What is God doing in 2015?

What is God doing in 2015?Gold_Transparent_2015
My friend David Fredrickson wrote a blog on this topic recently but I felt like throwing in my two cents. Like him, I’m seeing tons of posts and articles from various “prophets” predicting what God is doing this year. They all pretty much fall into one of three categories: 1. Those who say bad things are coming. 2. Those who say wealth and wonderful things are coming. 3. Those who say bad things are coming to the world but wealth and wonderful things are coming to believers. So here is my in-depth look at what God is doing in 2015.

What is God doing in the government: I don’t know.
What is God doing in the economy: I don’t know.
What is God doing in Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and Israel: I don’t know.
What about A.I.D.S, Ebola, ISIS, terrorism, etc.? I don’t know.
What is God doing in the church? I think I actually have some insight on this one.

I see Him doing three things in this season in the church and always.

First, He is awakening us to His love. Yes, we all know God loves us…mentally. We’re supposed to believe that. It’s Christianity 101. But the fact is many, many believers don’t truly believe that. His love has been mixed with obligation and a whole lot of nonsense that is anything but Him. Love has been treated as merely one of many attributes God has rather than being His defining characteristic. God is opening the eyes of the church to just how much He loves each one of us. As people are beginning to see that He is indeed an affectionate and loving Father their entire lives are changing. They’re reading their Bibles differently, praying differently, and living differently. Many of the beliefs they clung to for years are falling by the wayside as they’ve proven not to line up with what they now understand about their Father’s heart. For the first time, many are truly enjoying their relationship with their heavenly Father as they are discovering that He is indeed their Abba.

Second, the church is discovering the liberty we have in Christ. This is directly linked to the growing revelation of our Father’s love. As the many in the Body of Christ are growing in His love they are realizing that much of their activities were rooted in trying make themselves worthy of His love, trying to make Him happy, trying to please Him, and/or trying to remove their guilt. They were attempting to make themselves feel better about themselves by following rules to gain approval or perform well to be “more spiritual” or “better” than others. It was all based on being “in” or “out.” Lines were constantly drawn to determine who’s “in” and who’s “out.” It was all shame based.

But as the Body of Christ has been discovering how loved they are by their Father their shame has been disappearing and along with it all the drivenness that accompanied their attempts to deal with it. The need to perform for approval has been fading as they’ve been discovering they’re already accepted by their Father. The sense of having to add to themselves something that is lacking has been diminishing as many in the body of Christ have been finding they are already complete in Christ. The church is discovering they’ve been trying to earn points with somebody who is not keeping score. As believers are growing in the love of their Father they’re also discovering that He doesn’t place burdens on people, rather He removes them.

The bottom line is the truth is setting the church free. Jesus is the Truth. And as people are seeing who He is all the religious additions are falling off. They are discovering they are free indeed and no longer obligated to perform or do anything to prove they are His followers. The proof is their lives not in religious activities. This is a big reason why many congregations are finding their numbers dwindling. This is a mark of what God is doing, not Satan. This doesn’t mean belonging to a congregation is wrong. To say so would mean the church doesn’t have liberty. But that’s the point. Jesus is freeing His people to live in His life and joy. If attending a congregation builds you up and helps you live in His life and joy, then more power to you! It’s just for many it does not. In this season they are discovering they’re free to abandon that which they don’t find life giving. Many in the church are discovering a new freedom they have never known before.

Third, the church is learning how to love one another. This builds on the foundation of knowing Father’s love for us and living in His liberty. As we are growing in His love we can’t help but reflect Him and love others. And because believers are growing in His liberty they are able to truly love others, free from agendas with hearts to lift their burdens. The body of Christ is learning the true meaning of words like friendship and family. Through liberty the expectations we used to place on one another are being removed so we can accept one another as we are, function as we were built to function, and truly be family. It is here where the world will be changed. As we love one another the world will see we are His and be drawn to Him.

This is what I see Father doing in 2015 and beyond. For some of those who haven’t yet come to understand the Father’s heart, this season is quite disconcerting. They’ll continue to throw around words like “heresy” and accuse those who are living in Father’s love of “following the empty philosophies of men.” But that’s to be expected. And for those with vested interest in man-made kingdoms this season will be particularly problematic, not because God is “out to get them” but because they’re “kicking against the goads.” It’s a tough place to live. Having been there, I actually feel for them. He’s building His church. Jesus’ work never goes forth without resistance. But I think this is such an awesome time to be alive! The church is finally coming back to what really matters – Him and one another.

