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Men's petty kingdoms
by Arthur Katz
Well, I want to take you this morning to a river, as I took you the other day to a mountain. It's that famous Jordan ,which is ever and always the profound place of choice and of crossing. And before I read from it, I just want to read that paean of praise to the church that is given us in the book of Hebrews. Don't turn - just listen to the amplified rendering. "But rather," it begins, "you've not been called to the old time religion and to the revival of the things that titillate your soul, because they're couched in the things that are familiar, and the sentiment of old. And you're not called to the worldly wisdom of men in their diagnostic helps for your church growth, but rather ,you have approached unto mount Zion even to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless multitudes of angels in festal gatherings. and to the church. The assembly of the Firstborn who are registered as citizens in heaven,"
That's far more than christian respectability.
"and to the Judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of the righteous who have been made perfect." This is evidently then something more than than Sunday church. Its evidently a suggestion of a far more intensive quality of a relationship, where the spirits of just men can be made perfect, that they might be citizens in heaven. "And to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,. So see to it that you do not reject Him, or refuse to listen, and to heed Him who is speaking to you now."
My prayer this morning. especially, and in these days in general has been this: that I might be to Him as a mouth for you. "
"For if they, the Israelites, did not escape when they refused to listen, and heed Him who warned them and divinely instructed them here on earth, revealing with heavenly warnings His will - how much less shall we escape if we reject ,and turn our backs on Him who cautions and admonishes us from heaven? Then at Sinai His voice shook the earth - but now He has given a promise 'yet once more will I shake and make tremble not only the earth, but also the heavens'. Now this expression yet once more indicates the final removal and transformation of all that can be shaken. That is - of that which has been created: in order that that which cannot be shaken may remain, and continue."
May I prophecy? That if you have not experienced yet a shaking individually and in your churches and throughout your movements, that you shall. And that these speakings have been the beginnings of shakings for God will not allow to remain that which which cannot remain: all that is earthly, all that has its origin in human initiative, and in sentiment, and in tradition - however hallowed and however dear, is going to be crumbled and be brought into the dust. Mark those words. We re going to see movements collapse, stagger, sway and fall .Were going to see the most lustrous charismatic churches and great multimillion-dollar plants be terrible stigmas, Empty houses unable to pay their mortgages, and to save themselves from their financial indebtedness , who were carried off by the fever of the hour in great building promotions. We're going to se some of the glossiest, and snazziest of present day ministries turn to dust. There's only one thing that will survive the shaking. It's a kingdom that is firm and stable that cannot be shaken. "So offer to God pleasing service and acceptable worship with modesty and pious care and godly fear and awe. For our God is indeed a consuming fire." With that admonition will you turn with me to the first chapter of the gospel of John?
I cant think of a heavier imperative for the church of Jesus Christ in the earth today than the incarnation of God in them: the mystery of God which is His deity, his heavenly glory revealed through flesh. That' s much more than being correct, scripturally sound,
. and respectable. . Its a glory, the phenomenon is a glory, "and no man has seen God at any time. But the only unique begotten Son was who was in the bosom of the father ,,,He has revealed him."
God will not do anything outside his Son. I want to tell you that. If His Son is not in your movement and your movement is not in His son, you shall be outside the holy end time purposes of God. You may make a sound - you may have your activity and your programs: but it counts for nothing that is eternal. Only the Son which is in the bosom of the father - not in tradition , not in respectability, not in human wisdom and devices, in programs, and in methodologies, but in the bosom of the Father in the heavenly places. He shall reveal Him.
My Jewish life was confronted and stopped short when I beheld in a simple gentile girl, whom i should have disdained, and utterly cast aside as not worthy of my attention, "the light to lighten the gentiles and the glory of the people Israel". In her simplicity and in her transparency. God was in her face.
"And the word", it says in the 14th verse "became flesh, human and incarnate, and tabernacled - fixed His tent and lived awhile among us and we actually saw His glory, His honor, His majesty - such glory as an only begotten Son receives from his Father, full of grace and truth"
My only regret is that I have not been able to speak to you on truth.
It's full, or its not the Son.
