Monthly Archives: March 2010

-The Ministry of St. Patrick

Saint Patrick stained glass window from Cathed...
(Image via Wikipedia)

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Beyond the green beer and rowdy drunken debauchery that typically surrounds the occasion is a historical character that was God’s apostle to Ireland—forget ‘Saint’ this guy functioned as an apostle and a power evangelist.

There is all sorts of stories about Patrick that today they call ‘myths’. I believe that a lot of the myths were probably based upon true events that seem far too supernatural for secular folks to accept today.

This we do know about Patrick, he lived between 340 to 440 AD. He was born to a wealthy Christian Roman family living in Britain. At age 16 he was taken from his home and enslaved by Irish Celtic raiders. He tended sheep for his new masters for 6 years and became closer to God in the process. The ‘voice of God’ directed his escape and later commissioned him to return to Ireland as a missionary. He went to seminary and became a Priest in preparation and later a Bishop.

It is said in documents from that period that he “baptized thousands of people”, and ordained hundreds of priests to lead new Christian communities and villages. He also converted the sons of Kings and chieftains leading to the conversion of an entire pagan nation to Christ.

Legend has it that he was a healer and that he banished snakes from the island though scientists today doubt whether there were that many snakes if any on the island after the last glacial period.

Here’s an example of the spiritual condition of the church that St. Patrick left behind—part of a prayer attributed to him but probably written a couple of generations later:

From “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate”:

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ below me, Christ above me, Christ to the right of me, Christ to the left of me, Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I stand, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye which sees me, Christ in every ear which hears me.

We could use this kind of spiritual maturity. What a great declaration to live by–an example for those seeking a Kingdom culture and economy.               *Top

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-Now’s the Time to Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Dome of the rock, in the background...
(Jerusalem via Wikipedia)

There are many reasons why Christians should continue to remember Jerusalem in our prayers. First of all because I believe that we are commanded to pray for Jerusalem in Psalm 122:6. But beyond that we need to pray for the destiny of that land and people.

Those of us in America should be praying for Our President and his administration. VP Biden has been over to Israel recently and pretty much favored and was sympathetic to the Palestinian Muslims and their claim over the land. In fact he warned Israeli officials that their relationship with the US was in severe danger over settlements in Jerusalem.

It is my perspective that if this country does not support Israel and their right to Jerusalem then we are the ones that are ultimately in real trouble. So even for purely selfish reasons we do need to be praying. I just don’t understand why we would want to support violent dictatorial Islamic despots over the freely elected leaders of a democratic Israel. It doesn’t make sense to me on any level. Obviously we are battling against demonic powers here and spiritual blindness can be the only logical explanation. Prayer is essential for this situation.

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-Victory in ‘Living’ The Lord’s Prayer: “Thy Kingdom Come”-Becoming Naturally Supernatural

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Matt 6:9-13
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.   -KJV

Becoming Naturally Supernatural

When we pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in essence we are praying for the Kingdom and rule of God to become part of our lives. But then we ignore him so much of the time—at least I do. Even for those of us who are Pentecostals and Charismatics, the supernatural is still the exception rather than the rule particularly in America and the Western world.

It is time for us to more clearly understand that Jesus is our example. He demonstrated what it means to bring the Kingdom and rule of God into human experience. How to be naturally supernatural.

The time has come for Christians to stand up and be the ‘body of Christ’—be real representatives of Jesus just like we have always been called to be. It is time to do the works of Jesus and forget about playing church and putting all of our efforts into organizations. The church should never be an end but always a means.

Unfortunately the history of the Christian church places so much emphasis on the organizations and leaders that have come and gone. It is riddled with the dead shells of past revivals, by-gone ministries, fallen leaders, and those who don’t know that they are fallen. But Jesus Christ remains and he said that he would be with us to the very end.

It is time to go back to the future. Our future lies in doing the works of Jesus in the 21th century just like the first all over again.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if Jesus had come in our century rather than the first and to America rather than Judea. Who would be his disciples?

