Five-Fold Today Press Through - This Is Not Our Home - A New Song - It Is Time For Friends - The Morning Stars - I Have Heard Your Cries - Why the Long Drought in USA?? - Have It Your Way?

October 11, 2001

Press Through

Denise Lagrimas

Yesterday during service my Pastor shared that God had shown him an opening and that in order to go where God wanted he would have to go through the opening and that it would be a squeeze and although he could not see what was through the opening he saw light and knew that there was light there and lots of it. He then said we as a church need to decide if we will squeeze through with him because it is the only way we can go. The other choice would be to stay right where you are and go no further....

Although the message was given to our body I sensed the Lord saying this is where many in the Body of Christ are at this very hour. So as I took it to prayer and then slept on it I was awoken with this vision.

I saw the narrow opening and the vast amount of light on the other side then I saw the church and as they were looking through the shadows to find light. You could see the intense struggle as to what and where they should go. All around them seemed fine except there was an emptiness not darkness but a shadow over them. They cried out for more light and when the narrow opening appeared an Angel pointed the way but some were afraid. The Lord required each to make the decision and that each one had to go through alone. There was only room enough for one to go through at a time. I saw tears as some were sobbing. When I asked the Lord why? He said some have grown so fat from their own desires that they cannot fit unless they shed some of the things that keep them from going through. He said it would cost them discipline as they shed the things that hold them back, (such as pride, selfish desire, critical attitudes and un forgiveness) they must fast to fit through.

Then I saw a remnant of people who obviously made the decision to follow the Angels prompting (they wanted and needed light) and they began to walk through some went easily without incident, some went through and barely squeezed but pushed through with great effort, Still others came to the opening two by two and as one started through the other pushed them from behind, a struggle but as they helped one another it went quicker and then there were those who "oiled" themselves down from top to bottom and slid through the opening with ease. The Lord said these are the ones who desire me above all else and have forsaken all to follow me they will seek light at all cost and their reward will be great in heaven. I have required a journey that has not been traveled before except by my Son who has prepared the way. It will look and feel different than anything you have ever known for behold "I do a new thing" it will not be church as usual for the time has come to squeeze through to the light and allow me to lead you to complete salvation and victory. There is no other way.. those who will not go will be given over to their own desires and the darkness will overtake them but you who are spiritual must receive this light and help one another to see this is the only way.

This vision has left me wondering where am I? am I oiled or fat with my own desires? I don't know about you but I pray & believe I am in the latter part and will continue to press through to the other side even if it means death in trying....

Be Blessed
Denise Lagrimas

And they overcame by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives even to death. Rev. 12:11

This Is Not Our Home

Doug Morrell

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:15-17)

The Apostle John tells us that everything is worldly if our attitude is worldly, but if our attitude is "of the Father," nothing is worldly.

Some people think that worldliness is limited to external behavior--the people we associate with, the places we go, the activities we enjoy. Worldliness is also internal because it begins in the heart.

  1. In The World: this does not refer to the physical creation, but to the sphere of evil operating in our world under the dominion of Satan (see 1 John 4:4; 5:19; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).

  2. The Lust of the Flesh: this is the preoccupation with gratifying physical desires which includes eating and drinking and sleeping and wearing clothes or whatever our souls desire to do.

  3. The Lust of the Eyes: this is craving and accumulating things, bowing to the god of materialism which includes the desire of anything we want to buy or possess...good, bad or indifferent.

  4. The Pride of Life: boasting of what we have or what we do; it is the obsession with status or importance.

When the serpent tempted Eve (Gen. 3:6), he tempted her in these same three areas. Also, when the devil tempted Jesus in the desert, these were his three areas of attack (Mth. 4:1-11). Rest assured, this is the same strategy Satan uses today; the vain glory of life, the fight for position, promotion, or advancement whether in the church or out.

When our attachment to possessions is strong, it's hard to believe that what we want will one day pass away. It may be even harder to believe that the person who does the will of God will live forever. But this was John's conviction based on the facts of Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and promises. Knowing that this evil world and our desires for its pleasures will end can give us courage to control our greedy, self-indulgent behavior through a surrendered will to the Holy Spirit and as we continue doing God's will.

God values self-control, a spirit of generosity, and a commitment to humble service. It is possible to give the impression of avoiding worldly pleasures while still harboring worldly attitudes in our hearts. It's also possible, like Jesus, to love sinners and spend time with them while maintaining a commitment to the values of God's kingdom. What values are most important to you? Do your actions reflect the world's values or God's values?

