Dangerous Prayers, Part 3

Dangerous Prayers-1John 12:24,   Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

Isaiah 57:15,   For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Psalm 85:6,   Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?

In the book, The Kneeling Christian, we find the following words:

It is not too much to say that all real growth in the spiritual life– all victory over temptation, all confidence and peace in the presence of difficulties and dangers, all repose of spirit in times of great disappointment or loss, all habitual communion with God– depend upon the practice of secret prayer. … Everything depends upon prayer. Why are many Christians so often defeated? Because they pray so little. Why are many church-workers so often discouraged and disheartened? Because they pray so little. Why do most men see so few brought “out of darkness to light” by their ministry? Because they pray so little. Why are not our churches simply on fire for God? Because there is so little real prayer.

The same author wrote:

Why, the wonder is not that we pray so little, but that we can ever get up from our knees if we realize our own need; the needs of our home and our loved ones; the needs of our pastor and the Church; the needs of our city–of our country–of the heathen and Mohammedan world! All these needs, can be met by the riches of God in Christ Jesus. St. Paul had no doubt about this–nor have we. Yes! “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory, in Christ Jesus” (Phil. iv. 19).

Over the past two weeks we have considered the thought of praying dangerously. Let’s take a moment review what we seen thus far:

Thankfully there are those of us who do pray. We pray the Lord’s Prayer, we pray the prayer of Jabez, we pray Paul’s prayers in Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, and on occasion we even pray some of those Old Testament prayers!

But even for those of us who do pray consistently and constantly, more often than not our prayers are “safe prayers.” You know, we pray for God’s blessing on our life and on the lives of those we love, as well as his blessing upon our ministries. We pray for God’s provision and God’s protection. We pray for good grades at school. We pray for a job, or a raise. We even pray for our friends and family members who don’t know Jesus to get saved.

These are all great prayers!

These are all necessary prayers!

Unfortunately, these are all what we could call “safe” prayers!

Our Old and New Testament heroes of the faith, as well as the prayer warriors found throughout church history, over the past 2,000 years, neither played it safe, nor prayed it safe.

They “Prayed Dangerously.”

Throughout history there have been men and women who have allowed God to do something  special in their lives. These men and women were always men and women of prayer.  As one author noted, “These ‘saints,’ as we sometimes call them, knew God in a way that I clearly did not. They experienced Jesus as the defining reality of their lives. They possessed a flaming vision of God that blinded them to all competing loyalties. They experienced life built on the Rock.”

One of the greatest books that I have ever read was called Deeper Experiences of Great Christians. In it we find these words about Savonarola:

As a boy his devotion and fervor increased as he grew older, and he spent many hours in prayer and fasting. He would kneel in church for hours at a time engaged in prayer. He was very contemplative, and his soul was deeply stirred by the vice and worldliness he saw on every hand. The luxury, splendor, and wealth displayed by the rich and the awful poverty of the poor weighed heavily on his heart. Italy was the prey of petty tyrants and wicked priests, and dukes and popes vied with each other in lewdness, lavishness, and cruelty. These things brought great sorrow to his young soul which was burning for virtue and truth. Some of the rough impassioned verses of his youth show how deeply his soul was stirred

These  “saints” were men and women who not only prayed, but they prayed “Dangerous Prayers.”

As I have noted in parts one and two,

“God is looking for some men and women today who will step out of their comfort zone and enter into the very combat zone of praying. God is looking for some men and women who are willing, not only to pray, but to pray ‘Dangerous Prayers.’”

What are these “Dangerous Prayers”?

Below are a list of a few that I can think of. These are the prayers that have led to revivals [personal and corporate] in the past. These are the prayers that, when prayed sincerely, lead to the miraculous in the life of an individual or the life of a church.

Dangerous Prayers:

O Lord, search me …
O Lord, break me …
O Lord, humble me …
O Lord, revive me …
O Lord, stretch me …
O Lord, change me …
O Lord, lead me …
O Lord, open my eyes …
O Lord, break my heart …
O Lord, use me …
O Lord, send me …

Let’s take a brief moment today and simply consider the second, third, and fourth of these “Dangerous Prayers.”

