Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Atheist Post

If you have ever done any real witnessing at all, or have ever entered into a conversation with people about Jesus, you have invariably come across someone who claims to be an atheist. There are plenty of them out there. And it is our job to reach them and tell then about the love, forgiveness, and grace of our God. But the strange thing about people who claim to be atheists is that they were at one time believers. I have NEVER YET met any person who was an atheist from childhood. They will always say “I used to believe in God, but……” And that is where the crux of the matter starts to appear. Every atheist I have ever met, who is willing to talk about their beliefs, will eventually say that they are actually harboring anger and resentment towards God for something that happened to them, and that is why they choose to no longer believe. They have become masters of masking their pain, and have just chosen instead to lay the accusation against their tarnished view of God.

Here is an interesting video from the British band XTC. The first time I heard this catchy tune back in 1986, I was a little disturbed. But once I really understood what Andy Partridge was saying, it spoke volumes to me about the mindset of a disenfranchised believer. The lyrics have been subtitled thanks to the Youtube poster.

Ironic that a person who doesn’t believe in God is writing Him a letter, isn’t it? And as he takes out his anger on the tree with his two hammers, he is expressing his pain just like so many people the whole world over have done again and again. Let’s examine the song.

How many times have you heard questions like these:

If God is real, why is there so much suffering in the world?

Why would a loving God let babies be slaughtered in wars and go hungry?

If God really exists, why doesn’t he stop the madness in the world today? Why did he let Hitler kill six million Jews? Why does He allow African genocide?

If God created us, why does he allow such sickness and disease in the world?

Sound familiar? Many times we get into a theological debate, or just throw scriptures at them like this one:
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (New Living Translation)

Know this: hurting people hurt others. Try to pick up a dog that has just been hit by a car. It will bite you even though you are trying to help. And many times people that are angry at God have been hurt. Ask the right questions that will lead them to reveal when they stopped believing in God and what happened. You will be amazed at what many people have been through and why they feel like God has forsaken them.

I find it is best to remind people that this messed-up world will be passing away soon, and God will make everything right and restore it back to its intended condition. John got a glimpse of this when he wrote:
"And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:3-5 (New King James Version)

There is a new day coming in which all the evil of this world which made some people question the existence of a loving Creator will be gone, and they will get to see Him face to face. And yes, this God they curse and revile has the compassion to personally wipe away all tears from the eyes of those whom He loves.

If we don’t have the conversation with them which brings hope and leads them to the truth of God, who will? Let the atheist rage. It’s OK! Love covers a multitude of sins. And the more we can love an angry, obnoxious atheist, the better the chances we have of reaching them with the truth

Monday, March 19, 2007

Satan's Leadership Must Stink!

Hopefully by now you have figured out that we are at war. Not in Iraq. Our battle is in the spiritual realm. And with all the scriptures being preached about “putting on the whole armor of God” and “the weapons of our warfare” you should have figured out that you have been drafted into the army of Jesus. How’s the fight going on your front?

I have spent the past few days thinking about a very familiar scripture which most of you know concerning the casting of unclean spirits. It is mentioned in both Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” Matthew 12:43-45 (New King James Version)

Have you ever wondered why that is? If a spirit is cast that is in Satan’s kingdom, you would think that he would just show back up at headquarters and ask to be reassigned. Why do they wander seeking rest? Rest? If they are in a war with us and this war is coming down to the end, it shows you the state of mind of the troops of Lucifer. It would seem that some do not want to be in the front lines of the battle. But they just want to hang out in someone’s human body until it is over. It is reminiscent to me of the Gulf War when Iraqi soldiers were surrendering in droves when the war first began. They knew how futile the fight would be.

One of the most amazing encounters Jesus had was with the man in the Gadarenes and a demon who called himself “Legion”.

“And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.” Mark 5:8-11 (King James Version)

Why would this spirit ask not to be sent out of the country? Why would he rather reside in a pig than to be sent back into the service of Lucifer? The reason is simple: serving in Satan’s army must stink! Serving a general who has pitiful leadership skills is extremely discouraging. Fighting for a cause that ultimately ends in defeat is unmotivational. So what else would they want to do but hang out in the body of a person until the final judgment?

