| What fire has the younger generation acquired|
1Ki 18:21 And Elijah came to all the people and said, How long are you limping over two opinions? If Jehovah is God, follow Him. But if Baal is God, then follow him. And the people did not answer him a word.
This is a comment written by a lady to a post that I had written...........
"There was a time when you could go into a church and feel the presence of God. You would tiptoe in and cry at the alter and tiptoe out. You would talk about church all day and at bedtime. You would talk to your neighbors about the Lord. Does anyone know what I am talking about? Does your church have God's presence there? When we witness to neighbors about the Lord, do we tell them about our church, do we tell them about the programs we offer? Do we tell them about our softball team or about our free cup or our free espresso from our Coffee Bar? Or, do we say , just come and I guarantee you that you will meet God. Come to Him and He will reveal Himself to you if you will humble yourself. I see it happen everyweek so please come. I got saved in my 20s and was a professing sinner, then I really got saved about 6 years ago, now I am in my mid 40s. I hear about the old days from all the grey headed ladies in church. I am hungry for God's manifest presence and I need to know what to do about it. I pray, I confess, I do not live in any known sin, yet I stumble at times and the Holy Spirit convicts me and I immediately repent. I go to prayer meetings at church. I read my Bible, I talk about Jesus at work and try to get them to come to my, or any church. What are we doing wrong, or me? Is my church under judgement? Or our nation? Is there churches out there experiencing God where the Spirit is moving and people are confessing and their lives are being changed? They are living for Christ and dying to self and carrying their cross? Jesus, please show yourself."
That was a very sad letter to me. I recognize much of what she is saying. In the last several years I have visited several churches, in different parts of the country. I have also visited churches that used to be the way she described, drenched in the presence of God. I was in Destin Florida just last week and visited a Pentecostal church. The young man and his group that were doing worship were visiting, friends of the Pastor. This young man is quite well known in the "Christian music industry." He "performed," for almost an hour. In that time there must have been over 50 different instructions given to the congregation. "Stand up," "Dance," "Raise your hands," "Cmon, give the Lord a hand clap," "Just be free," over and over again. I thought about that lady as I was being entertained from a very talented young man in his early thirties, the same age as the Pastor. As I sat there, this thought dropped into my spirit "This is the results of the acquire the fire generation." As it turned out, when they were finished, the Pastor thanked them profusely for their "Spirit filled worship,' and thanked God that He had just moved mightily amongst us. He also acknowledged his friendship with the artist and thanked him, that even although he was now a "big name," that he would still deem to come to his little church. He told us how his friendship with this man went back to their youth camp days.
We are living in the days when these young men and woman who grew up with acquire the fire and pumped up Christian youth camps are now assuming leadership roles throughout the American church. The Spirit that the lady above is looking for, has been replaced by music that is designed to "pump people up." Indeed the entertainer told us that he moved in freedom, and that we too should move in freedom. Now , what was freedom to this young man? He twirled when he danced, "just let yourself go and be free." Is this the freedom of the Gospels? Is this the measuring rod by which we measure a Christian's freedom? For a whole generation, sadly it is.
As many know, our bodies are multifaceted. By that I mean we are made up of body , spirit and soul. If we are living in a soulish generation, how did that come to pass? What is a soulish generation? The body has five senses. We can see, we can hear, we can touch, we can taste and we can smell. These are very powerful factors in our lives. One could argue that much of human misery and sin flow out of these senses. All of adultery starts with seeing. Consider David on his balcony as he see Bethsheba. Consider pornography, where the eyes feed directly into the soul. Greed and materialism, desiring what our neighbor has, all starts with seeing. Obviously touch would play into all of the sexual sins that plague us as people. Hearing also has been used to great advantage by the enemy. Where would false teachers and religions be without peoples ability to hear the lies? Gossip and backbiting all begin by listening. Taste and smell contribute to gluttony and lead to our present situation when a large percentage of the country is overweight.
