Oprah, reality TV shows and movies
all need it. Even television ministries and political organizations stir it in order to create movement. Yet, we ironically
also live in a culture which shows disdain for it. I am speaking of emotion, the third component of the soul (mind, will,
emotion) and the doorway of our hearts into this natural world. Consider how many people show emotion, then apologize for
it afterwards or how many devalue another's words, actions and reactions because that person was "just emotional".
But it isn't just emotion.
Emotion is sacred or atleast is intended to
be. Yet we live in a time when emotion is mocked and abused. Consider how many individuals are paraded on so-called
reality TV shows. The new gladiators are those who fight it out under the ruling spirit of Darwinism as millions are pulled
in rooting for the person they identify with the most. Sacrificing souls has become a sport in America. At the end of the
series, we have one so-called winner and 59 losers. Is it any wonder so many in our nation feel alone?
Another reason there is such emotional and intellectual disdain
for emotion is because that often the emotions expressed in our culture are usually those under the influence selfishness
and the Enemy. Consider how the award-winning
movie "Titanic" touched people's emotions, but left us depressed. All that the main character retained
in the end was the memories of the deceased boyfriend. There is no presentation of eternal life or grace; We're left with
the message that leaves the viewer to assume that her wonderful memories will also die with her death. The true story of Archibald
Butt, after whom a bridge is named in Augusta, GA, could have been told in Titanic. Butt gave his life to save as many people
as he could. He was a Christian and servant of the Lord. His was a true story and far more meaningful. But emotions spawned
by a message centered on True Love Himself are not readily available through the ministry of Hollywood.
No, we're stuck on sadness and despair in America. Consider
how TV has evolved or better yet, devolved. The girl who's been hurt by a verbally abusive father and pours out her soul
on TV used to move us. Years ago, people cried when watching this on TV because it was new. Now everybody says "join
the club" as they turn the channel for something else. We're so hardened in heart that today we have ventured to believe that the very exploitation and discovery of emotion is somehow a virtue. If a movie
makes 'em cry, then it must be good. "Titanic" made you cry and then left
you despressed. Now the public raiding of emotions is so common on TV that it has become a joke and a new source of comedic
Yet ironically, at the same time, this
disdain for the emotional, has crept in to invalidate emotional expression, especially in the Church. In
fact, it has gotten so bad, that whenever someone gets emotional, that person feels compelled to apologize for getting
emotional as if it were something small or imposing. "I just got a little emotional, sorry" What?
A guy in the world who wins a million dollars can jump up and down, be hysterical and we understand, or the sports fanatic
can raise his voice, but the soul who has just realized again that the Lord has spared his life, has to behave calmly? Bologna!
Tha Apostle Paul would say "Dung!" We are not in view of reality here.
We are a people that are long overdue for one big, collective and
deep cry. But this cry is not a big group hug centered on our pain, but one born of focusing on the heart of
the Humble Christ. This is true Holy Spirit conviction. It is when we begin to feel more for the Lord than
we do ourselves; For One who truly didn't deserve to be treated badly was treated the worst; All because He loves us and
wants us. White-hot pure love walked among us, bowed down before us and washed our feet. His nation rejected Him, His closest
friends fled His side, His family thought He was nuts and on top of all this, during His most critical hour, His Father
turned His back on Him; The very One for Whom He lived every breath. A wounded and broken-hearted Jesus emotionally
cried out the question: "Why have You (of all people) forsaken Me?"
"I will have compassion on You
Oh Lord, my strength" Psalms 18:1 (Literally in the Hebrew)
But until Love and His humble character are once again in view, we will continue to muddle in the mediocrity of the
intended deeds of our selfish hearts. We will continue to despair in depressing bonds of fellowship between people who are
also sad and miserable; All this amidst a ruling lackluster appetite for the undiscovered mysteries that God has woven within
His creation for the delight of those He loves. We are bored, but don't have to be. We are self-absorbed, but could learn
to truly love. We feel we are without meaning and real purpose; But this is lie. We try desperately
to create meaning and purpose for ourselves on every front. Consider that we have an awards ceremony
on TV every weekend from every arena with tears and laughs being shared. Yet when the next morning comes there is nothing.
