Apr 15, 2021.
Evil is real. Thankfully, so is the Kingdom of God. And we are servants of the latter. But do we have confidence in our authority to dispel darkness when we come up against it? Truthfully, most US Christian leaders are avoiding this topic altogether; they would rather not tangle with the obscurities involved. And besides that, there are many other things we can do inside the organized church: board meetings, staff meetings, visiting people in the hospital, teaching the scriptures, etc. But, will we ever learn to take a stand against the works of evil like our Master did? This question creates much angst in many of us, I know.
#JesusStories: In Matt 12, Jesus cast out a demon that was making a man both blind and mute. So remarkable was the miracle that the crowd marveled, and started to ask for the first time if Jesus was perhaps The Messiah. When the Pharisee’s heard this, they countered with the idea that Jesus Himself was filled with demons, and that was why he was able to control the demon that was in the blind man. I can just see Jesus shaking his head at the foolishness of that notion. He then told them that any kingdom who is working against itself cannot stand, and if Satan is casting out his own demons, he will be unable to advance his dark strategies. Then Jesus pivoted the conversation and said something quite powerful: “When I force out demons by the power of God’s Spirit, it proves that God’s kingdom has already come to you.” In other words, the ability to exercise authority over evil and drive darkness backwards is proof that the kingdom of God is flowing through us. It is possible to be working in Christian organizations and yet not be working in the kingdom of God. Wow. There is a very real conflict between the ‘inbreaking kingdom of God’ and the ‘uprising kingdom of darkness’. Soberness needs to be felt, choices need to be made, prayers of surrender need to be offered, and Christian leaders need to move beyond their job descriptions and find their place in the advancing kingdom of God. Leadership maturity in such a kingdom is the ability to push back evil, and advance the kingdom into new places. And according to Jesus, the power for such a role is already here…it came with him and never left. Oh Lord, anoint us to be the kind of leaders who can kick in the front door of the strongman, any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
#DinnerChurchQuotes: When you stand before God at the end, God won’t ask, “Why weren’t you more like Moses?” It is more likely He will ask, “Why weren’t you more like you? I already had a Moses.” (Tod Bolsinger quoting a Rabbinical Teaching)
#PracticalStuff: If you are a student of history, you know there is a big gospel wave coming our way; big revival waves always follow a profound downturn throughout human history. This means that our Christian leadership needs to find a new sense of readiness. Would you be willing to call yourself into a day-long prayer retreat? And ask the Lord what kind of leadership He needs from you as this Gospel Tsunami approaches? These insights are not the result of previous training – they come as ‘Spirit calls to Spirit’ and ‘Deep calls to Deep’.
Blessings & Boldness,
Dr. Verlon and Melodee Fosner have led a multi-site Assemblies of God Dinner Church in Seattle, Washington since 1999 (www.CommunityDinners.com). In this decade when more churches in the U.S. are declining than thriving, and when ninety-six churches a week are closing, Verlon and Melodee sensed that a different way of doing church was needed for their 97-year old Seattle congregation. It soon became obvious that they were not the only ones in need of a different path. They joined the FX team in 2016 and founded the Dinner Church Collective. And then in 2019 founded the Dinner Church School of Leadership. There is a lot to be gained when church leaders begin to see open doors in the American landscape that they had previously overlooked. Therein lies the journey for those who will forge a new future for the American Church.