Have you ever seen one single scripture where an angel of the Lord was tired or seeking rest? Absolutely not. Every time there is a mention of an angelic encounter, that person appears to be strong, motivated to obedience, competent, capable, and ready to head back into the fight.

In Daniel’s classic encounter with a warrior from our team, he tells of the battle and why he was delayed in getting there:

“Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.” Daniel 10:12-14 (New Living Translation)

And then he says something amazing. He doesn’t want to look for a place to rest. He doesn’t want to spend some time in a nearby pig. He says that he wants to take care of business here, and then head back into the heat of the battle.

“He replied, “Do you know why I have come? Soon I must return to fight against the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia, and after that the spirit prince of the kingdom of Greece will come. Meanwhile, I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth.” Daniel 10:20-21 (New Living Translation)

Can you see why you have chosen the right team to be on? (Or rather the right team has chosen you)

Fight the good fight of faith! Resist the devil and he will flee from you…not fight to the death. Remember that you are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses that doesn’t have any problem with kicking some satanic butt if they have to. Be a warrior and not a person seeking rest. Be a conqueror and not a casualty. There will be plenty of time to rest when this part of the plan is done. In fact, I believe there is a banquet planned for us. Let’s be there!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

In Praise of a Real God Warrior

This Blog post will probably get me in trouble. First of all because it will seem like I am throwing a lady who calls herself “God Warrior” under the bus. I really am not. I just want to make a point. If you don’t know whom I am talking about, here is a brief explanation of this unusual sister in Christ. And remember, she is the one who agreed to go on national television representing our kingdom, so I guess discussing her appearance is fair game.

There is a show in prime time called “Wife Swap” where they get wives to swap houses for a period of time and live with a different family. The producers of the show relish in getting ladies from drastically different lives to exchange families. Honestly, I have never actually seen the show myself because I just don’t want to put that kind of pop culture trash into my mind. I wonder how many of the people who invested an hour in “Wife Swap” actually read the Bible or prayed an hour that day. But anyway, there was a lady from a Christian family who swapped houses with a pagan wife. Talk about a golden opportunity to shed some light and love into a house that desperately needs the truth of Jesus Christ. I was glad that they sent a “God warrior”, until I saw this clip. Hang in there all five minutes if you can.

What a shame! That was a golden opportunity to do some real ministry and spiritual warfare instead of trying to scream the devil out. And look how encouraged and inspired her own family felt after her glorious arrival back home! Now she is a celebrity.

There was a great quote I learned from the Dale Carnegie Course that said: “What you ARE speaks so loud I can hardly hear what you are saying”.
And Jesus said it best this way:

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16 (New Living Translation)

I wondered if anyone would want to become a Christian based on an encounter with “God warrior”. And then I had to take a long, honest look in the mirror and ask the same question about ME.

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Mahatma Gandhi

Self test time.

When people who do not know Christ spend time around me, do they want what I have?

Do People want to give glory to God based on the good works that I do which they see in me and through me?

Do people see enough love in me to truly know that I am a disciple of Jesus?

Even if I call myself a “warrior” do people see the power in me that can accomplish much and the faith in me that can move mountains?

Do my words encourage and administer grace to the hearer?

Will people want to know more about Jesus based upon my representation of him?

I was walking through downtown Dallas yesterday and came upon some street preachers at a train station. They were bellowing out the “good news” at the top of their lungs. It made me wonder if they ever do any good. Then two small Hispanic girls came up to me and struck up a conversation. They asked me if there was anything that I wanted them to pray for me about. They both radiated love and life in a big way. Of course I’ll take as much prayer as I can get, so I told them “yes”. Boy oh boy, you should have heard the prayers of the one girl who was in charge. She was as strong and knowledgeable as any Christian I have ever heard pray. She was a true “God warrior”. There was no yelling, screeching, victimization, or showmanship. There were just the prayers of a young girl who knew her God and knew how to pray effectively. She blew me away.

I have absolutely no idea who she was or where she was from. But I knew I wanted what she had to offer!

May God bless her for being a true city on a hill.