Recently I heard about a ministry where during their church service a young woman stood up to bring a prophetic word:
“I believe that thousands of young people will come here to join this ministry and I don’t mean people with problems…!”
My wish isn’t to critisize another ministry but to point out the obvious and painful reality that is spreading throughout many churches. When you have a church full of people with problems, things will inevitably get messy. When you claim that everyone in your church is without problems or issues, that is when things get even messier. The problem is, everyone has issues and the more your congregation avoids those issues, the less likely your church is to grow and flourish… and trust me there just aren’t enough “perfect people” to fill up the seats in a ministry. They don’t exist. Clearly, the ministry was seeking fame for itself… they didn’t care about ministering to broken people… you know the kind of broken people that Jesus hung out with. What is the purpose of a church that doesn’t minister to the broken? Hype. The bigger their numbers, the more loud and exciting,… the bigger their name.
This summer I had a dream. I dreamt I walked into a room that was full of puppies. I love puppies and I knew, in my dream, I was free to take whatever puppy I wanted. Most of the puppies were beautiful and adorable. I remember a beautiful yellow Labrador Retriever and a cuddly St. Bernard among the wiggly animals. In the room with the puppies were several African orphan children. As I scanned through the many puppies I couldn’t seem to make a decision and so I asked the orphans which one I should take with me. The orphans brought me a skinny, quiet, ugly puppy.
This is the one you want me to take? You think this is the best one? I was very disappointed. I wanted to take care of a puppy that was pretty and clean and happy. Sometime before the dream ended I went from picking out an ugly puppy to picking out which orphan I would take home with me. The Lord has since taken me on a journey about this subject.
I have to confess that I haven’t always wanted to minister to the broken but for some reason, since high school, I am always finding myself around broken people and I always seem to be ministering to them. I’m realizing that my perception of what the Lord has invited me to do isn’t even based on what He has actually called me to do. Maybe the adventure he has invited me on isn’t as glamorous as I thought it was. It could be that one day I’ll move to Africa and live in a remote, mosquito-infested jungle among starving children… but how am I going to prepare for that?
By learning to love the broken, spiritually starved people in Little Rock. That’s how. The ones addicted to crack and heroin; the ones who sit in the Quapaw Quarter begging for extra change; those that sell themselves for cash to spend on their habits. Next month I am preparing to move to a new place with my friend Toni. As I have been praying about where we should live, the thought of moving to downtown Little Rock has been a constant, nagging sensation. This morning I woke up with this vision of our house being full of addicted people; People starving to know the love of the Father; People who try to control their pain through drugs, binge-drinking and sex. These are the people that make religious people feel uncomfortable. But my heart is to love these people and make Jesus known to them. To pray the love of the Father over them and to see them set free from all of their “problems”. To call out, through prophecy, who they really are and who Jesus has destined them to be.
If no one wants to take them, I’m up for the challenge.
* The following statements are not necessarily the beliefs of the International House of Prayer but are based on my own opinions… the opinions of Brooke Turner.
I am not a heresy hunter therefore I want to first affirm some of the sincere qualities of the emergent church. I have been a participant in the Emergent Church movement in recent years and some of those involved in this movement are people that are very much beloved by me. This is not intended to bring hurt or cause disunity in the church, however, I felt the need to share my heart about this matter because it is an area of great concern to me.
The emergent movement began initially to address the great decrease in church attendance among young adults. It was clear that traditional church culture was not drawing the lost to Jesus. And so in observation of this dilemma, a web of ideas began to circulate among many young leaders. The underlying theme seemed to be: “how do we get the world to like us more so that in return, they will start coming to our churches/home groups etc?”
I believe that many “emergents” have a sincere burden for the lost. Many of them are characterized by great compassion for the poor and the marginalized. They have a desire to break out of the traditional Christian culture mode and relate to the lost in a new and fresh way. This is admirable considering the great majority of the church seems to feel more comfortable hiding behind the four walls of the church than venturing out into the world to love and serve the lost.
However, I have many concerns about the direction the emergent church has gone in recent years. The primary reason I have these concerns is because I believe that we are at the end of the age. Unlike a large percentage of the church, I believe that instead of being “sucked up” to heaven during the tribulation… we will actually be living here on earth. The tribulation will be used to purify the Bride of Christ and make them ready for His return to earth (2 Peter 3:14, Revelation 19:7-8). If you can find a verse supporting a pre-tribulation rapture, I would love to find out where it is because I haven’t seen one and personally… I would love to stay up there in heaven while hell breaks out down here on earth… but it ain’t gonna happen that way, folks.