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Community

A new episode of Untangled is up!  We were created for community. We have within us a God-given desire to connect with others. Many have found that Sunday Morning services don’t meet that need. What is genuine community? How do we find it? These are some of the things David and Loren discuss in this podcast.

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They Won the Race

I’m seeing all these posts today about the 21 Christian men executed on the Libyan beach and hearing much anger and cries for the government to intervene. What’s strange is in the midst of the evil, I’m feeling a different emotion…pride. Not the arrogant kind, the kind a sibling feels when he sees his brother take the gold in the Olympics. I’m proud of you my brothers! You finished the race well! I know what we didn’t see but you witnessed was Jesus walking along that beach greeting each one of you by name as you entered eternity with Him. From our side it looks tragic, but from your perspective it’s glorious. You have obtained a better resurrection. You won!

And on behalf of my fallen beautiful brothers I’d like to say to their captors, I forgive you. You don’t know what you’re doing. You have been blinded by hatred, deception, and lies. You don’t know that the very one who received the men you killed also reaches out to you with the same loving arms. He already bore the wrath for the sins you just committed. He loves each one of you. He calls to you as a Father calls for a lost son. I pray that you will see how much He loves you. I pray that you will know such love in your life time. My brothers who have fallen, your death was not in vain. I pray your bodies along with the others whose lives have been taken will be seeds in the ground that will bring forth a great harvest in the middle east. May the love of God abound. God’s love is the weapon that will defeat this enemy. I pray for you my enemies. I pray soon I will call you brothers. God bless you all.

Loren Rosser

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Done with Church

There is an article titled “The Rise of the ‘Done with Church’ Population” that has been Group of Business People in Back Litsweeping across Internet. The writer simply discusses the increasing trend of people who were highly active in church, including leaders, that are exiting and not coming back. Of course, this subject matter is nothing new to me, having tackled it in the four part video series I co-produced with my friends David Fredrickson and Bob Humphrey titled Church Outside the Walls. I can’t believe it’s been eight years now since we produced the final video in that series and the topic is still completely relevant. In fact, it seems there has been a sudden resurgence of interest in this subject recently. I’d like to put in my two cents about the article.

First of all, let me say, it is well written. I appreciate the author bringing up the subject because I think it’s an important one. One thing I really don’t like is the author’s use of the word “church.” But he is not alone in his usage of the word. When the Bible speaks of church it speaks of those who are called out of this world to follow Christ, period. So how can one be “done with church” unless one is done with Christ? But today, for many, church is a building where one goes to attend meetings. Attending those meeting and being involved in activities held in those locations is viewed by many as being a requirement for those who follow Christ. This concept was completely foreign to the writers of the New Testament, but sadly it is the widely accepted definition of church in our culture today.

My family and I are some of those who could be classified as those who are “done with church.” But I can’t tell you how much I hate that phrase. It completely misrepresents the reality in which we live. We are actually not done with church, but chose to embrace it. We stopped attending because we wanted Jesus plus nothing. We grew so frustrated and tired of all the added baggage. 2 Corinthians 11:3 became so real to us. “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (NASB, emphasis added.) We wanted to be able to build genuine relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ but found it was such a challenge to do so with all the meetings and agendas. Most of the things done in those settings became distractions from loving Christ and one another, rather than motivators. We actually left not because we were done with church but because we hungered for the reality of church!

We discovered that you don’t find the reality of church by trying to come up with the best way to do church. Rather, we experience the reality of church by growing in relationship with Father and loving others. As we do so, we discover the reality of church springing up all around us. Church is not a program or organization but something we are. You don’t need any man-made structures or add-ons to make you more of what you already are. We just need Jesus and some people to love. We truly believe Jesus meant what He said when He stated, “I will build my church.” And we believe His lifestyle while He walked among us showed us everything we need to know about being the church. (How many organizations did Jesus start? How did He live daily?)