Of course all of the senses can be used to enjoy all the wonderful benefits of what God has given us as free will agents, human beings. We can see the glory of a sunset. We can lift up our eyes unto the hills and see where our help comes from. We can lift up our eyes and know that the heavens declare the glory of the Lord. We can look at our husbands and wives, our children and our family and garner great joy from just that. The list is endless of what we can enjoy simply by seeing. Hearing, where would we be without the hearing of the Gospel? To hear your child laugh, to hear a bird singing, to hear the crash of the waves or a waterfall. Oh the joy of hearing the worship of the gathered saints. The simple pleasure of holding your loved ones hands, holding your baby in your arms, a kiss, a warm embrace from your husband or wife, the gentle touch of your lover(your husband or your wife) To taste and smell the wonderful food that we have. Oh how a smell is so powerful in evoking memories from long ago. The simple and wholesome pleasures of all the senses are a delight and the list of these delights is endless, for we worship a creator God.
Suddenly my senses are being assaulted by this young Pastor. He started of loud and only got louder. He was a white man, but he preached like a black man. I had seen the style many times before, it had meter and there was breathing and also after any good point (and there was quite a few good points) there was a blast from the "organ." Before he had stopped preaching, my head was pounding. So much noise. The young preacher was exhausted and sweating profusely. He put everything he had into his performance. This was not a lazy young man. He gave a report of how many backpacks they had handed out in the last week to area children who could not otherwise afford supplies. Surely a great work. He talked about upcoming events and they had a full calendar. This is all good stuff and is highly commendable. Can manufactured passion have an impact on today's society. How is it that with all of this activity, the unchurched people in America remained unchurched? Charitable works go on, perhaps more than ever. The music in the church is more professional and "better sounding," that it has ever probably been in the history of the church. And yet, almost zero impact on the unchurched, those without a church background.
Imagine a cross section through your body, a plan view, looking down. Across the chest is the five senses, arched in front. Directly behind the five senses is the soul, and behind the soul is the spirit. The soul naturally looks out to the five senses. The senses excite the soul and the soul empowers the senses. Depending on your level of dysfunction(we are all dysfunctional) will determine the level of activity. For instance, a person in emotional pain, will compensate by overeating, the soul will anesthetize its pain by energizing the eyes, the taste and the smell when it comes to food. That is why this is a problem for one person and not for another. Perhaps the soul will anesthetize itself by sex. It will over stimulate the eye's and the touch. These are tow examples amongst countless millions. We all grow up in unique circumstances and the uniqueness of the sins that so easily beset us are without number. No one can tell, with any accuracy, how a person will turn out. Now there are basic principals. If you beat a child constantly as he grows up, then no one will be surprised by a violent result. We are all different obviously and five children can all grow up in the exact same house with the exact same circumstances but all turn out completely differently. The x factor being our unique personalities. If someone, for instance, is more sensitive than another, then the circumstances will impact that person more violently that it would for say his brother or sister.
So, how does this play into what is going on in the church today and the dilemma of the younger generation raised on acquire the fire and pump it up messages. This generation dwell almost entirely in the realm of the soul. Silence would terrify them. They have been raised to think that a heightened awareness of their senses is "the presence of God." What a tragedy, not just for them, but for the unchurched world. If you were a unchurched person, you would get the same heightened feeling at any rock concert, and of course, most times the world does this better. Their concerts are their church. Just go to one, one time and you will see these people "worshipping," corporately.
