Where will the Power come from?

Last week we considered a little about the power of God and how it is demonstrated in the church and in society; this week I want to think about how we come by that power; how will those young people who are going to stand in a very evil day, be able to obtain that spiritual power?

I know that holiness is not a fashionable subject in most churches, but there is no way to avoid it, it is exactly what we have to achieve, if we are to know the wonderful presence of God and the power that comes through knowing the Saviour intimately.  Allow me to repeat a story that illustrates both holiness and the power that ensues from it –

A church in a large European city had become very small and only met once a week for Bible Study.  Some of the twenty congregation were in favour of closing down, but others did now want to and finally they agreed to pray that God would come in and bless them.  They got down to some prayer and it became very serious and soon they were praying – Lord, whatever the cost might be for You to bless our church and our city, we’re prepared to pay it!

They kept praying and they would not let go of God and in time things changed and they started to see some blessing in their predominantly Roman Catholic city.  Among the first to be saved or restored to the church were children and family of the church members who had left earlier.  Many Backsliders were also returning.

A British missionary was asked to take some gospel meetings and he reported that the blessing came quickly, hundreds were saved in the first few nights.  God really blessed and not only was that 800 seater church soon filled, but they started a church planting program and in a few years they had twenty preaching points all over the city!

That’s the power of the gospel to salvation and it’s about time western church leaders realise they haven’t got it.

They prayed – Lord, whatever it costs – that is serious and God likes it when His people get serious!  I am totally confident if any church today took that stand today, they too would see similar revival!  The harvest is whiter than ever, but the labourers are fewer than ever!  Matt 9:37.[italics mine!]  I often speak about our secular society that is empty and hurting!  I believe God could save 10,000 in one day, just as he did in Acts 4, and more, if only He could find a holy church who would fully trust Him!

How will a holy church come about?  I wonder how many of our existing churches will become holy churches, because their lack of power shows that they are not holy.  It will take a revolutionary change in leadership!  So revolutionary that I doubt many will not  make it and therefore they will close when the persecution comes.  So where will these young people come from, who will stand through the evil days? Possibly, some will come out the various drug rehab schemes, who proved God’s saving power, bu t who have struggled and, sometimes failed to settle in established churches, perhaps they will get together to forge new churches that will, in that evil day, cast themselves on God’s mercy to meet the need of the day.  This will lead to a beautiful holiness where in God can work!

Maybe too, there are a few young people in our established churches who can see that all is not well and, seeing their failure, will start searching for themselves for a way to find God.  When the judgment day comes on their churches, they too will form new little churches and cast themselves on God.  Maybe they will join with those from the rehab courses and together prove that God is sufficient and be prepared to follow His word, implicitly.  I can imagine little groups desperately searching the Word, praying and praising God, even for their desperate circumstances, and as a result, finally, they will find the joy of the Lord that is their strength to stand and see revival!  Neh 8:10.

First, these young people will have to grasp what revival is and does, and that God wants it, asap!  They will have to understand how it will come about.  When God finds anyone who seeks His honour and glory, then we can expect some great things to happen!

So where will the power come from?  Paul found out – my strength is made perfect in weakness! 2Cor 12:9.  God did not tell the blinded Paul in Damascus, what a great missionary he would be, nor how many people he would save, nor of the hundreds of churches he would plant; Jesus told him – what great things you must suffer for my Name! Acts 9:16.  If we want to be able to stand through the evil days of judgment to see revival afterwards, [and let me assure you again, that severe judgment will soon come, 1Pet 4:17; this is not rocket science, anyone who considers the socio/political scene today must be aware that desperate days are just around the corner], then we will have to cast ourselves on God’s mercy completely and trust Him implicitly and be prepared to suffer.  It is Peter who tells us all about suffering for righteousness sake, this is surest the way to Christlikeness, holiness and blessings far greater than we can ever imagine! Eph 3;20.  Even in desperate days!  Remember, where sin abounds, grace super-abounds!

God is not mocked, He will not allow the current situation in most churches to go on for long; sooner or later He will act and all our miserable religion will be cleared out in serious persecution; this has been happening for nearly 2,000 years!  So a lean, purged, highly motivated church will be left to move into blessings so wonderful the young people will marvel at the greatness of their God and an ocean of praise and worship will arise to God and He will be glorified in His people once more before the Saviour returns for them!