For those of us who have known the Lord for any length of time, we have come to know that in spite of all of the changes that God has made in our lives, and we thank God for them, there is still within a great hindrance to knowing God intimately and connecting to others with the love of Christ.

Brokenness-1In a nutshell, we are a proud, arrogant, and often a calloused people that need to be broken. Was not this the problem with the Pharisees? They were faithful to the temple. They prayed. They knew the scriptures more than you and I will ever know them. According to Jesus, it appears many of them had a missionary spirit [Matthew 23:15]. Externally, they had it all together, but within is where the real problem was [Matthew 23:25-28]. In the eyes of one another, they were definitely an impressive bunch. But to the common sinner and to Christ, not so. Concerning the Pharisees, one author wrote:

Let’s be honest. Passionate faith can have a dark side — a really dark side. Just ask Jesus. When he showed up as God in the flesh, those who thought of themselves as God’s biggest fans and defenders wanted nothing to do with him. They tried to shut him up. When they couldn’t, they had him killed. That’s obviously passion gone bad. But the ancient Pharisees aren’t the only example of the dark side of overzealous faith. Our history books are filled with other examples. … They thought they were advancing the cause of the kingdom when in reality they were simply embarrassing the King.

Been there, done that!

Take a few moments. Ask God to search your heart. Ask God to reveal the pride, arrogance, insecurity, insincerity, and so on. Once God searches our hearts and reveals, by His Spirit, who we really are, NOT WHO EVERYONE ELSE THINKS WE ARE, then we can ask God to break us and humble us.

If we don’t, and we remain unbroken, we cannot bring forth the life that God intended for us to bring forth.

Brokenness-2It doesn’t matter how many conferences or revivals we attend. It doesn’t matter how many verses we memorize. It doesn’t matter how many hours we go out and “serve the Lord.” If we aren’t broken, very little of eternal value is accomplished.

Watchman Nee had it right when he wrote the following words:

It is basically because their outward man has never been dealt with. For this reason, excitement in revivals, pleading prayers, and zealous activities are but a waste of time. As we shall see, only one kind of basic dealing can enable man to be useful before God—brokenness. … The basic difficulty of a servant of God lies in the failure of his inward man to break through his outward man. Therefore, we must recognize before God that the first difficulty to our work is not in others, but in ourselves.

After asking God to search our heart, break our will, and humble us, now we can get to “O Lord revive me.”

We hear many cries from pulpits today about the great need for a revival in our country. No doubt, we need a revival in our country. We pray out, “O God, revive our churches.” Our churches definitely need revival. But more than our country, our churches, and the guy or gal who sits across from us during the church service, I NEED REVIVAL.

And, I am going to guess that you do too!

And for those of us who have been in the ministry for awhile, we would no doubt have to agree with Leonard Ravenhill, who once said, “The problem isn’t in the pew, it’s in the pulpit.” 🙂Dangerous prayers -2

When our hearts are searched, our wills are broken, we are humbled before a holy God, and we are truly revived, we will find our greatest rejoicing in Christ and Christ alone!

Take some time today, this week, and ask God to search your heart, break you, humble you, and revive you!

Just reflecting!

Dangerous Prayers, Part 2

Dangerous Prayers-1Jeremiah 33:1-3,  “Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying, 2  Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; 3  Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”

Psalm 139:23-24,  “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

If you are saved today, you know the importance of prayer. We all know, at least with a head-knowledge, that prayer is important-no, prayer is vital-for the Christian life. We all claim to believe that prayer is a must in the Christian life. We talk about prayer. We teach and preach about prayer. Unfortunately, what we say, teach, and preach, and what we do in real life doesn’t always match up.

Because it’s been a week since we last wrote on this topic, let’s take a moment to review what we wrote last week:

We read the great prayers in the Bible. We read the prayers of Old Testament men like Moses, Ezra and Nehemiah, Elijah and Elisha, David, and Daniel!

We read the prayers of our Lord Jesus and Peter, James, John and Paul in the New Testament!