And so, the eye of the soul must be turned inwards. The younger generation, the vast majority of which know nothing of the "presence of God," need to turn inwards and find God within, not without. We all know that God dwells on the throne of our hearts. He has taken up residence in the very center of us. That is where they will have to look if they hope to discover the true presence of God. The presence of God is always totally fulfilling, there is nothing beyond the presence of God. Have you heard the much used phrase in the church now"There must be more.?" There is nothing more than the presence of God. That is why God does not have to entertain us to draw us to Him. The churches will find that they will have to become more and more like the world to draw people and keep people. And even then it will fail. There is no such pressure in the presence of God. There is no more than Him. People who have turned the eye of their soul inward know that and know that if they want to come here then they have to humble themselves and die to themselves, that is the path, that is the journey. People who do not know that and whose eye of their soul is turned outward, towards their five senses, will never be satisfied. They will always need more. How sad to hear that phrase spiritualized now. There is no satisfaction in the flesh, it will be pleasurable for a season, but the flesh demands satisfaction and complete mastery over the soul. The passions of the flesh will ultimately destroy. The passion of the Spirit will cause us to die to ourselves and become more like Jesus.
1Ki 18:26 And they took the bull which was given them, and they dressed, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any who answered. And they leaped on the altar which was made.
Choose you this day young people, will you serve your flesh or will you serve the Living God? One can jump up and down all day long but it will not bring down fire from heaven.
| 2008/8/18 13:05|
| Re: What fire has the younger generation acquired|
I wanted to single out some quotes that I think are important:
Now , what was freedom to this young man? He twirled when he danced, "just let yourself go and be free." Is this the freedom of the Gospels? Is this the measuring rod by which we measure a Christian's freedom? For a whole generation, sadly it is.
Can manufactured passion have an impact on today's society.
This generation dwell almost entirely in the realm of the soul.
What a tragedy, not just for them, but for the unchurched world. If you were a unchurched person, you would get the same heightened feeling at any rock concert, and of course, most times the world does this better. Their concerts are their church. Just go to one, one time and you will see these people "worshipping," corporately.
As a youth pastor I can say almost categorically that most youth that I know do not understand the difference between soul and spirit and those that [i]have[/i] been taught right continue to dwell in the soulish realm. I think it is because at some point ministers became 'reaction' based. They started measuring success by the reaction they could get from the people.
Many so-called worship leaders get angry when folk don't react to the singing and music like they think they should. I also think that 'worship leader' should never have became a ministry in the sense we know it today. I know that is unpopular, but it is my opinion. The Holy Spirit is the only worship leader- everyone else is supposed to be following. We run the risk of dividing the worship when men are front and center in worship. Remember, Satan fell from a worship 'service' (as it were). He fell from an Isaiah 6 environment.
The reality is electricity is often taking the place of the power of God. And it is a strange fire before the Lord. People are 'moved' by volume or a fancy rift or bass line. They feel a tingle and think it is God and remain unchanged. This is why I believe there are so few people feeling 'called' into ministries other than "Praise and Worship" or "Youth". Services feel like a club more than a church. There is something seriously wrong with that.
Robert Wurtz II
| 2008/8/18 16:11||Profile|
| The fire that burns off the Dross kills the flesh. It is the holy babtism of fire!|
Thank you brother for a most thoughtful and relevant post. they must be universal questions at this hour, and i will give you my take.
Jesus said that the "Harvest" is [b]The end of the age.[/b]. The harvest is both a work, and a time. I personally believe that we have entered the end time harvest. the work of the harvest, is not what many people associate with when they consider it. It is not solely a time for Salvation..it is that , but much more. the harvest is a time of [b]division[/b]. It is a time when the light shines bright as "deep darkness" covers the entire Earth. Isaiah 60.
Deep darkness, the glory arising, or resurrecting upon the Lord's people. wheat in the light...tares in the dark. Division. separation. "do not think that I have come to bring Peace, no but DIVISION......to divide. This is difficult for some to wrap their faith around,,,but it is true.
I believe we are deeper into the harvest than many would think, and there is an element of DEATH in this word. "A seed must fall into the ground, AND DIE....before it bears much fruit." This is also unthinkable for most Christians today, and was once for me. I saw my walk with God as an ever increasing glory path arising to greater and more anointed levels, until for sure I would carry them into right into Heaven. I was wrong.
