Change Has Come

It’s been quite a while since I last posted an article anywhere in the blogosphere, especially at my home base here at The Prodigal Thought. That’s a bit of an oddity for me, since I love to write. It has been a passion of mine going strong now for just over 2 years. So for me to not post anything in 9 days, well, that’s not usual.

But I suppose the usual and the norm for me will change.

Why? Because change has drastically happened to me.

Actually, I’m not sure what the norm will be with regards to blogging. Nor do I know what the norm will be for me when it comes to reading. Reading is my second passion. I’m always reading: theology, devotional, fiction, or maybe even other things here and there.

But, with not blogging for a week and a half, and only reading the better part of a handful of pages outside of Scripture, well, again, those who know me would wonder what is going on. It’s not the norm.

So why the lack? Again, I can only describe it as radical change has come to my life.

But what is that change?

Well, I had posted a few times on my blog that we, at Cornerstone, were hosting two training conferences this summer: 1) VMI, which had to do with music and worship training and 2) Fast Forward, which had to do with more ministry-leadership training. Both times were simply excellent. You can listen to or download all 12 speaker-teaching sessions from our podcast site.

During these two training times, there were purposeful gatherings of worship, times of waiting on God to hear from Him, deep prayer and intercession, as well as hearing God speak revelations via prophecies of who He is and His purposes into the Brussels area and beyond.

For some, this sounds off-the-wall crazy. But, oh well. I can only say that God truly made Himself known – not just in the teachings, though those were excellent, but also in the times where space was created to hear from God and respond to Him.

But, the ironic thing was that, for me, the most radical, life-changing moment came for me the following day with both conferences already concluded. My wife and I were having a nice Thai dinner together with some friends when God decided to reveal Himself to me in a most significant way.

During our conversations, and at one particular moment, God decided to give me a renewed revelation of His power. It was nothing insignificant with a little nod as I stated, ‘Yeah, that’s good.’ The conversation set something in motion where I could only sit there a stirred man in awe of the power of God.

He specifically brought to me a renewed revelation of His power – the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of His kingdom, and the power of the gospel to change lives. I was already aware of these things in my life, and Scripture definitely testifies to God’s power in these specific areas! But this past Wednesday evening, as I joined together with those close friends over a meal of Thai curry and Pad Thai noodles, God made His power so real and clear to me.

Therefore, I cannot expect my life to ever be the same. I am not one to hype up things nor ‘jump on a bandwagon’, as we say in English. So, for me, this is not just emotionalism. This is knowing the clear reality that God has revealed Himself, and revealed something significantly at that.

I cannot say I know what it will all look like. I simply know that God has spoken and I must obey. For as Scripture says, ‘Today, if you here His voice do not harden your hearts…’ (Hebrews 3:7-8). Again, I have heard and I can only obey what He is saying.

And I am very aware that God will begin to work such a reality into the Cornerstone church community, the Brussels area, even into Belgium and beyond. That is how real this revelation is, this is how real God has made Himself known to me.

Within the first words of the book of Acts, we read about two very important characteristics about the people of God:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

We are to be a people empowered by the Spirit, and as we are, we will be His witnesses. It’s not that we might be or could be, but that we WILL BE. This is the empowered church!

Therefore, I can no longer simply be satisfied with maintaining the status quo. That is not what God has called us to. What I mean is that, in every situation of life, there is a way things are supposed to happen. At work it might be that we arrive at 9.00, have coffee break at 10.30, lunch at 12.30, and so on. That is the status quo. And while this is not bad, I am very aware that God is not calling His Spirit-empowered people to simply maintain the status quo. Life in God is about so much more. No, God is not calling us to confusion. But God is calling us to obey what He is saying and doing.

In the end, from a human perspective, it is much easier to try and control the situation as best we can. It really is so much easier to not learn to be a people who rely completely on the Holy Spirit, looking to see His power at work in our midst. To consider such can make us uncomfortable. But I can no longer try and control what He is doing, for I do not want to be guilty of grieving the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30).

And so, if you haven’t sensed it yet, I am completely gripped with the reality of the power of God. Again, the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of God’s kingdom rule and the power of the gospel to change lives. And I cannot make apologies for what my life will look like from here on out. I don’t know the specifics of what it will all look like. I expect to be surprised after receiving this fresh understanding of His power. I expect to see lives changed. I expect to see healings and miracles. I expect to see people drawn to Christ. I expect to see major impact. And I expect something to start stirring and shaking beyond me and my church community. This will move into Brussels, into all of Belgium, and even beyond.

Matter of fact, since last Wednesday evening, the phrase that God keeps impressing upon my heart is – God Is Alive. I believe this is a specific message that Brussels, and Belgium, and even western Europe, needs to hear afresh. A land which has had a rich heritage of the things of Christ, such a reality has now fallen to the wayside. And people here need to know just this – God Is Alive! A God who is powerful is one who is truly alive, and a God who is alive is one who is truly powerful. There is no one like Jesus Christ!

Consequently, as I’ve siad, I know my life will not be the same. I must proclaim the powerful message of Christ and His kingdom (Matthew 4:23; 1 Corinthians 4:20), the powerful work of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:4), and the power of the gospel to change lives (Romans 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:5). I must proclaim to the people in Belgium that God Is Alive. He is alive and He will again show His power.

So, as to blogging (and reading), at this point, I don’t know how often. I haven’t really wanted to do so much at all, which is another pointer as to how real and deep this truly is. I’m willing to lay aside such for a time, or for all time. I am not sure at this point. It’s just not as important as proclaiming that which God has made known. I cannot see myself doing anything else.

