God and Country Crucified

I came across this podcast from The Village Church the other day and pulled out a couple of nuggets I wanted to share, each worthy of more than 140 characters, as well as encourage readers to listen to/watch this sermon. In a time where major cultural shifting is taking place and the Church needing to take more part in the conversations, it’s important to keep perspective of our role as the Church and our relationship with others.

“2 Chronicles 7 is not about getting America in step with the Church; 2 Chronicles 7 is about getting the Church out of step with America.”

“It’s much easier to preach God and country than Christ and him crucified”

“If you’re in Christ, the worst thing that can possibly happen to you has already happened; it’s coming face to face with the wrath of God in the judgement of your sins; If you’re in Christ, the best thing that can possibly happen to you is that you would be raised from the dead, seated at the right hand of the Father and hear from Him ‘there is therefore now no condemnation for you.’ That has happened for you in Jesus Christ.” 

God and Country Crucified

Believe in Something Bigger

A couple of months ago this was one of the first billboard advertisements I saw for the CA Lottery Powerball jackpot, which is awarding up to $270 MILLION. The immediate and only reaction I got from this ad was the blatant emphasis that, as a country, we have come to the ultimate point where money is god. Yes, this cliche has been thrown around for decades, but how much more obvious can you get? Quite honestly, it sickens and saddens me. This message invokes the sentiment that we’ve succumbed to the almighty power of the dollar, that we can’t take control or take care of ourselves without the supernatural influence of money. It’s saddening that money has become such a powerful, ruling force in our lives, that it is the only thing we need to better ourselves.

Clearly, this is wrong for personal, “religious” reasons. But aside from the dichotomy of God vs. money, do we all really believe that money is above us? That we have lack the power to control our own lives and they would be better off with the help of a buck? For our sake, and for the sake of future generations I sure hope not.

Believe in Something Bigger

They Might Be Giants

The following anecdote is taken in part from a sermon given by Michael Dalton that I heard last night:

Facing giants is a very intimidating feat once you think about it. Of course, we’re not talking about mystical creatures or fairy tale characters, but, realistically, the fact that you’re battling someone who is at least double in height, someone 10-15 ft. tall, that’s a scary thought. It’s more than standing up to a bully, too. They’re big people! These individuals are wearing rings the size of your belt. The dining table you’re eating at holds the serving size of their average meal. Their bedroom is the size of your house, and their fields could easily fill the volume of a football field. So naturally the bigger the giant, the greater their possessions.

The process of a Spirit-filled life, which ultimately includes victory, favor, and fulfilled prophecies that we obtain from God and the Holy Spirit, are quite analogous to battling giants. The end result, when our words come to pass and we receive the revelation and favor that has been granted to us, is like the spoils of war that we receive upon defeating the giant – jewelry worth millions, a mansion for ourselves, a harvest to feed an entire town – they’re far greater than we could ever imagine. But, like I said, the greater the reward, the bigger the giant. And there are people who have received words that contain some pretty big rewards, which means some pretty big battles with some pretty big giants. It’s not just in facing these giants that we receive the reward either; we have to destroy, overcome, and defeat the enemy.

Not even a day went by after I received a strong prophetic word that I began to encounter spiritual attack, that I started to face my giants. In fact, that very night in my dreams I had a vision of failing at something very tangible and actually scheduled to happen (obviously I am not scheduling or planning the failure). I don’t know what’s more discouraging – that it all happened after I had such an amazing day after receiving the word or that the attack came so quickly. Starting with my dreams, to difficult work-related news, to discouraging emails, to physical pain, to irritation with individuals…it’s like the entire day was given as a footstool to the enemy, and my life open as the battleground to spiritual warfare.

What’s probably more discouraging is that not once throughout the day did I invite and beckon God to meet me through it all. It never even occurred to me until this evening that this is what was going on. Just as my last post said, I still have a lot to learn about my relationship with Him.

It makes sense that the enemy would try to get a head start on distracting and discouraging me from fulfilling my promises with God, from activating the prophetic, one with such a physical manifestation. The hard part is being able to discern when and how all of this happens. There’s no preparation to take other than asking God to meet me every single day. Even then I’m still scared, still lacking in faith.

God doesn’t set things in motion for our words to come to pass without first putting us through trials that test us to determine if we’re ready to receive the reward. He’s not just going to hand over the goods if we’re not ready and mature enough to use it. Nobody who was ever good at anything, without being gifted, has skipped the process of training and practice and gone straight to achieving. God isn’t going to grant us favor if we’re irresponsible and can’t even trust him with the junk in our lives.

I think the coming months are going to be full of days like today, days where the enemy is strong and pervasive through every aspect, every minuscule detail of life. But life is the process, and the process requires and creates endurance and faith. When endurance and faith are strong, perseverance is built. When perseverance is built, joy is revealed. In that joy there is much peace and freedom, enough to go through the process but not enough to be held back and un-involved with it.

It will be very nice to sleep in my mansion and harvest a feast for the town.

Until then, bring on the giants.

They Might Be Giants