of Jesus because of an unapostolic church extraordinarily busy with itself, and desperately running to get straw and bricks to let the show go on. [emphasis mine]
2) The other thing God does is that He gives all of us a fantasic, historic chance to build again, to renew our foundations, to rebuild the ancient ruins, to open clogged wells of the past, re-touch the age-old apostolic and prophetic foundations, and become part of probably the last harvest on this planet.
What, therefore, should we do?
Repent, restore and reform
- Repent from ways chosen in disobedience to God, including selfish, rebellious church patterns based on tradition, competition, or need-oriented, megalomaniac strategies. Let´s repent of our blatant neglecting of the poor, our defiance of apostolic building patterns, our shameless rejection of sound standards in the area of sex, money and power, the idolatry of worshipping our own ministries, the false securities and identities of denominationalism, traditionalism, nationalism, tribalism and Guruism. This also means we have to turn away from listening to false prophets that our ears have been glued to. Remember? In 1990 most charismatic leaders have predicted a worldwide revival in the year 2000. Only a very few, amongst them my friend Christian Schwarz, have predicted a church that is more sinful, ineffective and selfcentred then ever. Who was right?
- Restore the apostolic standards, return to the universal building patterns of God, read it again like Josia, re-dig the ancient paths, re-open the old wells, “mend the fences, rebuild the walls, restore the streets with dwellings” (Isa. 58)
- Reform by building according to age-old revealed apostolic building patterns of God, like the ones he showed to Noah, Moses, David/Solomon, Nehemia, Jesus, Paul. Maybe then, and then only, will God come – not for a short religious moment, but come to stay. As a response to obedient, humble, corporate, accurate and quick building according to God´s revealed patterns.