If you would like to hear more of what I shared with Cornerstone this past Sunday, as sometimes verbal media is more helpful than typed media, you can click on the icon below. Or you can download from our podcast site or iTunes.

In The Day of Your Power

One of the most quoted psalms in all of the New Testament is Psalm 110. It’s a very important psalm, a messianic psalm at that. The text from the ESV says this:

1 The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

2 The LORD sends forth from Zion
your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your enemies!
3 Your people will offer themselves freely
on the day of your power,
in holy garments;
from the womb of the morning,
the dew of your youth will be yours.
4 The LORD has sworn
and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek.”

5 The Lord is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
6 He will execute judgment among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs
over the wide earth.
7 He will drink from the brook by the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.

A few years ago, God really highlighted vs3, specifically after dipping into the late Arthur Wallis’ book, In The Day of Thy Power.

Again, vs3 reads: Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours.

There are two interesting phrases at the beginning of this verse: 1) Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power and 2) Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power.

Pretty awesome things will take place in the day of God’s power, right? God’s people will offer themselves freely. Or, as the NASB states it, ‘Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power.’

You could literally translate this as God’s people being freewill offerings. No obligation, no duty. Just freely and wholly offering themselves unto God.

But, we are left asking one question: When is God’s day of power? For when it is such a day, we know what glorious act will take place.

The amazing thing is that I believe this psalm actually tells us when God’s day of power is. Where in the psalm? It’s in vs1: The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”

This psalm, and specifically vs1, is all about the enthronement of the Son of God at the right hand of the Father, as emphasised in places like Matthew 22:41-46; Acts 2:22-36; Hebrews 1:13; etc. Thus, the day of God’s power began with the Son of God ascending back to the Father’s right hand, which was fully evidenced in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Read these words of Peter:

Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. (Acts 2:33)

One might question my train of thought so far and say that Psalm 110:3 speaks of God’s day of power, as if this, then, is focused into one specific day. But, though some might disagree, I don’t think it is out of bounds to see the word day as speaking of something longer than 24 hours, something like an age.

What makes me think such? In the passage about the armour of God (Ephesians 6), Paul speaks of standing against the work of the enemy and his forces in the ‘evil day’. I don’t think Paul is simply referring to one 24-hour period. He is rather speaking of the present evil age.

Thus, I see this day of God’s power as referring to the whole Messianic age in which the Messiah would reign over all of heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18) evidenced in the outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh (again, see Acts 2 and its major importance).

And ever since that specific day of Pentecost, we have continued to enjoy the blessings of God’s great ‘day’ of power. Consequently, this day of power has continued now for almost 2,000 years as the people of God have been empowered by the Spirit of God:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Back to Psalm 110:3 – Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power. While this verse could be used by many Pentecostals and charismatics (of which I consider myself one) to preach a powerful message about the power of God’s Spirit in the day of God’s power, I see an opportunity to take time to emphasise something else.

What is that? It’s the simple, yet amazing, fact that God’s people are called to offer themselves freely (ESV), volunteer freely (NASB) or literally offer themselves as freewill offerings during His day of power. Of course, none of this could ever be accomplished apart from the indwelling and empowering of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. But, while I believe in and have seen powerful and supernatural acts of healing and miracles, I believe it all starts with the foundation of a servant heart.

I mean, wasn’t that the way of the Son of God. Of course, He was used in great and powerful deeds – restoring sight to the blind, healing lepers, loosing the lame and even raising the dead. But, more than that, (yes, more than that), He was laying down His life by serving.

Thus, would it not make sense to follow in the servant footsteps of the One who initiated God’s day of power?

I have always loved these words concerning Jesus found in the Gospels:

3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:3-5)

This was the divine Son! He even knew that God had given all things into His hands! So, what does He do? He strips down to his underwear, gets a towel and basin, and begins to perform the act of the lowest of servants. For me, this is incredible, as it should be for the whole body. But, unfortunately, we don’t see this response from many Christians, especially those who have been ‘given all things’.

So, we read that in God’s day of power His people will volunteer freely, offer themselves completely, not out of obligation, but from a freely motivated heart.

I don’t know why we miss it so much. So many people get caught up in platforms, stages and microphones. For many, this is power. Way too many envision greatness as coming through fame and/or fortune (I’m talking about Christians here, not those of the world). Or we get caught up in asking what others can offer us rather than how we can serve.

But imagine this. What if the people of God started choosing a local church to be a part of not based upon what it could offer them, but based upon what we could offer by serving? I think we might just see some kind of radical movement in the church in the west. But, unfortunately, we can only ponder these things for now.

Jesus made it very clear about how one becomes great in the kingdom of God:

25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)

It’s simple – serve and be great (though you probably won’t care if you are great or not). This actually means the whole of the body of Christ could step into true greatness, as defined by our King.

I am very much excited that we are in the day of God’s power. I hope such a reality encourages you greatly. But what does it say will happen in that day? God’s people will offer themselves freely.

It’s not really a novel idea, since the words of Psalm 110 were penned thousands of years ago. But it might just be novel for many Christians today.

Oh, that we might understand the heart of God to serve and offer ourselves freely, in the power of the Spirit, during this great day of God’s power. This is the heart of God for His people during the reign of God’s Messiah, the great servant. If only we would catch a glimpse of such truth. Then I believe we would begin to see a greater release of the power of God.

I also preached a message a few weeks back on this at Cornerstone. You can download it by clicking here.