Billy Graham Statue With The Blood & Fire Spiritual Warfare Flag

Here’s a picture of the Billy Graham statue in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, holding the Blood & Fire Battle Flag (The Salvation Army Flag).  The red represents the blood of Jesus, the yellow stands for the fire of the Holy Spirit, and the blue represents a lifestyle of daily following and obeying the living, resurrected, Jesus Christ.

017

And now, a few quotations from Billy Graham:

“My one purpose in life is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.”

“I am convinced that when a man sincerely searches for God with all his heart, God will reveal Himself in some way.”

“Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion; it is like a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.”

“Prayer is a two-way conversation between you and God.”

“A real Christian is the one who can give his pet parrot to the town gossip.”

“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’”

“Self-centered indulgence, pride and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle.”

“I feel sorry for the man who has never known the bracing thrill of taking a stand and sticking to it fearlessly. Moral courage has rewards that timidity can never imagine. Like a shot of adrenaline, it floods the spirit with vitality.”

“You cannot come to Christ unless the Spirit of God brings you. But what if you ignore His warnings? Then you are in the gravest danger, for some day God will no longer be speaking to you. Then it will be too late. Come to Christ while there is still time. Christ, God’s greater Ark, stands ready to welcome you to safety today.”

Posted in Blood and Fire, blood and fire battle flag, blood of Jesus, Christ, cross, evangelism, evangelist, evangelistic meetings, fire of the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Jesus Christ, prayer, prayer walking with The Salvation Army Flag, quotation, quote, Quotes, Salvation Army Flag, Salvation Army Nashville, spirit fire, spiritual battle, spiritual fire, spiritual formation, spiritual warfare, Tennessee, TV evangelists | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is it possible that there are much more effective ways for the church to preach and teach than one-man, weekly lecturing or sermonizing?

Posted in church sermons, interactive, interactive church, interactive learning, interactive sermons, lecture, lecture series, motivational sermons, nontraditional preaching, public speaking, pulpit ministry, Q&A, sermon, sermon-free, sermon-hearing, sermons, spectators, speech making, speeches | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I Want To Quench The Spirit

I want to quench the Spirit (even though the Bible says “quench not the Spirit“) because:

1)  The Spirit tells me to do inconvenient things that I don’t want to do and/or that are out of my comfort zone.  (For example, He frequently tells me to pick up other people’s litter off the ground.)

2)  The Spirit won’t let me enjoy my wrongful choices, but stirs up my conscience, continually making me aware of my sinful behaviors and thoughts; and clamoring for me to stop them.  (He won’t let me get by with much — sometimes He actually tells me to slow down and drive the speed limit.)

3)  The Spirit prompts me to say and/or do things that I find to be humbling, embarrassing, lowly, wild, and make other people think that I’m weird.  (Not too long ago He told me to literally wash a friend’s feet.)

4)  The Spirit wakes me up in the mornings with strong words burning in my heart and tells me to post them on my blog and on Facebook, even though those words might offend someone and/or get me rejected.  (One of my best friends tells people, behind my back, that I’m rigid and legalistic.)

5)  The Spirit prompts me to say and do nice things to people who offend me, hurt me, and/or intentionally do me wrong — to actually pray for His blessings on them — and to let go of any “right” that I feel that I have to be offended by what they say or do to me.  (I recently had a plumber charge me much more money than I thought he should to replace a faucet and I felt cheated.  Now, every time I take a shower, the Spirit tells me to pray for God’s blessings on him and his company.)

6)  The Spirit tells me not to watch TV shows, movies, or other media (or listen to music) that promote vulgarity, disrespect, meaningless violence, casual sex, bad attitudes, meanness, self-destructive behaviors or other things that go against a lifestyle of daily following and obeying the living, resurrected Jesus Christ.  (That drastically limits my media consumption.)

So can you see why I want to quench the Spirit?  To ignore Him?  To drown out His voice?  (And those are just a few reasons.)

However, although I greatly want to quench the Spirit, I love God more than my own desires, so, although it sometimes hurts a great deal, I often choose to deny my own desires and to do what the Spirit tells me, anyway.