The Apostle Paul tells us:

Everything is permissible for me"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"--but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Cor. 6:12)
All things are permissible for me, but there are three limitations:
  1. I will not be brought under the power of any.
  2. All things are not profitable for me.
  3. All things that are permissible for me do not help others and as such, fall under the greater Kingdom principle of God's love. (1 Cor 6:12, 10:23).

Those are the only restrictions.

Many today quote and misapply the words "everything is permissible for me." Some excuse their sins by saying that:

  1. Christ has taken away all sin, and so we have complete freedom to live as we please, or

  2. What we are doing is not strictly forbidden by Scripture.

The Bible answers these excuses.

  1. While Christ has taken away our sin, this does not give us freedom to go on doing what we know is wrong. The New Testament specifically forbids many sins (see 1 Cor. 6:9, 10) that were originally prohibited in the Old Testament (see Rom. 12:9-21; 13:8-10).

  2. Some actions are not sinful in themselves, but they are not appropriate because they can control our lives and lead us away from God.

  3. Some actions may hurt others. Anything we do that hurts rather than helps others is not right and therefore, not Spirit-led (Gal. 5:22).

Many of the world's religions teach that the soul or spirit is important but the body is not; and Christianity has sometimes been influenced by these ideas. In truth, however, Christianity takes very seriously the realm of the physical. We worship a God who created a physical world and pronounced it good. He promises us a new earth where real people have transformed physical lives--not a pink cloud where disembodied souls play harps for all of eternity. At the heart of Christianity is the story of God himself taking on flesh and blood and coming to live with us, offering both physical healing and spiritual restoration.

We humans, like Adam, are a combination of dust and spirit. Just as our spirits affect our bodies, so our physical bodies affect our spirits. We cannot commit sin with our bodies without damaging our souls because our bodies and souls are inseparably joined. In the new earth we will have resurrection bodies that are not corrupted by sin. Then we will enjoy the fullness of our salvation.

Freedom is a mark of the Christian faith--freedom from sin and guilt, and freedom to use and enjoy anything that comes from God. But believers should not abuse this freedom and hurt themselves or others. Drinking too much leads to alcoholism, gluttony leads to obesity. Be careful that what God has allowed you to enjoy doesn't grow into a bad habit that controls you.

This is why we must not make up lists of "things" which we regard as inherently worldly and evil in themselves. Each of us may have our own personal areas into which, under God, we cannot enter. There are certain things you cannot do, or do not want to do, not because someone else does not want you to, or because you think the church will frown on it, but because you feel the Lord does not want you to do this. Each believer, submitted to the Holy Spirit, accountable to others, and following God's doctrine as described in the Bible (doctrine is simply truth), must not violate his or her own conscious.

Grow in grace and truth.

doug morrell
A fellow servant in the work of the Kingdom.

Live Christ Deliberately!
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A New Song

By Doug Fortune

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book (scroll), and to loose the seven seals thereof... And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung A NEW SONG, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5:5, 8-10)

Only the revelation of Jesus Christ can break open the seals of our understanding and loose the scroll of our destiny. For what is revealed in the sounding of the seventh trumpet of the seventh seal, is the mystery hidden for ages- Christ in you (plural- the corporate Son, the Body of Christ).

But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. (Rev. 10:7)

In the verses above, we encounter a prophetic picture of the New Creation Man from the four corners of the earth (the four living creatures) operating in maturity, apostolic governmental order, and in agreement (elders = maturity; 24 is 2x12 = 12 is the number of apostolic government, 2 is the number of agreement). This mature Son, in humility worships the Lamb who shall open the seals of the scroll of destiny. Although they are a corporate Son, EACH has a harp and bowl...the corporate anointing is released as EACH worships and offers up prayers as ONE sound.

I don’t know that I can articulate it well, but somehow I sense in my spirit that the ‘New Song’ of verse 9 is instrumental in the loosing of the seals to reveal the scroll. I also believe that this is the song that is being released in the earth today, as the Tabernacle of David is being restored. (No, I’m not referring to a building in the Middle East, but rather a people with unveiled face who manifest the nature of the Father).

