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2017 is the Reformation 500 year. In 1517 Luther nailed his 95 protests to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

In the midst of my research this week I came across a vivid description of the tumult of that entire century. It was “an era of great social ferments, natural catastrophes, famines, plaques and unusual men.” There was a Pope who was the father of four illegitimate children and another Pope calling down curses on a second Pope who set up shop in Avignon, who responded in kind. Then I read the following and thought about our century, particularly how the climate change prophets and people who tell us a warm summer means we are all about to die.

“The fourteenth century was a strange century indeed. In this period the ice drift cut off communication with Greenland, and the advancing glaciers almost literally pushed the settlements into the sea. European chroniclers of the century recorded two excessively cold winters. Crops failed in Norway and then in England and in France. There were excessive rains. The Sequoia tree rings in California ran to abnormal width, the Caspian Sea expanded, and the Rhine, the Danube, the Thames, and the Elbe froze. Fifty-five summers of this century saw violent floods, and the Cathedral of Mayence was submerged to the famous frieze over the door. In the Netherlands seventy-two cities were destroyed by the sea in one night and 200,000 people were drowned in one year….”

Hit pause.

Imagine if the Prophet Al Gore were alive then?

No wonder above the 1500 “Nativity” painting (still hung prominently at the National London Gallery) the painter inscribed: “This picture was painted by me Alexander amid the confusions of Italy at the time prophesied in the Second Woe of the Apocalypse, when Satan shall be loosed on the earth.”

Resume…

“…The Black Death, the Asiatic Cholera, The Athenian Plague, and famine killed thirteen million people in China and reduced the populations in France an England by one-third. The common people were impoverished, ill-fed and ill-housed. Yet, at the same time the secular and ecclesiastic princes lived in a byzantine luxury that only accentuated their aloofness from the common hoi polloi (the many). While the peasants complained that they “haue the payne and traveyle, rayne and wynd in the feldes,” the doorways of the castle of Vincennes had to be raised in order to accommodate the three-foot tall head-dress of Isabelle of Bavaria. A rigid caste system, perpetuating itself by a ruthless exploitation of the common people, was entrenched on the whole continent of Europe, upheld by secular powers and sanctioned “urbi et orbi” (To Rome and to the World!) by the Church. The popes and the princes knew the difference between a good statue and a bad one, but they knew not the difference between good and evil; they fought each other in palace and the field, with daggers and with crosses…” (Enrico C.S. Molnar, doctoral dissertation, 1947)

There is more but you get the idea. Maybe we could say when the Lord’s patience runs thin with a Church that has entirely lost its way, no longer looking or acting even remotely like Jesus, he shakes the earth, even the natural order, and sends in Reformers.

I only wish that a hundred years before Luther the Bohemian reformer Petr Chelčický had prevailed. His was a Reformation back to precepts of the Sermon on the Mount calling the Church to more resemble Jesus. Misreading Romans 13, Luther gave God’s sanction for the State to crush with great cruelty the masses in the Peasants Revolt of 1520. Oy.

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Karl Barth

“The believer need not fear fate, even though it might be the devil himself.

The devil may plague and tempt and harass us… It is God that we must fear,

the God to whose Word the believer is directed and clings.”

– Karl Barth, Ethics, 301.


I’m reading Barth’s Ethics for discussion each Monday afternoon with other Ph.D candidates in the Divinity Department here. Some of the reading for today had to do with fate. Got me thinking about the fate of nations versus the choice of an electorate.

Reminded me of an argument I found myself in back in 1999 while eating fish on a beach in Gaza City with a Palestinian Christian friend named Ahed. Kristen and I were privileged on a humanitarian mission to stay as a guest in the compound of Yasser Arafat. Yasser’s rooster woke us up at five in the morning that week.

That evening sitting together at a wicker and wood beach table only a few feet from the Mediterranean Sea, an argument ensued. Actually, I wasn’t arguing, but something I said set Aed off and he stood and burst out angrily about how I don’t understand fate. My comment was in regard to how the first thirty years of his life were lived entirely within the land prison called the Gaza Strip (only 5 miles wide and 25 miles long – imagine living your entire life within a space that small and never being allowed to leave it) and my hope that things will change for the better and he can leave that place.

Basically Ahed said: “NO! This is my fate! To be born here, to live here and to die here is my fate. You Americans don’t understand fate. If you don’t like where you live, you move. If you don’t like how things are in the land where you live, you vote to change it. In America you are the masters of your own fate but here– fate is our master.”

What do you say to that?

Sucks to be you?!

I really don’t remember what I said. Probably something like, “Sorry I’ll give that some thought.” I did give that some thought. I thought about it for a very long time and it wasn’t until after I had left the Gaza Strip did I think of what I wish I would have said. I wish I would have put my arm around his shoulder and looked with him at the sea and said, “Ahed, my friend, our God still parts seas.”

I don’t believe in fate.

I believe in God and in His Sovereignty over the affairs of men. He still raises up kings and tears them down.

vatican_black_smoke_161486868_900x675There is black smoke coming out the chimney of Pastor John MacArthur’s church again. It’s not the pure white plume that tells us they’ve heard the heart of God on a matter. The black smoke is rising from the believers MacArthur continues to burn at the stake because they don’t fit his version of doctrinal correctness. MacArthur’s Bible does not contain Romans 14:1 which we all can easily find in our Bibles. This missing verse in his Bible says don’t pass judgment on disputable matters.

