Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Need of Exercise

“...from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies...’” Ephesians 4:16
Andy Griffith once described football as a strange game. He said it was best defined as 22 men on the field in desperate need of rest while 50,000 people in desperate need of exercise watched.
This could well describe the church too. Most church books say that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. This is a sad commentary since we are to be the “body” of Christ. What would happen if 80% of our body shut down? Probably we would die. Now, I think that this is not so much an indictment on the people, but more so on the way church is practiced. The common approach really sets people up for failure and lethargy. 
Once we entered the age of the Gnostics, the church has been defending itself from heresy. So, in order to protect, the official approach has been to form a hierarchy (priest rule) and entrust the few with the exercise of the faith. Then once the church codified the faith into sacraments, it needed a few trained professionals who had special access to God. Out of this was formed the laity (the crowd) who were allowed to watch and could have sacraments dispatched to them through the hands of the priests. In essence, a large body of lazy Christians were created, not because they did not want to serve; they could not.
In Protestantism the mold was attempted to be broken, but the accoutrements of the catholic system followed and still is present in all movements today. Thus, the continuance of a system that shuts people out exists to this day.
Counter pointed to this system is the exhortations of scripture which speak of the Body of Christ, every joint supplying, fellow laborers, and ambassadors. The scripture is full of descriptions indicating participation and activity. 
The other contributing factor is the thought that all activity of the kingdom must take place in the church building or programs in the building. This makes the number of opportunities to be active in the kingdom of God small.
So, people enter the kingdom of God happy to be in the Lord, saved, and then they want to serve. Serve because they love God and are appreciative. But where become the question.
The realistic figures that we should strive for is to have 80% of the people involved in ministry of some sort. There are ample opportunities in the church and outside the church to build the kingdom of God. But this number cannot be reached in traditional forms. A complete cultural change needs to take place. 
For years we have talked of being a New Testament Church. What does that mean to you? Some think a New Testament church would be one which holds to the teachings of the NT. Some think it means to be free from legalism. Some think it means we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. Some think of a modern approach to ministry. Some think it is a March back to the 1st Century.
Well, there is no way we are going back to the 1st Century. Obviously in our desire for that New Testament Church we have lapsed back into the familiar forms. To be a New Testament Church we need to function more as a body. Now there was much teaching on the body, but very little action regarding it. Like many of our teachings, they soon are relegated to fine doctrine and poor execution.
However, the problem with pursuing more participation from the whole church is the lack of order sometimes. Body ministry is not a free for all. It is meant to be a coordinated function of a healthy body moving forward, not in a spastic parade, but a coordinated, well trained, efficient body. The fact that body ministry has been interpreted as a free for all, an open mic, “do what you want” has done damage and caused many to revert to the hierarchy system for safety sake.
There is a lot to do in the kingdom and it is not all on Sunday morning. As we progress in growing the church, we will work on body ministry. As we identify the giftings of each, we then hope to employ those giftings to build the kingdom of God.
As we move through the healing seminar, the goal is not just information, but application. How exciting it will be when those on the teams lay hands on someone and they are healed. How amazing to watch as God performs a miracle in front of your eyes. Jesus will be lifted up and praises will fill the house. This is a start in the right direction.
We have much work to do to get more people equipped and deployed. This is a building process. We want the 50,000 exercised and the 22 to get some rest. An army goes forward as all advance and all fight.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Vision for Healing

We live in amazing times. The progress that has been made in the medical field is astounding. The ability to transplant hearts and other organs is purely a miracle of modern medicine. The constant research opens new doors and cures for people who otherwise would die prematurely. Curative drugs abound as the war on disease continues. There are people alive who in just 50-100 years ago would have been gone; yet they remain alive, healthy, and active.
Still, there are life threatening diseases and some beyond medical reach. Still, doctors come to places where they say they have done all they can do. While research moves at a pace that is fast; it is still slow for those waiting. We still have diseases appearing that have not been known to man. Sexually transmitted diseases have increased in number to over 30. While years ago there were less then 10 or so to fight; now there is an explosion of various types.
You may wonder why I am siting such things and lauding the medical profession. The medical profession is an honorable duty. It is a God given gift to care and have compassion. The problem has come with the arrogance of science and the deification of doctors and particularly when it is self directed. Luke was a physician and the Bible never says not to use them. However, they have their limits as does any scientific pursuit. The Bible indicates that healing comes from God and he has put the various herbs and leaves in the world for healing. Science has exploited them and synthetically produced them.
So, as we move toward prayer for healing and asking God for a greater manifestation of the gifts of healings, what do we say? Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will trust in God. Meaning, we start with our trust in God. We go to Him first and foremost. We fight disease on every front. We fight with prayer, we fight with medicine, we trust the Lord.
It is a proven fact that those who are prayed for in the hospital heal faster, have a better countenance, and respond positively. Prayer is a key to healing. The body responds to prayer. This definitely indicates that there is a spiritual side to healing that is mostly ignored. I firmly believe that all healing comes from God. Doctors can administer surgeries and prescriptions, but healing is only aided by them. They do not heal. 
In the Bible we see both the administration of medical help and the application of divine healing. There seems to be no conflict in the scriptures. We see the woman with the issue of blood having spent all her livelihood on doctors for healing, but it was beyond them, but there was no condemnation from Jesus. She needed help beyond what medicine had to offer. We find that the Lord is mostly incensed when people remove Him and put their trust totally in man.
One of the greatest experiences of healing and care is when the doctor loves the Lord and understands that he is an agent of God to administer compassion and care. 
So, how can we operate in faith. Does faith exclude the medical profession as some have said and practiced? I would say not. I believe that life is precious and the enemy is evil. I believe we should fight the enemy with every weapon we have at our disposal. I have still not figured out the mysteries of faith and healing and miracles. I have watched as those that declare faith to the exclusion of any help have died and others completely delivered. I do not know why? And I certainly am not going to condemn or try to appoint blame on their faith. It remains a mystery to me.
I do believe that we should pursue God for healing. We need to pray, look for the deliverance, and trust the Lord. We should seek the anointing and exercise it completely. We need to know the scriptures and confess their power. We need to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We need to hold the Lord as number one.
We know from the word that healing is included in the atonement. It is in the blood of Jesus. It is the promise of Psalm 103. He heals our diseases. The benefits of serving the Lord are manifold. We should be appropriating those benefits and reading our policy to know what we have in it.
So, as we prepare to begin our healing room, we will be getting in line with the word and exercising the prayers that heal and aid in healing. We will see quicker healings, we will see instantaneous relieve and healing at times, (hopefully lots of them) and we will see miracles. We are expecting our faith to grow and the army of the Lord to grow. Mountains will be moved! Hope will soar. Joy will abound.