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God’s Honour = Revival!

The Bible often speaks about God’s honour and glory, because He is very jealous for it.  God seeks His own glory because that is how His creation is blessed.  It is the only way it is blessed, as anything less comes from the enemy and is very destructive!

The ‘fear of God’ also is very real where God is honoured.  This fear is not as we would normally think of fear, its simply a great awe of God and consequently, worship rises to Him.  There is another aspect to this fear, we fear to displease God, but even that is barely the truth of the situation because we delight so much to please God, that displeasing Him hardly comes into the equation!

David, the Shepherd Psalmist of Israel, often spoke of his desire to glorify God and loved to be in the Tabernacle to sing praises to Him. Jehovah was very real to David.  How real is God to us today?  Some would readily answers – very real – but the paucity of their testimony militates against that.  Now we really need to be honest, who knows much of the glory of God today?  We noted in the last paper that Christianity has never been in such great disrepute as it is today, so it is obvious that God’s honour is certainly at stake today.

With churches and individual Christians being prosecuted in the highest courts of Europe, it is obvious that the salt has lost its saltiness and has been thrown out with the trash and trampled all over, Matt 5;13ff.  Why has this happened?  Because the ‘light’ of testimony went out a long time ago!  Jesus also said, “You are the light of the world.”  Matt 5;14, but for the majority of churches the light went out a long time ago.

Some time back, I shocked myself with a bit of a reality check! Trimsaran, where I live, is a village of 3,000 people.  3 chapels, I Anglican, 1 Gospel Hall.  The Gospel Hall is the only place where a Biblical gospel has been preached for at least 40 years.  I counted how many people would be affected if the Gospel Hall closed down now and I could count less than 10 people, even in a small way; that’s not even a half of 1%!  That must be classed as  barrenness!  I am humbled, I am ashamed.

However, I am not going to whinge about the world not wanting the gospel anymore, because I know that isn’t true!  The world doesn’t want ‘our gospel’ because they can see that is does not work.  What do I mean? Our gospel doesn’t work, for while we preach the good news, it doesn’t do us any good!  We are afflicted with the same doubts and problems as anyone else, we just can’t rise above our problems! Worse, we are afflicted by many things that we should not be afflicted by; for we see many in our churches who are severely compromised by neurotic and psychotic disorders.  Oh yes, the lights have gone out and the salt is tasteless!  And God’s Name has been dragged down into the dust by the paucity of our testimony!

From my little experience, there are many people who do want the gospel, they love to hear God’s word when it is presented properly, by people who benefit from it.  Dozens of schools in south west Wales have Bible Explorer sessions and the children are given Bibles and they read them!  Headmasters say – this is wonderful!  Our secular society is empty and hurting and certainly will respond, big time, to the real gospel!

So, what has to happen to our churches to end the barrenness?  Let’s come back to the truth of the ‘fear of God’ – truth, for here lies the answer!  When the fear of God is our churches, then it will soon be in our communities, because the church allows God to work, and when God works it is very obvious!   When God works in your church, you will certainly know it and so will your community, very quickly!

Why is it that so many Christians have such low expectations of God? Well, its nothing new, Israel were just the same for 1,500 years and they suffered the consequences of not fearing God.  Satan attacks our church leaders first and then total church failure follows quickly. We also see that in the Old Testament!

We readily admit that we are not the ‘Christians’ we should be, but what do we do about it?  Come on, we have been given everything we need to be the people God wants us to be, so why not?  It’s because we don’t fear God; if we did, we would obey His Word and then we would be the people He wants us to be and God’s honour would be upheld!

When God’s honour is at stake as it is today, we must trust God and His word can be totally relied on, scripture is wholly dependable!

In 1959 a young man in the Isle of Lewis, Scotland was concerned for God’s honour and prayed – Lord, your honour is at stake!  You promised to pour water on the thirsty ground and I am thirsty for a sight of the Man at Your right hand.  Honour Your Word Lord, we are waiting.  The moment he stopped praying the little stone cottage they were in, shook and the church officer said – I think that was an earth tremor.