Rather than reach the lost world with the Good News, he’s spending the widow’s mite on a Strange Fire Conference to call out those in the charismatic movement who are having experiences with the Holy Spirit that are different from his own. As the self-appointed arbiter of all that is true, MacArthur continues to base his theology on his experience or the lack there of.

MacArthur says he’ll call out distorted worship and false worship in the charismatic movement. I’m not God, but if I was I’d be more inclined to accept the worship of people who break a sweat and cry out in desperation more than I would the icy cold intellectual stoicism MacArthur thinks God wants. But who am I to judge?

MacArthur should dub his conference “Friendly Fire” instead of “Strange Fire” because that name is more fitting. On the list of things Christians should be doing today, near the very murky bottom is this: beating up the Bride of Christ and exposing her inadequacies and blemishes. Here’s what I know about grooms and brides: if you want to release the wrath of the groom, take after his Bride, rip off her garments and expose her inadequacies to the world. If you want to release the favor of the Groom, I’d suggest to you bless his Bride and serve her and keep no record of wrongs.

A few years ago the church of a pastor friend of mine was picketed on Easter Sunday morning by another pastor in town who dubbed my friend a heretic. We talked about it and my friends comment was: Easter is such a huge opportunity for the Kingdom of God, I can’t imagine punting my Easter service to point fingers at anyone but Jesus.

My sentiments exactly. That MacArthur’s church is called Grace Community Church is humorous to me – – he has zero grace for others in the Christian community. God bless him.

Been busy- so, this is a week late and my friend Father Timothy Fountain beat me to the punch. I’ve noted several times on my other blog that we are praying for God’s mercy in the Gulf with regard to the oil spill. This is the jist of the prayer I’ve posted a couple times already and have been praying publicly and privately:

We are praying fervently that God would have mercy on us in relation to the BP oil spill in the Gulf; specifically that he’d release wisdom to plug the leak and creative technologies to clean it up, and that he’d expose what he needs to expose right now in our hearts and especially in our corporate and national leaders.

Now the New York Times reports the oil spill is vanishing fast. Apparently God has been answering our prayers in a way far beyond what we can ask or imagine. One of the main causes of the dissipation is the presence of oil eating bacteria in the Gulf water. In response to that news Father Tim posts…  “Dare I say that lots of people have been praying?”  In the comment string following Father Tim’s post, our yet unbelieving far far left of center friend Cory at Madville Times writes… “Tim, is that headline saying what I think it’s saying?”  Father Tim responds in part in this way:

Cory – people of faith will consider unexpected improvement a blessing and an answer to prayer. Favorable natural phenomena and successful human effort are not ignored – in fact they are the primary means through which God would be understood to answer prayer in most faith traditions.

Cory thanked him and noted that was the thoughtful answer he was looking for. Here was my contribution to the discussion:

Tim – You beat me to it on this post. I’ve been busy, but not to busy to notice all those who are now praising mother nature, micro-bacteria and the tiniest members of the ecosystem! And who can we thank for that perfectly ordered natural healing design? That’s right… Darwin! O wait, he’s dead.  I lack the blind faith the evolutionists possess… and I chuckle when people praise the ecosystem instead of the one who ordered it perfectly. I can’t even look at a tiny little bird without thinking of the stunning foolishness of those who swallow the dangerous delusion that it is a product of uber-billions of years of unguided random mutations. [It’s dangerous because the ideology devalues human life and holocausts and genocide have been the historical result of the deception that some are more human than others – and that only the more fit should be allowed to survive. And, teaching it to kids communicates they are accidental, just the next random mutation, and we have no intrinsic value. Cory will likely take these words and try to make a campaign issue out of them for me. I think we ought to teach evolution as one of the theories explaining origins and point out it’s both unproven and flawed.]

I am grateful for the legislators in LA who, painfully aware of the arrogant emptiness of the ideas of man, had the humility and wisdom to ask for Divine Aid.  [It would now be appropriate for a Louisiana legislator to call for a Day of Thanksgiving in gratitude to God for saving us from ourselves. If it’s appropriate for us to bestow our gratitude and honor any earthly scientist for their great contribution, it’s appropriate to thank and give due honor to the Grand Architect of the Universe for having the foresight to hardwire the creation to heal itself. Too bad he didn’t think to hardwire the universe to also deal with human Co2 emissions 😉 Perhaps Al Gore will save us there.]

…Though this nation deserves no favors from heaven, we continue to pray God’s mercy on every living thing in the Gulf. And we pledge to better steward the wonders of his creation.

Had God prompted a scientist somewhere to solve this problem I would have been praising God while the world bestowed awards and honors on the man. Surely God wearies of the boasting of man. These micro-members of the ecosystem have risen up as one of the little mercies of God and ironically, as simple as they are, they are presently confounding the wise. That too is evidence God is behind this dissipation. [Don’t think for a moment that this God who knows when every sparrow falls to the ground has no concern for the masses of oil-covered pelicans.]

All week I’ve been focused on the notion of “little mercies.” In terms of the millions of gallons of oil disappearing I’m not really sure this qualifies as a “little” mercy. But it seems appropriate to designate oil-eating, micro-bacteria as a little mercy.