Its full of truth and grace - or its not the Son who is in the bosom of the Father.
if you are making polite references that soothes and smooths the situation over, but is not true, it is no longer full of grace and truth. It is no longer the Son in the bosom of the Father, and is no longer the revelation of the Word made Flesh - which alone can save men out of death. You can have all your evangelistic programs, but you need to be full of grace and truth.
"John testified about Him and cried out, 'this is he of whom I said, He that comes after me, has priority over me, for He was before me, and He takes rank above me, and He existed before I did.'"
How we need to parrot that cry! Do you realize that there is One who has priority over you and who takes rank over you? I'll tell you that if I would just summarize the whole issue at the end of the age its this, it's the the petty kingdoms of men verses THE kingdom of God.
It is the Kingdom of heaven.
It has priority over you and it takes rank over you. Have you seen that and have you acknowledged that?
"Out of his fullness we all received and had a share, and were all supplied with one grace after another
and spiritual blessing. Gift upon gift - for the law was given through Moses, but grace. favor, spiritual blessing, and truth, came through Jesus Christ. No man has seen God at any time -
the only unique Son,
the only begotten Son,
who is in the bosom, that is the in the intimate presence of the Father,
He has declared Him -
He has revealed Him,
brought Him out where He can be seen.
He has interpreted Him,
He has made Him known."
God will not do anything outside of the son that reveals the Father.
And the question is this, are you in the Son?
Are you in the glory of what God is establishing now in these end times in the earth, the body of Christ? I'm not impressed that you can use the phrase glibly. I'm only impressed with the actuality.
But ill tell you to be in this requires a coming out of something else.
You cannot come in to the Son with all of your trappings and all of your own vested interest . There's no place for that in the bosom of the Father.
And this is the testimony of John when the Jews sent priests and Levites to him from Jerusalem to ask him "who are you?"
He was this ungainly character sounding off in his shrill way in that muddy place in the Jordan in the wilderness - an offense.
"He confessed and admitted the truth and did not try to conceal it, but acknowledged, 'I am not the Christ.'
and they asked him, what then are you Elijah?" He said 'i am not'. Are you the prophet? He answered 'No.' Then they said to him, well who then are you? Tell us so that we may give an answer to them who sent us?
What do you say about yourself? He said 'I am the voice of one crying aloud in the wilderness, the voice of one shouting in the dessert prepare the way of the Lord! Straighten out the path of the Lord as te prophet isaiah said.' "
The messengers, it says in the 24th verse, had been sent from the pharisees. And they asked him, why then are you baptizing if you are not Christ or Elijah, or the Prophet? And John answered them, 'I only baptize in water. But among you there stands One whom you do not recognize, and with whom you are not acquainted, and of whom you know nothing. ' These things occurred in Bethany, across the Jordan where John was then baptizing."
Can you picture the scene folks,?
Ungainly and unattractive, creating some kind of ruckus in that distant wilderness place outside of Jerusalem.
It's a Jerusalem which has been abandoned by God. It is no longer the holy city. it is a city whose wine has turned to water and its silver to dross. The city of righteousness has become the city of harlots.
And such a phenomenon does not take place in a day.
It's a gradual erosion, and usually those who are there are unwary and unseeing.
The Temple still stands, but the Shekinah glory of God has long since departed.
There are still priests but they're flunkies and functionaries sent by the pharisees to enquire of what is that ungainly thing taking place in the muddy Jordan, at a spot just before it empties out into the dead sea.
I have that kind of strange sense this morning that this is where we stand now, spiritually speaking, at this point of time. There is something that is happening outside of yourJerusalem, outside your religious establishment. Have you seen it ? There were only two classes of people that were there in at that point in time, then, and only two classes of people now. The first is indignant, suspicious, and somewhat hostile, or at best curious, mildly, to see whats going on. Men who have been sent by the Pharisees, not by God, to enquire "what's going on here?" How dare anything go on outside our Jerusalem?
Of these, John the Baptist said to them, "there is One here whom you do not recognize, and with whom you are not acquainted, and of whom you know nothing." John himself was not able to discern, and to see Him, and to realize who this Son was, except that he would glimpse Him in the waters of repentance and separation.
I am not impressed with the glib, and the cheap and easy, unctuous mouthings of the phrase, "Body of Christ," which is the corporate, many membered Son that shall reveal the Father, which is the Church of the firstborn, the Zion of God, the new Jerusalem, the heavenly city. Have you really seen it by revelation in the seeing that changes everything?