This song is the prophetic proclamation of the Father’s purpose in this hour... loosing the seals of the Adamic self-life to reveal the scroll of destiny which is comprised of many sons after the order of Melchizedek. Yes, the scroll, the Book is a people, living epistles to be read by all, who walk as kings and priests in the earth. These are normal everyday people - moms, bankers, students, factory workers, medical workers, ministers, etc. who understand that though they walk the earth, they are seated at the right hand of the Father in Christ. They are extending the merciful and just rule of the Kingdom in their sphere of influence, the workplace, the homefront. They are kings ruling in the Throne of David in mercy and justice, they are priests who release the glory of God in the earth by manifesting the nature of Christ.

It is the ‘New Song’ that is the catalyst for loosing those seals that keep the ‘mystery’ (Christ in US - Corporately) from being revealed. Yes, Christ is the only one who is worthy to loose the seals, but just as singers sent out before a conquering army, this ‘New Song’ prepares the way.

This is why the restoration of the Tabernacle of David is paramount to bringing God’s purposes to bear in the earth. It goes far beyond just establishing houses of continual praise and prayer... rather it is prophetically calling out redemption over every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. There is a ‘New Song’ stirring in the spirit of multitudes all over the globe; intercessors are birthing it, prophets are proclaiming it, apostles are bringing Scriptural validation concerning it, musicians are playing it, and singers are singing it!

Let this ‘New Song’ pierce the atmosphere and bring God’s purposes to fruition, the unveiling of a mature corporate Son, kings and priest in the earth.

It Is Time For Friends

Ras Robinson

Friends are made for such an hour as this. There has never been a better time to show yourself friendly. You will be needing very soon every Godly relationship that I bring. Reach out to others. Refuse to hole yourself up and become a hermit. Open your face and palms to others. I am giving opportunity for connecting with others so that you will not be left alone in times of crisis. Prepare and take people into your home and heart. I sent Jesus in part to show you what a friend can be like. And yet there are some of you who have no friends at all, others who have one or two. Almost none of you have even a handful of friends. Listen to me. Reach out. Connect, connect. Get in relationships. Father and mothers in the faith are now raised up and are being raises up. Humble yourself. Seek them out. Respond to their invitation to you to be in relationship, to be connected. It is time for friends.

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
Ras and Bev Robinson
Fullness in Christ Church Ministries
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The Morning Stars

Marion Lundy

The morning stars are coming! The suns are coming! They are the lights to enlighten the Gentiles. They are the city set upon a hill that cannot be hid. They are miniature reproductions of Me. They will be as I am. They will do what they see me do, they have what I have and they will speak what I say. They are my seed, my incorruptible seed. Through them I will be planted throughout the earth. From them will come many more lights. Coming out from Me, the Supreme Light, these 'true lights' are all connected to one another. They will be alive, sparkling with My anointing and life far greater than natural stars appear to sparkle. My Light through them will sweep across the heavens as the light of giant lighthouses and receive messages from Me and detect the works of the enemy so you will be forewarned. These lights will not always be welcomed. I, as the Light of the world, went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil. Even then, many loved darkness rather than light and would not come to it. Yet, darkness has never put My Light out. Light rules. Light is truth. Knowing the Truth makes one free. My true lights will proclaim the Truth.

You have seen Satan move. Now get ready for the greatest MOVE that you have ever seen. THE DELIVERERS ARE COMING! They are already activated and mobilized. They are coming in My power in MEGA proportion. They will manifest My power like THUNDER and like LIGHTNING as I did on Mount Sinai. (In a vision I saw lightning flashing from the bodies of these as they went forth in the work of the Lord. It flashed from their hands as they stretched them out to minister. It flashed forth from their foreheads as they received and gave out His word.) They will work miracles greater than those that Moses did. They will conquer more than Joshua did. Their strength will be greater than Samson's and their wisdom greater than Solomon's. They will prophesy and My Spirit will work through them greater than it did through Elijah and Elisha. They will praise and worship Me better than David did. They will handle the hard cases. They will heal the dread diseases. Illuminated and energized by Me, they will stand as Peter and John did at the 'gate of the temple called Beautiful', saying: "Look on us! In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk!" The recipients will rise, leaping and jumping and praising God! They will do these works by My hand and by My Spirit. They will have a word in 'due season' for those needing it. It will be a word of healing. It will mend. It will deliver, impart and dispatch. (I saw a vision of someone in a long robe with bread in their hands, feeding the people like Jesus did and as Joseph who had food for the nations when they needed it. This robe had a shiny look to it.) The hungry will pull at their robes as they did mine, says the Lord. They will desire the Living Bread.