Duncan Campbell, who was leading the meetings agreed and closed the prayer meeting.  They went out side, it was mid night, but all the villagers were making their way to the church and they had a meeting there and then.  That was the start of the Lewis Revival that lasted for 2 years!  All because one young man was concerned for God’s honour!

That was the last real revival in the UK, but we need one again, desperately!  It is the only answer to all the ills of our society, so when are we going to seek God’s honour again?  Judgment starts in the house of God and when revival comes to many churches, awakening is correspondingly great in society.

Let’s get praying!

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New Young Leadership and Revival.

We briefly saw in the last paper that it is the New Testament pattern for elders come up from within the church; they are recognised by the church for the work they do!  God gives all the gifts that each church requires!  However, too often churches have their own traditions and ignore scripture.  Despite that, we have seen historically that even in hierarchical leadership God overlooks all that and blesses greatly.  We can think of many fruitful church leaders who were not even baptised!  Motive is critical!

However, there has been one consistent failure that God does not overlook and it has led to serious church failure every time, and that is leaders who fail to train up new leaders from within their churches.  Why is it that elders usually fail to discern leadership gifting in younger men?  They train up preachers and teachers for the pulpits, but why is there this ‘generation gap’?  This gap often caused those gifted young men to leave their own churches, sometimes ‘under a cloud’, and start up their own church; or join others to become successful leaders there.

The generation gap has been particularly noticeable in our times and it appears that most elders have been incapable of maintaining levels of spirituality that could discern and train new leaders for the next generation.  This is all part of the other problem noted in the last paper, many thought eldership an office, only vacated by death.

This sad situation was aggravated by the idea that elders rule the church; as in the Authorised Version, 1Tim 5;17.  Elders do not ‘rule’ the church, the New Testament church is ‘Congregational’ in structure. That word ‘rule’ in many translations is a poor rendering; the Greek pro-istemi  has the sense of – someone who stands up to be seen as an example before everyone else – they lead by example.  The great need remains, elders who can say – be imitators of me, as I imitate Christ!

So what of the future?  How can our churches move on and be ready for the testing times that certainly lay ahead; for never before has Christianity had such a bad reputation in society.  How are we to stand against the atheists, agnostic authorities, the gay lobby, the women’s pro choice lobby and not least, Islam; all of these and more, militate against the church in ways never been seen before in the UK.

Realistically, I doubt that many of our older established churches will make it through the testing, they will crumble before the onslaught and only a few will have the faith to stand in an evil day.  But what is to be done today?  What do our young people, our potential leaders, need to do?  Firstly, they need to be fully aware of the desperate situation and they will have to decide to stand against the evil day.  Possibly some will fail, but others will stand.  How?

They will read their Bibles and they will pray; they may even ask advice from a few trusted sources, they will read of those who stood in the past, but they will have that burning inner desire to be a fruitful witness for Truth in an evil day.  They will desperately want to glorify God and defeat Satan, they will hate the way he gets away with causing so much suffering and evil, and they will pray like they’ve never prayed before!  Little groups will form here and there and they will pray together and beg God for strength to stand against sin.  Some will start and see the power of God demonstrated and more will follow.  They will find various ways of standing, it maybe personal witness, it might be doing good works to the needy, there are many ways to stand, but stand they will and they will not be discouraged by anyone or anything – they will sing the little chorus –

I have decided, to follow Jesus,

Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow,

No turning back, no turning back!

They will be amazed at the ways God answers their prayers and soon they will find others joining them, because they are inspirational; they will not be a little group for long; soon they will be force to be reckoned with!  As their influence grows, people will marvel as their testimony becomes very fruitful and many will trust Christ as a result.  The sight of a few young people who can trust God in this way is always a catalyst for change.  Like Shadrach, Meschach and Abed Nego faced with Nebuchadnezzar’s blazing furnace, they will not bend to the pressures of the day, but they will trust God, whatever the consequences!  This is the kind of young people we will see arising out of the mess that most church leaders have produced!

It will not take long for this group to be front page news – Christian young people make a stand!  – such a stand will amaze others for various reasons; some will be very angry, while others will want to find out more; and so their testimony will grow exponentially. Within a month or so, they will be holding large scale meetings and thousands will gather and hear the word of God, as they should.

