Eph. 2:1-10 speaks of our humanity being dead in trespasses and God’s rich mercy that has quickened us together with Christ. We have been raised up together and made to sit in heavenly places. It is not of us, but rather a gift of God. We are His workmanship. In other words, whatever God has us to do, He already had it planned before you even thought about it.
You cannot take credit for what you are. One cannot build or do anything by oneself. We would not be here if it were not in God’s plan or will. In fact, many of us did not have a vision of what we are currently doing per say. We see this similar situation in Psalms 66 where the Israelites, “went through the flood on foot.”
Moses did not have a plan of how they would cross the Red Sea, regardless of his education, gifting or even his connection with Pharaoh. They just walked through the flood on foot. The apostles found themselves in a similar situation when Jesus commanded them to, “go into all the world and preach the gospel.” They did not know exactly where they were going. Could it be that we, 2,000 years later, are also not as smart as we often like to think? Are we more dependant on the Sprit and anointing than we realize?
Foundational Principle: Dependence on God
I believe our foundational principle is our dependence on God and our understanding that we do not have all the answers. Perhaps we should not work so hard to attempt to figure everything out. We just are not smart enough. We must not get too far off the track of dependency. In fact, this does not have anything to do with our ability. It is based on the degree to which we will humble ourselves toward the Lord.
Truthfully,, there is a kind of evil that we cannot handle. As referenced by the British Chesterton in regards to Hitler; one cannot deal with this darkness through everyday philosophy. We need a God to talk to us and help us find the answers.
Never before has a society been faced with the possibility of one individual having access to the entire world of humanity. We like to think that this is a wonderful tool we can use; however, we are not the only ones shopping in this toolbox. The devil is doing some shopping as well.
The Real Question:
The number one problem facing educators and those entrusted with the safety of society today is child pornography. One cannot solve this by snapping a finger. God will have to show us the way. Without God we can do nothing. This has nothing to do with our ability, but rather the degree to which we will humble ourselves before the Lord. The real question facing us is not, will we have a brilliant education, but will we have the kind of heart and mind to cause us to launch ourselves out into the darkness, deal with the problems, and trust God to make a way where there seems to be no way.
We have some stark and heavy stuff to deal with. We need a God, Savior and a Redeemer. We must have a vision. With man not too much is possible, but with God All Things Are Possible.
We will walk:
You may ask, “So how will we walk across this flood?” Well, we must realize that what we think may happen or what God will use, may not be the means by which the impossible will be made possible. He may have to put you in a dimension where you have to move, do, live, talk and think beyond what you could ever imagine.
The education we receive cannot nullify the reality that, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, sayeth the LORD…” We cannot brag about being Pentecostal unless we depend on the Holy Spirit and walk in the Spirit. We need a vision for this to take place.
Just as the apostles followed after the perfect will of God, so must we depend upon Him. If we strive for brain and intellect solely, we will fail our young people. We must show them that there is a power and anointing that can lead them to truth and righteousness and cause the world to shake one more time. There is an anointing and fire that we can call upon that will cause the worst of sinners to find a joy that is unspeakable. All things are possible through Jesus Christ.
Without a vision:
Without a vision, the people will perish. If we depend on our flesh and abilities, then we have failed. We have no way of seeing what is coming down the pike. Whatever this new world is going to be like, it will be a world that no one has ever seen. We are not prepared for it. Communication is beyond what we could have imagined. The ability and access that people have to not only invade people’s privacy but the ability of young people to use it in such a way that it becomes a factor of dominion is staggering. It is becoming dark and it is everywhere.
When I received the Holy Ghost, I knew I had connected with a Supernatural power and relationship outside this world. I am glad to be Pentecostal and filled with the Spirit. Coupled with this knowledge, we must have a vision that is alive and well.
The Twisted Tree:
Within a small cemetery in Michigan there stands a most unusual tree. Its twisting trunk and branches have burned a consciousness in me. Its twisted figure has given me a vision that has stayed with me for decades. Upon a recent visit to the town of Muskegon, I was determined to capture its unique character. This tree has become a reminder to me of a vision that is alive and well. Just as this tree has given me vision, perhaps God has given you a vision of how His church should be.
Your vision may be to set up schools around the world or give up everything. There are amazing stories of those who have accomplished this and have touched the impossible. It was not an academic principle that had touched the hearts of the prophets, apostles, Moses or Abraham.
Abraham Commanded His Children:
God knew He could trust Abraham because He knew Abraham would command his children. Are we commanding our children? Are we vibrantly telling them that they must be born again and receive the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues or are we looking for a new type of doctrine or easy way that excuses the vision?
I have already seen too many instances where the drug addict was instantly healed and the smoker just threw down his cigarettes at the altar and 25 or 30 years later he still has not smoked. Today our eyes can see the filth, darkness and consequences of this world but we can also have a hope and vision that says, “If you could just touch but the hem of His garment…” We must be willing to wait in the upper room because we cannot do this on our own. We need power from on high.
We cannot waste too much time on education. The worst thing we could do at this point in time is to have our children believe that their education is going to turn the world upside down. God is not waiting for you to discover the answer to revival in a book somewhere that was written 100 or 500 years ago. We are to learn of Him.
Paul’s cry of, “Oh that I might know him,” should continue to ring in our ears. If we could just know Him… There is a God that nobody knows completely and there is a church that we have never before seen. Just like my discovery of that twisting tree, so people need to find the Deliverer, God and this Holy Ghost. It is something so very special and precious. We must return to the faith and notions we possessed as children who believed that God could perform things in our lives that were, “exceedingly and abundantly above all we could ever ask or think.”
This Ship, This Church:
The poet Wordsworth, captured the sentiments of my tree discovery through his poem regarding a ship that he preferred above all the rest.
With Ships the Sea was sprinkled far and nigh,
Like stars in heaven, and joyously it showed;
Some lying fast at anchor in the road,
Some veering up and down, one knew not why
A goodly vessel did I then espy
Come like a giant from a haven broad;
And lustily along the bay she strode,
Her tackling rich, and of apparel high.
The ship was naught to me nor, I to her,
Yet I pursued her with a lover’s look;
This ship to all the rest did I prefer:
When will she turn, and wither? She will brook
No tarrying; where she comes the winds must stir:
On went she, and due north her journey took.
Like this poet’s ship, so I found the twisted tree, but even more incredible is this church that I have touched and know. What we have experienced in Pentecost can only be measured by its own reality. The Bible says to, “Taste and see…” You cannot manufacture this or imagine it by the human mind. We must hold on to the gospel and Acts 2:38, otherwise we will lose the church that has an answer to our problems.
We are not in the business of “going to church” per say. We are in the business of preaching the truth. We must put fire in the souls of our young men and women, so that they are able to preach the gospel to every creature. The only way to fight against sin and unrighteousness is if someone is preaching about holiness and being born again.
It is not about theatrical church because this leads to a loss of spiritual bases and no vision or purpose. It leads to people coming to church and looking at the program like it was a theater or production. A denominational pastor once told me that people can be in a church a long time after they stop believing in Christ. Granted, they may be coming, but they have lost that excitement for doctrine and belief in essentiality and therefore, have stopped seeking.
To Be Transfigured:
We must happily feel after Him. We need to wait on God and feel after Him through prayer, singing and the preaching of the Word. This will make it become real. We need to surrender and allow the vision that God places in us to transfigure our souls, brains, education, thoughts and lifestyle.
No matter how dark this world gets, if we hold on to the vision we will be transfigured into something new. We are reminded in the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” that, “In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea. With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me; As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!” All things are possible with God.