His Name Your Name and Prayer 14th Jan 07
I often refer to great revivals of the past, the Puritans in England, Jonathan Edwards in America and the Great Awakenings – Wales in 1904 and Azusa Street – Luther and the reformation – these are major events in the life of the church and Christianity. But I wonder how many people among the normal, average community were even aware such huge social and moral change was taking place.
We look through the eyes of history and see how the world was influenced by these events, particularly the western world, but in influencing the western world they also affected the whole world. These events changed the way men saw, and thought, and their understanding of God – of Christ, faith and religion. -- But I wonder how many people at the time actually knew what they were part of. --- The whole population did not get saved or begin attending church.
Immorality, adultery, drugs, drunkenness and all sin still abounded. Even in the great awakenings which saw tens of thousands come to Christ, there remained a majority of people who didn’t know anything about it! -- Society was changed but the significance of that change was not really seen until years afterwards – in fact the largest proportion of the population remained unmoved by what was happening in Christendom as it was unfolding –
Even recently – Pensacola – taxi driver unaware – people in street didn’t even know – Toronto at it’s height – majority of Torontonians didn’t even know – but just last week TV drama using it as historical cult and religious fanaticism. --- TB Joshua 40,000 some days or more – Lagos largely unaware. – These may be seen to have been very significant things in the course of history --- but the “world” is largely unaware and unmoved.
I wonder if we are not in the middle of a similar reformation, that will prove to be just as significant historically as some of these we refer to. A similar major shift in the general understanding and practice of religion and especially Christianity. A shift of immense consequence but which the majority of us don’t really see – or are even concerned with.
We live in an age of incredible wealth, prosperity and information,
an age of publicity and power – but also of apathy, compromise and complacency. The church is being changed!! Dramatically reshaped, and I think most of us in the church don’t even see it, or really care in many ways, because even our understanding of what Christianity is, has been shaped and formed by humanism and professionalism and success and materialism and a very clearly man centred gospel – the gospel of what Jesus can do for me!!!
1 Ti 4:1-2 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,
2 Ti 3:12-13 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
I truly believe we are living the fulfilment of this promise of the Holy Spirit – (maybe not the only time in history) but the Spirit expressly says that in latter times – that is us for sure – these are the last days! --- Some will depart from the faith --- 1000’s outside, living a pseudo Christianity, deceived and deceiving and seducing and full of hypocrisy. Consciences seared – could name many like this --- Liardon, Bilby, Taylor, Haggard etc. evil men and impostors getting worse!
I know many of us just sort of shrug this off and think -- but what has this got to do with me/us?
But I don’t see the church responding and I don’t see a desperation in us for holiness and glory and life in Christ and it’s like we see and are blind, hear and yet remain deaf and it is a deeply spiritual thing and yet we seem so numb ----
And the Holy Ghost is being shut out of the lives of so many Christians and mocked and ridiculed in others – quite frankly I am more than a little afraid! All through the scriptures we are taught about this age and the great falling away and sin and lawlessness – and yet for some unfathomable reason we seem to stand aloof! ---- This has been a very interesting week for the church – one which reinforces what I believe --- but I wonder of we are really aware?
Mt 13:10-16 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;
Talk back yesterday – The Cross has been removed from the Middlemore Hospital Chapel so that all religions can use it without offence – but the special foot washing bath for the Moslems has been retained.
The Christchurch Mayor has approved building a separate swimming pool and area for Moslem women so they can bath without men.
Prayer rooms for Moslems are being built in all schools – but Christianity is being removed and there is a strong move to have “Christian” prayers in parliament modified – so the name of Christ at the end of prayers should be stopped.
Herald 13th ---- Bishop Brian Tamaki's high-profile Destiny Church, which arrived in Dunedin with a bang in 2004, is pulling out again three years later. Ms Cardno said a church conference in Auckland in October, attended by about 4000 people, decided to focus on building the church in larger centres. Bishop Tamaki has said he is ready to wage a war on "secular humanism, liberalism, relativism, pluralism" and on a "Government gone evil" and the "radical homosexual agenda"
As one of New Zealand's most powerful Anglicans, Bishop Richard Randerson (Holy Trinity Parnell) admits that his spiritual views may be seen by some as heresy. He admits that he is an agnostic who does not believe Adam and Eve were real, or that there is any proof the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus in a "gynecological miracle". Bishop Randerson continued to describe himself as an agnostic in an interview with the Weekend Herald, saying he believed in God, but was more comfortable with God existing in forms such as "love" and "spirit" than as a supreme being.
In his column Bishop Randerson also wrote that he felt "uncomfortable" leading prayers in public that had an exclusively Christian ending. He said he was referring to gatherings where all faiths were present, such as Anzac Day, and the wording of the parliamentary prayer, which is under review. Prayers could have the same content without nailing it to one faith, so he had started leaving words "through Jesus Christ our Lord" off the end of prayers, saying "amen" instead.
Bishop Richard Randerson has criticized the Anglican Church's rejection of same-sex marriages, saying it "is not an expression of Christian love".
