Testimony: Christian Activism vs. The Holy Spirit

Nearly 12 years ago, the staff of a certain Christian radio station in another city, was put in a position to seek God, by our general manager. He announced that we would be asking listeners to begin praying for neighbors atleast 5 minutes a day as a part of the international Lighthouses of Prayer Campaign. Obviously, the directive to make this request of listeners meant the staff would have to begin doing so as well. I proudly jumped aboard the idea of praying for neighbors. Isn't it scary how we worship ourselves in Jesus' name and don't see it? At first, my wife and I were enthusiasticly parroting powerless, correctly-worded prayers while telling ourselves this was for God and the lost. Ever done that? But with the short passage of time, it quickly turned into a drudgery and we were forced to come against the unbelief and hardness within our own hearts. By this point, I had been a Christian for 20 years and in Christian radio for 10 years. But my supervisor's personal prayer life and resolve to pursue the Lord forced us to actually wait upon the Lord, until Love Himself began to move in our hearts and home. His godly leadership invaded our personal lives away from the office.

The difference between a manipulator and leader is his motives and goals. This leader's motives and goals were continually purified and directed by a genuine and consistent prayer life. And he was more concerned that his staff had lifestyles of prayer than building an image of a successful Christian radio station. Incidently, that station's success was off the charts during his tenure and the unity we had as a staff was unbelievable. I have never shared so many deep laughs and heartfelt tears of joy. And the professional productivity was excellent during his reign as manager. Today, we remain strong friends in Christ, even though we are not at the same station together anymore.

What happened next truly changed the lives of my wife and myself. The discovery that we couldn't even sincerely pray five minutes for the lost, much less an hour, brought about a healthy introspection and inventory of heart. As we were singing to the Lord in our own home one Saturday morning, with the help of praise and worship music on CD, we began to pray out of Jesus' love for our neighbors and family members. Tears flowed and our hearts were wrent for others as we could finally see that God loved those we passed by everyday. Then, without the assistance of our manipulation, God began to draw people unto Himself and open the doors of people's hearts to share His love.

Within a few days, two separate encounters with two different neighbors occurred; Neither of whom we had ever spoken with before, but for whom prayers were being offered. What are the odds of two different non-Christian strangers initiating the approach and inviting themselves to our church? The second time it happened really got me. What was being seen and felt within our souls in prayer was playing out before our eyes! This was real! Our next door neighbor tearfully gave his life to Christ in his front yard within a month's time. He was radically changed. Another seven neighbors came to Christ and another eight extended family members were also truly reborn within the coming year. The Holy Spirit broke out in the neighborhood and our extended family. That December, exactly 27 neighbors filled our small home while three worship leaders, from three different churches, led in Christmas carols, then transitioned into worship music. It was like a mini-Gaither Homecoming. Tears were streaming down faces and hearts were full. More such gatherings, filled with singing and prayer, were held. And many of those people were encouraged enough to join different Bible-believing congregations in the coming months. And today, in our own neighborhood here near Park Circle, we are seeing the hand of the Lord in neighbors' lives with the same results. We need the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit.

The real goal for the Christian Community in Charleston is not trying to lure people to be involved in church activities, but to dethrone the presence of the enemy in our homes. If people can begin to experience Love Himself in their hearts and homes consistently, church leaders won't have a problem getting people involved in church. Remember that last sentence because you're going to see some things in the coming months. Prayer is the legally Blood-bought channel which enables the Holy Spirit to invade people's lives and introduce people to Jesus directly. God wants to amaze us by being Him. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He is only asking that we come to Him. He has done all the work and paid for it in His own blood.

Luke 10:38-42

"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!'

'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are distracted and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'"

The Church in America needs to admit that we are more like (Martha) Christian activists, than we are people of prayer (Mary).  From small church to mega-church, the small and pathetic percentages of praying members is generally the same. Those numbers have to change. When we consistently seek God, He will open our hearts to the truth of His love for others and in those moments we see that truth, we will be equipped to pray with power. May the Humble King be glorified in this city. May the Church in Charleston answer the call to pray.

...know them that labour among you... 1 Thessalonians 5:12 * ...pray for one another... James 5:6 * ...the eye cannot say to the hand I have no need of thee... 1 Corinthians 12:21 * ...there is one Body and one Spirit... Ephesians 4:4 * ...the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth... Ephesians 4:16 * ...I pray that they may be one with us so that the world will believe...John 17:21 * ...how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity...Psalm 133:1 "The purpose of life is companionship." *** "Worship is that form of companionship where we love on Him in response to His great love for us." *** "The most powerful drive in the human heart is the desire for companionship." *** "We inherited this drive from the One we were patterned after." *** "The difference between manipulation and leadership is motive." *** "Motive is purified and guided in the presence of God: Prayer." *** "Pride is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, an attitude of self-entitlement and a motive for self-glorification." *** "Pride starts subtly and then turns into the aggressive enemy of real companionship" *** "The Cross and the presence of God brings fellowship (heart to heart), but the world offers only socializing (facade to facade)." *** "Every relationship has a foundation. The pride of public ministry has been a foundation for too many. At some point it consumes" *** "There is a difference between worshipping the idea that we worship God and actually worshipping God." *** "Why do we want to see prayer back in the schools, when it is no longer in our homes or churches?" *** "Corporate prayer around the Throne must return the center of church life if there is to be any hope for the masses." *** "Corporate prayer produces effective preaching, not preaching produces corporate prayer." *** "If we are so in the know, why do we no longer gather together to seek God, navigate through our haughty hearts to get a glimpse of God's heart and then pray in the lost?" *** "Christianity is not an enterprise, venture for self-discovery or political or civic organization. It is a Blood-bought fellowship of prayer focused on One." *** "Prayer-based friendships are the only ones that last." *** "Prayer-bathed friendships are not incidental to ministry, they are foundational." *** "Prayer is not a ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is the ministry" *** "It's one thing to tell somebody what we believe about Jesus, it's quite another to be able to introduce someone to our Best Friend." *** "We are more like Martha than Mary; More like Christian activists, than people of prayer." *** "We need unity in humility found at the foot of the Cross, not prideful uniformity that says: 'Look at us doing God's work'" "There has got to be a practical, excecutable strategy in place for us to dethrone the ministry of Hollywood in our homes and bring families and communities together via corporate prayer inspired by the Spirit. Technology is not the enemy; Our disobedient laziness is the enemy." ***