'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full"

Luke 14:23

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jesus Both Our Mast and Sail

The center and fulcrum of all gospel preaching must be the cross, and the center of the cross is self-substitution of God for the sins of His people. This is the crucifixion within the crucifixion. A couple of days ago I wrote a hymn celebrating the glory of the atonement. I hope you enjoy.

Jesus Both Our Mast and Sail

Fastened to a bloody deck,
the Mast of our salvation
It drives the ark that bears Your church
o’er the world’s damnation.

Jesus both our Mast and Sail,
our Shelter and our Friend
Thou Ark for sinners tried and true
our haven without end!

The Sail now raised and full doth charge
to the centre of the storm
Where love and law and sin collide;
that glorious Friday morn!


The Sail now furled is torn and shred
beyond all recognition
The Lighting Rod of God’s just dread
has wrought its awful mission.


The Mast now stained with crimson red;
has met the dark cloud’s fury
Into port it sways and stands
and hails the Father’s glory!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Revival Must Come

The nearest I have ever come to experiencing 'revival conditions' was late in the summer of 2010. A dear friend of mine (Jay), who has been my prayer partner for the last 10 years, came out to visit from rural Georgia. It was only the second time I have ever seen this brother but we have spent countless hours in prayer together over the phone.

He got in on Tuesday and then we spent much of Wednesday night preaching at a local event. Later that night about five of us headed up to the Lord's Land in Mendocino, CA for two days of fasting and prayer.

The 'Lord's Land' is an old hippie commune that was converted to Christ during the 'Jesus Movement' revival in the 70's. It is now under the leadership of YWAM and continues to be used mightily of the Lord as a place of shelter and refreshment for weary pilgrims.

Upon our arrival we met a young man who recently came to Christ, who was temporarily calling the LL home. He spoke highly of this wonderful place and exhorted us to try and make it to the 8 AM staff prayer meeting.

Jay looked at me and said, 'I want to go to that. What a way to start our time here.' It did not sound like something that I would want to go to. We would not know anyone there and it seemed fairly awkward to show up at a prayer meeting where we did not know anyone.

That night we went to the cabin and engaged in worship for a couple of hours. It was very powerful and we all got to bed real late. The next morning Jay wanted to go to the meeting so I reluctantly did. When we got there it was simple enough: the husband and wife that ran the LL were there along with several twenty-somethings who were on staff with YWAM. The most conspicuous thing about the meeting was the presence of Christ. It was one of those meetings when you just walk into the room and His presence quietly overwhelms you so your heart warms like wax and tears stand fast in your eyes.

We introduced ourselves and the prayer meeting quickly commenced. What happened next taught me more than anything I ever learned in over seven years of formal theological training. The Lord came powerfully into that meeting and every one present was soon praying 'in the Spirit' (Eph. 6:18; Jude 20).

The power, freedom, unction and assurance was overwhelming. Like the man made of water climbing out of a pool on a ladder of water - I knew, for the first time in my life, what the Scripture means by 'praying in the Spirit.' He became the very atmosphere of that room. He was inspiring our prayers, empowering them, and giving us the complete assurance of their acceptance by God through Christ and thus the absolute confidence of their being answered. Moreover, (and this is the most difficult part to explain) everyone in the room seemed to be praying with the mind of the Holy Spirit - it was as if we all were sharing His consciousness. All the promises of John 15 were exploding and setting that meeting ablaze, "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples" (vs. 7-8). As powerful as that meeting was, it would turn out to be only a harbinger of what happened the next morning.

When we got to the prayer room the next day there were a few additional people. There was much more an air of business as they were in the thick of planning for their big discipleship program when teachers and students from all over the world would come to the LL for three months of intensive training. They were writing names on the white board, working out different scenarios and talking about this and that. Jay and I just silently watched and listened.

The prayer time was mainly focused on all the needs of their ministry. It started off very 'normal.' No overwhelming Presence, etc. Then a brother began to pray for this one minister who they were really hoping would come and teach at their training school but said he would be doubtful because of a sudden unexplained sickness. We all started coming against this mysterious aliment and soon the room was filled with power and assurance like the day before.

This went on for about 20-30 minutes and then one of the brothers grabbed a guitar and started to lead us in worship. Again, this began 'normal' enough. Soon though the Presence of Jesus Christ flooded the room. We were all on our faces before Him, bathing His feet in rivers of tears. Worshipping Him in Spirit and in truth. O what a foretaste of glory divine! At times I think back to that day and it still fills my soul with such joy I can hardly contain it.

We left later that morning and the presence of the Lord was still dripping off of us. I will never forget the 2 hour car ride home with Jay. Sweeter fellowship this side of heaven I don't realistically expect to have. I hope I am wrong. I have never spoken of divine things - or had them spoken to me - with such joy, unction and longing. Again, that sense of fellowshipping in the Spirit was overwhelming. The truth that in Him we 'live, move and have our being' took on a whole new reality.

Our prayer meetings for the rest of the week took on a new power and our street preaching was graciously attended by the Spirit of God. We preached at a local college - lifting up Jesus - and His presence among us was obvious. The whole place came alive. Even the chair of the religious department came over and spoke to us - 'asking us' to no longer speak in His name.

I long for a full measure of what we experienced that week. We have to have this unction on our ministries my beloved brothers and sisters. This reality of the presence of God. Revival must come.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Paul Washer

Paul is an inspiration to me. If you want to be greatly encouraged in the Great Commission watch this short testimony of God's faithfulness.