A couple passages of Scripture come to mind. There is the story Jesus told of the ten being healed of leprosy and only one returning to give thanks. Maybe the others were praising natural processes. What I like to show people are the dangers of ingratitude and how big a deal this is to God when we boast in ourselves.  In the oft-quoted Romans 1:21-25 passage about the iniquity in the world, few notice how fundamental ingratitude was the issue and not iniquity. It was because of ingratitude that God turned the world over to it’s own destructive course:

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

When the military honor guard officer handed me the flag that draped my father’s coffin, he looked me in the eye and said with these words… “On behalf of a grateful nation…”  For sure our nation is filled with gratitude for those who give their life in service of their country. But beyond that, I’m not sure it’s true we are a grateful nation any more.

One other thought… recently I dropped a quote elsewhere on this blog regarding how American Christianity has digressed to nothing more than a “moralistic therapeutic deism.” In light of that, it’s no surprise that most church leaders are silent on these kinds of topics. As they have resorted to offering popular therapy over unpopular theology, they’ve digressed into deism and no longer have a theology of a God who acts or personally intervenes in our world today.

Despite the fact that eighteen months have gone by, two weeks ago I absorbed yet another blow for refusing to join those who were critical of the Lakeland Outpouring. It’s not that I didn’t see anything about it I didn’t like – I frequently said if it was my “outpouring” I’d change about six things. But I sensed the Lord didn’t want me in the seat of scoffers. And because I stood where I stood, Todd Bentley’s sin became a black eye for me too.

With that in mind you’d think I’d hesitate to be one of the first to lend my enthusiasm to what has been transpiring at IHOP in KC since last Wednesday. And, in case you are wondering, I won’t hide my connections there. Kristen and I are from Kansas City – we enjoyed and were later hurt by things that unfolded during our time at Kansas City Fellowship in the 80’s. We left it all and came back.  We’ve paid a high price even in the last couple years for our refusal to distance ourselves from there. My son Caleb is in his second year of a four year program in the Bible school there. I’m delighted he is part of what they are now calling the IHOPU Student Awakening. He’s been deeply touched. Yesterday, at work, he led a witch to Jesus. I’m thankful, and confident he’s on the right track.

Last week, yet another letter was written criticizing Church at the Gate and my connection to IHOP. Nothing new. Nothing I haven’t heard before or that I wasn’t personally involved with in the 80’s. It was the typical stuff… I heard from a friend who has a relative who lives in Kansas City who has a friend who went to an IHOP event… And, then people who probably struggle to pray one hour a week start in criticizing a man who prays ten hours a day.

Before you jump to conclusions about IHOP-KC, think about this… just like IHOP-KC (10 yrs of 24/7 prayer), and the Moravians in Herrnhut, Germany (120 yrs of 24/7 prayer, starting in AD 1727), and the 3000 Celtic monks in Bangor, Ireland (300 years of 24/7 prayer, starting in AD 555), etc., let’s imagine that your little circle of Christians started praying twenty-four hours a day, seven-days-a-week and this went on for ten years seamlessly. Now, reflect on these questions:

  1. Do you think your group would look different than it does right now?  If so, how so?
  2. Do you think your group would stand out and be criticized by Christians who have no grid for what they see happening in your group?
  3. Would parents of students involved have concern that their son or daughter spending four hours a day in the prayer room is cult-like?
  4. Do you think your group would develop it’s own vocabulary that is foreign to those not a part of it?
  5. During these extended times in God’s presence, do you think God would underscore stuff in Scripture that is outside what your circle of Christianity presently views as orthodoxy?
  6. Has “evangelicalism” produced what God wants in the last fifty years? We are known by our fruits.
  7. What will it look like when spiritual awakening hits our college campuses?

Remember, a fanatic is one who loves Jesus more than you.

What is happening at IHOP-KC is God. We are agreed that the level of zeal for the Lord on display there far surpasses what what is normal in evangelicalism.

My favorite critique is to hear that someone says I’ve gone off the deep end. What a compliment.  I hunger for the deep things of God. They can stay in the shallow end with their floaties.  Let me make my point visually. I first thought to do this cartoon a couple years ago when someone commented to me — “I hear Church at the Gate is pretty radical.” I chucked and said, “Compared to what? Compared to the Bible? Hardly. Despite my wholehearted labor these past fifteen years, the Bible calls for a far more radical devotion yet.” I titled the cartoon – Is Church at the Gate radical?

Is Church at the Gate radical?

I’m going to start posting some on the IHOPU Student Awakening.  I snuck down there (Nov. 2-4) during the Global Bridegroom Fast to see my son Caleb who is a second year student at IHOPU. My drive home was one of the strongest times I’ve been with the Lord in a long time. It was hard to come home. ((I also went to KC to see my brother who has been in a battle for his eyesight. He was prayed for twice at IHOP while I was there and was delivered of a spirit of self-hatred at an IHOP Joseph Company meeting there on Saturday.))

This first post I’ll just paste the statement on the Awakening found on their website. My commentary on all of this will start in a subsequent post.  I’ll also embed a video clip of Wes Hall who gives context to what has been happening there.

On November 11, during a 9:00am class of first-year students, led by Allen Hood and Wes Hall at International House of Prayer University (IHOPU), the Spirit moved in their midst with physical healings, deliverance, and a spirit of joy. That class, on November 11, continued for more than 15 hours. The word spread quickly, and over 2,000 people spontaneously gathered in the auditorium from all over the Kansas City area, as deliverance and physical healings increased. The meeting continued well past midnight. Recognizing that the Spirit was moving, the leadership of IHOPU canceled all classes for the next few days so that we could gather to receive all that the Spirit wanted to do.