How can I be so sure about this?  Simply because it has all happened before, many times.  It has happened here in the UK.  It’s happened in Nigeria.  It’s happened whenever and where ever revival has broken out; a few young people get really desperate and are prepared to trust God and let Him do the rest.  It is also normal for young people to lead in times of revival!  Be assured, revival, a major revival will happen before the Lord Jesus comes again; He will call a glorious Bride to Himself and leave Antichrist pick up the pieces of a shattered and demoralised world population.  But who will stand today?  Who will start praying now, ready for that evil day when those young men and women will stand.  They all will be the ‘sons and daughters of God’ and they will build Christ’s Kingdom and demolish the Kingdom of Darkness once more!  Let’s get praying!

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Leadership and Revival!

I often mention the great need for real church leaders and I would like to concentrate on that at the start of 2013.  Scripture details the requirements for the two kinds of leaders that God requires, elders and deacons.  The elders do the spiritual work, as detailed by the apostles in Acts 6 when deacon work was also  initiated. They saw the need to concentrate on prayer, study and teaching, but in addition, we see the other vitally important aspect of pastoral care, John 21;15ff.

The two lists of requirements, [1Tim 3 & Titus 1] make an interesting point about the ‘respect’ that leaders should have, elders are respected by their family, from within the church and from outside the church, the community they live in, their work place, etc.  If church elders do not have respect, they are wasting their time. Respect has to be earned!  This raises the question of the choosing of elders and scripture gives no backing for votes, or elections, let alone some dictate from HQ.  Each church is responsible for ‘recognising‘ its own elders, God raises them up from within; possibly, but not always, from the team of deacons; so it is in the very long process of ‘becoming an elder’ that this respect is earned. And, not all deacons become elders, as elders must be proficient to teach the Word; not so deacons.

An old problem in churches where this pattern has been more or less kept, is that elders were deemed to be elders for life; no, it is a work to do, not an office to hold, scripture is clear on that too! One of the major works of the Oversight [the team of elders], is to recognise the gift given to each member of the church and get it operating; especially potential elders.

Deacons are very important and notice that the spiritual requirements for them is very demanding too, but this is the administrational work, the organising of the day to day running of the church.  Another old problem was that elders thought that the treasurer and the secretary should be elders, but no, that is deacon administration.  There must be a good ‘interface’ between the elders and deacons, they must work together closely, and pray much too!

Prayer will characterise elders!  They will spend much time, individually and collectively, as they seek God’s help to guard the church. Pastoral care will be the main means of guarding the church, they will know the church, almost intimately.  In a large church, the pastoral care will have to be organised very carefully and a large team of pastors will have no more than about 50 members to care for. I like to think of it as – elders having their ‘finger on the pulse’ of the church!  They will know the problems, the hurts, the hopes and aspirations of all those in their care.

Pastoral care will be a well organised, regular visitation program and each member will need to be be seen at least twice a year; some far more! It’s far more than sick visiting!  Elders will have the gift of discernment to be able to identify failure in members; this is the quest for holiness and unity and the main reason for the need of so much prayer!

Elders will lead the way in regards to church fellowship, they are required to be hospitable, 1Tim 3;2, and their homes will be ‘open doors’ for all the church and youth in particular!  When will we learn that ‘services’ are only a small part of church fellowship?  Fellowship is a natural outcome of the love among the church, if you love people you want to be with them as much as possible; see Acts 1-5; elders foster this!

This fellowship will even extend to those pastoral visits, they will not be ‘kit inspections’ or ‘police interrogations’, they will be times of happy fellowship and members will look forward to them and be blessed by them.  Pastors are shepherds who care and feed the sheep and the lambs, John 21.  Elders will have an easy ability to open the word of God, ‘beside the fire’ and teach on a one to one basis, which will be a thrill to those who listen and participate.

That gift of discernment will also be vital in knowing who in the church are the Pretenders, the false seed of Matt 13:24ff.  That is relatively easy when the true are bearing fruit, Pretenders don’t. In times as now when barrenness characterises most churches, this is a real problem, more so because consistent barrenness shows that the leadership has failed completely!