I saw the Lord in this same kind of robe standing over the ruins of the World Trade Center with His hands outstretched. He was crying: "Oh America, America! I didn't want this. I didn't want this. This nation was founded on Me and the Truth, but you're gone so far away. Come back to Me! Come back to Me! Repent is not a bad word. It means - return, come back!" (This vision kept recurring several times.) The Lord continued to say: "Many are confused about My position in all this. If you want to know how I think and how I act, look at My Son Jesus Christ that I sent to you. He was the personification of love. He was love in manifestation, yet He never failed do the right thing or to tell people the Truth. He told church folks the Truth. He told sinners the Truth. He didn't just go along with everything because He loved so much, He corrected them. He rebuked, reproved and chastened BECAUSE He loved them. He called them serpents. He told them that they were full of dead men bones. He told them that they were of their father, the devil. Know the Truth and My character. Jesus told you that when you saw Him you had seen the Father. Stand for the right. Many are preoccupied with amassing more and more THINGS and STUFF for themselves and trying to find BIGGER BARNS to put it in. They don't seem to know that their SOULS are required of them. Did I not say that he that has these sayings of mine and does them is likened unto a wise man who built his house upon the Rock (the Truth). When the winds, rains and storms come the house won't fall because it's founded upon the Rock. Tell the Truth. The religious world will hate you for it. Remember that they hated Me first. They were infuriated with Me. Don't expect them to receive you. If they did what they did to Me, the 'green tree', what do you think they will do to the 'dry'? Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

Work while it's day, for the night cometh when no man can work. It is HIGH time to awake out of sleep. CAST OFF THE WORKS OF DARKNESS and put on the ARMOUR OF LIGHT. (I then saw a GREAT LIGHT shining down from heaven. It was exposing the darkness and illumining His 'true worshippers'.) These manifested sons will repair the breeches and rebuild the waste places. They are coming with My plans and purposes, with My heart and My mind. I AM with them and will confirm My word with signs following. Magnificent things will be happening. I AM the GREATEST. I AM in control. I AM still on the THRONE. Yes, I Am coming through My Sons to finish preparing My bride and My way. They are sounding My trumpet and whosoever has ears let them hear.

I Have Heard Your Cries

Paula Warzak

This is a NEW DAY, My people. A day of NEW BEGINNINGS. And I am calling you to let go of the old and embrace the NEW THING I am doing in your midst.

Some of you feel out of place. Those things you have done and enjoyed doing no longer satisfy you. That is because I am giving you a NEW focus and a NEW direction. I am positioning you in NEW places and you will know that it is I who has placed you there for My peace will be in you and My grace will sustain you.

You have prayed and sought My face. You have cried out for REVIVAL. You have said in your hearts, “Here am I, Lord. Send me.” Surely I will send you...some to your own neighborhoods; others to your places of work and business; others to your schools; and yet others to places in other states, countries and nations. I am sending you into the highways and byways to compel the lost to come to Me.

Revival does not come without cost. I have had to do a work IN you before I could SEND you. True revival begins when My people turn to Me in true repentance and seeking to love me with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

I have heard your cries and I have seen your hearts. I have purged and pruned you and now I shall FILL you and SEND you forth as carriers of My light, My life, and My glory!

Shine forth, My people! Shine forth!!

Why the Long Drought in USA??

Michael Clark

The following is a letter that I wrote to our son, Lee, regarding the present time we are in and a current teaching that is going around called "The Prayer of Jabez." It explains petty well what has been on my heart since the events of September eleventh of this year. -Michael Clark.


This is the passage that this teaching is based on:

9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested. (1 Chronicles 4:9,10, NKJV).

I am afraid that this kind of emphasis at a time like this is so typical of the Church in America: "Bless me! Give me more! Bless everything I put my mind to. Take over my will and make me a good person." This all fits in with the cross-less Christianity that is preached from most pulpits in America.

God is not interested in blessing those who are still in rebellion against His Holy Spirit. He does not take over our wills, but rather crucifies our souls with trials so we learn to lay down our wills at His feet. If Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered, how much more us? He waits for us to give Him permission to kill the antichrist (that which displaces Christ) within, that thing in each of us that exalts itself and opposes Him. This is what prepares us for that moment when He can say, "Behold, the bride has made herself ready." This is how we "labor therefore to enter into that rest."