The writer of the article made this statement:

For the church, the phenomenon sets up a growing danger. The very people on whom the church relies for lay leadership, service and financial support are going away. And the problem is compounded by the fact younger people in the next generation, the Millennials, are not lining up to refill the empty pews.

It is so strange that the writer refers to this trend as a “growing danger.” Danger to what? The church of Jesus Christ? So Jesus didn’t mean what He said when He stated that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church? The writer sounds as if he thinks Jesus stopped building His church and left it in the hands of humans. Could it be that what is being referred to is not the church Jesus is building but man’s? I find it interesting that this statement alone contains the very reasons for which people are leaving. First of all, notice that the writer states that the people who are leaving are those who were relied on for “lay leadership, service, and financial support.” In other words, they were resources to be used to keep the machinery going. Is that really the way God views us? Do we have a loving Father who desires relationship with us or do we serve a user of people who views us as cogs needed to keep organizations running smoothly? Is our purpose to serve organizations or to love and be loved?

Also, the writer uses a phrase that is poison to me and my family, as well as many other who have left; “lay leadership.” I can’t tell you how much I despise the word “layman.” Why not just call us “second class citizens?” That phrase is in direct opposition to the priesthood of all believers that is our God-given place clearly taught in the New Testament. That disgusting word strips us of our identity in Christ. It’s usage reveals that there are humans who are better and superior to others in the body of Christ. It reveals a belief that there are those who are truly spiritual and those who are just kind of spiritual. I would rather be in a bar full of drunks where I can function in my priestly role of connecting people to God than be in an environment where I am denied my God-given function. Hierarchies and ranks in the body of Christ are a big reason why people like me have left. I venture to say the only danger that exists in people leaving is to those who have vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

The writer goes on to state that it would be “better for churches to focus on not losing people in the first place.” But there is a problem with that mindset. What if God is leading them out the door? Isn’t it kind of a bold assumption to think that people are supposed to remain in that environment? That it’s a requirement? Do seasons never change? If God is the One leading them out are you going to position yourself between Him and them? Is there some kind of secret code you’re supposed to crack to keep people hanging around? And don’t you find it the least bit strange that when they stop attending your services you view them as gone? Think hard about that one. When I grew up and moved out of my parents’ house they didn’t by any means view my relationship with them as being done. When friends of mine moved to other locations my relationship with them didn’t end. So, why is it when somebody stops attending your services you view the relationship as done? This reveals something very ugly. There really was no genuine relationship. The relationship was entirely based on expectations. You were in relationship as long as they did what you wanted them to be doing. When they stopped, so did the relationship. Guess what? That’s not love. I don’t care how many times you say in your service “We’re family!” the reality is you’re not. That’s not how families function. And did it ever occur to you that the very reason they walked out that door was they sensed this? Something deep within them was telling them they were living in a fake environment where words like “love,” “family,” and “relationship,” are tossed around but not lived.

Let me say bluntly, I do not believe people who are done with “church” are better than those who still attend. I also don’t believe there aren’t godly people who are desperately in love with Jesus in those environments. But why not just call a spade a spade? For those who choose to belong to these organizations, it’s nothing more than a matter of preference. Please don’t take this wrong way, but in truth, these are just Christian clubs. There is no sin in being a part of one. But it’s a matter of choice. And don’t confuse them as being the body of Christ. Yes, the Body of Christ may be present, but the reality of the church extends far beyond those four walls.

Also, we have been praying for years for revival. We’ve even made statements like, “Do whatever it takes Lord!” Do we think God has been ignoring us? Could it be that revival is happening but it looks nothing like we expected and God is doing whatever it takes, including tearing down many of our man-made systems?

Speaking to believers all across this country, I’ve found that many, many, of them are finding their relationship with Christ and love for one another is indeed being revived. We can either embrace what God is doing in this season or we can stand in opposition to Him. But make know mistake about it, He is building His church. He never stopped.

Loren Rosser

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Avoiding Blindness

A new episode of David and Loren’s podcast “Untangled” is up. You can hear preachers of very religious groups talk about how “unreligious” they are. Other people will talk about how loving they are while they live in callousness, pride, and arrogance. These people are spiritually blind. They can’t see their own condition yet they love to go around pointing out the flaws in others. How do we avoid falling into this trap? This is what Loren and David discuss in this podcast.