We recognize that the Holy Spirit is awakening our students and many others. In each of these meetings, many people are being set free from addictions, shame, depression, demonic activity, and every sort of emotional pain. We are also witnessing an increase of physical healings, as God is touching and restoring bodies inside the building, as well as healing people watching via the webstream. Moreover, we greatly rejoice as we are seeing lost souls being added to the kingdom of God during these meetings. We are receiving many testimonies and reports that this move of the Spirit is spreading to other churches and prayer rooms that are joining with us each night via the webstream.

It all began on November 4, on the last day of the monthly Global Bridegroom Fast at the International House of Prayer of Kansas City (IHOP–KC). A move of the Holy Spirit began to stir during the student chapel at IHOPU, as students testified about receiving deliverance from self-hatred, shame, and depression. Students began to experience supernatural joy at the revelation of God’s love for them. A powerful spirit of joy rested on many the next day at the IHOPU student-led 6:00am prayer meeting, and the Spirit continued to move throughout the week in our classes and during the faculty meetings.

What started during our IHOPU student chapel on November 4 is continuing today. Visitors are pouring in from many places, with some driving over 1,000 miles overnight to participate in these meetings. Consequently, on November 12, we moved the Prayer Room to our Forerunner School of Ministry sanctuary from 6:00pm to midnight each night, to accommodate more people. We will continue these nightly meetings as the Holy Spirit leads us. We earnestly pray that this awakening will continue, as our nation is in desperate need of another great awakening in this hour.

Throughout history, college and university campuses in our nation have been an epicenter and a catalyst for spiritual awakening. Since the 1700s, our nation has witnessed multiple moves of the Holy Spirit that have touched and awakened students on college campuses, including Princeton University, Yale University, Asbury College, Wheaton College, and more than a dozen other college campuses. These spiritual awakenings often progressed beyond the campuses and resulted in a great number of souls being added to the kingdom of God. History also attests to a strong correlation between spiritual awakening and missionary movements. We pray that this spiritual awakening that is touching IHOPU and the rest of our IHOP–KC Missions Base will break out all over our nation in different cities.

Here’s the video.

 

For those who are not used to seeing a grown man heave and twitch under the power of God, I’ll point you to my friend Randy Bohlender’s blog this morning where he notes this is God because that isn’t typical for Wes. In the Book of Acts, the only grid people had to process when they saw people affected by the weighty presence of God was to conclude they must be drunk.

The KC Times article yesterday on the 24/7 prayer at IHOP-KC has caused me to reflect again on a massive 24/7/365 prayer movement that emerged from here (Germany) a couple centuries ago. I’ll have to rely on pictures from our time in Herrnhut a couple years ago because we haven’t been able to get there during our time here this summer.  Here we are at the edge of town. The tree-lined one lane road behind us went a mile from Zinzendorf’s home (Berthelsdorf) to the prayer community in Herrnhut. As you can see on this map, Herrnhut is as far east in Germany as one can get, it’s right on the border of the Czeck Republic.

Herrnhut 1

Herrnhut, Germany is the home of the renowned Hundred-Year-Long Prayer Meeting. In 1722, persecuted Christians from Moravia fled to Saxony and found protection in the domain of the regional Count Nicolas Ludwig von Zinzendorf. (I’ve always loved to say his name!) Here’s what he looked like:

Me and zinzendorf

Zinzendorf was influenced by his godfather’s (P.J. Spener) pietism and the pietistic renewal movement in the Lutheran church – that faith (prayer and Bible study) should be personal and that we can relate directly to God – that religion should be from the heart, not the head. I’ve been quoting Karl Barth on this trip so I thought his comment on Zinzendorf would be fitting here; “Zinzendorf is perhaps the only genuine Christocentric of the modern age.”

The Lord’s Watch
Zinzendorf established a Christian community for oppressed religious minorities on his land. When a fleeing Moravian named Christian David showed up at his door, Zinzendorf welcomed him and invited him to invite others. A Moravian settlement was established on Count Zinzendorf’s land. When the community started to experience discord and division in 1727, Zinzendorf called them to prayer. They later named their praying community Herrnhut (Herren hut), which means “the Lord’s Watch.”

Initially, twenty-four people took one hour shifts during which they committed to pray – the Lord’s Watch. More joined the watch and this prayer watch went on unbroken until 1847. Throughout the decades hundreds attended these prayer meetings and worship services – many of the people were overwhelmed by the strong presence of God and would sing and lay prostrate on the floor for six to eight hours. The anointing touched the children and led to a revival among children.

Prayer births a mission movement
As Moravians at Herrnhut started to sense God’s missionary call to take the good news to the lost, they would hold funerals for the missionaries before they sent them off to places like Jamaica. (We found Moravian missionary graves when we were in Jamaica a couple years ago!) Imagine holding a funeral for someone who is about to leave because it was understood that the call of Jesus was to go give your life reaching lost people and that you’d not return in this life. To reach the slaves in Jamaica, the Moravian missionaries would sell themselves into slavery as it was the only way to gain access to Caribbean slaves. Stories of supernatural visitations and provision accompany each missionary account of the Moravians.

John Wesley wrote that he was led to Christ by a Moravian missionary from Herrnhut while sailing on a ship to America. When the ship was nearly overtaken by a storm, and he and the other passengers panicked, however the Moravian fellow on the ship was calm, had peace and prayed. In his revivals Welsey often talked about the “warming heart” moment of his born-again experience with the Moravian missionary.

Here is Caleb in the Moravian graveyard at Zinzendorf’s grave. About fifty yards away we found the grave of Christian David. This stuff comes alive when you read this book released a couple years ago from 24/7 Titles – Regal.

