The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Charismatic movement, the 50th anniversary of the Messianic Jewish movement, and the 40th anniversary of the unified charismatic conference in Arrowhead stadium in 1977.
Over the last few weeks, there has been a notable increase in spiritual expectation for God to do something in our community. The International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOP-KC) just hosted the KAIROS gathering aimed at John 17 unity among the charismatic streams across the Church and a 3-day solemn assembly. Hunger and desire for a fresh outpouring of Holy Spirit activity continues to increase.
When the Holy Spirit was first poured out, people had gathered, expecting something to happen: Jesus had raised from the dead and over 500 people had a personal witness of his resurrection. Jesus had told people to gather and prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:47-49; Acts 1:8)
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1-4
Consequently, when the Holy Spirit did come with power on the day of Pentecost, people were ready and the rest is history.
In our day, there is growing expectation for another outpouring of the Holy Spirit both on a national level and within the IHOP-KC community. Numerous prophetic people believe another awakening is around the corner-perhaps a 3rd great awakening in our nation (when tens of thousands of people were swept into the kingdom of God and all of society was shaken).
The Holy Spirit came with wind, then fire, and finally with “exceedingly great joy” (where people thought those in the upper room were drunk with wine) at Pentecost. Some believe that the Holy Spirit is coming in the same ways-but the reverse order: The wine of the Holy Spirit followed by the fire of the Holy Spirit and finally the wind of the Holy Spirit.
While evangelism continues as a form of “actively waiting” for the Holy Spirit to come in increased measure, we must prepare for an increased outpouring of the Holy Spirit. An increased measure of the Holy Spirit makes evangelism exponentially easier- as in some cases, the fish are literally “jumping into the boat”. When the fire of Holy Spirit comes in much greater measure, will we be ready to evangelize and then help disciple many new followers of Jesus?
5. Everyone in the United States has heard about Jesus in the United States!
Actually less than 10% of Generation “X” (1970’s to the late 1980’s) actually attend Church. Less than 5% of the millennial generation (born in the 1990’s or afterward) actually attend Church regularly. The means two whole generations are living void of the counsel of God in the United States. Two generations do not know what it means to follow Jesus as Lord or why He died on the cross and rose from the dead. Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20 to go and disciple all nations.
4. Does it really make any difference?
Due to the dwindling knowledge of God and the Bible, it takes more positive contacts with the gospel before people are ready to surrender their lives to Jesus fully. In the 1990’s some did research and it took 7 positive contacts with the Gospel before someone was ready to make a decision. In the 2000’s and the 2010’s the average number of positive contacts with the Gospel is now over 10 before someone finally surrenders their life to Jesus.
The Bible clearly teaches that those who don’t know Jesus are in danger of eternal separation from God in a place of torment called the Lake of Fire or Hell. Meanwhile, the Bible also clearly teaches we have yet to really understand the glory and pleasures God has in store for those who love him. Witnessing of the love of God through Christ Jesus can make an eternal difference!
3. The Biblical gospel message is offensive to other people- I don’t want them offended.
That is absolutely true- The Gospel message is very offensive to our humanistic, self-centered pride. The religious variant of this is that we can do stuff to earn our way to God. When Jesus walked the earth as recorded in the Gospels, the humble and the broken were really excited by the Gospel of the Kingdom message. Meanwhile, the political and religious leaders were extremely agitated and hostile to the Gospel of the Kingdom demonstrated by Jesus.
Scripture warns that the fear of man brings a snare (Proverbs 29:25). Do we value the opinions of man above the opinion of God? Jesus warned that if we disown him before others, Jesus would deny us before our Father in heaven (Matthew 10:33). Jesus also said that if we love him, we will obey his teaching (John 14:23). If we are unwilling to obey his final commission to all of us, do we really love God anyway?
2. There are so many pretenders (hypocrites) within the Church. I don’t want to expose my loved ones and friends to what is fake.
Indeed, hypocrisy is a huge problem. During the times of Jesus- He often confronted the hypocrisy of the religious leaders who were blocking people from hearing the Gospel message by their self-centered indulgent lifestyles. Unfortunately, this is still often a problem.
The other problem in the United States is that Christianity is often associated with hot-button, controversial issues that are often divisive. In the United States, Christianity is often associated with right-wing, conservative politics who are anti-immigration, small government, and pro-2nd amendment rights among other things. However, the Bible also says much about the issues of justice on behalf of the poor, the oppressed and the broken. The Bible also talks about the importance of stewardship of our resources including the environment. Our media-shaped culture has warped and unfortunately distorted what true biblical Christianity is: It’s not simply about “praying the prayer”, its about following Jesus regardless of the cost.
This gives us as God’s people a huge challenge. It is up to us as the Church to display what authentic, biblical Christianity is really all about in humility, righteousness, bold proclamation, and demonstrations of the gospel message through the power of the Holy Spirit.
1. I don’t know what to say: Every time I tried to share the love of Jesus with someone, it degenerates into a nasty argument.
We can train you and your fellow believers! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
On August 21st, the first Solar Eclipse in 99 years will cross from coast to coast. Beginning on the West Coast near Salem, Oregon around 10:16 am the path of totality will cross the United States in a matter of mere hours before exiting off the east coast around Charleston, South Carolina. Hundreds of thousands of scientists, tourists, and, thrill-seekers will get themselves into the path in order to watch day turn into night for a few awe-inspiring minutes across the center of our nation.
From a pure scientific, western, humanistic viewpoint, the answer is simply a beautiful, natural, and rare event: The moon’s shadow completely covers the sun’s face on the earth. However, what makes a total solar eclipse so rare and awe-inspiring is the size of the moon and the sun and the distance of between the sun and the earth and the earth from the moon. The moon is 1/400th of the distance from the earth to the Sun. The sun “just happens to be” 400 times larger (in diameter) than the moon. As the result, sun and the moon appear to be the same size in the sky- simply coincidence or something more? The majesty and beauty of a rare total solar eclipse makes many wonder- is there any meaning behind it?
Someone from a humanistic background recently asked me to describe the practical life of a "disciple" of Christ. This was my response. What would you add? How would you choose to describe the day-by-day relationship of a believer with the Lord?
Jesus bids all of humanity:
Deny your self, take up your cross daily and follow Me. (Luke 9:23)
"Preach the Gospel at all times, and if you must -- use words"
St. Francis of Assisi
"Preach the Gospel at all times, and -- you must use words."
St. Hal of Kansas City
It is a commonly accepted observation that a large percentage of the church in America goes for months, even years, without conscious effort to witness for Christ. But let's look past those who never share their faith to those who at least attempt to do so.