The emergent movement has challenged the explicit truth of the Bible that we are to live Holy and blameless lives (Ephesians 1:3-5). Instead of using intimacy with Jesus and the powerful gifts of the Holy Spirit living inside of us to draw unbelievers to the truth, they have instead utilized compromise as a bridge to the lost. This may sound harsh but I myself have experienced this. In fact I was one of the promoters of this style of evangelism: “let’s hang out in bars, drink what we want and that way the lost will feel more comfortable around us.” Did it lead anyone to Jesus? I don’t remember one person coming to Jesus through this method and even if there was such a person, they sure weren’t being fed the truth of the gospel.
Why are we so concerned if the world likes us? We are actually suppose to expect that the world HATES us. 1 John 3:13 says, “do not be surprised brothers, if the world hates you.” In Jesus’ conversation with His father before his death on the cross he prays for us, His followers, “I have given them Your Word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” John 3:19 says “this is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds are evil.” Yes. It is uncomfortable to be around people who hate us because we love Jesus. We are commanded to love them anyway but we are not given permission to join them in their sin. It pains me to think that we are using a false message of grace to exploit the work done on the cross. Grace is not a reason Jesus gave us to sin. Grace was given to us to empower us to keep from sinning. Sinning just because we can is a mockery of what Jesus has done on the cross.
So how do we reach the lost then? I have a few ideas 1. PRAY. Pray for the lost to know Jesus. Pray for specific people. Pray for their hearts to be open to the gospel. Pray for encounters with Jesus and dreams in the night. GOD is a real, active, and personal God and He is always moving. He wants evangelism to be a partnership with Him… not just some idea that we come up with on our own. 2. Prophesy. Yes. That’s what I said. 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 says that “if an unbeliever or someone does not understand comes in while everyone is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming ‘God is really among you!’. 3. Serving the lost. Feed them, clothe them, but don’t feed and clothe them without introducing them to Jesus. Without Jesus, humanitarian efforts are pointless. We are simply making their lives more comfortable as the drift away to hell.
A message of holiness, intimacy and purity for God CAN work in a young adult movement. Just look at my community, IHOP. The International House of Prayer is comprised mostly of young adults. Imagine that. Around a thousand or more young adults, pursuing Jesus as their ONE desire, and striving to live a life before God that is blameless. It can happen. Young adults are looking for something bigger than they are. In the words of Misty Edwards “there’s something bigger going on… something bigger than ME.”
In light of the times that we are in… and trust me… we are very very close to the tribulation… I want to introduce a few other dangers with the emergent church.
Because Jesus return is so imminent, the Sprit of the Anti-Christ is increasing rapidly. The Apostle John refers to this in 1 John 1:2-3. It is a spirit that deceives unbelievers into trusting in the false doctrine that Jesus is indeed NOT fully God and fully man. This spirit will be prevalent even in the body of Christ and well… it actually is already very prevalent. The emergent church has been characterized by a pervading deception that questions, ever so subtley, the deity of Jesus our Lord. This will start out in a seemingly subtle way and then increase in deception over time. A few years ago, I was able to hear a very popular emergent speaker. I will not share his name because it is not my desire that anyone should be ‘singled out’, but some of the things this man referred to have disturbed me for some years now. He made a statement similar to: “the book of Genesis is outdated and archaic” and then began to subtley share his unbelief in what he seemed to believe wasn’t inerrant, God-breathed scripture on how the earth was formed and created by an uncreated Being. 2 Timothy 4:2-4 says this, “3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” People who are uncomfortable with the truth of God’s inerrant Word will find someone to preach to them what they desire to hear. This is dangerous, why? 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 explains about the Spirit of the Anti-Christ or the Spirit of Lawlessness as it is otherwise called: “the coming of the lawless one will be in accordance to the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perished because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” There will be many in the church, who once called themselves Christians, who will fall away from Jesus because of offense.
In essence… we don’t have time to mess around. This spirit is in the world RIGHT NOW. We cannot allow any form of deception from the enemy. We cannot allow ourselves to sit in compromise. If our consciences are bothering us at all, we must turn away from that sin. Paul said that he “strives to keep his conscience clear before both God and man.” In humility and without religious pride, we must lay hold of the prize that is set before us… JESUS! We must live lives holy and blameless before Jesus and before the World. This includes loving each other. This includes serving each other but it also includes fleeing from immorality, darkness, dangerous theology, and drunkenness.
Posted by standonthewall in Bible Study, Biblical love, Communing with the Holy Spirit, End Times, Eternity, Evangelism, Grace, Humanism, Intercession, Intimacy with God, Justice, Leadership, Martyrdom, Maturity, Prayer, Prophecy, Social Activism, Spirit of the Age, The Church, Wisdom
I just wanted to make sure that everyone understood that my previous, very angry post a couple of blogs below this one was entirely sarcastic.