Zinzendorf's grave

The goal for Zinzendorf and his friend Christian David was to form ecclesiolae in ecclesia—”little churches within the church”—to act as a leaven, revitalizing and unifying churches into one communion. Caleb, I, and our good friend Andy spent several days out in Zinzendorf’s forest – it was a powerful time – a strong prophetic flow and presence of God – we even commanded storms with our prayers!  Here’s a pic of wet heads Andy and Caleb after that experience…

Commanding storms

We stumbled on places in the forest called “bandengrubens” – these were earthen dugouts with rock benches in a circle where Herrnhutters came each day to study the Bible together and pray. Caleb has plans to build a bandengruben dugout in our shelter belt along the creek at home. Here’s a bandengruben we found in Zinzendorf’s forest…

Bandengruben

In the forest we also found a well which is curiously named Isaac’s Well (all this is in Saxony – sacs sons – Isaac’s sons – some of you reading this know why I’m underscoring all of that). Here’s a pic of that memorable spot…

Isaacs Well Herrnhut

A new sound released in Christian worship – JOY
In the first 65 years of this Herrnhut prayer meeting 300 missionaries were sent and the modern missions movement was born. Also, equally significant, joy came back into Christian worship as the uplifting Moravian hymns were embraced by the church worldwide.  (Their music was led by trombone choirs – I bought a CD when I was there – wild stuff!) Isn’t this amazing… this a 100+ year long 24/7/367 prayer meeting produced the global missions movement and changed the worship expression of Christianity for generations. Here’s the prayer tower that now stands above the Moravian graveyard at Herrnhut.

Herrnhut prayer tower

Heads up – – the following is not rated PG. But I share what I’m about to share to show how good and Godly people are not perfect people and that even the greatest move of God has it’s fleshly moments. (I’ve also recently written here on what I see as one of Luther’s two faults). Some today throw the baby out with the bathwater in terms of those God is using today – they see the great work, but are unable to get over some doctrinal quirk the minister has, or whatever. (Relating this back Mike Bickle and to the difficult but incredible days of the KC Prophets, those who’ve never read his book “Growing in the Prophetic” will never see how Bickle was able to change the dirty bathwater without throwing out the baby.)

An unfortunate controversy
Zinzendorf was involved in an unfortunate controversy about the wound of Christ. During a later period of his life he started to reflect on the wound of Christ (In Latin, “wound” is a form of the word vulva–opening, vagina– no kidding). In all the crucifixion pictures of Jesus’ wound Zinzendorf noticed the wound of Christ indeed did bear a remarkable vulva-like resemblance. He postulated that the “wound” that gives life to all of humanity is the vulva of Jesus. He encouraged followers to visualise Christ’s vulva in great detail – critics hammered him for this intense psycho-erotic meditation on the wounds of Christ. Feminist theology today embraces this reasoning. Zinzendorf later backed off this sexually-charged theology and agreed it was aberrant.

Herrnhut today
Also, I want to report that the Jesus Haus in Herrnhut is emerging in the house of prayer and missionary flow that historically came from Herrnhut. It was a blessing to be with those folks in that community and we also so appreciated the hospitality of those at the YWAM base in Herrnhut. YWAM has an intercessory prayer training focus today at Herrnhut.

Today we got up early and drove an hour to the city of Luzerne, Switzerland – beautiful times three here – water, Swiss Alps, old town! It’s been a really full day 1) walking, in a 2) car, in a 3) gondola, on an 4) alpine toboggan, down a 5) cogwheel train, on a 6) boat, and a 7) bus back to the car.

And it’s been a record breaking day times three… we first saw 1) the Guinness Book of World Record’s largest rolling ball clock in the world (that’ll be featured in the next post). We had a blast flying down the beautifully flowered mountainside of the Alps on 2) the longest summer toboggan run. And, we rode back down on 3) the world steepest cogwheel railway – 48% gradient!! I know Kaitlyn will be putting pictures up soon and Thomas has some video. It was a great day. I had a few God-moments in the toboggan.

Now on to the point of this post. All this transpired at Mt. Pilatus. This mountain is named for Pontius Pilate, you know, the one who gave the green light to crucify Jesus, the one who tried unsuccessfully to wash his hands of the shedding of innocent blood. Here’s a pic…

Mt Pilatus 3

Most people know what happened to Jesus but few know what happened to Pilate. According to the ancient historian Philo, Pilate was “inflexible, he was stubborn, of cruel disposition. He executed troublemakers without a trial.”  Philo refers to Pilate’s “venality, his violence, thefts, assaults, abusive behavior, endless executions, endless savage ferocity.” Three years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Pontius Pilate was exiled from his post as the Governor of Judea for cruelty to the Jews. The second century historian Eusebius tells us he was exiled to Gaul and eventually committed suicide in Vienne.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  His body was thrown first into the Tiber, but the waters were so “disturbed by evil spirits” that the body was taken to Vienne and sunk in the Rhône. Apparently he kept washing up ashore. The Rhône also rejected his corpse and it was then taken and sunk in the lake at Lucerne on, what we call today, Mt. Pilatus (its ancient name is fractus mons or “broken mountain.”).  This is my new favorite example of the reality of all creations allegiance to our Lord, the ground kept spitting this guy out, the earth would receive him or give him rest.