We are consumed with nothingness. And everyday it becomes more apparent. We are searching for God and do not know it.
Revival is not centered
on moral reform. Moral reform is a by-product of revival. Revival is a mass awakening to the intimate love of God.
When eyes are opened, the altars will be filled with people weeping with joy from the deepest part of who they are. "Deep
calleth unto deep". We will finally get it: "Oh, I see Lord. It's because you love people".
Many an organized ministry builds an empire touching upon
our deep need to know Him personally, but there is no substitute for hearing from the Lord Himself, that one is truly loved.
This is a major reason why prayer is so vital. Prayer makes us conduits for the Holy Spirit to
fill and flow through with the truth of a love that is able to open the minds and hearts of others so they can hear
directly from Him. Many prayerless preachers stand between the people and God, wanting to be the one to say God loves
you, keeping God from being able to say it Himself directly.
In Frank Perettit's fictional, but real life-like story, "The Prophet", a Christian journalist and
broadcaster begins to get glimpses into the spirit realm and hear the hearts of people crying, screaming and hurting. At first
he thinks he is losing his mind. Then he sees the truth of what he is hearing. People are lonely, tormented and lost. It haunts
him. This should haunt us. People are dying inside. They are desperately lonely while we pretend we know Love Himself
as we ourselves feel alone. May we shake off the prideful pretense and seek Him until we are changed. Love
intends Himself to be found. "Seek me with all your heart" and "Seek and you will find".
We will find there in Him something we see on rare occasion in good
old movies like "It's a Wonderful Life" where George Baily comes to the wonderful
revelation that he is loved beyond his wildest imagination. We cry watching this story because we want to know this truth
for our individual selves. How interesting it is that 20 popular psychologists recently condemned this
movie as dangerous to the American psyche. The word "psyche" comes from the Greek meaning "soul".
But they are very wrong. Love is real, whether in a fictional movie or in real life. Love has come and Love lives. He cannot
be stopped and He will come to us as His heart pounds for every soul.
Emotionalism is when we seek an experience at the expense of truth. But when Love comes
to us, tears of despair and heartache turn to tears of joy and peace. Joy seizes the soul in such a way that everyone
around can clearly hear Love's impact on the heart which basks in the great surpise: "Oh my goodness! I'm
I began to discover this one Tuesday evening when we lived in North Augusta. I had fasted for
two days and felt nothing. We were a one car family then and Lisa, my wife, was a nurse on the third shift at an Augusta area
hospital. After dropping her off at work I shot home to eat. After dinner, I flipped on the cd player and began blairing Hillsong's
"Glory to the King" throughout the home. And an unchurched neighbor came to mind. She was someone we often waved
to in passing, but had not yet had the chance to really know yet.
As I basked in the knowledge of the Lord's company,
serenading the One who first loved me, the thought of her not knowing Him began to trouble. I immediately fell to
my knees, declaratively hit the kitchen floor with my hand and cried out to the Lord "Lord, Do not let her NOT know You!"
I wept for her in that moment. In the window of three seconds I could clearly see and feel
His love for her. There's more to the story, but to make the point, we learned a month and a half later, that on that same night she was in her den alone and all of a sudden felt God's presence. She immediately got a Bible off the shelf and began reading it for the first time in five years,
gave her heart to the Lord and joined a Presbyterian church that same weekend. We learned this because she
approached us one day and began talking about her new church, which led to some questions on our part. "This may sound
a little strange to you, but I was home in my den alone and..." When she shared this, I was speechless, goosebumps came
all over and tears welled up in my eyes. She was pleased I was moved. After we hugged her I didn't speak for
an hour. "Oh my God!" I thought, "For three seconds I could truly see and in that amount of time You changed
a life...ON YOUR OWN through this vessel, this hardened heart!" It was hope for hers and my soul!