The article link that I posted in that particular blog has been taken down, most likely not only because it was extremely controversial but more accurately… absolutely insidiously evil.
The title of the article from LA Times wrote as such “Canadian Doctor warns that Sarah Palin’s refusal to abort her Down Syndrome child could result in a Reduced Number of Abortions”. Seriously. Are you kidding me? He goes on to explain that most mothers aren’t prepared for the difficulties raising a Down Syndrome child can provide… so we should just murder them?
So when will the line be drawn? That is my question. I despise politics. What pains me is the obvious contradictions both political parties take. Obama votes to allow the brains of partially unborn babies to be sucked out of their skulls. And if other babies don’t die in late term abortions after they are born, he wants to take the baby, stick it in a dirty linen closet and let it starve to death… yet he says he loves the poor which the Republican party doesn’t seem to be too concerned with… yet the Republican party tends to side with those that believe life is sacred and begins and conception… and don’t believe in slaughtering millions and millions of babies for the sake of convenience.
Amanda Beattie has just written a great blog on the poor and justice. I’ve made this statement a couple of times that we should always help and feed the poor. This was the heart of Jesus. He loved the poor and it was primarily to this audience that he taught… however that is the key. He fed them (supernatually, I might add) but he also shared His gospel with them. If we feed the poor without giving them a message of hope and salvation through Jesus Christ, this is not true justice because looking at things through an eternal standpoint– if they don’t know Jesus, they have no hope. We are just making life more comfortable for them as they glide slowly into eternal damnation. On the other hand, how can we justify not feeding them at all? How can we who have somewhat cushy jobs, have an air-conditioning unit, have enough food to survive on and even purchase the occasional pair of blue jeans… how can we spit on those in that receive welfare from the government?
What about the single mom who refused to have an abortion? Are we suppose to ignore her circumstances when she is doing everything she can to take care of her child but ends just aren’t being met? She doesn’t have the money to get an education and take care of her child. Her child then grows up and attends an inner city school with incredibly low standards because all of the education funds go to schools filled with wealthier children in wealthier neighborhoods. The cycle is repeated and these children aren’t even given a chance.
Aren’t we to care for the orphan and the widow? I hate how the church has seemingly turned a blind eye to these fundamental issues.
… but I’m still voting against sucking the brains of babies out and leaving them to die, starved in the linen closets of abortion clinics.
I so love being by myself and yet I haven’t been home except to sleep in the last week. I’m tired and when things get to this point and I haven’t had any time to rejuvinate by myself, I tend to completely zone-out in mid-conversation. My brain is so longing to be away from people that it will do whatever it can to just “MAKE THEM GO AWAY!”. Last night during a visit to Chipotle with a friend as we were leaving, I first forgot my umbrella, then my keys and I’m pretty sure I looked like an idiot walking in and out of Chipotle approximately 4 times. I just want to be by myself and I really hope that nothing else comes up today or I think I might die.
How can one get so offended by Facebook? Am I child? Possibly. I have now lost two votes on the Superlatives application for “Most Likely to Save the Enviroment”. I love the enviroment!!! Just because I wanted to vote for Huckabee should not be a reason that you should vote against me with this. I voted for babies over trees but I still love trees! If Democrats just would start trying to save babies I might be a Democrat but I just can’t justify voting for someone who thinks it’s okay for women to burn to death their unborn babies. I’m sorry but all other issues pale in comparison to this one. I can’t overlook it.
But darnit… I don’t want people to think I’m a ignorant, narrow-minded, southern hick (which, contrary to popular belief, I’m not southern) who doesn’t care about the enviroment.
When I was in middle school, I became obsessed with this book called The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson. The whole story was completely engrossing to me and since I have read this, my heart has expanded for the lost in large cities. It is the true story of a country preacher who in a very divine sequence of events, winds up in the inner city of New York and eventually begins the most successful drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation program in history. Teen Challenge has credentials that far surpass any government regulated program. Why? Because the adults and teenagers that enter the program are introduced to the Holy Spirit, who is obviously the only counselor that can really make a change in our lives. Compared to the highest success rate which is about 12-17%… Teen Challenge has an 86% success rate of total recovery. Stunning, isn’t it? My own former Pastor in Dallas, Tony Fundaro, was completely delivered from a severe heroin addiction that had him kicked out of his house and left him homeless and living on the streets when he was 18. He entered the doors of Teen Challenge and left them a very changed man who has been clean and sober for about 12 years and has been pastoring in Deep Ellum, a club district in Dallas that is notorious for their drug culture. I would say a good percentage of my old church are former narcotic addicts or at least alcoholics.