We read about the great prayer warriors throughout church history like a Praying Hyde, Hudson Taylor, or the “Apostle of Prayer,” George Mueller.

We get inspired, but the inspiration just doesn’t seem to get the job done!

I think one of the greatest quotes I have ever read on prayer is:

I often wonder what would transpire if every Christ-follower got serious about installing solid prayer practices into their lives. What kind of kingdom gains do you suppose would be made if each of us made pressing into God through prayer a nonnegotiable part of our everyday experience? I believe hearts would soften. Habits would shift. Faith would expand. Love for the poor would increase. Positive, purposeful legacies would be built. And a ravenous hunger would rumble through us all to get usable and to get used in significant ways by the one true God. We can make this happen in our lifetime, friend. And it all starts with learning, and loving, to pray.

Read those words again. In fact, take some time this week to meditate upon those words.

Dangerous prayers -2Last week we introduced the thought of praying dangerously. Again, a bit more review from what we wrote last week:

Thankfully there are those of us who do pray. We pray the Lord’s Prayer, we pray the prayer of Jabez, we pray Paul’s prayers in Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, and on occasion we even pray some of those Old Testament prayers!

But even for those of us who do pray consistently and constantly, more often than not our prayers are “safe prayers.” You know, we pray for God’s blessing on our life and on the lives of those we love, as well as his blessing upon our ministries. We pray for God’s provision and God’s protection. We pray for good grades at school. We pray for a job, or a raise. We even pray for our friends and family members who don’t know Jesus to get saved.

These are all great prayers!

These are all necessary prayers!

Unfortunately, these are all what we could call “safe” prayers!

Our Old and New Testament heroes of the faith, as well as the prayer warriors found throughout church history, over the past 2,000 years, neither played it safe, nor prayed it safe.

They “Prayed Dangerously.”

God is looking for some men and women today who will step out of their comfort zone and enter into the very combat zone of praying. God is looking for some men and women who are willing, not only to pray, but to pray “Dangerous Prayers.”

At your own risk“Dangerous Prayers” are those prayers that we pray at our own risk. While prayer doesn’t always change our circumstances, prayer always changes us. And, this is so very true when we sincerely pray these “Dangerous Prayers.”

What are these “Dangerous Prayers”?

Below are a list of a few that I can think of. These are the prayers that have led to revivals [personal and corporate] in the past. These are the prayers that, when prayed sincerely, lead to the miraculous in the life of an individual or the life of a church.

We will consider just a few over the next week or so. Possibly 2-3 at a time, but let’s give a brief overview of these “Dangerous Prayers.”

Dangerous Prayers:

  • O Lord, search me …
  • O Lord, break me …
  • O Lord, humble me …
  • O Lord, revive me …
  • O Lord, stretch me …
  • O Lord, change me …
  • O Lord, lead me …
  • O Lord, open my eyes …
  • O Lord, break my heart …
  • O Lord, use me …
  • O Lord, send me …

Let’s take a moment today and simply consider the first of these “dangerous prayers.”

O Lord search me!

This prayer only has five words, but dangerous words for sure.  If we were honest with ourselves and God, which more often than not we aren’t, we would have to admit we don’t want God to do a thorough searching of our heart. We don’t want him  to because we are afraid what he will find, and we don’t want to be exposed to the truth about ourselves.

Search Me 1This first prayer comes from Psalm 139:23-24, where we find the following words, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

As one commentator wrote:

These are perhaps some of the most poignant words in the entire Bible. In these two verses there is so much. We see the Psalmist asking God to search him, to look to the deepest part of what he is, his own heart. Why would the Psalmist ask this? And, why would any of us ask it? The reason is simple. We cannot know our own hearts as well as God can. He indwells us, knows every thought, is aware of every feeling, and He understands us better than we do. If we ever needed anyone to reach down in the depths of our hearts to find out what is unholy so that it can be removed, it is God.

For even the “best of us,” our hearts are filled with so much pride, selfishness, and carnality. Unfortunately, we often don’t know it because our hearts tell us everything is okay!