All elders will be examples of the Christian faith and walk, they will be characterised by humility; so new people coming to services will not immediately ‘see them’!  They might not be public men at all, those pastors will not be obvious, until the visitation takes place! Elders might not be evangelists, that is a separate gift.  Elders will be gentlemen, not greedy, not argumentative, not ostentatious, not bigamists, not a new convert and the great need will be for them to be able to say like Paul did three times, quietly, and more so by their ‘walk’ – imitate me as I imitate Christ! Elders, like eastern shepherds, lead the flock from the front and the sheep know their voice and follow them, John 10; yes they are under shepherds following the Great Shepherd of the sheep!

There will be unity in the Oversight team, there might be one or two who seem to be the ‘main men’ but they are – ‘one among equals’ – and they will not force their ideas and Biblical interpretation on the team, much prayer will provide the wonderful equilibrium.

Great blessings and fruitfulness will accompany a church with an effective and united Oversight and God will be be glorified among his people; this will also be evident in the community, 1Cor 14;24.  That is what should be our goal – God, seen as God in the community and feared. When He is seen, then He is feared, quite naturally and that will happen in the church before it happens in the community!  That’s leadership inspired revival!

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The Need for Revival!

I have been shocked yet again by the powerlessness of our churches; Satan seems to be able to do as he pleases and the people of God are powerless to stop him.  Two marriage breakdowns in South Wales recently have really rocked me.  Both had tremendous potential, the men and their wives and children are highly gifted people and yet all were powerless to overcome their problems and both marriages seem close to being irretrievable, which will mean scarred children as well!

If the homes of God’s people are not Christian, then the churches are incapable of bearing fruit, their testimony is null and void!  I sadly remember going to visit two homes and about to knock the doors, I heard shouting and screaming coming from inside and I quickly backed away; ashamed!  It is not surprising that few children follow their parents into their churches!

A Christian home is one of the greatest testimonies to the gospel and scripture shows what a Holy Spirit filled home is like, Eph 5;21-6;4. If a church were to have a few such homes, it would be very blessed and abundantly fruitful!

Sad to say that many parents have become neurotic and even psychotic, mere shadows of what they should be and Satan can do as he likes with them and yet again the church leaders are powerless to help them. Why do we ignore scripture when it is so plain?  Husbands love your wives – is an imperative command, Eph 5;25, – as Christ loved the church – so it is unconditional Calvary love – agape! But when do we hear any teaching on this in our churches?  Real discipling is a now rarity so our powerlessness goes on!

If we had churches full of disciples the converts would be flooding in. We have concentrated on evangelism and neglected discipleship and so contravened the Great Commission – go into all the world and make DISCIPLES – not converts, Matt 28;19ff.  And please don’t tell me that the converts have to come first!  Dr J Edwin Orr often emphasises that churches full of disciples will be churches in revival!

I have written a couple of times last year about the church’s powerlessness to address the evils in our Rotten Society; remember – the light always dispels the darkness – if we build the Kingdom of God, then we destroy the Kingdom of Darkness and  – Jesus Christ came to destroy the works of the devil, 1John 3;8.  It is through the power of God in the gospel that the demolition work is done, but our gospel is powerless, because of a lack of disciples!  It is therefore obvious that we are not building the Kingdom of God, but so few church leaders will admit to that and lamely plod on with their hopeless, competitive denominationalism!

What is the answer?  We need to obey scripture and seek the Lord!  It is obvious that He is not among the vast majority of churches – He is standing,  knocking at the door – waiting to be let in, Rev 3;20.  How will we let him in?  Obey scripture and get rid of our sin!  It’s still true – if my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health. 2Chron 7;14 – just as applicable as Mal 3;10 – Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams.

The New Testament is equally emphatic, especially those five letters in Rev 2 & 3; and we need to obey the Word and revival will certainly come.  God wants it now!  It is not a date on His calendar! If we really pray, it will come; it always has, when God’s people really pray for it!  Every revival ever recorded, always starts in much earnest prayer; J  E Orr again!

Laodicea characterises most churches today – I am rich and need nothing! – but how often do church leaders teach from Rev 2 & 3?  The gross apathy and complacency is appalling and God hates it, the Risen Lord will vomit them out of his mouth, Rev 3;16 and tens of thousands of closed churches already testify to that!  Many more that are on the brink of closure!