For years we heard what should have been a sobering warning to heed 2 Chronicles 7:14. Have we, or have we just grown tired of hearing it and gone on to some other trippy religious thing that markets a bit easier? Let us look at it again in a little more depth with the current national tragedy in mind:

13 “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:13,14, NKJV).

America has been in a drought for most of the last fifteen years. Our forests are burning up, the crops are failing. Cattle ranchers are having to have hay shipped in from as far away as three hundred miles north of the Canadian border.

As for "pestilence" there are those in our government that are warning us that we have not seen the end of germ warfare. Or have we forgot the plague called AIDS? The government is trying to put a good face on what we are up against, saying that there is no immediate bio/chemical threat. Just a few hundred miles north of Afghanistan there is a huge bio/chemical warfare dump left unguarded by the Russian army. Are our officials whistling in the dark, trying to protect what is left of our shaky consumer confidence based economy? I expect that anthrax will be used by terrorists in an attempt to decimate large populations unless we repent and God intervenes. Anthrax is a spore; it is hardy and easy to spread. Just this week a man in Florida came down with dreaded disease and has no idea how he got it.

Joel two speaks of an army sent to destroy an unrepentant Israel by the command of God. It calls them locust (vs. 2:25)! I see a great similarity to this army of God and what we are facing in this third world war against Islamic terrorism. Let's look at what the prophet saw:

A fire devours before them, And behind them a flame burns; The land is like the Garden of Eden before them, And behind them a desolate wilderness; Surely nothing shall escape them.

Look at the landscape of Afghanistan many other Muslim nations. They are totally barren and destroyed by years of warfare. Look at south Manhattan. You shall know them by their fruit.

v11: The LORD gives voice before His army, For His camp is very great; For strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; Who can endure it?

Does God send destruction to a people? Some say, "No, “ but the Bible says He does. He used foreign armies to deal with backslidden Israel for thousands of years. Will America get the message of last resort that God is sending us so that we might repent? Is not one of the terror organizations called Hesbola or "The Army of God"?

12 “Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” 13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.

Repentance and true mourning for our sins, rending our hearts and not just an outward putting on of pious prayers is what the Lord is looking for. He waits for this nation to turn back to its God with our whole hearts. This must come first, before He will again bless us.

Chuck Colson recently wrote:

But what's missing in the flurry of flag-waving and comfort-giving is something that should be the first business of the church: Calling ourselves, and then the nation, to repentance. Christians of the past knew that repentance and faith are a package. The Christian life is a life of returning, of going back to the cross daily in repentance and faith.

For years, many of us have half-jokingly said that if God doesn't bring judgment on America soon, he'll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. I approach this subject gingerly because it is easy to be misunderstood. But I think we do have to try to discern God's purpose in the events that have shaken the whole world.

Please forgive me if my approach to this subject has not been as "gingerly" as Chuck's, but the hour is to late for playing social games.

Continuing with Joel chapter two:

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; 17 Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, "Spare Your people, O LORD..."

God is still looking for "the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within" our nation (see Ezek. 9:1-11). I am so disappointed in the churches of America. Where is the call to repentance? Where is the call for fasting and gut wrenching prayer? Instead we hear a call for business as usual, a call that appeals to our pride to rise up and rebuild. Yes, we have had prayer gatherings in which we pray for those lost and their loved ones, but this does not begin to deal with the wickedness that masks itself in a religious cloak in our nation. Can we honestly compare what we call "the Churches" in America with THE CHURCH found in the Book of Acts, that Church that was ONE and filled with God's love of which it was said, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too"? If any religion is turning the world upside down in this hour it is Islam!

I watched the "national day of prayer performance at the national cathedral and not one of these supposed "holy men" mentioned the need for repentance, except Billy Graham. He also preached "God bless America." I found his message weak and lacking for the lateness of the hour we are in. It was interesting that the procession on the way out was lead by the military honor guard. It seems that we still think in terms of "God and country" and not necessarily in that order. I am a patriot at heart, but since Jesus captured me, like Him, my kingdom is not of this world.

We have been hearing a call for revival from our pulpits for many years. But notice that the blessings of God and the Holy Spirit's reviving come "AFTERWARDS." After the invading army, the plague of locust, the drought, God's strong arm against us because of our sin, and most importantly after we have repented of our evil ways and turn back to Him (Compare Hos 6:1-4)!

