In the last post in this 3 Questions blog series, I sought to make sure that we all grasp the two primary words by which God communicates. His written Word, the Bible, is the plumb line for all of His communication. The secondary means by which God speaks to us is through what is called rhema. I prefer to think of this mode of communication as the personal voice of God to His children. Rhema may come to us in multiple ways, but my main point is that God did not hand the Church a book about Himself and then walk away, only to speak personally to us again when we cross over into His actual presence. Jesus did not say, “My sheep will know my Book.” He promised us that we would know His voice. He has always meant it to be personal, intimate and impacting. If you are familiar with the longstanding foundation of Transforming Truth ministries, you know that I am a Bible-man and always will be. The difference between Transforming Truth and many other Scripture-fueled ministries is that I do not dismiss the reality that God also speaks directly to us through means other than His written Word. A father talks to his children. Our Heavenly Father is the grandest Abba of them all, and He still speaks to His kids.
I want to submit a few things that I know the Father is and has been speaking to me personally for some time. I also believe that these are things that He is speaking over the entire Church in America. He may be speaking it in other places, and likely is, but I will center most of my emphasis on the sphere of Christianity in the United States. I also want to submit that I am quite confident that He is speaking much more than these few things. He reserves the sovereign right to speak things to others that He does not speak to me. Personally, I am deeply grateful to hear His wise and glorious voice on any matter. My hope is that I will always be a trained, wise and eager listener.
God is speaking Unity– this concept is not new and is certainly no fad. One cannot read John 17 and finish that amazing chapter without being impacted the high level of importance that Jesus placed upon the oneness of His followers. He attaches the manifestation of His own glory to the functional, relational oneness of His followers. That is what John 17 is all about: the glory of God through the intentional unity of the Church. I make no apologies when I say that Christian denominations are sourced in the flesh and always have been. Denominations (Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist, etc.) are the practical byproduct of Jesus-followers concluding that they cannot abide with one another due to theological or methodological differences. One would like to think that this schism is merely a polite parting of the ways from one another. It is not. At its best it is the inability to resolve theological differences – that may be the origin of denominations. At its worst, it is an intense turf-war, full of pride and ego that fuels sinful tribalism and moves focus off of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice to make us all to become one. The Father is calling His people to learn to love one another in the Church in spite of our theological differences. Doing so does not result in us pretending we all believe the same things. Doing so means that we all agree that Jesus Christ is centermost and glorious as the Head of the Church, therefore, when we all bow before Him there, we are positioned to love Him supremely and love each other humbly. We look for ways that we may come together instead of finding reasons why we can stay apart. Denominations will disappear when persecution hits the Church in the United States. Mark my words, the luxury of belonging to a “particular flavor” of Christianity will burn away when the flames of satanically-fueled and culturally-facilitated hatred begins to scorch the true Church. We will know then, and rejoice in it, that all of us are at the core redeemed by one Man, and that will be sufficient. Yes, God is moving us rapidly toward a schizmless reality in the Church. Ephesians 4:4-6 was God’s idea, not some ecumenical liberal, and it will surely be the final reality when all is said and done.
God is calling us to Prayer – as unity seems like an elementary, foundational component of Christian theology and practice, a lifestyle of prayer should be similarly regarded. People in covenant with God have historically been people of prayer. I regard prayer as a dialogue between a redeemed saint and his or her God. Prayer is the oxygen intake of the soul. It is the essential activity of a healthy spirit. Our being a praying people is the joyful and wise response to the Almighty who never stops saying to us, “I love to talk with you, child.” It is no secret that most churches in America do not take prayer seriously. There may be a prayer list or a weekly prayer meeting, but prioritizing prayer is not a core value of most churches, nor of many Christians. Whereas we would find it tremendously concerning if a husband and wife rarely spoke, we seem to allow for that same dysfunctional reality between us, our churches and the Father. There is some level of relationship between every Christian and God when they place their faith in the sacrifice and victory of Jesus. Salvation is the foundation. Prayer is the iron and fire that raises up the beautiful architecture that we build with God upon that foundation. Again, prayer is the spiritual respiratory system of our relationship with Him. Churches are being called to return prayer to the center of all their activities. Bringing corporate prayer back from the periphery of church ministry and placing it squarely in the center of congregational life is what God is calling us to do. He has much to say, but the Church has hearing problems. The reason for our loss of hearing is that we are addicted to every other activity in Christianity and preoccupied with getting those things done. He is calling to us, but His invitations are drowned out by the white-noise of our striving and churning and frenetic displays of our pseudo-discipleship which actually looks like a christianized version of the American rat-race. He literally wants us to stop moving at times and position ourselves to do nothing but listen. God Almighty, the Creator, Sovereign and Savior, asks us to speak with Him. Many Christians and churches are engaged in non-stop activity that the Father is speaking over by crying out, “Stop it. I am not blessing that anymore! My hand is not upon your ways nor your works anymore! Your successes are flesh-born! If you will be still and get reacquainted with my voice, you will hear again what it is that I am calling you unto. I want you to leave your Martha-addiction to service and sit at my feet in a posture like Mary who chose the better part of communing with My Son. You have no idea what I am saying or blessing anymore, child, because you have become a constantly diligent servant in the place of being a constantly devoted son.” The Father is calling us to prayer because that is the primary means through which He gives us His heart. He would rather talk with you than watch you work for Him. Your words are precious to Him. We align with His will and ways through corporate intercession. Prayer produces a transfusion of His Spirit into the veins of our faith.
In my next post, I plan to add a couple more primary items that I believe God is saying right now in this generation. These things are not novel, cool or super-mysterious. These things are the foundational summons of God for His people. He is not requesting. He is decreeing.