Who will pray for revival?  Really serious prayer?  I know some Calvinists who pray for revival, but they have been praying for twenty years!  They will pray for another twenty years, because they believe that Revival is a date on God’s calender, so they don’t pray believing!  God wants to send revival now, he hates to allow Satan his present long length of the rope.  God hates all the marriage breakdowns among his people, He hates all the suffering in society and wants to shorten that rope; He will only do it through His people!

Other Christians, the New Covenant Theology devotees, believe that the church will one day have a great revival that will change the whole world and fit it for Christ to return.  That is unrealistic, however, it is clear that scripture shows we do have the power to do that; Eph 1;16ff and 3;14ff.  We have everything; the very fullness of God, Eph 3;19; so it is theoretically possible, but it won’t happen!  I do believe that a few of God’s young people will soon get praying and a mighty revival will happen before the Lord comes again; He will take a glorious church to Himself; 1Thess 4;13ff.  So who will pray for revival?

But what about these crumbling marriages?  If leaders pray for revival, they will soon be fit to help these dear friends, repair the devastated homes and testimonies.  The need for scripturally qualified church overseers/elders is immense! [see 1Tim 3].  The answers are all in the Word; we just have to believe and obey – love NEVER fails! – and how many times have I written that recently! That also applies to husbands and wives, as well as church leaders!

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Fight Back Time!

There are an increasing number of public people who are defending the right to maintain the Christian heritage of our country and lead a ‘fight back’ against the secularists and atheists who are alarmingly effective at curbing the public expression of Christianity.  Prominent politicians, even Muslims like Baroness Warsi, are calling for Christians to stand up for their faith.  Not a few newspaper columnists are also saying the same, even the present Polish President of the EU says that if Europe loses its Christian heritage, it will never be the same again and the present disintegration of society will continue alarmingly.  Not a few notable people have said – a life without faith, is no life at all.

The big question of course, is – how is the ‘fight back’ to be done; where do we sign up?  There seems to be plenty to sign up to these days, there are a plethora of petitions and lobbyings; but is that the way?  This is the way that the secularists have made their gains, so do we follow their pattern?  The answer is obviously – no!  Spiritual things have to be done in spiritual ways and the only way Christians can sign up to make Christianity worthwhile again, is on their knees!

One newspaper columnist recently said if Christianity ceased, then so would the vast majority of the country’s charities cease; and where would we be then?  She made the point that she sees very few charities started and run by secularists.  The Presidential campaign in USA highlights this worrying factor with right wingers saying – I don’t worry about the poor, all that will be sorted out when the markets come right.  Oh dear, are we watching the demise of the USA, because this seems to be the attitude of the ‘Christian’ right wingers.

The only place for Christians to ‘sign up’ is on their knees.  When they get a better prospective of Jesus and his love they will sign up to show his love to the poor and needy – you will always have the poor with you, John 12;8.

When our church leaders lead, when our preachers are in the enjoyment of the message they preach, then the love of Christ will become so obvious in the churches that the communities around will really know about it and what’s more, many will want it!  Oh yes, the fields are white and ready for harvest, [Matt 9;37] probably  greater than ever before, because this secular society is an empty and hurting society!

When our churches ‘sign up’ and take this stand on the love of Christ they and the charities they run will make an even greater difference to society and they will shame all the detractors of Christianity into an ominous silence.  And there will be plenty of money for world missions and even Africa would feel the difference!  What’s more, recession will be a thing of the past!

We noted that – a life without faith, is no life at all.  A life without love is a life without faith; for the two are totally integrated and you can’t have one without the other.  The apostle James thunders that faith without works is dead, 2;14ff.  Only works motivated by love for Christ will be effective and fruitful, the product of true faith.

The love of Christ is the only answer to the needs of our world and it is up to the churches to demonstrate love generously.  Only a few churches are maintaining this, but the need is for far more to ‘sign up’ and join them.  In any and every situation, always remember that – love NEVER fails!  1Cor 13;8.  Love is the only way to ‘fight back’ and win!

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A letter to ALL atheists.

It must be a very strange feeling to have no thought of God.  In fact I don’t believe that it is possible to have – no thought of God – I guess that’s the reason why atheists go on and on about their idea that there is no God, they can’t get away from Him!