God is waiting for all who are HIS PEOPLE and are called by HIS NAME, Christ ones, to HUMBLE THEMSELVES. He is looking for true heart-felt humility. He is waiting for us to climb down from our lofty pulpits and our over inflated opinions of our "ministries" and positions in life and weep before Him in repentance from all our pride. He is waiting for prayer from broken and contrite hearts and broken spirits (Ps 51:17) that seek His face with clean hands and pure hearts, hands that have turned away from their wicked ways and hearts that belong to Him. THEN AND ONLY THEN will He hear our prayers, forgive our sins and HEAL OUR LAND!

So, my son, there you have it. The way I see it, this is not a time for the self centered "prayer of Jabez," but a time for America to hear and obey God's warning to Solomon (2 Chronicles 7:13 and 14). Jesus said to the Pharisees, "Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times." Some things never change. May the Lord somehow get through to us before it is to late.

-"A Wilderness Voice"

Have It Your Way?

Bryan Hupperts

Have it your way. That's a fast food philosophy of customer service, applicable to life in the Western world, and is also one of the most successful slogans in advertising history. Doesn't church in the Western world sometimes feel a bit like a fast food experience?

We have all these competing franchises on street corners who each desperately want you to believe they somehow have a special corner on faith. Often, the sweet tasting stuff they dish up will temporarily quench your cravings with minimal commitment required. You drive up, check out the specials on the menu/bulletin, state your felt need, pay a small price, indulge, and zip merrily away contented. See you Wednesday night for the next quick fix. As one who hungers and thirsts after God, don't we God seekers deserve a break today from fast food faith?

There is a table in the wilderness set with a banquet fit for the King. That is the feast I seek. There is no convenient drive through window available, no take-out allowed. This banquet is for those who hunger and thirst after God.

Now I'm not picking on Burger King particularly, but recently, at a motivational retreat in Key Largo, Florida, about a dozen of their marketing people suffered first and second degree burns on their feet. Was there a hot grease spill in a restaurant? No, these folks got together to participate in an ancient Far Eastern ritual with occult origins: Fire walking.

Yes, walking barefoot over white-hot heated coals, sometimes heated up to 1,200 degrees. The idea is to promote bonding by helping participants find within themselves a liberated state of mind. It certainly gives the phrase `flame broiled,' a whole new nuance of meaning. Who would have ever guessed that the tender bottoms of our feet might one day be considered `the other, other white meat?!'

The company who sponsored the event claims that they have successfully led thousands safely over the coals by helping participants find a new, enlightened state of mind. BK employees who participated in the ritual signed a waver acknowledging they might get hurt. Many left the seminar feeling empowered, ready to take on the whole world, while others left in wheelchairs. Mercifully, no buns were toasted.

I use this example of the marriage of the occult with business to demonstrate the growing spiritual schizophrenia of Western culture. After the terrorist bombings on September 11th, I was startled to see US Congressmen and women standing together singing "God bless America.' Many of these people are the very ones who are hell bent of eradicating faith in God from our public life.

Perhaps would should modify our posters and bumper stickers to read: God Bless America, please? How about `God Save America?' Asking blessing from the One you openly defy is either the height of spiritual ignorance or of arrogance. The assumption is that somehow God must be on the side of the USA. Our wise 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, suggested that the nation quit asking God to be on their side, asking instead that they pray that they were on His side. Timely words to ponder.

I cannot help but wonder if, while it is suddenly fashionable to invoke God, if we are not actually provoking Him? Fast food faith has produced those who believe without commitment, who pray without repentance of soul, who profess faith without corresponding faithfulness. They want spirituality without morality, and the rewards of loving God all the while having it their way.

Corporate America is willing to embrace repackaged ancient occult religious practices such as Fire walking to help them achieve their business goals, but they – like many in public life - balk when you actually mention Jesus Christ as the Way, Truth, and the Life.

The prophet Isaiah penned words that ring true of this generation, in Isaiah 30:9-11, "This is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the LORD; who say to the seers, `Do not see,' and to the prophets, `Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Get out of the way, Turn aside from the path, Cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.'" Another version states verse 11 this way: "Stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!"

We are walking barefooted through the fire. Can we not expect to get burned? God has never offered a "Have it your way" plan of redemption no matter how hard we try to make the offense of the Cross palatable for mass consumption. We cannot have the blessing of God while ignoring the person of God.

Each of us must deal with the Holy One of Israel, either to our hurt, or to our own blessing and delight. So have it your way. Choose this day whom you will serve.

Bryan Hupperts © 2001
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