Anyway, I wanted to plug this program before I start on what I’m really going to talk about.
I have been very busy lately. From singing on sets to keyboard lessons, to practicing piano, to work, to my sacred trust, to my FSM class. I’m tired when I get home and my initial thought is to just veg out in front of the TV. So I do. I spend far too much time in front of the tube. The weird thing is, I haven’t really been watching ANY TV until a few months ago. Last night, I turned the set off and was reading and trying to pray but feeling very distant from the Lord. The Holy Spirit then reminded me of something in The Cross and the Switchblade. I haven’t read this book in years yet I clearly remember a scene in there. In the very beginning of the book, Wilkerson is watching the Tonight Show (this takes place in the late 50’s/early 60’s) when he is struck with a thought. He suddenly feels how pointless television is. He tries to rationalize everything by making the same rationalizations that I have been making. He’s tired, he works hard all week, he deserves a little down-time… etc. So through a series of events including a fleece that he throws out to God, he ends up selling his television and then spending that time in prayer. It was during one of these times of prayer that God begins to give him directions that would forever revolutionize his life and the lives of countless others that he has helped years later.
The question I’m asking myself and asking my readers is: if you gave up this mundane thing in your life that is not expanding your heart but instead dulling your Spirit… what might God do through you? Last spring when God spoke to me about going to Europe, I had just the previous week canceled my Netflix subscription and spent much more time in the secret place. I was really beginning to shift priorities and that is when God started speaking to me about my destiny. I know it sounds silly. In the scheme of things Netflix subscriptions and abc.com are really not evil… (though they totally can be) but what they are is a massive waste of time when we could all be changing the world. Think of the possibilities here….
I grew up in a very liberal college town in Northern Wisconsin. I actually tend to like the personalities of liberal people and enjoy hanging out with them. I firmly believe that this is a group that I am called to in the future. Anyway, my town, Ashland, was smooshed between Lake Superior and the Chequamegon National Forest. It is an absalutely breath-taking area. I have fond memories of driving my bike only a couple of short blocks to the beach on Lake Superior. Anyway, as always, a beautiful natural eco-system tends to attract people who value the enviroment. I’d just like to point out that I DO value the enviroment and am not one of these Christians that think it’s okay to pollute this beautiful earth “because it’s going to burn anyway”. If Jesus created it, we should keep it beautiful in the best way we know how. Moving on…
Now after ten minutes of beating around the bush I’d like to get to my point. I have a Facebook account. It’s pretty lame actually. I stay connected to friends from all over the country (and world) this way. Whatever happened to old-fashioned letter-writing? That seems like it would be a lot more fun. ANYWAY…
I have a lot of old high school friends from Ashland on there. As I was scanning some of their profiles tonight I paused at one in particular. I had heard this old high school friend had become a youth pastor at the local Presbyterian church. I didn’t know my high school was even capable of producing someone who would be in ministry. As I scanned further down I noticed that He had a degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. WOW. That’s not a bad seminary (as far as evangelical standards go). Not only this but he is currently finishing his doctorate in Divinity from none other than Princeton Seminary.
What was even more shocking (or disturbing, I suppose) is that under his “religion” preferences he wrote “I generally agree with all of the principle’s of the world’s religions.” Now, I suppose this is somewhat normal among the world’s educated elite. It’s popular. Believing Jesus is the only way is currently very very unpopular. And under his causes he supports “Buddhist Monks in Burma”. Someone who is a supposed follower of Christ and “supposedly” teaches youth the same… apparently doesn’t? I’m so confused! How can you teach the teachings of Jesus as truth but then just throw out everything else He says like “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. How can you throw out His CONSTANT references to His second coming? How can you throw out His resurrection? He’s either God, fully and completley or He was stark, raving mad. You’ve got to pick your side. It’s cowardice to not!
It makes me so angry! Not at my friend, but at the enemy!
You see, I was the weird, charismatic, Christian girl in my school. I prayed and prayed and prayed earnestly for revival in my high school. I even had Bible studies where I would invite the whole Volley ball team for pizza and then tell them all about Jesus. Over and over and over and over again I have thought of that school and the hours of prayer I have poured into it… still believing, ten years later, that revival will happen there and in that town. I still pray for Ashland. And then to see things like this being taught by so-called Christians… it just hurts my heart.
I’m gonna keep praying though. I know God laid this burden on me for a reason. I’m an intercessory missionary, after all.