And lest you think me a hero, I’m not doing anything that the lowliest soldier doesn’t do much better than me.  Even the lowest ranking soldier obeys his/her commander rather than his/her own desires.  A soldier doesn’t want to wallow in blood and guts and receive excruciating pain by being shot or having a limb blown off; but he or she does it because she/he values a cause more than her/his own desires and personal comfort.

If a soldier, for her/his country, will faithfully obey commands that she/he doesn’t personally want to obey; why don’t more Christ-followers obey the uncomfortable/painful commands of the Spirit, even when they don’t want to?

quench not the Spirit

 

 

 

 

Posted in Christian values, commandments, ethics, faith-based, filled with the Spirit, flow of the Spirit, flowing of the Holy Spirit, forgiveness, hearing God, hearing the Holy Spirit, Heaven's agenda, Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit promptings, lifestyles, listening, listening to God, listening to the Spirit, meaning, moral principles, moral restraints, morality, obedience, pray for your enemy, prayer, praying, praying in the Spirit, Quench not the Spirit, quench the Spirit, quenching the Spirit, sins, Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, Spirit-prompted, spiritual, spiritual warfare, spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Leaf Blower Church

Leaf Blower Church

Here’s my view of a church meeting:
We are all leaves who want to line up in nice, neat rows,
And appoint a Pastor Leaf to preach to us.
However, God wants to blow on each of us (like a leaf blower),
And move each one of us to obey His inner promptings,
Ministering to one another and sharing
Testimonies, Scriptures, prayers, gifts of the Spirit,
Exhortations, teachings, prayer needs, etc.
As led by the Spirit. (See 1 Corinthians 14:26)

leaf blower2

blow mighty breath of God

 

Posted in 1 Corinthians 14:26, open church, open forum, open mic, open mike, open sharing, participants, participation, participation in church, participatory church, participatory culture, participatory sermons, preacher, preaching, prompted by the Spirit, prompting of the Spirit, sharing, sharing Christ, simple church, Spirit's flow, Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, Spirit-led church, Spirit-led interaction, Spirit-prompted, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Question/Answer About Participatory/Organic Church (from a Salvation Army officer)

Question:  I recently received this question from Bronwyn Barkmever, a Salvation Army officer in Australia on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NashvilleBerryStreet):

“We are embarking upon an adventure of ‘out of the box’ worship and want to take this opportunity to explore different styles of worship and ways of connecting with God as well as foster greater unity and intimacy within our congregation. I was wondering if you could maybe share some suggestions with me as to what may have worked for you guys which we may be able to use in our particular context here.

Answer:

1) Read the story of the young boy Samuel hearing the Lord speak to him. Have everybody pray Samuel’s prayer aloud: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Then have them be still and listen to God for a minute or two. Then ask people to share what they heard. (This is a powerful exercise.)

2) Ask who needs prayer. Then have people gather around her/him, laying on hands, and pray aloud for her/him.

3) Ahead of time, ask a different person each week to share a 10 minute salvation testimony about how they first encountered Jesus Christ.

4) Ask people ahead of time to find a Scripture that means a lot to them and then read it to the congregation the following week and share what it means to them.

5) Tell the congregation about Jesus’ first miracle (in John) and what His mother said to the servants: “Whatever He says to you do it.” Then have people wait on God and say or do in the meeting, whatever He tells them to.

Be sure to set it up by letting people know that there is no pressure and that they don’t have to sound wise or professional. Instead, all they need to do is speak from their heart as they feel prompted by the Spirit. God bless as you lead people to step into the unscripted flow of His Spirit.

*After reading this blog post, Salvation Army officers (pastors), Royal and Donna Senter, sent me this exciting message today about how they are trying to help their Salvation Army corps/church in Toronto, Canada, be more participatory:

“We have started by introducing ‘Sharing Sundays’ twice in the year where there is no formal sermon but the people share whatever God has put on their hearts. We have had two and they were very well received. This goes along with increasing participation of corps people in planning and conducting the meetings every week, we also have a policy that leaders can change the order of service on the spot if they feel the Spirit moving them. I hope to introduce Q&A Sundays and maybe even a Q&A period during regular meetings just to encourage more involvement and more opportunity for the Spirit to move. It isn’t easy to change a corps when people have been there a long time but if we do it slowly, it isn’t overwhelming for people.”