And this from a columnist – John Roughan – not a Christian writing in response to letters :--
Ernie Barrington, (letter to editor) a retired teacher, wondered why it was that in a predominantly secular society like ours people running for election never deny the possibility of a higher power. "Prime Ministers and leaders of opposition, if they are non-religious, are still apt to say they are 'agnostic'," he wrote.
He looked forward to the time when a public figure says, "I don't believe in the existence of God. I am an atheist." Atheism is scary, as is religious dogma in someone who wants to be entrusted with power. But atheism is more scary, I suspect, in its sheer conceit. Mr. Barrington said he looks forward "to a time when we no longer default to religion in many of our social and public ceremonies". Starting Parliament each day with a Christian prayer was, he thought, "very presumptuous". The national anthem needed revision, and funerals were the end.
He said, "It grates when a relative or friend who was an avowed atheist is given a Christian ceremony by a well-meaning relative." He wants non-belief accorded the same respect as religion in public life. Bishop Randerson, who wrote that he too is an agnostic when it comes to the existence of a supreme being, offered Mr. Barrington respect for what he does believe rather than what he doesn't. An atheist, the bishop decided, believes in human wellbeing but does not source that commitment to a religion.
They were better described as humanists, he said, and in that sense they were deserving of respect. It should not fall to an unbeliever to say this but, God help us. This country's religious heritage is Christian; people of other faiths know it. They do not feel excluded when our ceremonies reflect our heritage. They probably worry, as I do, that if we dilute that identity into some arid catch-all we lose a little more of our society's spiritual roots.
Possibly politicians who fear to declare themselves atheist, understand that better than today's church leaders do. It is a tragedy the modern church has been divested of much of its ancient splendour.
Whether we want to acknowledge it or not there is an immense change taking place in the perception and practice of “religion” in New Zealand – I have deliberately kept overseas stuff out of this
And this change in religious understanding involves Christianity in a very powerful way – if you look at all of this, and the responses, they are “religious” in fact they portray Christianity in much the same way as Islam or Hinduism or any other religion –
Worshipping historical figures or idols and gods of their own making – but all dead and gone having established a religion. Why would anyone want to follow Christianity if Adam and Eve aren’t true – that the virgin birth is not factual – and if Jesus was only a man then whether He rose from the dead or not is irrelevant -- if He is not God’s Son He is not perfect and sinless!
Christianity is under siege – but not from without – it is from within.
The response of some I heard yesterday on the radio was “It’s time for Christians to stand up and be counted” – “When are Christians going to make a stand” – “We have got to become more radical” – but they are all reactionary things – and they fall into the same religious practices as Islam ---
I believe over the next little while we are going to see unfolding in the church what has been sown over the last 20 years or so – in fact we are seeing it now – the emerging church is going to be excellent, professional, successful and have very broad appeal –
It will have very few clearly defined absolutes and the bigger churches will grow and smaller ones will struggle to be relevant and find a reason for being – and in desperation they will adopt all sorts of things to become attractive to potential members. There will come a growing divide between the large and prosperous and the smaller churches. Denominations will be joined by “alliances” and “streams” with “apostolic” leaders – some from overseas.
It will become more and more religious and demanding – but there will be no holiness, no reverence, no glory of God and no Presence of the Holy Spirit – in fact those things are already in place and no longer necessary. How can one of the Primary leaders of the Church in NZ KNOW the Holy Spirit and yet say He does not believe in the virgin birth?
It wont be long before we need anther reformation – in fact we need it now!
A reformation that embraces the Person Of Christ – real, alive, risen from the dead, ascended and seated at the right hand of God!! – That acknowledges and KNOWS the Holy Spirit of God all seeing everywhere present glorious God!!
The Spirit of Jesus Christ : --- who knows us by Name and calls us by name
That our prayer is not an exercise it is communion with the ever Living God of all Creation!
That no matter who he might be, if he doesn’t KNOW Jesus Christ He cannot pray to God the Father!! Our prayer is not a legalistic exercise it is a communication. It is, a reaching out, it is calling on the name of the Lord.
He is not a dead idol this is not religion, or religious practice, or idolatry or fear, it is the truth He knows your name. And you must allow Him to know you and that can only come through prayer. But prayer is not religion prayer is coming in faith, it is believing, it is waiting, it is knowing His presence, it is developing a sensitivity to His Spirit it is all these things. And believing by faith, the word.
Jesus doesn't want us to die for him, He died for us. He does not want us to deny Him, but He does not want us to make a stand to death on his behalf, for that negates His own precious glorious death. He doesn’t want martyrs He wants witnesses!
He wants us alive, to glorify him, to testify, to live. Look Christianity is not about making a stand its about living a life of glory from glory to glory.
Going to church doesn't make us a Christian, being in the worship team, prophesying, casting out of Devils all of those things, knowing Him and knowing He knows us and living as though He was watching everything we did and we live to please him, to glorify him.
Living as though Christ were beside us, we would not dress the way we do, speak the way do, argue the way we do, criticize, judge, behave over-eat, do all of these things. Our Witness is knowing our God lives and He is everywhere present and yet He is seated on the right hand of God. The mystery of Christianity.
WE must KNOW the Holy Ghost.
Ro 8:9-11 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.