There's only one place that you can discern it.
Its in the waters of separation.
The radical descent into death which the Jordan is.
And i'll tell you that by the eye of God there are only two classes of men. Those who sense their woeful and terrible inadequacy, those whose hearts are burning, because they're discontent with mere religion. In whose heart there's a cry for the coming of the Lord in fullness and in glory. And we stand again historically at such a time.
The soon coming of the Lord.
And there is again a place where the God is bidding men to repent of their vested self interest, of their fierce and intense personal ambitions, of their own desires for their future, of all the wealth of things that pertain to their religion, and to their Jerusalem. And to come out of that and to come and to humble themselves in that muddy place, and to enter the waters of radical separation : from selfishness, from ambition, from power, from the love of prestige, and the esteem of men. That they might glimpse a Son who is being brought froth and to whom they can be joined in those selfsame waters.
One whom you have not recognized, One with whom you are not acquainted, and One of whom you know nothing
I'll tell you, if you'll not enter the waters at this time, for there is certainly a timing of God, had they known the time of their visitation. Jesus wept as he looked upon Jerusalem, on His way to the cross.
I believe that these days have been a time of visitation for your denomination. If you'll not enter the waters of separation, think of what it will cost you who love the fraternity of like minded men, who are presidents of institutions and heads of denominations. How scintillating and intoxicating and heady it all is. How full of things that are pompous and earthly, worldly. That which is esteemed of men is abomination in the sight of God.
I'll tell you that if you'll not enter these water here now, they'll flow into the dead sea, and your denomination with them. You are at a fierce, and severe, radical moment of choice. And it behooves you to see who is being brought out of these waters that is God's end time instrument for the revealing of Himself to men, before the day of His judgment shall come.
The Son, who is in the bosom of the Father.
He'll not do anything outside that Son He has priority over us and rank over us, over our denominations. over our interests, over our individual churches and careers. Only in Him shall the glory of God be revealed. A Son that received the spirt of God without measure and entered the familiar synagogues that have long ignored Him, and look up in stark amazement at the Power and Authority at which He shall speak, under that Spirit, for the Spirit of God shall be upon Him; " for He has anointed Him to open the eyes of the blind, to set the captives free, to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord", and the day of His soon coming wrath.
How dare we think to conclude the messianic task except by the Spirit of God without measure which is given only to His son. "This is He of whom i said 'after me comes a man who has priorate over me, because who takes rank above me, because he was before me and existed before i did'", before old time religion He was
and at the end of the age He shall be.
" And i did not know Him and did i not recognize Him myself. It wasn't because i was a long time Pentecostal, or that i was even related to Him that i was able to recognize Him. But in order that he should be made manifested and revealed to Israel.
Be brought out where we can see Him that i came baptizing in water.
Its only the place of repentance that reveals the Son.
For as many who will not be content to stand only at the bank, as the curious or the indignant, but will come as the broken and the contrite, to enter the waters of radical separation.
John gave further evidence saying I have seen the Spirit departing out of heave, and it dwelt on Him not to depart, and I did not know Him or recognize Him. But he who sent me said to me, 'Upon Him whom you shall see that Spirit descend and remain, that one is He'', and i have seen that happen, i actually did see it, and my testimony is that this is the Son of God.
if you'll be patient with me this morning, I just want to make one reference to another critical time, at the Jordan, when God again called the people to choice. Its in Joshua, the third chapter, when the people had been stumbling about, if you will, in a religious wilderness forty years, a time of judgment. "And the hour had come to cross. and God said, and commanded the people saying. 'when you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, you shall remove from your place, and go after it. Come now near unto it, for you must know the way that you must go. For you have not passed this way heretofore. '"
(name mentioned here) intimated some thing to you that pertained to the kingdom , and of course, within the preview of a morning speaking time, he could not disclose details. But how few of you were interested sufficiently to pursue me and to enquire?
You've not been this way heretofore, and you shall have no knowledge of what remains on the other side, except that you can enjoy the apprehension, and the fear, and the tremblings which are right.
