It is a great pleasure to be able to share with you what we are learning from the Lord in preparation for the conference.
This week the following scripture has come up four times in the Holy Spirit:
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity”…
Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, (Joel 2:12-13 and 15).
The concern of this prophecy is to be worshipers without a disconnect between spirit and truth. This is about integrity in worship in both church and everyday life. This is also a call to come together in retreat before the Lord.
Recently a pastor said to me that he would not go to any more pastors retreats because he found other pastors were so competitive in measuring success by metrics and trying to build numbers with upbeat contemporary worship. Another indigenous pastor who was raised from the dead told me personally that God was angry with churches who built on foundations of sand - and that he was sent back with this message.
God is very concerned that we worship him in spirit and truth without disconnect.
This is the point of Jesus’ remorse over the luke warm church in Rev 3. We so often hear Rev 3:20 used in evengelism - “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock”…
But the shocking context of this statement is that Jesus was bringing rebuke and discipline to a church in need of earnestness and repentance. In this call to transformation Jesus is actually located ”outside the house”… knocking on the door of the church seeking repentant and responsive hearts that will invite him in!In the West we have often tried to reverse this by holding worship services that call to intimacy before we respond with submission to the Lord’s correctives. How often have you found Christians defensive and resistant to correctives for righteousness sake?
There has to be truth about ourselves with repentance and pasison for holiness. This is the doorway to intimacy. This is the basis of humility before God and man. This is the door on which Jesus is knocking.While God accepts us as we are, he also calls us towards holiness - where we are to die to natural inclinations so that we may be empowered in the Spirit.
We are called to worship him in spirit and truth – the truth about ourselves and the truth about who he is.