The great Chinese Christian, Watchman Nee, once wrote:

ANYONE who serves God will discover sooner or later that the great hindrance he has in the Lord’s work is not others, but himself. He will discover that his outward man (soul) is not in harmony with his inward man (spirit). Both tend to go toward two opposite directions from each other. He will also sense the inability of his outward man to submit to the inner control of his regenerated spirit, received through the new birth. Thus, he is rendered incapable of obeying God’s highest commands. … Many of God’s servants are not able to do even the most elementary work. Ordinarily, they should be enabled by the exercise of their spirit to know God’s Word, to discern the spiritual condition of another, to send forth God’s messages under the anointing, and to receive God’s illumination. Yet due to the distractions of the outward man, their spirit does not seem to function properly. It is basically because their outward man has never been dealt with. For this reason, excitement in revivals, pleading prayers, and zealous activities are but a waste of time. As we shall see, only one kind of basic dealing can enable man to be useful before God—brokenness.

And brokenness, which we will cover later, isn’t likely to come until God has reveal the truth about us. For far to long, we have allowed our deceitful hearts to convince us that everything is just fine. But deep down inside, when we are all alone with God, WE KNOW BETTER!

I want to challenge you today, and over the next few days, to ask God to search your heart. Ask God to expose the carnality, selfishness, pride, and lack of spiritual desire in your heart. If we ask him, he’ll surely do it. It’ll hurt, but “faithful are the wounds of a friend.”

And, we don’t have a greater friend than Jesus!

Search Me -2Lord willing, over the next few posts, we will all be challenged, convicted, and above all, changed. If we aren’t praying, may God help us to start praying consistently and constantly. And, if we are praying, may God help us to leave the elementary school of prayer and start praying “Dangerous Prayers!”

Just reflecting on “Dangerous Prayers!”

Challenged to a Life of Commitment by an Atheist

CT Studd---1 Corinthians 9:16,   For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 

Will continue my thoughts on “Dangerous Prayers” with the next post, but with the memorial service of my father-n-law today, and hearing two really good quotes during the service …

“He lived his life for the Savior.”

“We are here today to celebrate a life well lived for Christ.”

I thought I would share the following with you.

Charles T. Studd is one of the most notable missionaries of all-time. He was a servant of Christ who faithfully served His Saviour in China, India, and Africa. Prior to leaving for the mission field, he was a well-known and very wealthy athlete in England. But he gave it all up-the prosperity and the prestige for God’s purpose for his life on the mission field.

It was Studd who penned the words, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice could be too great for me to make for him” and “Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell; I want to run a Rescue Shop within a yard of hell.” He’s also the one who penned the well-known words, “Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

What was C.T. Studd’s reason for giving and going? Studd, you remember, gave away a fortune—$145,000. He could have lived at home in great luxury, but he chose rather to give away all that he had and go to China as a missionary. Why? Strange as it may seem, it was the statement of an atheist that started him on his way. It so gripped him when he read it that he felt he must leave all and follow Jesus Christ. Here it is:

Did I firmly believe, as millions say they do, that the knowledge and practice of religion in this life influences destiny in another, religion would mean to me everything. I would cast away earthly enjoyment as dross, earthly cares as follies, and earthly thoughts and feelings as vanity. Religion would be my first waking thought, and my last image before sleep sank me into unconsciousness. I would labor in its cause alone. I would take thought for the morrow of Eternity only. I would esteem one soul gained for Heaven worth a life of suffering. Earthly consequences should never stay my hand, nor seal my lips. Earth, its joys and grief’s, would occupy no moment in my thoughts. I would strive to look upon Eternity alone, and on the immortal Souls around me, soon to be everlastingly happy or everlastingly miserable. I would go forth to the world and preach to it in season and out of season, and my text would be, ‘What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?’”

RavenhillNothing like falling under conviction after reading what an atheist had to say.

Just reflecting!!!!

Dangerous Prayers, Part 1

Dangerous Prayers-1James 5:15-18, And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. If we were honest, brutally honest, most of us would have to admit that we struggle seriously in our prayers lives; and that our prayer lives are not anywhere near where they ought to be.