Because on the other side is that final showdown with the power and the principalities of the Gergashites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, the Canaanite cities, which have ever, and always, been opposed to the Spirit of God, and to His people.
That final battle in the taking of the land that on His holy Hill, His temple may be established, and the glory of that house shall be greater than the former.
There is a land to be possessed folks for those who will enter the Jordan and cross over. It is a time for radical commitment, and you cannot bring the things that you have enjoyed in the wilderness into the new land. God, who is gracious, and has honored our immaturity with daily manna, now shall require us to live from the land, and enter in to Apostolic vigor. and to reality.
"When you shall see the Ark of the Lord being lifted by the priests and the Levites. you shall remove from your place, and go after it. Though you have not been this way heretofore."
"When the priests who bear the covenant of the Lord shall put their feet in the Jordan, it shall part, and the people shall go over as on dry land. As the priests that bore the Ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, all the israelites passed over until all the people were passed clean over Jordan."
Unlike any of the previous messages in these days, which you have called "lectures", I am going to give an invitation at this conclusion. To the priests, and to the Levites who are the bearers of the Ark. For the hour has come, when the Ark of God is being lifted, and He is bidding His people pass over.
There is a class of men unlike those who were sent by the Pharisees, who were religious flunkies to do the bidding of those who were concerned with their establishment in Jerusalem - a mere shadow : a disfigurement, a grotesque caricature of the true priests whose service is to God only, who is the first one in, and the last one out. Who's got to stand in the midst of swirling waters, as if on dry ground. And the faith, and the commitment, and the courage that will part the waters and will enable a people to follow after.
Jerusalem was no longer a holy city. The whole land laid under Roman bondage, and the Greek Hellenistic spirit seduced, and prevailed over all the people.
How much like this present hour!
The glory of God had departed the temple.
And the priesthood s corrupted, concerned only with their prestige, their position, and their advantage.
But outside, (isn't it always the way, outside? ), outside religious Jerusalem, at the faithful place of crossing - at the muddy wilderness spot, the Ark of God was again being lifted.
It was at a final place of opportunity for radical separation.
In the waters of repentance, before the Jordan ended its journey into the Dead Sea.
Today there's a Son coming forth out of those waters upon whom the Holy Spirit will descend, and remain without measure, greater than any denomination and all of them together. The curious and the indignant cannot know or recognize Him, only those who enter the waters of death; to pride; to recognition of men; to religious ambition; to power; ; to prestige. "Because you obeyed My voice", God says to Abraham, "in multiplying i will multiply you".
You don't need charts and graphs.
If you've been unwilling to go up, will you pass through?
If you have not heard the voice of God, will you this morning see the ark of God being lifted by the priest the and levite?
"When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God and the priests and the levites bearing it, then you shall remove from your place and go after it, though you have not been this way heretofore."
God has not invited you to move to a 160 acre farm, as He has us.
We are only one model, and form, and variant of a Christian community.
We've not set before you some narrow kind of self interest asking you to emulate us.
But we are proclaiming a kingdom, the same kingdom that John the Baptist came proclaiming.
The same kingdom of heaven that Jesus both began to teach and to preach,
and the same kingdom that was in the heart and the mouth of Paul until his final and to his dying day.
It is still in the heart of God.
It is a kingdom that eclipses all.
It takes priority and rank over all.
If you will follow the ark of God which is being lifted, though you have not been this way heretofore.
I have such a sense of sadness to see this fantastic facility, this school, these buildings, the men and families that live all about it as a cluster, and to see, and to recognize, that is is an institution, and not an organism
It has all of the precious potential for the expression of the Kingdom, if you would make but one radical Apostolic shift from things institutional and the systems of men, to the things that are Apostolic, and that are the expression of His life in the community of God,
which is His Kingdom, the Zion of God, , the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem,
which cometh down from above, where the spirits of just men are made perfect.
Behold the ark of the covenant of the God of all the earth passes before you over to Jordan. Where are the priests of the Lord who are the first ones in and the last ones out? '
One of your dear ministers said to me privately the other day, "when you began speaking,Art, I was ready to shout 'amen", but one of the leaders of our movement cautioned me with his finger to keep quiet."
How many of you can say with Elijah, "as the Lord my God liveth, before whom I stand", and how many of you are conscious that you are observed and seen by the men of your movement who can see to your promotion and advancement.
