Today we begin another 40-day journey during Lent. Lent begins Wednesday, February 18, 2015, and ends Thursday, April 2, 2015 with Easter Sunday following on April 5, 2015. We are using this time for deep introspection both individually and as a church. Our desire during this time of Lent is to give ourselves up as Jesus said, “Mark 8:34 “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Last years theme was rebuilding the temple as we focused on Ezra, Nehemiah and Acts. As a church we made a decision to become an Acts church. That simply means our foundation is the word of God and God builds his church according to His plan not ours. This self-examination and analysis needs to be a reflection based on the word of God, not a reflection based on our tradition, reasoning and experiences. Make sure you follow what the bible says and not what you think the bible says, as you would be surprised at how your tradition, reasoning and experiences distort the truth. This is why we need the power of the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and ears to that truth, as we must worship in Spirit and in Truth. As we work out our salvation we let the Holy Spirit lead in our transformation. When the Holy Spirit points something out to us we make the change no matter what the consequences are. We are no longer satisfied with the status quo (existing state) and the empty way of life that our forefathers have handed down to us. 1 Peter 1:18 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors”.
This declaration comes from the fact that the church of today looks nothing like the church of Acts nor does it look like the Gospels, so we must return to the beginning. The reason for this is that there is a power failure in the church. Scripture tells us the power failure comes from disobedience and turning our backs on the word of God. Both Nehemiah 9 and 2 Kings 17 gives us a description of what has happened to us today. They said “Nehemiah 9:16our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. 17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them.” Like then, narcissism and tightness of the neck in the modern day church causes a refusal to turn from wicked ways and a refusal to walk in humility before God. They on the other hand “stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. 3 They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.” Jesus made it very clear to us in the great commission that we are to teach others to obey. Instead what we have is a perpetual teaching of lukewarmness that has lead to great apathy in the church and a famine of power. The result of this is the opposite of Mark 16:20 Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. This is why we desperately need revival.
Our theme for this year is “A Charge to Keep”. The sub theme is “Taking back the land and standing against our enemies.” Leonard Ravenhill said, ” The results of being with God are immunity from fear, flattery and fame, & a Holy Ghost inoculation to stand against earth, hell & carnal churches.” This is a cry for God to hear us and shine His face upon us once again so that the Glory of the Lord will be present once again as it was in the early church. The intent here is not necessarily for you to read this as a meditation but for you to take this journey along with me and study God’s word for yourself. David’s charge to Solomon was this; 1 Kings 2:1 “When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. 2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, 3 and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go 4 and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.” He also said, “1 Chronicles 22:11 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. 12 May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. 13 Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” Will you accept this charge?