Posted in Australia, Canada, heart, heart-felt, lay testimonies, laying on hands, participation, participation in church, participatory church, pastor, Q&A, questions, questions and answers, quotation, Quotations, quote, Quotes, salvation, simple church, Speak Lord, speak the truth in love, testimonies, testimonies in church, testimony, Toronto, Whatever He says to you | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When we have a conversation with a friend or family member, we don’t want every word to be scripted. We want a two-way conversation that is spontaneous and from the heart. Why should church be any different?

Posted in open church, open forum, open mic, open mike, open sharing, participatory church, simple church, Spirit-led church, Spirit-prompted, unprogrammed church | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Victory Shouts, The Salvation Army, & Spiritual Tsunami

“Shout unto God with the voice of triumph.”  –Psalm 47:1

I have studied spiritual awakening and revival history for more than 40 years.  I have passionately been trying to discover what makes Christianity break out of the religious status quo and become a bold, transforming influence in society, sweeping millions into radical obedience to the living, resurrected Jesus Christ.  What makes faith in Christ irresistibly contagious?

Several years ago, my wife and I came into The Salvation Army and began to plant a corps (church) in Nashville, not knowing much about it.  At one of our first Officers’ Councils, which were rather low-keyed religious meetings of corps leaders (pastors), a young woman suddenly began to loudly shout, over and over:  “Fire, Lord send Your fire!”  Something stirred deeply within me as she shouted!  Once she stopped shouting, the meeting meandered along in its usual, quiet, calm manner.  It was like her shouting was hardly noticed.

We had Officers’ Councils twice a year and at some point, during many of them, this woman would shout “Fire!” and cry out for the Spirit to fall on us.  While driving to these meetings, I used to tell my wife:  “I hope she will shout ‘Fire!’ again this time!”  Recently, however, when I said that to my wife, these words came to my mind:  “Why don’t you shout “Fire!”?  Now that was a different story because I sure didn’t want to do that (and I didn’t at that particular Officers’ Councils).

However, about a month later, I was at a Salvation Army men’s camp with about 200 guys.  During the worship time people began to spontaneously fill the altar.  When the worship stopped, a guy began to boldly and loudly shout:  “Don’t wait!  Come to God now!”

However, the people were soon sent back to their seats and the service was carried on as planned.  At the end, an invitation was given to come to the altar.  As I walked down, I put my hand on the shoulder of the guy who had shouted so loudly and said:  “What you did was really from God.  That took courage.”

When I took my hand off his shoulder, something broke out inside of me and I found myself shouting at the top of my lungs:  “Fire!  Fire!  God send Your fire!  We have to have Your fire! We need Your fire . . .” and on and on for several minutes.

When the shouting flow stopped, I was embarrassed, so I laid down on the carpet in front of the altar and continued to pray silently.  And I kept thinking to myself, “What came over me?”

A few weeks after that I received in the mail a copy of a book published by The Salvation Army USA called:  Tsunami of the Spirit Come Roll Over Me.  As I read through the book, I came to a chapter called:  Brengle’s Teaching On Shouting — Shout Aloud Salvation!   (Commissioner Samuel Logan Brengle was an early Salvation Army leader who wrote many books that are still impacting the Army today.)  Here are a few quotes from that chapter:

“I am convinced that the subject of ‘shouting,’ which is emphasized by Bringle as a distinct manifestation of extraordinary prayer, should be recognized as one of the most exciting themes in his holiness teaching.”  –Young Sung Kim

“Nothing can stand before a man with a genuine shout in his soul.  Earth and Hell flee before him, and all Heaven throngs about him to help him fight his battles.”  –Samuel Logan Brengle