God designed the seed, all seeds, to die; to be sewn in the Earth before they could bring about their fruit. It is true in the Spiritual realm. Jesus , of course, spoke of himself, when he made this statement as the FIRSTFRUIT. ...the cross...the most terrible of deaths. He also referred to the principle that must be inherit and acted upon on all who follow Him. They too, must go in, and come out of death, to live.
This is more than Heaven. It is now, also. It is the only path to maturity. 2 cor: chp. 1.....Paul speaks of the sentence of death poured out upon him...and the bewilderment, and suffering he went through in Asia. It was not physical. It was this...this mandate, this spiritual reality for all of his children. A seed must die; before......
On another level, one that most do not consider, this sentence is poured out on Churches, and one day, even on the "big Church." I believe that this day has come,,,,the Harvest is upon us. We have seen an ever increasing antichrist[ in place of Christ] anointing pushed into the church. It is worldwide. It is clergy-laity..[an abomination unto God, and the gears that drive the religious spirit.]but so much more. It is the church herself that has exalted herself over her Husband,,,the Bride standing over the Bridegroom, to dominate him.
Happiness, my health, and my prosperity are my rights, and I will assert my right. It is ME above all, and God desires this for me. It is a bloodless, and cross free church, and one void of any mercies, or one where a brother would, or could lay his life down for the least of his brothers,,,the littlest and more insignificant one. It also is a christless church, or [b]HAS THE LEAVEN OF IT'S AMBITIOUS PRIDE WITHIN HER.[/b]
I BELIEVE THAT THIS IS WORLD WIDE, AND THE LORD HIMSELF HAS PUT FORTH A DECREE. "This holy seed must also be planted unto death, that my love would arise in her."
Hosea Cpt2...vs: 2-24. "I will sow her for Myself!". This is a "Harvest chapter."
There are millions of Brothers and Sisters that are experiencing the throws of death..and the true church is being formed..and she will be "without spot or blemish." this is only possible by resurrection. Only the dead are resurrected. God is calling His people to come out of her...more like a command, to his chosen and Elect. The departure is very bewildering. He looks for a heart that cries; "Even though He slay me, yet will I WORSHIP Him."
But dividing He is. He slays every son he receives, and the New church cannot have any of the stains of the old...nor will she. To accomplish this, He has withdrew from some for a season. "My god, My God, WHY have you forsaken me!" He cried. So must we. It is harvest time, and if the Bride is not separated, she shall have her bundle with the tares. It is Love and mercy.
| 2008/8/18 16:25|
| Re: The fire that burns off the Dross kills the flesh. It is the holy babtism of fir|
Watchman Nee's "The Latent Power of Soul" should be required reading for worship leaders (and I agree with Brother Robert's thoughts about the office or title of worship leader). Now, we even have the illustrious office of "worship pastor" in some of the more mega fellowships. We speak of youth not knowing the difference between soul and spirit, but I believe the same could be said for most adults too.
Paul Frederick West
| 2008/8/18 19:17||Profile|
I was just reading this article by Hugh Binning:
"..And now all is rents, rags, and distractions, because self-love hath usurped the throne. The unity of the world of mankind is dissolved; one is distracted from another, following his own private inclinations and inordinate affection, which is the poison of enmity, and seed of all discord. If the love of God and of one another had kept the throne, there had been a coordination and co-working of all men in all their actions, for God's glory and the common good of man. But now self-love having enthroned itself, every man is for himself, and strives, by all means, to make a concurrence of all things to his own interest and designs. The first principles of love would have made all men's actions and courses flow into one ocean of divine glory and mutual edification; so that there could not have been any disturbance or jarring amongst them, all flowing into one common end. But self-love hath turned all the channels backward towards itself; and this is its wretched aim and endeavour, in which it wearies itself, and discomposes the world, to wind and turn in every thing, and to make, in the end, a general affluence of the streams into its own bosom. This is the seed of all division and confusion which is among men, while every man makes himself the centre, it cannot choose but all the lines and draughts of men's courses must thwart and cross each other...."
| 2008/8/18 20:10|
Robert....I think your church is very fortunate to have you there. God bless you brother, I do not envy your position.