interesting that in the Bible, the specific petitions were offered after the Priest was in worship, not before! Most congregations
start with the long list of wants and never get to Blood-bought paid intimacy with God. When we worship in Spirit and
truth, we have power to pray God's will into the earth! It is there we are the most effective and it is His will
that none should perish! Most American congregations center their worship around the pulpit, not the Throneroom. Pastor Jim
Cymbala reminds that God's house is not to be a house of preaching, but of prayer. Yet that is not the case in most
God is not so cruel as to bring us to a place of seeking and then believing
in His love for it not to be true; For it not to be impacting; For it not to set captives free. This is why Satan wants to impune emotion so badly. It is the final gateway from the Spirit's
path into the natural world where Satan reigns temporarily. "It's all in your head" he says. He is a liar.
We're wasting God's time doing all this other stuff. If we can seek to have our own eyes opened, then
the rest will be the Lord's doing. That is a whole lot more appealing, exciting and encouraging than what most American
Christians are living.
When the presence of the Lord manifests within and among His people, it is not uncommon
for emotions to run high. An emotional trembling, born out of holy fear and overwhelming grace, can even affect human
physiology. If a person gets the shakes when he wins a million or when a burglar invades his home while he is at
home, why is it so surprising that soul contaminated with pride and sin, should shake under the realization of God's undeserved
love? Would not the body follow the soul's lead?
Yes, there are those bazaar "professional" shakers and quakers, who seem to turn emotion on and off
at will. They are caught up into emotionalism. As a kid, growing up in a Pentecostal church, I found it hard not to
giggle and laugh at ourselves when good friends tried to force upon themselves a certain experience. Oh! The melodrama!
The theatre! The entertainment! Saturday Night Live's skits have not been mocking God as our religious pride proposes,
but mocking us. But I also witnessed others, sometimes these same people, when they were truly moved by God's
heart and the impact was great for the Kingdom. If a supernatural God invades a heart
with the truth of His love, via preaching, visions, a hug, praying hands or a timely word, what is so abnormal with
being bowled over by a deep emotion which realizes it has just won the jackpot of God Himself and eternity?
There is a sound missing in our souls; Souls unpenetrated by the truth of Love. Is this really normal for a Church in love
The lack of emotional
expression in the Church over God's love points to a deadly reality we're going to have to finally admit: We
don't really see or believe in the love of God. We have a mental concept, but not much more. It's time to seek Him
together. It is time to get real with ourselves and God. It's time to say "Open our eyes!"
What if just 300 Park Circle area Christians had three illuminating seconds
at the same time for people they know? It'd all be over. Revival would break out, because the truth would be out
of the bag! The Lord lives and loves! Let the dominoes fall!
Prayer in His
presence continually washes us of pride and reintroduces us to His love for people; And thereby continually reintroduces
us to His progessive work in others, so that our hearts do not abandon others to their own pride as we would not
want to be abandoned by God to ourselves. Our hearts stay soft and open to His voice here. This is another reason
why corporate prayer is central to real ministry.
Corporate prayer also demonstrates who is really praying and who is not. You can't fake it
here for long. This is the setting our church leaders ought to be chosen from and no other. How many a pastor has placed a
leader in a position, to discover he or she building a personal kingdom at friendship's expense? Prayerless
Christian is an oxymoron. If a person doesn't submit to God, how will his or her heart submit to anyone
else? The corporate prayer meeting can serve as a helpful filter to determine who is really on the team.
Why aren't flocks being led toward lifestyles of prayer?
The answers vary, but the results are the same. When American Christians begin coming together to seek God for the lost, then
things will change. This is life and death, but we don't believe it. It is time to open of the gates and allow the King
of Glory to come in.
May the Truth penetrate our
thinking. May the Truth sit upon the Throne of our will. May the Truth flow through the doorway of our emotion in prayer into
the lives of those near us.
For the Truth is Love and Love is a Person. Yes, Love is not
an emotion, but He intends to be felt.