I am fairly well convinced that the main-line churches would probably be like the Sadducees of old and many Evangelicals would act in similar ways to the Pharisees. Also, the secularists would probably be like the Romans and their puppet rulers who sought after riches and political power.

What if a revival came to America and the Western world that looked very much like the works and ministry of Jesus? What would the response be? How would the religious leaders in America respond? How would the secularists?

I believe that when revival does come millions of regular folks will be affected and they will experience a major change in world view. The supernatural will no longer be the exception but a natural expectation and result. Bringing the Kingdom into every day life in the 21th century would change it all.

If and when the works and ministry of Jesus become the norm among the faithful Christians in America there will be a major paradigm shift and the supernatural works of Jesus will become natural for the participants. Then we’ll end up with a new ‘Kingdom culture’ to rival and parallel the secular culture that is now dominating America and the Western world.          *Top

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-Victory in ‘Living’ The Lord’s Prayer: “Thy Kingdom Come”

image

Matt 6:9-13
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.   -KJV

What is the Kingdom?

For years I have prayed- “Thy Kingdom come” with only a vague idea about what I was praying for. Usually I had in mind the end of history and the Second Coming of Jesus when he is going to come back and set up His Kingdom and rule the World.

I had the perspective that right now the Kingdom of God was “not of this world” but in Heaven. Other times I viewed the Kingdom as merely another word for the church.

However when you look at the original Greek word used here for ‘Kingdom’ it seems to offer so much more that could apply to this life. The Greek word is: ‘Basileia’. It doesn’t necessarily refer to a geographical location like a country, but means: ‘rule’. So wherever God rules there is his Kingdom. So when we pray for his Kingdom to come we are really praying for an extension of his rule and authority.

Here’s the actual Greek word order from the prayer:

“Let it come- the- kingdom (or rule)- of thee”

The Kingdom in the Teaching and Ministry of Jesus

It is in the teaching and actions of Jesus that the Kingdom is more clearly identified for us. Wherever Jesus went he proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was near:

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” –Matt 4:17

In fact Matt 4:23-24 tells us that where ever Jesus went he preached about the good news of the Kingdom and healed the sick. But what did he really mean when he said that the Kingdom was “near” and what did those listening to him think he was saying?

The Old Testament prophets talked about the coming of the Messiah and the Kingdom that he would establish and what it would be like. It was going to be an incredible life under the Messiah—no sickness, no more slavery or servitude, plenty for everyone and perfect justice. Totally different than the Roman Empire and the puppet kings like Herod they were suffering under.

When Jesus preached about the Kingdom and healed the sick the people received it in the context of a hope for the coming Messianic Kingdom of justice. In fact when the disciple of John the Baptist showed up asking if he was really the Messiah, he indicated that the Kingdom was being demonstrated in his ministry:

“Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” –Matt 11:4-6

Then when he returned to Nazareth he was asked to read from the scriptures in the synagogue:

The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” – Luke 4:17-21

This was the context that the disciples and regular folks understood when they heard Jesus talking about the Kingdom. The Messianic Kingdom of freedom and justice, healing and no sickness, plus abundance for all.

Today when we read the words of Jesus about the Kingdom we think about the life to come in Heaven or about the millennium at the end of time itself. For us the context is mostly future and we are asking for the ideal future to come.

The Kingdom -‘Basileia’

However the prayer is not future, we are asking in the present for his kingdom to come now—Thy Kingdom come—let your Kingdom come right now. Let healing come, let oppression cease, let freedom ring, let abundance come to the poor, let God’s justice reign.

Again, the original Greek word for Kingdom – ‘Basileia’ actually means ‘rule’. So wherever God rules there is his Kingdom. So when we pray for his Kingdom to come we are really praying for an extension of his rule and authority.

I believe that it is our calling as the representatives of the Messiah—his body-to extend the ‘rule’ of God in this world. To bring healing and justice, and freedom and hope for the poor and oppressed. We are to be agents of the Kingdom in this world and the world to come.               *Top

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