February 27, 2022
1 Peter 2:9-10 NIV
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
This is the Church Jesus is building:
1. Chosen people 2. Royal Priesthood. 3. Holy Nation. 4. God’s Special Possession.
We believe the Church of Jesus Christ is the dwelling place of Almighty God on the planet Earth.
Therefore, all we believe to be true about the Living God, we believe to be true about his people.
If the holy love, power, and presence of God is dwelling within God’s chosen people, God’s royal priesthood, God’s holy nation, God’s special possession, it means at least two things. First, it means we have been granted extraordinary authority. Second, it means we possess enormous responsibility. Think of it as response-ability. We have the authority and responsibility to respond in a way no other organization or institution on planet earth possesses.
We must pray. And I’m not talking about prayer as the “when all else fails do this” sentiment we see written on placards and Instagram posts every time something bad happens in the world. I am talking about prayer as battle strategy. Prayer as war. The call to prayer is not a call to “say prayers” and then move on. Prayer is the call to a deep awareness of the presence of God, a surrendered attention to the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ, a keen atunement to the voice of the Spirit, and a bonded attachment to one another across the Body of Christ. The call to prayer is the urgent admonition to lay aside the religious customs of casual prayer and enter into the zone of the Kingdom of Heaven, abiding together in the presence and person of Jesus Messiah for the sake of the world.
We desperately need to grasp the real facts on the ground (not as reported by the news media but as informed from the revelation of the Word and Spirit) and understand the rules of engagement. Given all we are exploring about the nature of the Church Jesus is building, here are the facts on the ground.
1. The Body of Christ is a global fellowship bonded together by the Holy Spirit. Remember, we are living stones being built together into a spiritual house. Our connection is not institutional in nature but supernatural. We are quite literally part of each other—connected like a hand is to an arm. This has enormous implications for the church in Ukraine and in Russia.
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 1 Corinthians 12:26
2. Jesus Christ is the head of the Body—the Lord of Heaven and Earth—resurrected and ascended, living and active, speaking and listening, guiding and directing. He leads the intercession of the Church. We must lift our hearts to Jesus, set our minds on Jesus, fix our eyes on Jesus, offer our bodies to Jesus. He is the Commander of angel armies and Lord of the Church.
3. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of prayer who is praying without ceasing in words, and in groans too deep for words. As we invite the Spirit to fill us with his own prayers, we will begin to sense the agony in the Earth and our hearts will begin to attune to Spirit’s praying. Prayer is not something we initiate. Prayer is the initiative of the Holy Spirit. We do not initiate—we participate. Prayer is not ginning up more spiritual activity. Prayer is getting low to the ground and cultivating receptivity.
Church, the time for casual prayer has passed. The age of prayer as last resort is over. The practice of prayer as worrying our anxieties is done. We are waking up to the sobering presence of Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest. We are beginning to sense the desperation of the Holy Spirit who travails for the deliverance of the whole earth from the rogue and defeated power of sin and death.
Church, we are going to be praying this week on the Daily Text. War is nothing new for this world, but something seems different this time. Coming out of the fog of a two year global pandemic and into this moment of unprovoked brutal assault seems next level for some reason. There is an awakening afoot in the world. Let it begin with the people of God.
I am sensing a holy detour in this exploration of the letters of Peter. As we have explored the Church Jesus is building, my sense is he is inviting us to come inside and tarry together.
Jesus, you are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. We desperately long for the Church you are building. Holy Spirit, would you lead us onto this holy ground and into this sacred assembly. Praying in Jesus name, Amen.
I hope you are not hearing these writings as being critical of our local churches and especially our leaders. There is no time for that kind of naval gazing. This is much deeper than that. I wonder if you are sensing a deepened longing in your spirit these days. Are you getting in touch with the desperation of the world for God? these are the birth pangs of awakening. Let’s stay with it.
P.S. Join Us For An Ash Wednesday Gathering Online
I want to invite you to join us for our upcoming gathering, A Night With New Room: Ash Wednesday. It will be online on Wednesday, March 2, 6:30pm CST and will run just over an hour. It will be available to see on demand following. We will be led by Steve Cordle (author of our Lent Resource The Jesus Shaped Life), Jessica Lagrone, Lo Alaman, Mark Swayze, and I will be there too. It is a free event but you will need to register to participate. Do that here.
For the Awakening,