For centuries Mt. Pilatus was haunted, feared and reputable people gave numerous detailed and collaborating eyewitness account of seeing dragons on Mt. Pilatus. In 1387, six clergymen were arrested for planning a journey to the lake and an ascent to the peak. Fierce thunderstorms and heavy flooding were common and confirmations that spiritual darkness loomed there. The government of Lucerne forbid locals and visitors to climb the mountain. Here’s a bit from my guide book;

Even shepherds were placed under oath to not approach the dark waters of the lake, where it was believed that the Roman governor Pontius Pilate had been laid to rest. Banished to this desolate wilderness, the man’s tormented spirit was said to surface every year on Good Friday, in a vain attempt to wash his bloodied hands.

Fireballs and flame-throwing dragons were frequently observed and described in minute detail by Europe’s most celebrated physicians and scientists. One such account is as follows: “While observing the night sky, I suddenly saw a fiery dragon emerging from a cave in a massive crag on Pilatus. It flew with rapid wing-beats to another cave called “Flue” on the opposite lake shore. It had a gigantic statue, with a long tail, a great neck, and a head with jagged, snake-like jaws. In flight, it threw off showers of sparks, not unlike a blacksmith’s hammer striking white-hot iron on an anvil. I first believed the phenomenon to be a meteor but, observing it’s limbs and bodily motion in detail, I could only conclude that it was a dragon.”

I have a little booklet with a dozen more of these wild stories and the spiritual mapper and prophetic prayer warrior in me about fell out of the gondola chair on the way up reading about the brave 16th century pastor who led a prayer mission to break the power of this demonic stronghold in the region. Note the prophetic acts!

In 1585, a parish priest of Lucerne led a courageous band of his church members on an exorcism mission.  They prayerfully ascended Pilatus to challenge any spirits lurking there. They threw boulders into the lake, churned it’s surface, waded through the shallows. A supernatural counter-offensive failed to materialize and the spell was broken. To still the spirit’s thunderous habits for good, a sluice was dug in 1594 to drain the lake. Four centuries were to pass before the watercourse was dammed in 1980 and placid waters once more filled the lake bed. The spirits of Pilatus are at peace.

Here are a couple more pics – we have many others with more blue sky on Kaitlyn’s facebook, but I picked a couple here that better illustrated this foreboding, jagged-edged mountain with it’s bleak crevaces.

mt Pilatus 2

Mt Pilatus 1

Can you imagine… I wouldn’t let my three teenagers go see the most recent Batman movie because I’m convinced the spirit of death was/does operate in it.  Lead actor Heath Ledger died of an accidental overdose of sleeping and anxiety meds during the filming of it and confessed the weeks before to struggling with insomnia since the filming began and that the movie “messed with his head.” His friends noted something came on him during the filming because he just looked different, drained.   

One of the spiritual gifts listed in the New Testament is the discernment of spirits. If you are wondering how I can conclusively say the spirit of death was operating in the movie Batman all I can tell you is I discerned the spirit and, coupled with my experience in deliverance ministry, coupled with police chaplaincy, my own personal testimony with the occult, and I’m telling you this isn’t the Batman of twenty-five years ago.

Go ahead and chuckle at me – but most of you haven’t been to the number of teen suicides I’ve been to in the last twenty years. I look at what’s on their walls when I walk in to see them hanging by their neck in the doorway. I’m not saying your kid will go kill himself if he sees Batman, I’m saying demonic spirits have full access to our kids today through media and entertainment venues and parents are clueless.

twilight-2And here, though I’ve not personally seen it, I’m going to urge you to keep your kids away from a hugely popular movie and book series – Twilight. I have only seen the preview and that was enough for me to shut the gate in terms of allowing this teen craze into my household.

My 14 year old daughter reports to me Twilight has fully captivated her high school peers. I got online and watched the trailer and learned it’s an action-packed, modern-day love story between a teenage girl and a vampire (a vampire is a corpse that returns from the grave to terrorize and drink the blood of the living – the idea that there is a good one out there, one who is lovable is dangerous fantasy and deception at its peak). 

The Twilight Saga is a Gateway drug –  lowering inhibitions and desensitizing.  It creates a fantasy world where girls experience Edward’s advances vicariously within their own imaginations – writes a Catholic blogger who has written extensively on this series. The movie and books are targeted to adolescent girls.  350 different fan websites are now on the internet averaging 31 female fans for every male. The demonic is after our daughters. It’s a part of the devil’s ancient war on women.

Parents need to be careful to not expose their daughters to the darkness that strategically emminates from this movie. One parent/Catholic school teacher reacted this way…

I agree, this is a female mass intoxication with disturbing implications. The book, which I finished yesterday, is hypnotic and addictive. The mixture of sexual stimulation and bloodletting/violence is sickening, yet despite having such strong misgivings, I did find myself anxious to read the book again. ..to see what happens.

Take a good look at the picture  above and see if you can’t figure out a few reasons why I don’t want my daughter imagining herself in the arms of that spirit. I don’t want my daughter running around joking with guys quoting this movie – bite me, I want you to bite me.  Or how about this…

What would you say if your high school aged daughter told you she was dating a vampire who had to fight the urge to kill her and suck her blood every time they were together?  And you thought dating a football player was bad enough!  If you were a sensible parent you would intervene and end the relationship, fearing that it might end in tragedy.  In fact, you would have an obligation to protect your daughter from the danger she was unwilling to recognize.  Your love for her would compel you.  So, what would you say if I told you your high school age daughter really is dating a vampire, vicariously, by reading The Twilight Saga?  Oh come on – you might think – it’s not the same thing at all.  The story is just a fantasy.  What’s the big deal?  Nobody is really getting hurt here.  Or are they?