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Part 2 of Supporting the Equippers

Part 2 of our fun yet controversial video series “Supporting the Equippers” is done!  Enjoy!

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Response to an Angry Poster

A few days ago I posted my own personal summary of Darin Hufford’s book, The Misunderstood God on facebook and ended up stirring up a hornet’s nest of rage from some Christians (one in particular).  Here is what I posted:

“Love is not jealous” but religion says that according to scriptures God is jealous. “Love is not proud” but religion says God demands to be worshipped. “Love is not easily angered” but religion says God is full of wrath and angry at humanity. “Love keeps no records of wrongs” but religion says God is keeping track of it all. Hmmmm, does God expect us to have a better personality than He does? Why does the God many Christians cling to actually have the personality of Satan? Either God is actually NOT love, or religion has Him ALL WRONG.

This was followed by one person hurling a slew of Bible verses at me accusing me of basing my theology on how I “feel,” trying to be “smarter and more enlightened than the word,” “seeking popularity,” I’m making accusations “against the Bible its self,” that I “do not like the Bible or the entirety of it,” having been “taken captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,” “revamping the character and nature of God from what the scriptures declare about Him to what (I) and most Christian philosophers today want Him to be,” “twisting the scriptures,” “quoting men and their insights without confirming the authority or accuracy,” “saturating myself with men’s persuasive philosophies about the scriptures,” “not quoting enough scriptures” and it was all followed up with “If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t bother saying anything at all or provide you with the scriptures listed above.”

Normally I’d just blow this off because it’s clear my post struck a nerve so he chose to assert his “spiritual superiority” over me rather than really taking a look at why the clear description of love taken straight from the Bible (1 Corinthians 13) and applied to God contradicts what many teach about Him. The Bible clearly states in 1 John 4:8 …”God is love.”   I wanted to just walk away.  I hate this kind of nonsense.  But this morning it occurred to me, there are others reading my posts who are not the least bit interested in winning arguments but really want to know how I would answer.  So for their sake, I’m writing this.

It’s humorous, in a sad way, that what got me accused of “making accusations against the Bible,” “twisting scriptures,” and “not quoting enough scripture” was me quoting scripture and holding it to what it CLEARLY teaches about God.  There is a reason why I don’t go around throwing out a slew of Bible verses.  The person who responded to my post showed why.  We can make the Bible say what ever we want it to say to back up our personal stance on anything.   I hold to a “Let He who has ears to hear, hear” stance.  If what I say is of God, He will confirm it to the person and they will see how it lines up with scripture.  If it’s not of God, then He won’t confirm it TO THOSE WHO HAVE EARS TO HEAR. This person believes God is angry and demanding and he threw out a whole bunch of verses to prove it.  I can come right back at him with a slew of verses that say the exact opposite.  That was the tragedy surrounding my post about 1 Corinthians 13.  He was able to use the Bible against the Bible to nullify something it says, while declaring that he is being scripturally “balanced.”  This is extremely common in Christianity.

So what do we do?  The answer is simple.  We look at Jesus.  And I don’t mean in some  mystical, touchy feely way.  I mean read the gospels.  Read what those around Him who knew Him personally said about Him.  “What about the Old Testament?  Do we just blow that off?”  No!  But if we’re going to approach the scriptures correctly we have to start with the Alpha and Omega, the author and finisher of our faith.  All the scriptures point to HIM.  If what you’re reading isn’t pointing you to Him, but instead is giving you rules and codes of conduct to live by, you aren’t reading the scriptures through the correct lens.  This is why Jesus said to the Pharisees in John 5:39 & 40,

You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

Some things never change.  This is the exact state that many in Christianity are in.  As President Obama would say, “Let me be clear…” The Pharisees knew the old testament scriptures BETTER than most Christians today (including leaders).  They even had massive chunks memorized.  Yet, right IN FRONT OF THEM stood the Son of God, the One to whom all those scriptures were pointing and they couldn’t even recognize Him.  But it’s even worse than that.  They went so far as to accuse Him of being of Satan!  Is it any surprise that Bible “experts” today can find themselves in the place of standing in direct opposition to Jesus and what He’s doing in this hour?  And you better believe they’ll have chapter and verse to back of everything they say.

