what was your first love?

14 Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says: 15-17 “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless. 18 “Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that’s been through the refiner’s fire. Then you’ll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You’ve gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see. 19 “The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!

Revelation chapter 3, verses 14 through 19 from The Message

At my previous appointment I lead a small group on the topic of sexuality; particularly in how we need to relate to the Gay community. It was built around a book that I highly recommend for your reading: Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach. The next day, one of the members of this group asked me a question: What is the worst sin? She then followed up her question with her own answer: It would have to be rejecting Jesus. Sounds like a good answer, right?

But I had another one of those “Holy Spirit” moments where He put His hand over my mouth and chose to speak instead of me: That’s bad, for sure. But the answer is the sin that makes God want to puke: Lukewarmness! Jesus weeps over sinners who reject Him. But folks and churches that are lukewarm make Him puke! Picture this in your mind: Jesus kneeling before that heavenly commode and violently puking! That doesn’t fit all those Renaissance pictures hanging on church walls. And Zophran won’t stop the puking.

The remedy is simple: Do what Jesus told the Church at Laodicea–RETURN TO YOUR FIRST LOVE! That first love was Jesus–and loving only the things that Jesus loves. But along their journey they started loving other things, too. And they thought they were OK with God because they still loved Jesus–it’s just they loved other things, too. The consequence of that kind of thinking resulted in a Lukewarm Makes Me Want To Puke kind of love for Jesus. Laodicea wasn’t the only church that had that problem. We see it today.

Progressives say they love Jesus–but they also love their gender and sexual desires. And it’s not just progressives. Even the Orthodox have shown they love Jesus–but they also love other things. They love their pristine sanctuaries. They love their programs. And they love their buildings and bank accounts–because they are more worried about losing their buildings and bank accounts if they disaffiliate with their Annual Conference than loving Jesus first and foremost!

Friends, we are at the edge of another Great Awakening! If we are going to experience it and be a part of another great Movement Of The Holy Spirit, then we need to go back to our First Love–Jesus and the things He loves. Saturday I posted about this. (click here for the post) Folks, we are at our own October 31, 1517 moment. That was when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses! And the world change; my, oh my, how it changed–for the better. Do you want to see our culture be transformed? Then return to your first love–and leave all those others loves in the dust. If you can’t be the gender you feel like–that’s no real loss; if you lose your real estate to the Annual Conference–that’s no real loss–when compared to the Glory that awaits us now and in eternity when Jesus is our First–and ONLY–Love!

Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!


Great Anticipation!

Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin’ me late
Is keepin’ me waitin’

(Anticipation lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group)

Who remembers that song by Carly Simon?  Guess I’m revealing my age; actually I don’t have to reveal my age–it shows naturally.  But early this morning, I’m awake and filled with great anticipation, like a child on the way to Disney World.  What is the cause of my great anticipation?  I am leaving for Brentwood, Tennessee for another New Room Conference.  This will be my third consecutive time.  I don’t know how long this event has been happening.  If I did, I’d probably kick myself in the butt for missing the earlier ones.

What is it?  I’m so glad you asked me that question.  It’s a time of inspired worship, spirit-filled preaching and teaching, and a time for Spiritual Renewal.  Not all “conferences” I have attended over these past 44 years have filled me with anticipation.  OK, OK, it’s closer to 99% of those conferences never filled me with anticipation.  But this is different.  I looked up synonyms for “anticipation” and there was a single word that leaped out at me from that list.  It’s a word you seldom hear used unless you’re singing that great old hymn, Blessed Assurance, FORETASTE!

We don’t use that old word much anymore, but maybe we should.  It means “a slight and partial experience, knowledge, or taste of something to come in the future”.  You get that small taste, and you know, “Wow!  This is just a sample, I can’t wait to get the full course!”  This foretaste has been given a name at New Room–AWAKENING!  I confess that my hope for the church in the U.S. before New Room was at an all time low; I mean the bottom of the cellar, ocean bottom low.  But here….I was Elisha’s servant who had his eyes opened to the presence of Heaven’s Army!

We worship together, learn together and we have these things called “breakout sessions”.  From a list of subjects we choose where we want to go.  Last year was an especially powerful Epiphany for me.  I can’t even remember which breakout session I had signed up for, but something (actually someONE) drew me into a different one on Travailing Prayer.  I was like a puppy being drawn towards that treat.

I was taking notes right and left.  At the end, now there was another Epiphany.  The speaker asked that anyone who needed prayer to come and offer themselves to God.  This preacher never hesitated.  I went forward and stretched myself out on the floor.  As I was praying I became aware of another presence.  Someone was standing over me, and he was praying for me.  He was praying in tongues FOR me (a new experience for me), but I wasn’t freaked out by it.  In fact, I felt a calmness come over me.  From time to time, he touched my shoulder as he prayed in tongues and I felt the most amazing coolness where he touched me and a profound calmness in my heart.  Somehow, I sensed it was a prayer for preparation for what was ahead for me.

In the time that followed, I tried to figure out what God was trying to prepare me for.  There were some moments that I thought I figured it out–but I was wrong.  And now?  I am still assured it was and IS a prayer for preparation–not just where I thought it would me.  Through a tumultuous April, a time when I allowed hurt to consume me, I have finally learned that this prayer of preparation was for where I am right now.

I still don’t know all the details of what God is preparing me for here–but I know He’s Got This, and I am OK with that.  Actually, better than OK.  I am filled with anticipation!  Unlike the anticipation of Carly Simon that was keeping her waiting–this anticipation is keeping me moving forward.   I don’t know where it’s leading me, but I DO know that HE is both with me, and waiting for me as He reveals more and more of what He has for someone like me.  Now here’s a testimony of grace and mercy.

Truthfully, I never anticipated that at 62 years old that God would have so much more for me–but HE anticipated it.  And that moment of being prayed for in a language I could not understand has given me more confidence in God than I ever had before.  Well, excuse me but my “foretaste” is beckoning me.  Need to pack up and head out to God knows where–and I’m perfectly good with that.

Love God with all your heart.  Love others the way Jesus loves you.  And make sure all the glory goes to Him.  OH, and don’t miss the “foretaste” He has for you….