Brothertom ......I agree with what you are saying, my spirit certainly witnesses to the truth of your statements. Death to self in the midst of an indulgent generation is hard going, yet its the way of the cross. I agree that the seperation has begun, the virgins are being seperated and when the call comes to light the lamps, there will be a lot of darkness on the earth............Frank
| 2008/8/18 21:48|
I think that the old timers frowned on a lot of things (instruments, media, etc.) that we have today because they could see the dangers. I have heard folk chide them for their strictness, but now I'm not so sure they were not more right than we may be willing to admit.
I think the particular difficulty lies in not wanting to discourage young people in doing 'anything' that is an expression of their faith. I also agree with many of Bro. Paul's and others concerns. These things are like leaven; once they are in place how do you get them back out? The truth is many youth simply have not seen anything else so they have no real reference point. They grew up on it. Add to that the fact that many people pick what church they attend based on the 'worship'. :-?
Robert Wurtz II
| 2008/8/18 22:51||Profile|
oh, grownups...as it were..let us be the ones to fight the good fight, that the youth will see. i plead with anyone who has children, teach them the old ways, the old paths....let us take up the call to fight for these dear children entrusted to mothers and fathers. and for us who do not have any of our very own, let us pray intensely and fervently over those we encounter. these children are the most marketed group of consumers today, and we know who is doing the most marketing to them. let us grieve over their souls, and plead with a holy God to save them out of this.
yet let us remain hopeful that, through the abominations, God will be faithful to set apart a remnant for Himself! let us not be so dismayed that we lose hope! but no, let us call out to our God in a manner of faith! He is holy holy holy!!! He can and will raise up young ones for His glory. let us look ahead with gratitude at what He will do!!! expect a miracle, brethren. that is what God likes to do.
may the name of the Lord be praised.
| 2008/8/18 23:16||Profile|
The late Derek Prince has a real good series called "Protection From Deception" that I think goes along with this subject. I would not link to it, but it is on his site. I do not endorse all his teachings, but this series is pretty good.
The old timers that the lady mentioned in the first post no doubt spent a lot of time in prayer and fasting for a service. But I am not convinced that folk are in one mind in what the are looking for in a service (meeting). Some are wanting to see deep repentance and others want folk to feel comfortable and good so that they will want to return to that church.
HOWEVER, the bottom line, I think, is that we have lost to a great degree what it means to be truly born again of the Spirit. And since there are so few births, folk have to be moved by what moves them. They have to move in 'soul' because they are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. They cannot worship in Spirit- that do not have the Spirit. So we have to keep pressing the New Birth Gospel message. Shallow conversions lead to shallow services. A service is only as deep as the spiritual experience of the attendees and no deeper. Can a person worship in Spirit and truth if they do not walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16) and walk in Truth? (III John 1:4)
Robert Wurtz II
| 2008/8/18 23:19||Profile|
Robert writes ....
"Shallow conversions lead to shallow services. A service is only as deep as the spiritual experience of the attendees and no deeper. Can a person worship in Spirit and truth if they do not walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16) and walk in Truth? (III John 1:4) "
Is a shallow conversion any conversion at all? This is one of the dangers that Brother Tozer warned about many years ago, he could see it coming. C.S.Lewis could also see it coming. I am not sure there is a solution on the horizon, I believe Brothertom may have it right when he talks about the beginning of harvest and the seperation of the wheat and the tares. I wrote a piece a while back entitled "Woe to the Pastors for the church is dead." And "The coming Tribulation." It may add to what Brothertom was talking about and what Robert is touhing on.
| 2008/8/19 0:08|