Thursday, March 14, 2013

What Are Ya Gonna Do?

I read this last night, and I find it still to be controversial.

Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
--John 6: 28-29

I don’t find it troubling in the context of conversing with non-believers.  Non-believers aren’t shocked by the stalwart nature of Jesus’ answer to the question. The controversy is found within the church.  I’m not going to spend anytime or space talking about the varying perspectives and interpretations of these verses.  Anybody who’s read any of my posts has a lock on what I believe and value in the Christian message.  Among believers, the answer to the “what must we do” question is usually found in the words of John the Baptist in the gospel of Luke:

And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.” – Luke 3:10-14

The crowd asking about the “doing” has come from the revelation that God is about to reveal the Messiah to his covenant people. So, prepare yourselves.  John the B insisted that the hearers of his message come into connection with the revelation of the coming Messiah.  With what you’ve heard, what should you do?

Jesus in the inquiry in John 6 doesn’t give quite the same answer.  He invites the hearers into a relationship in whom God has sent.  The controversy is, “How does this change this corrupted, sinful, abusive, mean, nasty, ugly world?  We’ve got a lot of believers in Jesus, but the world seems to be getting worse!” 

Well, it is debatable whether the world is truly getting worse or better. Secondly, it’s true, there are a lot of believers in Christ, but there could be a lot more repentance and changes in behaviors to affect the world at large.  I’m with ya, and that’s the controversy.   Talk is cheap, whether you’re a repenting, occupying soldier or a hand raising worshiper on Sunday.

Of course, Peter doesn’t help matters in Acts 2 on the day the church is born with the coming of the Holy Spirit in power.

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.—Acts 2: 37-38

Here, Peter does mention repentance, and he mentions the name of Jesus for forgiveness and the receiving of the Holy Spirit.  But, what about the “doing” to fix the world?  I’m all for the doing, and I’m all for the believing, and not all talk is cheap.  Some talk and writing costs the speaker and the writer.  Take my word for it.

This has brought me to where April and I find ourselves. 

We’ve been worshiping and praying with a group of folks, first, in our home, and now at a building offered to us to use on Wednesdays for our gatherings.  This stems from a vision April and I have nurtured of heaven coming to earth on Sand Mountain. 

A few Wednesdays ago, one of our new friends prayed for April and me.  After she finished, April had a strong sense in the Spirit that a covering of grace was made available for everybody in the room.  Then she had an encounter with Christ.  Jesus stood in front of her and said, “I am giving you my anointing.”  She was awestruck, and then thought, of course, “What does that mean?”

About a week later, she came to understand what Christ’s anointing was.  The Holy Spirit directed her to Isaiah 61. 

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion—to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.  They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.  --Isaiah 61: 1-4

This is the anointing, the covering, the smearing of the Spirit that we’re under in these days.  We will bring good news, bind up, proclaim, comfort, provide in order that these freshly blessed will display his glory, build up, raise up and repair the devastations of many generations.  This is what the Lord has in store for us and all who join us.

Ok, smarty pants, what are ya gonna do? 

We got here by pursuing the Lord with all we have.  At key places and times, the opportunity was given to us to withdraw from the passion and settle into a conventional place of traditional ministry and be content because the risk-taking was too hard.  Fairly consistently, we choose the risk-taking and pursuing.  I particularly was confronted with renouncing my passion in the Spirit because the conventional church found me to be an agent of destruction rather than a prophetic voice.  I publicly declared that there was nothing I regretted in my words or actions.  It was the proudest I had ever been in myself!  I then took steps to withdraw from formal ministry in pursuit of the anointing under which we find ourselves.

Under this empowerment from the Spirit, it is our conviction and belief that the “doing” is and will take care of itself.  Lives are and will continue to be impacted physically and spiritually by virtue of this anointing for this season. 

We’ve come to this place because April and I have wanted more of God than anything else.  In wanting more of him, we have and will continue to be positioned and strengthened to bring healing and deliverance to many on this mountain and beyond. The “doing” takes care of itself when we pursue the One who so loves the world. 

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