Do you know the Bible better than Paul?  I think we can all agree that Paul really knew His scriptures.  He was a Pharisee of Pharisees.  Yet, with all His learning He was more than happy to persecute the church of Jesus Christ.  Brilliant Paul couldn’t see a thing until He was knocked off his horse by Jesus and saw HIM!  Once He saw Him, suddenly He saw how all the scriptures pointed to Jesus.  It was only after meeting Jesus (not just a mental agreement with some verses, but truly encountering HIM) that He could understand the scriptures.  He began looking at things through the correct lens…a lens many Christians are not looking through.  And when He saw Jesus He counted all of His learning as rubbish in comparison.

We know nothing at all if we don’t know Jesus and then look at the scriptures through Him.  Jesus showed us EXACTLY what God is like.  Every Christian who reads that statement will nod their head in agreement.  But then they proceed to run around the Bible grabbing verses that contradict Jesus and say, “We have to have a complete and balanced view of God.”  So, let me say again for those who are hard of hearing, Jesus is the EXACT representation of God.  He’s not a little portion of God and then there is this whole other side of God sitting up in heaven that Jesus didn’t show us.  Jesus is not “safe God” while “danger God” stayed in heaven (because he doesn’t behave well in public).  EVERYTHING we need to know about God, EVERYTHING He is, is seen in Jesus!  Jesus said it Himself to Philip, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)  Jesus didn’t say, “I’m kind of like the Father.”  Or “I’m the more loving version of my Father.”  He made it plain as day, if we’ve seen Him, we’ve seen the Father, period!  The writer of Hebrews states in Hebrews 1:3,

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

There you have it again, Jesus is the EXACT representation of God!  So then we come to that little verse that religionists absolutely abhor (although they’ll never admit it…but actions speak louder than words),  “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8)  Who wrote that verse?  Well, it’s obvious, John did.  Was John some Old Testament prophet who never met Jesus?  Was He some philosopher locked away in the halls of higher learning?  No!  John was one of Jesus’ BEST FRIENDS!  Arguably,  there is no writer in the Bible who knew Jesus while he walked the Earth better than John.  He was the one who leaned his head on Jesus breast at the last supper, remember?  He lived with him for three years.  So John saw more clearly than any of us what God is like.  Remember, Jesus is the EXACT representation of God.  And John wrote at the beginning of his letter,

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—  that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1John 1-3)

John says that he’s testifying of that which he HEARD with HIS OWN EARS, SAW with HIS OWN EYES, and TOUCHED with HIS OWN HANDS. Please keep in mind when John says, “concerning the word of life” he’s not talking about the Bible.  He’s talking about Jesus.  (Remember John 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Jesus is the word, the message of God.  In fact, the Bible is never called “The Word of God” in the scriptures.  Jesus is called that, because the message is a living man, not a book.)  And this writer who intimately knew Jesus, saw God in the flesh, wrote that, “God is love.”

Now people turn and say, “Yes, he is love.  But we need to balance that with other scriptures.”  Hold on there buckaroo!  Let’s use some common sense here.  If you were trying to solve a murder, whose testimony bears the most weight?  Even in the Jewish law it was clearly stated that by the mouth of two or more WITNESSES a thing was to be confirmed.  And here we have John, an eye witness of God in the flesh telling us he is love.  But we want to run off and grab some scripture form an Old Testament prophet and place it above the one who was actual there, heard Him, saw Him, and touched God among us.  (Uh-oh!  Now I’ve really ticked some people off!)  Yes all scripture is inspired, but you have to look through the correct lens.  Any person with half a brain can tell you that an eye witness has more credibility than any other testimony.

What we see in the Old Testament is an unfolding revelation of God.  They DID NOT have the complete picture.  Peter, who was also an eye witness of Jesus and close friend, wrote:

Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow.  It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. (1 Peter 10 – 12)

The Old Testament Prophets and even the angels longed to see what has now been revealed to us through Christ!  If we’re going to truly be scripturally balanced then we MUST acknowledge that the people living in the Old Testament had not seen Jesus.  They spoke of what they had not seen with their own eyes or touched with their own hands and longed to understand.  As Peter said, they were serving us.