Do you think I’m over-reacting? Here’s the deal, we do deliverance ministry week in and week out here at our church. These seemingly minor things – like movies, books, posters, charms – are welcome mats to the unseen evil world. We have discovered all it takes is one willful glance at soft core porn to release powerful demonic spirits of lust and perversion into seemingly strong men. Within months, good dads start walking around like zombies fully captive and bound to their perversion. Families are destroyed.

I discern the same demonic, blood-drinking spirit in Twilight that I battle against in the abortion industry – a demonic spirit that targets our daughters to drink the fresh blood of the emerging generation that bears the image of God.

Evil has a world-class marketing department and they are masters at packaging stuff to touch deep needs in the human heart. And there is no sector of our society more receptive and vulnerable than adolescent girls. Wake up parents! My wife was a middle school teacher and for years she kept current on the literature marketed to adolescent girls today. She regularly commented to me it’s far worse than parents realize in terms of sexuality and sorcery.

Some will say I’m sheltering my kids too much. Thanks for your concern but my kids have been in public schools and I’m pretty sure they aren’t in for much culture shock when they enter the “real world.” But hello? Isn’t my role inherently a sheltering role? I will continue to stand in prayer and in practice between my daughter and the demonic.

Here is a link to some other critical reviews of Twilight. Though a couple of my favorite Christian and pro-life bloggers are loving the Twilight series I do not share their enthusiasm.

I’ll end on a bright note. Youth today are wide open to the reality of the spiritual world. Between Christmas and New Years again this year our family will head to Kansas City for the annual OneThing Conference. It’s with great joy I report my three can’t wait to dive into the Book of Revelation which is to be the main focus of Biblical exposition this year at OneThing. This same God-given curiousity that the darkside is exploiting in movies like Twilight can been seen at One Thing as 30,000 young people pursue the One who is love and fully supernatural.

08/03/2008 – KELOLAND NEWS
Early Morning Heat Burst Hits Sioux Falls
What meteorologists call a “convective heat burst” sent temperatures skyrocketing early this morning in Sioux Falls. Temperatures rose rapidly from the lower 70’s to 101-degrees between 4:15 and 4:45 am. A heat burst occurs when warm air from 10-thousand to 20-thousand feet above the surface is forced to the ground. The heat burst also brought strong winds that knocked down some power lines and trees in the Sioux Falls area.


This has got to mean something. Those in watch and pray mode – I welcome your theories. I was reminded of this prophetic word which recently appeared on the Elijah List;

“For even as you have felt the degrees, the heat throughout the summer – as you have felt the heat throughout the summer, even up to now – there shall be records broken. It shall be a sign: the earth shall boil. For,” God said, “they shall say, ‘What is happening in the soil? Shall we talk about global warming?’ What do those that live on My earth know about what I have structured for the universe? Do not mock Me, do not mock Me,” says the Lord, “with global warming.” For the Spirit of God said, “Things will be shown and will be revealed in these next two years that shall come from the earth, that will prove the creation of man, that shall prove some of the Biblical things that have happened,” says the Lord. “Watch through the summer as the degrees go high and then suddenly low, low.” For God said, “Do you know what it is? It is a sign that I am sending to you…” says the Lord.

I thank God for air conditioning because I slept right through it.

The answer to the question – can God heal Fibromyalgia? – is YES! The Bible says, he forgives all our sins and heals ALL our diseases! (Psalm 103:3) There isn’t one disease or diagnosis that is beyond his ability or desire to heal today. I hope that is a hopeful truth for somebody who is hurting right now.

I’m led to post on this topic today because people very close to me, whom I love dearly, are getting pummeled by Fibromyalgia. We have seen God physically heal people here at Church at the Gate in numbers into the three digits. However, we have only seen what I’d call temporary relief as we pray for healing from Fibromyalgia so far. Also, I’m hearing Fibromyalgia being regularly called out through the Word of Knowledge in healing and revival meetings throughout America – I do believe the Great Physician is giving great and full victory to many people from this devasting infirmity. I have more many more questions than answers – so pardon my ignorance – is this only an American malady? I’ve seen/heard nothing of it in the healing meetings I’ve attended overseas. I want to hear from those of you who have been freed of Fibromyalgia where ever you are.

If you, or anyone you know has been healed by God from Fibromyalgia, please share your story here in the comment section of this post. The Bible says we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the WORD OF OUR TESTIMONY. If you have been healed of Fibromyalgia, please share your testimony for the benefit of others here. If you have experienced any victory from Fibromyalgia through Christian healing prayer, please share that here. If you know of someone who has been supernaturally healed of Fibromyalgia, encourage them to share their testimony here.

Our local newspaper today did a brief story on “Mysterious Fibromyalgia.” (The link is to the original article in the Jackson Clarion Ledger.) The subheading is “Chronic pain brings on insomnia, depression, loss of brain activity and IS INCURABLE.” The last two words paint a hopeless picture. Here’s the opening paragraph of the artcle…

Imagine hurting all over, every day, with a physical exhaustion that never completely subsides, not even with adequate sleep and rest. Add insomnia, brain fog, and depression. The worst part – there’s no cure. Sufferers of fibromyalgia don’t have to imagine that nightmare. They live it. Daily.

The article gives these facts… according to the National Fibromyalgia Association, 3-6% of the population suffers from it. Women are most affected by it. And, there are physicians that don’t believe the disease even exists.