I'll tell you if you'll continue that way, you'll be the priests that were sent by the Pharisees, rather than the priests who can bear the Ark of the covenant of the Lord.
Where are those who will be the first ones in the the last ones out?
God does not give you, or explain to you, what the crossing is going to mean - what lies on the other side.
What kind of struggles and battles are before you, what it will mean to to the posses the land and to live from the land, what it will mean to leave behind the institutional securities and the comforts and the things that are familiar and proven and tested.
To explore, and to find your way into that new relationship with God's people, by which they can with one shout, bring down the walls of those who oppose them.
I'll tell you that's more than Pentecostal bellowing.
Its the one voice of those who have been called into an army, and who have exposed their flesh to the cutting of the sharp knife of the Lord until they be healed, and each man find his place in the camp.
All of that awaits you on the other side for those who will cross over.
But there will be no crossing for the people until the priests will be the first ones in and the last ones out. Priests who can stand firm on dry ground, and I'll tell you it'll get dry.
In the midst of the flood that the people might pass over into the land of promise. Kingdom living.
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
That kingdom is only to be found and to be established on the other side.
And I want to tell you as a Jew, that there are two and a half tribes that never passed over. Gad, Manasseh, and Reuben, never ever made it. Lost forever to the purposes of God and to the people of Israel, because they could not bring themselves to pass over. Their grass was just too lush on the side which was already familiar to them, and their distinctive was that they were "raisers of flesh".
What a melancholy picture we have in the new testament when Jesus himself encounters one of the descendants of that people now ridden with demons, the Gadarene. Living in the cemetery with dead men's bones naked. and in chains. What a last and melancholy statement of a people who would not cross over - and nothing had changed because when He had cast the demons out of this victim, they drove Him from their coasts - more concerned for the loss of their swine, than for the recovery of a man He made sane.
I'll tell you dear children, if you have ears to hear, it is a fateful thing, not to cross when God bids you cross.
For you have not passed this way heretofore.
We have been too long in the religious wilderness more concerned for the "raising of flesh" than the building of His kingdom.
We are not told what awaits us on the other side, but the end we know. The Shekinah glory of God and the Temple that shall be established on His holy hill.
Where are the priests of God who will bear it? And where are those, who seeing it will remove and go after, though they have not been this way heretofore?
Believe in the Lord thy God, so shall you prosper.
Believe in his prophets, so you shall be established.
I have been faithful to speak the words that God has put in my mouth, and now you are called not merely to compliment me, because I challenged your thinking, and it was an interesting lecture.
But if this is not very God calling an entire people to a new place, an Apostolic reality in the establishing of a kingdom. a new quality of life and a relationship that will require the radical alteration of much,
and that the beginning of which is to be found in the waters of repentance and separation,
for our ambition for our self interest, for our vanity, for our pride, for our self seeking, for loving the esteem of men more than the approval of God
So i'm going to ask you to bow your heads with me.
(Art praying) Precious Holy God, It is with trembling that I have to announce to this people what is my function in your body, lest they think that they were hearing only a speaker; lest they think this was an interesting series of days with different aspects of the truth, that somehow all fit together, when You have, in your providence, set before them alternatives that require radical choosing. Indeed, now as then ,there are only two categories of men at the Jordan. Those who are merely curious or indignant that anything can take place outside their Jerusalem, and those that are broken and contrite, who want to glimpse and see the Son being brought forth out of the waters, and rejoined with Him. Precious God may these words be as the lifting of the Ark before this people. That as many who have eyes to see and ears to hear, will be willing to be remove from their place, though they have not been this way heretofore. And my final word precious God, in prayer, among these dear precious people whom we love with your love, is for those whom You have called to be the priests of God. To go before and to bear the Ark, to put their feet in the waters of the flood, though it threatens to engulf them, to hear the roaring of the lions, that are displaced in their lairs, by the riverside. at the flood stage, and the shrieks and the cries, of "fanatics", and worse, shall they hear. But the waters shall not part except their be a class of men whose first loyalty is to God before anything else. Who will be always and ever willing to be the first ones in, and the last ones out. In the name of Jesus, and as a minister of this everlasting gospel" (end of prayer)
I want to ask those men whose hearts are set for God, who will be His priests, to get out of their seats and to come, and to kneel by the front of this platform - who will be the first ones in and the last ones out. You have no idea what this is going to cost you - you'll suffer the misunderstanding of men. You'll offend many. You'll have no distinctiveness in yourself. You'll be a priest swathed in the blood of sacrifice, from your fingernails, to your elbows, dripping with the gore of sacrifice. There's nothing attractive about the calling, full of tremblings - wholly separated unto God. Bearers of the ark.