People who hold the Old Testament on the same level as Jesus, God revealed, how do you reconcile Jesus speaking to the crowds of people and changing scripture?!  That’s exactly what He did?  “You’ve heard it said ‘you shall not murder,’ but I say to you…”  “You’ve heard it said ‘you shall not commit adultery,’ but I say to you…”  “You’ve heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye,’ but I say to you…”  And on and on He goes!  If all scripture is equal, why is the author standing their altering it and/or changing the emphasis?  Hmmmm?  (Especially the scripture about “an eye for an eye.”  He completely goes the opposite direction on that one!)

See, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit so desperately wanted us to truly understand what God is like, to truly know who He is.  Though out time they could see we just weren’t getting it!  So Jesus came and showed God to us.  This is why He takes priority over anything written before Him.  He is God revealed.  He revealed God’s true nature by dying on the cross.  He showed that God’s love is so intense that He will hold absolutely NOTHING back from us.  He gives all!  Even His own life for people who hate Him!  His entire motivation in all things, is love!

It’s not about one scripture being over another, it’s about Jesus being above all!  He is God revealed.  After Paul encountered Jesus He penned His beautiful description of love in 1 Corinthians 13.  He revealed what love looks like and therefore revealed what Jesus (God) is like.  It’s interesting that when one doesn’t look at scripture through the lens of Jesus, 1 Corinthians 13 as a description of God presents some serious problems.  But when you look at the One who gave up everything, even His own life for us, suddenly it all locks in place.  1 Corinthians 13 doesn’t contradict God.  It’s a beautiful description of Him!

Now Pharisees, it’s time to go crazy!

Loren Rosser

 

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Study to Show Yourself Approved?

WE’RE BACK!!! The podcast is back after the holiday break. David and Loren respond to a question they received in an email from a listener about 2 Timothy 2:15. In that verse Paul seems to be telling us to study the Bible so that we handle it correctly and can answer any question and win any argument…OR IS HE??? I think you’ll be surprised at what Paul is actually saying to Timothy in that verse.

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New Video

Yes it’s true!  Family Room Media has finally created a new video!  (It’s the first of several to come!)  I (Loren) am turning my recent series of articles on Supporting the Equippers into videos.  Here is Part 1.  ENJOY!

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This Year: What to Expect

On New Years Day people who write blogs are sometimes expected to come up with something deep and/or prophetic for the year ahead. I decided to wait until the first couple weeks of 2015 were past and then post something if the world wide web had not been taken over by North Korea, the Democrats or fallen angels.

As it stands, however, all goes on as usual and will no doubt continue to do so until Jesus returns. The world is still obsessed with money, fame and power and much of the organized church is obsessed with, ah, let’s see…money, fame and power. Meanwhile Jesus is waiting to hear the answer to the question he posed to his disciples after he told them a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. “..when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

It seems noteworthy to me that Jesus posed that question in the context of persistent prayer. Most of the women and men of faith in previous generations whom God used in significant ways believed that prayer is the most important work any follower of Christ can engage in. The apostle Paul confirms this when he wrote to Timothy: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayer, intercession and giving of thanks, be made for all men..” Many other scriptures make it clear that prayer is a top priority of the believer.

I can testify that whenever I take the time to push busy thoughts aside and meditate on the love, power and grace of God until my heart is touched, worship flows spontaneously and intercession comes naturally. I may not know at the moment what my prayer is accomplishing in the lives of others, but I know that the revelation of Father’s heart that unfolds changes me and the Spirit instructs me on who and what to pray for. And the scripture assures me that when my words fail the Holy Spirit makes intercession for me with words that can’t be spoken. That being said, I must admit I’ve failed to take advantage of the privilege as often as I could.

I’m not suggesting that prayer is effective only when you put time aside from all distractions to “seek God.” The scripture instructs us to pray without ceasing. Talking with God all throughout the day while working, playing or resting should be as natural as is our conversation with each other. If we’re acknowledging him in all our ways, we’ll certainly be in communication with him as well. But there’s a place of laboring in prayer that requires our undivided attention. There are times when a baby has been born in a car on the way to the hospital, but the mother wasn’t focused on the sights and sounds of the city or the news of the radio. So it is if Jesus is to be birthed in us and others in greater measure.

So, what can we expect this year? Probably as much we you put into it.

David Fredrickson

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