Did you read that passage above? Go ahead, read it again, and read it carefully. Have you ever noticed that the Bible is like one big prayer manual? Have you even noticed how much different the prayers of the Bible are from your prayers and mine?

Of course, that’s if we even pray at all!

We believe in prayer. We read about prayer. We talk about prayer. We even preach and teach about prayer!

The problem is, we just don’t pray, or we definitely don’t pray like we should!

We want to pray!

We want to pray more!

We want to pray more fervently!

The problem is, we don’t!

At least not like we know we should!

We read the great prayers in the Bible. We read the prayers of Old Testament men like Moses, Ezra and Nehemiah, Elijah and Elisha, David, and Daniel!

We read the prayers of our Lord Jesus and Peter, James, John and Paul in the New Testament!

We read about the great prayer warriors throughout church history like a Praying Hyde, Hudson Taylor, or the “Apostle of Prayer,” George Mueller.

We get inspired, but the inspiration just doesn’t seem to get the job done! 

Thankfully there are those of us who do pray. We pray the Lord’s Prayer, we pray the prayer of Jabez, we pray Paul’s prayers in Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, and on occasion we even pray some of those Old Testament prayers!

But even for those of us who do pray consistently and constantly, more often than not our prayers are “safe prayers.” You know, we pray for God’s blessing on our life and on the lives of those we love, as well as his blessing upon our ministries. We pray for God’s provision and God’s protection. We pray for good grades at school. We pray for a job, or a raise. We even pray for our friends and family members who don’t know Jesus to get saved.

These are all great prayers!

These are all necessary prayers!

Unfortunately, these are all what we could call “safe” prayers!

Our Old and New Testament heroes of the faith, as well as the prayer warriors found throughout church history, over the past 2,000 years, neither played it safe, nor prayed it safe.

They “Prayed Dangerously.”

God is looking for some men and women today who will step out of their comfort zone and enter into the very combat zone of praying. God is looking for some men and women who are willing, not only to pray, but to pray “Dangerous Prayers.”

At your own risk“Dangerous Prayers” are those prayers that we pray at our own risk.  While prayer doesn’t always change our circumstances, prayer always changes us. And, this is so very true when we sincerely pray these “Dangerous Prayers.”

What are these “Dangerous Prayers”?

Below are a list of a few that I can think of. These are the prayers that have led to revivals [personal and corporate] in the past. These are the prayers that, when prayed sincerely, lead to the miraculous in the life of an individual or the life of a church.

We will consider just a few over the next week or so. Possibly 2-3 at a time, but let’s give a brief overview of these “Dangerous Prayers.”

Dangerous Prayers:

  • O Lord, search me …
  • O Lord, break me …
  • O Lord, humble me …
  • O Lord, stretch me … 
  • O Lord, change me …
  • O Lord, lead me …
  • O Lord, open my eyes …
  • O Lord, break my heart …
  • O Lord,  send me …

Lord willing, over the next few posts, we will all be challenged, convicted, and above all, changed. If we aren’t praying, may God help us to start praying consistently and constantly. And, if we are praying, may God help us to leave the elementary school of prayer and start praying “Dangerous Prayers!”

Dangerous prayers -2

A Life of Eternal Significance


Significance-2“Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus” (Acts 15:26).

“And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, COME OVER INTO MACEDONIA, AND HELP Us” (Acts 16:9).

Nothing quite like reading the Book of Acts to get a spiritual recharge. Prayerfully pondering the chapters of this book can and should bring about a renewed vision and rekindled fire in one’s soul for reaching the lost for Christ!

I had the opportunity to read Acts 15 and 16 this morning. Yes sir!!!

If you want a passion for souls, a desire to reach the lost, and a spiritual boost that might propel you to reach out to the unreached saturate your heart and mind with the words found in this book.

The pages of the New Testament, as well as church history, are filled with examples of men who willingly surrendered themselves, and risked their lives, for Christ and the cause of Christ in this world. Men and women who chose to live lives of eternal significance, rather than temporal success!

Significance-1God is still looking for such men!!!

