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Archive for November, 2009

Winning is Not Salvation: Exhibit #1

November 18th, 2009 1 comment

I made the point in the last blog that there is a big difference between preaching the “gospel of salvation” and preaching the “gospel of the Kingdom.” The former focuses on getting souls ready for heaven. The latter preaches a much broader message which involves bringing the reign of Christ, not only to the individual, but also to the major domains of life.

There are seven spheres or domains which influence the values and beliefs of any society: education, church, family, government, business and technology, the performing arts, and the media. When we preach the gospel of the Kingdom, weunderstand that our task is to bring the Lordship of Christ into all of life. As Chuck Colson says, “Transformed people transform culture.”

Africa is a perfect example of the weakness of the salvation message without an emphasis on disciplemaking and culture building. Africa is the most evangelized nation on the planet with 80% of the people claiming to be Christian south of the Sahara. Yet in every nation we see basically the same things: poverty, disease, violence, corruption, injustice and chaos.

How could this be?

Because we have failed to teach new believers the principles of the Kingdom. We have failed to disciple young Christians and to teach them how to rebuild their nation upon biblical principles. So many have heaven in their hearts while they live in communities that look like hell. They received a message of salvation but not kingdom transformation. Jesus commanded the Church to disciple nations. It’s time to enlarge our vision and to get to work.

Winning is Not Salvation

November 11th, 2009 No comments

Hold on…don’t start launching the charges of heresy just yet! Hear me out!

As we are trying to define what “WINNING” means for the Church, we need to address a sensitive, but critically important point. Much of the Church is preaching a very narrow gospel message. Let’s call it “the gospel of salvation.” The message is straightforward – repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you’ll be saved. Amen! This is the cornerstone of our message and the entry point. But is this the end? In other words, if our WIN is to get people ready for heaven, then what do we do with them after they are saved? Is salvation THE message or is it just part of what it means to WIN?

Jesus came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom (Mark 1:14-15). While new birth, or salvation, is the entry into the Kingdom of God, it nevertheless is just the starting place. Our job as believers and citizens of the Kingdom, is to spread the good news that “Our God Reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7) We have been created for dominion, not for defeat.

So many Christians have a pessimistic view of the future. They expect things to get progressively worse, with only a handful of faithful believers huddled together in a closet awaiting Jesus’ rescue. They see the world as a sinking ship, so the job of the Church is to merely rescue as many people as you can before the ship sinks.

I’m sorry, but to me, this doesn’t look like a WIN at all! Surely Jesus has more in mind for His Church than this. We’ll contine to explore this in the next blog…

The Need for Prophetic Accountability & Prophetic Action

November 9th, 2009 1 comment

Please bear with me while I vent for a minute.

I recently received a prophecy from a nationally recognized Christian minister. Before I address what I consider to be a serious perspective problem, let me establish the fact that I absolutely love the prophetic. I wholeheartedly believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for today and I have been incredibly encouraged by authentic prophetic words. So I am not someone who believes the prophetic gifts died with the last apostle. But I am tired of the same old recycled political prophecies.

Let me explain. The prophecy being referenced went something like this.”We are criticizing our president instead of praying for him. If the church will pray, God will visit our president sometime in the middle of the 2010 year and He will be used by God to clean up all the corruption in Washington.”

This is all great, right? Who doesn’t want a president who has had a powerful life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ! I pray this will happen. And who doesn’t want to see corruption exposed and cleaned up at our Capitol? I sure do. But this scenario highlights our lack of understanding as to what “WINNING” looks like.

What happens if the scenario above does not take place? What if our president keeps pushing an agenda which God hates? What if we continue to see babies murdered and perversion promoted as normal? What if we keep spending money we don’t have and promoting the ungodly to positions of influence. What if he continues to appoint judges who do not rule in the fear of the Lord? The list goes on and on.

What if the prophecy does not come true?  The standard answer is, “I guess the Church did not pray hard enough.” I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it. I can only speak for our congregation, but we pray corporately for our nation’s leadership on a weekly basis. We pray for God to reveal Himself to those who do not know Him. And, we pray for the removal of those who promote an agenda that is contrary to what the Scriptures teach and command.

But prayer, alone, is not enough. In our churches we must train and equip those who have a call to public service. While our job is not to attack people, we must speak out boldly and prophetically against wicked policies and we must do everything in our power to remove the ungodly from office. To wait until sometime in 2010 for this prophecy to be fulfilled is the height of personal irresponsibility. The wrecking ball is blasting away at our Christian foundations as I write! Pray – absolutely! And then get out of the prayer closet and get involved.    

And for the sake of the integrity of the true “Word of the Lord,” I’d love to see prophets who are willing to publically admit they missed it. None of us are 100% accurate about anything, and being imperfect doesn’t make you a false prophet. We all have room to grow in the expression of our gifting.

I close with an admonition given by my godly father. When you receive a prophetic word, “put it on the shelf.” Keep being faithful, following the Lord and doing what He has told you to do. If the word was from the Lord, He will bring it to pass in time. So keep praying, and for the sake of our nation, keep protesting!