I’ve spoken recently with some of our doctors and it’s a mixed bag – some think it’s a “catch all” diagnosis for something that no one can really explain. One said she never saw these symtoms twenty years ago and now she sees them every day in her office. Others say “its real” and relief can be found in various treatments – acupuncture, chiropractic care, osteopathy, pain meds, etc. but that there is no cure or any real understanding of root causes. I’ve spoken to some of our counselors and mental health people about it – some say they have found it relates to previous trauma or (sexual) abuse. Some of my friends in healing and deliverance ministry also say this is the case, and this is how a demonic spirit of infirmity first gains access – through some trauma or abuse. I was given a Gulf War Vet newsletter minutes ago that says the United States military now lists Fibromyalgia at the top of the list of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder manifestations.

I am no expert, nor am I a doctor. Those of you reading this who suffer from Fibromyagia know light years more about this than I. If you are struggling with Fibromyalgia, I hope you’ll join the conversation here and dialog with others who comment here about their victory. I do welcome you to comment about your journey into supernatural healing and even mentioning how people have prayed for you in not-very-helpful-ways (as long as you stay positive about it). I think there is something to learn from unsuccessful well-intentioned attempts at divine healing.

I seek no controversial debate or attack here, nor do I want to lay a lack-of-faith guilt-trip on those who honestly and desperately desire a touch from God. I have a pastoral heart and desire to see God touch peoples lives. I’ve seen him do amazing things and I know he loves people. I’m throwing this post out there to solicit comments from people who’ve seen God heal Fibromyalgia. The most valuable thing about this post is not in what I have to say, it will be in what these folks share. In fact, I probably won’t offer much in the comments section because again, I’m not an expert and have little more to say. I would welcome comments from people in healing and deliverance ministries who have insights into how to pray for healing for people suffering from Fibromyalgia and more importantly, what are the spiritual dynamics behind this infirmity. The article I quoted above said there is some thought that this is genetic. But even there, I don’t want this to be a medical discussion. I’m asking for testimonies of how God healed people of Fibromyalgia and graceful dialog about the spiritual realities here. I’m hoping hope comes forth.

Here are just a couple “rules” for this post and commenting. I don’t want to hear anything about turning to Buddhism for relief or anything like TM, yoga, Oprah, or anything other than Jesus and Biblical Christianity. If you suggest anything else is our hope, I’ll delete that comment immediately. Jesus is our only hope. If you are among those who’ve given up hope concluding Fibromyalgia is your “lot in life” I’d rather you not share that here either. If you think it’s God’s Will that you are sick, I’d rather that get discussed elsewhere also. Not here. Really, if we are unsure it’s God’s Will we have relief from Fibromyagia we better sort that out before we even go to a doctor seeking relief. With that thinking, taking meds would go against what God wants for you. I don’t like to debate if healing is God’s will and don’t want to open that can of worms here. I just want to pray for the sick and let God be God. I want to hear testimonies of the grace of God. I do know God uses suffering and that there are redemptive purposes for pain but I also know one of the reasons God allows sickness is to reveal himself as Healer.

My sole purpose and hope in bringing this up is to provide a place where one beggar can share with another beggar where they found bread. I’m not the baker. But I know the answer is in the one who multiplies the loaves.

Unknown

If you are mad at God, struggling to forgive others, otherwise discouraged, sad, miserable or stuck spiritually, I encourage you to read The Shack by William P. Young. (It came out last year and I’m just now getting around to reading it.) Actually, everyone who wants to know more of what God is like and what God is thinking would benefit, but I especially commend The Shack to those who’ve known pain, loss or who’ve been hurt by others. The author himself suffered great loss as a child.

If you have a hunger to plummet the depths of God, skip seminary and spend a few days with this book. Really, from one who has been to seminary, and read the book, I recommend the latter (and not just because it’s cheaper). William P. Young, aka Willie, has been given a deep and profound revelation of God, the human condition (suffering), and even some new light on the mystery of the Trinity. Prophetic people will discern the voice of God throughout. There are layers of depth here, one read is insufficient. Young is either a seer who has been in the Realms of Glory himself, or God dictated some of the detail of that environment to him. It’s fully fictional, and a number of you know I’m not much for fiction, but this transcends fiction – I found it to be theologically sound and hugely stretching at the same time. I’m hesitant to pronounce something a “classic” before time bears out that fact. However, my sense is this book will occupy a special place for some time far removed from the ocean of Christian fiction out there today.

Expect The Shack to help you set religious expectation aside and usher you into greater intimacy with God. This book is about the Presence of God and the purposes of God. It uncovers God’s heart for relationship with us. The dimensions of love are sketched out here. The Cross and why Jesus died are explained in paradigm shifting ways. The judgments of our own heart against God and others are exposed, as is the shallowness of our understanding and the self-centeredness of our complaints.

I hope the book becomes a movie, the website says it’s so, but I’m not sure this is capture-able in that format. It’s a revelation, maybe with a capital “R”. It’s a mystic book – in the good way of testifying to a genuine encounter with God.

The Shack hit #7 on Amazon.com sales. That’s remarkable really. Here’s my theory… God is involved in this book and we are heading into tough times here at the end of the age. The Bible says many will fall away under the pressure of the End Times. That is, people now standing with Christ will become bitterly offended by him… how could a “loving God” allow such trauma to come upon the earth? My sense is God is preparing people for these times by releasing a revelation of intimacy and greater understanding to the Bride of Christ.

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