Though not a man, 🙂 I like what one female missionary in Africa wrote:

People often ask if I think my life is dangerous, if I am afraid. I am much more afraid of remaining comfortable. Matthew 10: 28 tells us not to fear things that can destroy the body but things that can destroy the soul. I am surrounded by things that can destroy the body. I interact almost daily with people who have deadly diseases, and many times I am the only person who can help them. I live in a country with one of the world’s longest-running wars taking place just a few hours away. Uncertainty is everywhere. But I am living in the midst of the uncertainty and risk, amid things that can and do bring physical destruction, because I am running from things that can destroy my soul: complacency, comfort, and ignorance. I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy. Jesus called His followers to be a lot of things, but I have yet to find where He warned us to be safe. We are not called to be safe, we are simply promised that when we are in danger, God is right there with us. And there is no better place to be than in His hands.

God is looking for men and women that will surrender, go, and risk it all for Christ and the cause of Christ. Men who will lay aside their personal dreams, desires, long sought after ambitions, comfort and convenience, safety, and security, living with eternity on their mind and the great needs of the world on their heart. Men and women who willingly choose significance over success!

Are you and I willing to be that man?

Are we willing to live a lives of eternal significance rather than worldly success?

William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, which at one time was a hot-bed of evangelistic fervor for the poor and the needy was one of those men who rose to the challenge. The king of England once said to William Booth, “You are doing a great work – a great work, General Booth.” When the king asked William Booth to write in his autograph album, the old man – now 75 years old – bent forward, took the pen, and summed up his life’s work:

Your Majesty,

Some men’s ambition is art,

Some men’s ambition is fame,

Some men’s ambition is gold,

My ambition is the souls of men!

The great apostle Paul was willing to go where the need was great, where the door was open, and where he could make an eternal difference in the lives of others, especially among the unreached peoples of his time.

How about you and me?

Romans 15:20,   Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation.

Significance-3Are you looking for a life of ETERNAL SIGNIFICANCE? If so, follow Paul’s pattern!

Just taking a few moments to reflect on Paul’s passion!

The Bible-A Book About Being Sent

Bible --- 2Acts 7:34,  I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.

It is interesting that Stephen in his sermon before the high priest and others, found in Acts 7, refers to Abraham being “called” to leave his father, family, friends, future ambitions, financial security, and everything that was familiar to him (Acts 7:1-5), as well as Moses being “sent” (also leaving everything that had become familiar to him over the past 40 years) to deliver the people from Egyptian bondage (Acts 7:34-35).

This, to our knowledge, was Stephen’s first and only sermon. Yet it, along with the persecution that followed, led to a church which had become satisfied, comfortable, and even “stuck in a rut,” to be scattered with the Good News of the Gospel (Acts 8:1-4).

THE BIBLE IS HIS STORY OF HIS CALLING AND HIS SENDING MEN AND WOMEN TO FULFILL HIS PURPOSE, WHICH INCLUDES SENDING HIS OWN SON. THE BIBLE IS A BOOK ABOUT HIS CALLING US FROM LIVES OF COMFORT AND EASE TO LIVES OF COMMITMENT AND RISK!

I like the words of one author who wrote:

The Bible is calling Christians and communities of faith to seriously engage a world where more than a billion people still haven’t heard the Gospel, and billions of others are physically impoverished. When we dare to look at the world and let God’s Word drive our lives, we will not be content to spend untold resources in our lives and churches on ourselves. The Bible is calling us to forsake short-term treasures in this world that we cannot keep for the sake of long-term treasure in eternity that we cannot lose.

He also wrote:

Two thousand years later, I wonder how far we have wandered from this path. Somewhere along the way, amid varying cultural tides and popular church trends, it seems that we have minimized Jesus’ summons to total abandonment. … Somewhere along the way, we have lost sight of what it means to be a disciple, and we have laid aside Jesus’ command to make disciples. We have tragically minimized what it means to be his follower, and we have virtually ignored the biblical expectation that we fish for men.

On another occasion, and in another place, this same author also wrote: “It will always cost us something if we choose to step out of casual, comfortable, complacent Christianity.” 

You have to wonder why so few are being “called” and “sent!”