“Many a prayer meeting has failed at the shouting point.  Songs were sung, testimonies had been given, the Bible had been read and explained, sinners had been warned and entreated, prayers had been poured forth to God, but no one wrestled through to the point where he could and would intelligently praise God for victory, and, so far as could be seen, the battle was lost for want of a shout.”  –Samuel Logan Brengle

“At times their shouting will be like the boom of a big gun, and will have the speed and power of a cannon-ball.”  –Samuel Logan Brengle

“Brengle asserts that there is a certain stage of shouting that leads us in our salvation to ‘what flame is to fire.’ Though the aid of the Holy Spirit, in this particular stage, our ‘salvation becomes irresistibly catching.”  –Young Sung Kim

“Shouting and praising God are to salvation what flame is to fire.  You may have a very hot and useful fire without a blaze, but not till it burst forth into flame does it become irresistible and sweep everything before it.  So people may be very good and have a measure of salvation, but it is not until they become so full of the Holy Ghost that they are likely to burst forth in praises to their glorious God an any hour of the day or night both in private and in public, that their salvation becomes irresistibly catching.”  –Samuel Logan Brengle

These ideas are not just a theory from Brengle.  The capture of Jericho in the Old Testament gives a vivid example of the power of shouting.

“When you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.”  –Joshua 6:5

“At the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD has given you the city.”  –Joshua 6:16

So, could loud and bold shouting be a key in bringing spiritual awakening?  Is it true, as Brengle says, that when we shout, “salvation becomes irresistibly catching”?  Perhaps we should step out of our religious box and shout!  We’ve nothing to lose except our pride!

(After writing this article, I found more quotes on shouting from Samuel Logan Brengle.)

“Nothing is more completely hidden from wise and prudent folk than the blessed fact that there is a secret spring of power and victory in shouting and praising God.”

“Let no one hastily conclude that he should not shout and praise God unless he feels a mighty wave of triumph rushing through his soul.”

“Many a soul, in fierce temptation and hellish darkness, has poured out his heart in prayer and then sunk back in despair, who, if he had only closed his prayer with thanks, and dared in the name of God to shout, would have filled Hell with confusion, and won a victory that would have struck all the harps of Heaven and made the angels shout with glee.”

“An old friend of mine in Vermont once remarked, that ‘when he went into a store or railway station, he found the place full of devils, and the atmosphere choked his soul till he shouted; then every devil hid himself away, the atmosphere was purified, and he had possession of the place, and could say and do what he pleased.’ The Marechale once wrote: ‘Nothing fills all Hell with dismay like a reckless, dare-devil shouting faith.'”

“Joy can be cultivated by rejoicing in the Lord and praising God for His goodness and mercy, and shouting when the joy wells up in our souls under the pressure of the Holy Spirit. Many people quench the Spirit of joy and praise, and so gradually lose it. But let them repent, confess, pray and believe and then begin to praise God again and He will see to it that they have something to praise Him for, and their joy will convict sinners and prove a mighty means of winning them to Jesus.”

“The shouting of some people is as terrible as the noise of an empty wagon rolling over cobble stones; it is like the firing of blank cartridges. It is all noise. Their religion consists in making a racket. But there are others who wait on God in secret places, who seek His face with their whole hearts, who groan in prayer with unutterable longing to know God in all His fullness and to see His kingdom come with power; who plead the promises, who search the word of God and meditate on it day and night, until they are full of the great though and truths of God, and faith is made perfect. Then the Holy Ghost comes pressing down on them with an eternal weight of glory that compels praise, and when they shout it takes effect.”

Here’s 1 more Bible verse:  Luke19:27-38:  “As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: “Bessed is the King who comes in the Name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

shout

Posted in great awakening, Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit flow, Jericho, Joshua, move of God, movement, outpouring of the Spirit, Salvation Army church, Salvation Army Corps, Salvation Army Nashville, Salvation Army officer, Salvationism, Salvationists, shout it from the housetops, shout unto God, shouting in church, Spirit-prompted, spiritual adventure, spiritual awakening, spiritual experiences, spiritual fire, spiritual flow, spiritual hunger, spiritual innovation, spiritual movement, spiritual prompting, Young Sung Kim | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment