Water, Words and Wielding
The Christians still stand up and assert their faith, or else the faith of their fathers, and already God's revelation has become for them a world of ghosts full of worthy truths and high moral laws, with which they themselves basically no longer know how to begin, with which they therefore only dare bother the world in a half-hearted way, wearily stifling their own yawns.
Karl Barth in 1948
Reading Nietzsche and Orr I have been soberly impressed with the strength of the forces in the human mind…. I have just now prayed for God’s new revelation – this generation’s real laying hold of the Old Revelation. The old is become so undefined, so “accepted,” so followed in blindness, that when the truth of it is brought to light, it shall be a new revelation.
I have prayed for new men, fiery, reckless men, possessed of uncontrollably youthful passion – these lit by the Spirit of God. I have prayed for new miracles. Explaining old miracles will not do. If God is to be known as the God who does wonders in heaven and on earth, then God must produce for this generation.
Jim Elliot in 1949
Our home is surrounded on three sides by quiet waters. Giant pines and aspens all around. Just now, I'm looking at it all from here. For a couple of months now, just a few hundred feet from our home, I've noticed a Bible laying underwater in the stream. Today I went in after it, picked it up, noticed it had been torn in half (one half missing) and my eyes fell on Micah 4:1, "In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it."
Well there I was standing in a stream and I happen to live in Canmore, which literally means Big Head or Chief. But, this verse starts with, "In the last days..." When I picked up this wet Bible, Micah 4:1 was not giving me some big head about Canmore or the stream I was standing in. I will not be so quick to wield the Word of God for my profit.
All power is in Christ. A big reason why so many attempt to preach the power of the cross and fail miserably is precisely because they attempt to wield the power of the cross rather than submit to the Conqueror of it. The greatest mistake followers of Christ can make is to mistake themselves for Christ. All power is in Christ. The one who hears and understands will preach the cross of Jesus in the powerful presence of the resurrected Christ himself.
Just a few moments ago (after placing the wet Bible out to dry), in a random odd ball way, I stumbled across a four year old blog entry of a musician I've only met once. Here's what he wrote four years ago,
..we were supposed to have our sound check... but instead Kirk Bartha wanted us to form a circle and pray with him...it was actually pretty powerful... as we were up on the stage and that was were we felt the Holy Spirit starting to descend into the room... and saying that He will shake the building and bring down all the flesh of the people and break them down... then that got to me... as i started crying as I was touched by the Holy Spirit... we just ended up praying through the whole sound check... right before we started... we had another team prayer this time...lead by _____.. and God spoke through him again... this time leaving the whole team (except for _____) bawling as the Spirit once again came to us (Hos 6:1)... the worship was actually AMAZING and so was the altar call... Kirk had us do a chant which practically did shake the whole building! You could so feel the presence of God in the room. God really played through us...So here's how that unfolded. There were hundreds of students about to descend on a venue. I was about to preach. I invited three students to pray through the entire venue with me. I sent them out for 15 minutes to pray around the place asking God, "So what's going on in here, Lord?" We came together into a little circle and they each had a negative word.. three bad things. I sent them out for 15 minutes again to hear from God about what would overcome those three nasty things. We got back in our little circle and each of them had a different passage of scripture and three distinct (yet interdependent) ideas about what God was about to do that night.
One of the three said, "I think God wants to shake this place tonight. He's going to shake the very foundations of the building." Just then, two teenage girls wandered into the venue and sat on the sound stage. Our little circle just paused there for a moment. One of the girls turned to the other and said, "Let's get out of here, I'm shaking!" And they ran out.
Then the band came in to do their sound check for their evening set. I approached the band members and asked them if we might pray for them. The leader of the band said they were in need of prayer and openly and humbly named the exact same three ugly things the recon unit of three had heard just a half hour before.
My three young friends were grinning from ear to ear. They were beginning to understand the magnitude of this little adventure. Immediately all three of them opened their Bibles and started reading out the passages of scripture they were given and started praying over the band members.
A bit later, when the venue was full of students... It was electric. The place was packed full of life and freshly cleaned in prayer. I didn't feel the need to preach. I just got up and read a portion of scripture and then asked a section of them to yell JESUS, another section to yell HOLY HOLY HOLY and another section to yell HALLELUJAH. We practiced it three times. Then I set them lose to do it all on their own... And you know what those hundreds of kids did. They jumped to their feet and roared. They pounded their seats with their fists and the floor with their feet. It sounded like a train was going through us.
I don't care what I said next, it doesn't really matter. I just got them ready for the approaching Spirit of God, and then everything got decentralized and they all seemed to get humble and low to the ground. People were hitting the floor, falling on their faces, collapsing into little groups, furnaces of prayer... and then out of the blue, a big guy with a movie camera showed up and started filming everyone around the place, filming prayers and tears and explosions of worship. I asked the team leading the whole thing who that guy was and none of them had a clue. He was documenting a move of the Holy Spirit.
All power is in Christ. He is the embodied Word of heaven. It's about His presence amidst His people at the time of His choosing. If I am not waiting for Him I'm not sure what else I'm doing! I'd much rather follow His lead.