Actually I don’t believe that anyone can be an atheist; they can say as many times as they like – I don’t believe in God, there’s no God – but they only fool themselves, Psa 14;1.  It’s very easy to fool yourself, even ‘Christians’ do that, some all the time; but then they’re not Christians in the proper, Biblical sense of the word – the Christlike ones!

Atheists can say as much as they like – no God – but, they can no more prove that to themselves, or anyone else; no more than I, or anyone, can prove that there is a God to the atheist.

The fact of God’s existence can only be proved on an individual basis. God has proved himself to me.  He can prove himself to you, if you want to know him, it’s up to you.  He has done everything necessary to make it possible for us all to know him, very powerfully, so that amazing relationship is up for grabs, right now!

Intelligent folk like Ravi Zacharius and many others can make some pretty convincing arguments, but especially today, no one can prove God to anyone else; it’s just impossible.

And don’t talk to me about science, because it’s on God’s side!  Even Dawkins has admitted our world was created by intelligent design, so don’t even raise the THEORY of evolution; it bores me stiff.

Then there’s the old one about atheists and it’s as good as it gets – if there is no God then it doesn’t matter if I am wrong; but if the atheist is wrong and God is; wow, they’re in biiiiiiiiiig trouble!

In our very secular world most people dislike absolute values; it makes people very uncomfortable because they stand condemned by God’s values.  You cannot be more absolute than when some one says – I am the way, the truth and the life, no one gets to the Father but by me!  That’s the most absolute of absolutes, but I don’t apologise for it, because I believe it to be wonderful.  To know a Man who has that confidence is great, especially when the overall picture of him is summed up so beautifully by that children’s prayer –

Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,  Look upon this little child, Pity my simplicity, suffer me to come to Thee.

Yes, I know that Jesus got very angry indeed with the stubborn leaders of the Jews, but he obviously loved the children so much and that is quite sufficient when we are prepared to come to him with childlike faith.  And that is what is necessary!  There is no better picture of security and peace than a little toddler, cosily snucked up in a parents arms, totally confident that they will handle all the problems.  But, to self assured, poorly educated people of our mundane world, that is obviously a very hard place to be!  Not ‘poorly educated’ academically, but in reality, yes.

But here I would like to raise Evolution, sorry!  To say that after billions of years of evolution has come so far and cannot go any further than it has, is one arrogance too far; are we never to fly? The mess that MAN has made of planet earth and there can be nothing better!  Oh dear!  If I did believe evolution, then that thought would turn me off very quickly.

Sadly, I have to admit that it is ‘Christians’ who cause atheism.  Miserable church goers, legalistic church leaders and boring preachers have created atheists for a century now; so the old adage that – the Bible is harmed more by those who preach it, than those who are against it – is very true.  So it’s not the atheists I fear, it is church goers who call themselves Christians, but aren’t. Christianity has been reduced to some miserable, dull religion in far too many churches.  Love, joy and peace are the three words that should characterise church, but actually, they are mostly absent. So, actually, we have many atheists in our churches, they would vehemently deny being atheist, but in fact they don’t believe in the God of the Bible.  Lots of the big name TV evangelists would be in this category, they only use God as a tool to get rich.  Yet another cause of atheism!

Atheists will fade away when they see genuine Christianity and the power of the gospel; it is a great power and there will be a great response to the gospel.  Or, they will have the guts to be honest and admit they were wrong.  So if churches were what they should be, then many atheists would become Christians.  Many atheists would actually make very good Christians, their zeal is exemplary! 

But there is one proof of God, for when the gospel really impacts a community there is no argument, the atmosphere is so charged and everyone knows that God is in town.  ‘Revival’ has been defined as the – impact of the personality of Christ on the community. That is truly awesome and cannot be argued against, but it has not happened in the UK for over a century.  There were 2 small outbreaks in Lewis in Scotland and in East Anglia in the 1950s, but more than that, only a few isolated churches since.

So the atheists outside the churches do not worry me one iota, they would soon change their minds if they saw God in real Christianity; but the atheists inside do worry me, because I doubt very much if revival could ever come to their churches; they don’t want it and therefore are preventing it!  Even if it came close by, they would not recognise that God was there, while many atheists would!

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