Are there not more who are willing to count the cost and pay the cost of making an impact for Christ and the cause of Christ around the world, especially where they are needed the most?

Recently, Bro. Joseph Esposito sent this about David Livingstone:

A missionary society wrote to David Livingstone and asked, “Have you found a good road to where you are? If so, we want to know how to send other men to join you.” Livingstone wrote back, “If you have men who will come only if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.”

God is still looking for men and women that he can send. Men and women who are willing to go; willing to go to the hard places to reach the hard people with the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ!

How about you today?

What are you living for?

What are you waiting for?

Bible---1 Just reflecting!!!!

For Necessity is Laid Upon Me

China0rbustRomans 15:20,  Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:

1 Corinthians 9:16,  For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

Spending some time today working on a book that will either be called Don’t let the Dream Die or Keep the Dream Alive.  This is a book that will be about my brother’s (Pastor Joe Esposito) desire to see Pacific Baptist Church send a team to China prior to his being hospitalized. Many of you will remember that the last words Pastor Joe’s children heard him say, prior to being hospitalized, were, “China or Bust.”

FalconerFor a chapter called, “Why China?” I am lifting some excerpts from a few books. I am especially using excerpts from a book called On the Edge: A Strategy for China in Our Generation. The book was written by missionaries Jake Taube and Mark Tolson. They worked together in China. Taube was eventually kicked out of the country, Tolson is still there!

Using the story of God bringing down the walls of Jericho down  and his people experiencing the joy of a great victory, as a springboard, missionary Jake Taube writes:

What pushed them [the Israelites] past their protests?   It was a burning desire in their hearts to see something great happen. They wanted that victory! They wanted to conquer Jericho! They were just waiting for their opportunity. That is the great separation of generations! Where in our generation does that burning desire of has a passion to see God glorified behind the closed doors of this world? Until we have young men and young women of God who are willing to do anything necessary to see God’s name glorified, there will be no city-taking. Until there is a generation willing to suffer, willing to bleed, and willing to die for the glory of God, there will be no conquering of the land God has promised us. We may watch walls fall and doors open, but it is our hearts that determine whether or not the cities of this world will be taken.

… Though we have raised a generation of young people trained to sweep every decision, even the selfishly-motivated ones, under the rug of their personal perception of “God’s will.” But someone is not being honest! With the millions perishing around the world, it is abundantly clear that there are thousands of laborers never making it to the field. So, as the barrier is obviously not one of authority, funds, or manpower, what is the insurmountable obstacle that lies in the path of the Great Commission’s fulfillment? It is simply a lack of necessity!  The reason we do not find the authority to storm the 10/40 window or to penetrate the Bamboo Curtain, the reason we do not see the massive financial figures needed to impact the world, the reason we do not have armies of young people training to go to the mission field is the fact that we feel no necessity to make it happen!

Some creative power will be needed to reach China’s millions with the Gospel! As the government strives to keep the church outside of the borders of China, the church must do whatever possible to get the Gospel inside of their closed doors. But this creative power will never be exercised until God’s laborers feel a need to do so! When a burning necessity drives God’s people to approach His throne on behalf of the 1.3 billion Chinese, those things that seemed like obstacles will fall away to make way for Christ’s church on the warpath.  

When will we reach China?

We will reach China when we must.

The Apostle Paul described his motivation like this: “For though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel.” (I Cor.9:16; emphasis added) Paul felt an overwhelming need to expend his life in the way he did. Every decision and action was made in subservience to this crushing need that he felt to get the Gospel to the world. The early church worked almost exclusively in circumstances where persecution, imprisonment, and even martyrdom awaited them when they preached the Gospel. But they found the means! They gave all they had to make it happen, because they needed to!

For nearly three years now, since my brother was rushed to the hospital, by God’s grace, I have been sounding the trumpet and beating the drums for China. Regrettably, I haven’t seen a whole lot of that “burning desire”or that  “passion to see God glorified behind the closed doors of this world” that Taube and Tolson wrote about!

I guess I will just beat the drums a bit longer!!!

Hudson Taylor-2Just reflecting!