(Praying) Precious God in Jesus name, if this is not some kind of mock and hokey religious service, if this is something that was born in heaven, and these were the words of your speaking, and this is your invitation, then I ask you now to seal in heaven by name every precious man of God who has come to bow before you. And to acknowledge that you have priority over them, and rank over them, who are laying on the altar of God this morning, sanctifying themselves - every petty ambition, and thought for the future, of what they were going to be, and what they were going to do - and the audiences that they would impress, and the elevated positions that they would obtain in the movement - willing that it should all perish that they might have but one distinction in God - to be the bearers of the Holy Ark. That there would be a City set on a Hill, out of which the Shekinah glory can again come, to flood a dark earth with the knowledge of God, unto the salvation of despairing millions everywhere. Thank you for these precious priests Lord. Seal then by name. Give them the preparation that goes far beyond schooling that men can provide. Shape their lives in testings and in trials. That they shall not balk at floods, and swirling waters; that they can stand still in the midst of a dry ground and not panic, and not seek for devices, and techniques, and methodologies, to save them from their predicament - but trust to God, whose ark they bear." (end of prayer)
And now a final word of invitation for the people who will follow after. Those of you who have seen the Ark of God being lifted this morning and are prepared to follow after these priests who bear it, into a land of promise.
It will blow your mind.
It will destroy every conventional religious category you have ever entertained.
It will bring you into a fierce new place where privacy as you have understood it will be a thing of the past.
It will be a new honesty and quality of truth in living.
Lives that are transparent and open to each other.
It'll be a people who are together. It'll be Peter, standing with the eleven.
It will be Peter and John, going up together, into the gate beautiful.
It will be, "behold how good, and pleasant it is, for brethren to dwell together in unity".
It will be the end of things feigned. and postured.
It will be the end of religious faces.
It will be kingdom reality.
I ask you to stand if you are prepared to follow after this morning, willing to cross, though you've not been this way heretofore.
"Art, can't you explain to us what this is gonna mean? What are the particulars?"
No, its just for those who love Him enough to follow without knowing.
I'll tell you this, I cannot believe that we can cross into this land, and still continue as we were. There has got to be radical alteration, unto glory.
(praying again) "Precious God, seal this moment in heaven, Lord. Woe, to those who have stood idly to this invitation, because of the fear of men. But seal this scene in heaven, mighty God. May it be a profound, and historic moment of crossing into a new land. Precious God, a new reality, a new glory, that shall make You known. Precious God, save us from the image that we have adopted from the world, about what church ought to be, what a minister ought to be, what a denomination ought to be, and give us in a burning way, by fire, what that holy city is that Holy City, new Jerusalem that cometh down from above, that Zion of God, that church of the firstborn - the spirits of just men being made perfect. Oh God, Thy kingdom come, Thy kingdom come, and not some patsy middle class religious alternative. Thy kingdom come! on earth as it is in heaven. Transform this school from an institution, to an organic and pulsating expression of your life! By a people, live by faith, who flow together by the Spirit of Life. A glory to God in the earth, that shall produce priests of God, and not functionaries, and hucksters, and promoters. Seal, precious God, this consecration this morning, and work out the application of it in the minutest detail as we cross over with You to the other side
Hallelujah!! Thank you precious God. Thank you precious God. Seal it in heaven, Lord, and bring it forth. Thank you Lord. Thy Kingdom come, Thy Kingdom come. Intoxicate us for the Kingdom of God. May we be drunk with the words, "the kKngdom," "the Kingdom," "the Kingdom," No longer the petty kingdoms of men. but the kingdom of Thine own dear Son, in whom we have been translated - at the place of crossing on this day. In Jesus name we pray. Amen." (end of prayer)
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon