Friday, June 22, 2007

Spiritual Warfare Sideways

In the introduction of his book Spiritual Warfare Sideways, Guy Chevreau says the following:

“…we should give only peripheral consideration to Satan and spiritual warfare. The prince of darkness and his works must never have our front-and-center attention. As men and women of faith, it is never ours to show more concern, interest or effort fighting the devil than worshipping and serving our risen Lord. Eight hundred years ago, Teresa Avila put the issue succinctly: ‘I do not understand these fears which make us cry, ‘Oh, the devil, the devil’ when we might be saying ‘Oh God, oh God!’ and making the devil tremble.’”

“Two different prayers follow. As you read them, pay attention to the feelings and impressions that they evoke. The first: In the name of Jesus Christ I take authority over any and all spirits of the kingdom of darkness that would come against the writing, publishing, distribution and reading of this book, against me or my family and against its readers and their families. I forbid all spirits of darkness from having any access to this book or interfering in any way. I bind them with chains that cannot be broken. Together, as author and reader, we confess any sins that would give any rights or grounds to the enemy, and we pray that the light of Christ would shine on any dark angels sent to confuse or disrupt the reading of this book. In the name of Jesus, we cancel every assignment of the enemy and we come against every demonic influence. We command that every familiar sprit leave our spheres and never return. I cancel any curse, hex or spell sent against me and all those reading this book, from anywhere in the kingdom of darkness, and sent it back to its source. All this I do in the name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

“The second: Jesus, we rest in the fullness of Your precious name—‘Savior.’ Draw our hearts ever deeper in Your love and be our Way, our Truth and our very Life. Thank you that You hold all things together—our all. You are the Christ, the Anointed One. As we open our lives to You, we ask that You come to us and bring release to that which is still captive and sight to all that is still blind. Bind up what is broken and grant us Your favor. Holy Spirit, as I write this book and as others read it, confer upon us ever more wisdom and understanding, that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened and that we may know the hope to which You cal us, how rich and glorious is our inheritance and how vast the resources of power open to us who have faith. Reveal to us more of the Kingdom righteousness, peace and joy that is purposed for us. Lord, our hearts cry out, ‘Your Kingdom come’ – in us, through us and by us. Thank You, Jesus, that You have rescued us from the domain of darkness and brought us into Your Kingdom. Thank You that our release is secured and our sins are forgiven. You are the light of the world, and You give the light of life. Everything exposed to light becomes light; send forth Your light and Your truth to be our guide; draw us into Your dwelling place—there we lay everything before You, for You and You alone are our joy and delight. Father, he humble ourselves before You that we might know more of Your grace. We pray that out of the treasures of Your glory, You would grant us strength and power in our innermost being, that Christ may dwell in our hearts in love. Lord, let it yet be ever more established deep within us—the length and breadth, the height and depth of Your love for us in Christ; may we know it, knowing that this love is ever beyond our understanding. Lord, fill us with this knowledge that we would be filled with Your very fullness. Father, may we live with the expectation that You are ever doing immeasurably more than all we can ask or even conceive, all to Your glory, now and forevermore. Thank you, Father, that You purpose to conform us to the very image of the Lord Jesus; renew our minds, that our whole nature be thus transformed. Holy Spirit, fill us with peace and joy until we overflow with hope, and make us whole and holy, through and through, spirit, soul and body, free of any fault. Amen.

“The first prayer is focused primarily on the enemy and his works and has little explicit biblical grounding. The phrase ‘the kingdom of darkness,’ for instance, does not appear anywhere in Scripture. The apostle Paul asserts that Christ has ‘rescued us from the domain [exousia] of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his dear son, through whom our release is secured and our sins are forgiven.’” (Chevreau, pages 19-21)

Isn’t that insightful?!? We need to keep our eyes fixed on the Kingdom of God. Are there times when we need to directly confront the forces of darkness? Absolutely! More on that later.

They’re worshipping again!

It is 6:40 am on a Friday morning at The Oasis—my office away from my office. Two guitar players and a violin player are tuning up. They are high school students. Their Friday morning Bible study/worship time is about to begin.

It is 6:54 am and there are now ten students gathered around the table and more are heading in.

Worship and Bible study for high school students, led by high school students. Throw in an iced 20 oz Irish cream mocha and it is almost heaven.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

“…be strong in the Lord…”

The secret to spiritual warfare is being strong in the Lord! Period!!!!

Yesterday I was listening to Christian radio station and a message by a person on a biblical perspective on our money. The speaker has a ministry that helps people in this area. He started by telling the people that they were not going to hear anything new—no new revelation. He said the problem is following through with what we already know.

We should already know that the secret to being a Christian is growing strong in the Lord! The challenge is in putting that knowledge into practice.

Several years ago I was taking a sailing class through the Windworks Sailing (the sailing club I belong to). For the class we took a 35’ Wildcat sailing catamaran from Seattle to Nanaimo, British Columbia and back. One night we were in a very protected cove and the instructor had the boat in a very specific place and asked us to set the anchor off the bow and then take a stern line to shore (that is how boats are to anchor in that cove to make room for all the boats that would like to be there). Here’s the deal… if we would have anchored there we would have been high and dry at low tide. We had all of the knowledge and tools in the world concerning tides, currents, the contour of the cove’s sea bed, etc. I suggested that we move the boat before anchoring after I looked at the chart (boat term for map) and the tide table. One of the guys (Bob) was furious with me. I was able to convince the other student about the situation but Bob would have none of it. In true democratic style the two of us prevailed. Bob was so angry that we refused to talk with us. You see, if we had anchored where we were his cabin would have had a good breeze flowing through it based on the direction that his cabin’s hatch opened. If we moved the boat he would not have as good of a breeze. Our instructor finally stepped in and announced that we had just been put to the test. He had been in that cove many times and knew that we would be aground at low tide if we stayed at that location. Bob would not speak to us for the rest of the night. We had the knowledge and tools to make a correct decision—we just had to put them into practice!

Each Christ follower needs to be strong in the Lord! The challenge is putting this truth into practice!

Too many Presbyterian Churches do a lousy job of making disciples of Jesus. Evergreen was one of those churches. We are making progress in this area—we have a long way to go.

A few years ago a basketball player showed up to training camp weighing ten pounds more than the year before. The coaches were please because the player had been was too slight (I wish I had that problem). The coaches became dismayed when they would out that the basketball player had put on ten pounds of fat—not muscle! He hadn’t worked out at all—he just ate lots of donuts, cake, cookies and ice cream late at night. So instead of having a single problem (not enough muscle) he had three problems (out of shape, extra fat and not enough muscle).

Sounds like a lot of us Presbyterians!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Surprise

Friday morning I was at The Oasis quite early (I know, Friday is suppose to be my day off but it was just not to be). On a typical Friday I don’t get to The Oasis until around 9:00 am. Friday morning the place was packed—with high school students. Having the place packed with high school students is nothing new. Emerald Ridge High School is not too far away and students regularly stop by for a latte before class. The place had a good sized group of students holding a before school worship service—totally student led and driven. Two students were playing the guitar, two had drums and one played the violin.

Starting the school day with worship is the best thing high school students can do. It is also be best thing that they can do in spiritual warfare. I am convinced that there is nothing that Satan hates more than our worship of the Lord God.

Starting our day with worship… now there’s an idea.