What Our Eyes have Seen

 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand Firm then.”

Describe your youth group? What is it like? What is a typical Wednesday? What type of biblical study guide do you use? Curriculum? Hmmm.. How do you describe that which cannot be captivated by words, but needs to be felt, held and seen? I struggle always coming up with an approach to describe what I feel, or experience. I seem to never do justice to that which is in my soul, trapped in this cage of flesh and marrow, wanting to escape and run wild. To be set free, not to know the restrictions of time, grammar, and vocabulary, to which I am gravely deficit in.

I imagine the Disciple John, toward the end of his life having the same problem.. In 1 John he writes,

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.” (1 John 1:1-4)

These words echo in me, they reverberate off the hardened cliffs in the canyon of my soul. I too write this, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, and touched with our hands concerning the Word of Life. This Life, The Light of the World, has appeared to our youth..

AW Tozer has wrote, “Revivals don’t happen in churches, they happen to individuals, and individuals make up the church.” Revival is knocking on the door, “behold I stand at the door and knock,” and those individuals that open up will experience “the fullness of God.” But don’t think this is based on age. “For the promise is for you and your children and all those far off.” (Acts 2:39) God is not a respecter of person. It’s not about who you are, where you are, or what you can or can’t do. This is about God! This is about Christ. This is about Who Jesus is, and what He can do.

Despite what some may say, our youth are not against Jesus. They are against religion. They are all about the Power of the Cross, and “the Surpassing Greatness of His power toward us who believe.”  Once you expose them to the supernatural, they hunger and thirst for more. They are hungry for the Real. They do not want the doctrine of men, they want the “Power from on High.”  And so it was back in Paul’s days when he wrote, “The Kingdom of does not consist of words, but of Power.” “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

  We have given them all kinds of words. Words of correction, condemnation, judgement, hatred, bitterness, religion, but have we given the “The Power from on High”? Have we given them a demonstration of the Most High God or have we relied on our intellect and wisdom? The kids will listen to your words when they see the power of the Cross in your life. Once you show them the Love of the Father, then you have their attention. Once they feel His presence and are touched by His Spirit, they will rush head long into the arms of the Almighty and will never be the same.

But, what about us as adults? What is it that’s keeping us from touching Christ? Why aren’t we seeing with our eyes, touching with our hands, this Word of Life in our services and lives? This is not a belief in the mind, but of  the Spirit, being confirmed with the demonstration of Power.

We have said we believe the Bible, while we justify our unbelief in the Supernatural. We say the Bible is true, while we say the gifts of the spirit are not for today. We say we believe what Jesus says, but we do not practice what He says. “The works I do you shall do Also and Greater works than these shall you do.” People are watching, they are listening, and what are we giving them??  You want revival? You want to see the works of God? Then we must step out of the natural into the Supernatural.  Leonard Ravenhill said, “I believe every church is either supernatural or superficial. I don’t believe there’s any middle ground.”

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelations  3:20)

We are opening the door of our hearts to the God of the supernatural. We are sitting and eating the Bread of Life, and drinking from the well that never runs dry. So we invite you all, come to the well, come touch with your hands and see with your eyes all that God is doing.

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The Supernatural

“We are living a gospel that produces nice people rather than saints; that stands for convention rather than adventure; is respectable rather than passionate; that calls for safety first/take care living rather than heroic/take risks living; that is more at home with the status quo than the supernatural.” Leonard Sweet

Have you ever seen the movie Bruce All Mighty? Bruce is given the power to be God for a while and is given all His responsibilities as God to see if he could fix the world and it’s problems. At first it starts off as a game for Bruce, he plays with his food making his bowl of soup part like the Red Sea. With this new found power he sets out to get revenge on the people he feels have wronged him, so that he can promote himself. In doing all this he has ignored the needs of everyone else.  The world erupts in chaos, all the while he gains everything he feels he deserves, position, title, and wealth.

When I watch anything dealing with the supernatural something in my soul moves, a surge in my spirit, an Awakening.. An awakening to the Call of the Wild.

Just think of this, what if this happened to you? What if Jesus came and said to you, “I want you to be me. I am going to give you all my power and authority, and you are going to be my physical representation now here on earth.” What would you say to that?

“Well, isn’t that nice Jesus…” “Oh, how sweet..” Or “Sure you are!!??”

 What would be your first thing? What would you do with this Power?  Would you just go about your day as if nothing is different? Would you play with the idea and experiment with it, as Bruce did? I know, you would build a building and invite people to come hear you talk and share about this power you have been given, once or maybe twice a week! You could hire a band, maybe have some lights and effects, and then share some great truth on how the people listening can live in prosperity.  Or.. You would pretend you don’t have anything special and if someone actually does ask you about having “something different” about your life you would tell them to come hear your pastor speak.

Sounds crazy doesn’t it? But isn’t this what we do? Jesus came, died on a cross, and rose again, so that we could attend church once or twice a week?? So, we could focus on our desires and wants, to promote ourselves, while the world around us erupts in Chaos!  And yet, this is how we live our life.

Now Check this out..

6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasurein jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”  (2 Corinthians 4)

We have this “TREASURE” to show that this “All-Surpassing Power” might be displayed here on Earth!  Somehow we have come up with the concept that we are to build a building for people to come to a couple of times a week to hear about what use to be.  Where did this thought come from?? Just look at Jesus’ words before He ascended. “As the Father has sent me so I send you.” John 20:21 and in John 17:22  I have given them the Glory that You gave Me.” These are some explosive Scriptures, and if Jesus is telling the truth (And He Is!!) we should be doing more than just having a weekly meeting! This is game changing here!! We are Play Makers now.  Not only is the ball in our court with home-court advantage, but we already have the promise of victory, the assurance, the trophy!

Jesus has come not only to provide a way to the Father, but to make us One with the Father. “That they may be one even as we are one.” To share in the Glory.. Paul prayed for the Ephesians “that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might”

And if we believe, this power is for us, to us, and in us! “For greater is He that is IN you than he that is in the world.”  We are called out of normality into the  Supernatural.  We are beckoned into the realm of the unknown, to walk by faith and not by sight. Our souls crave this! Our spirits are born again for it! We are created for so much more, but we have been distracted. We have been convinced otherwise. Our attention is no longer on The Greatness of our God, that He is the Great I AM. We have been conformed to this world. We have been taught to worry about “what we shall eat, what we shall wear,” and not to focus on the “high calling of Jesus Christ.”

IF we are truly BORN AGAIN, if we are created Anew, if there is any hope, then what is it all for? To live comfortably? To be happy? To love the physical more than the supernatural?

Maybe this is why not only our kids, but all of us, flock to movies and TV series that deal with supernatural beings, angels, spirits, and even vampires. We all crave something more! Jesus Died to give us this! “I have come that you might have Life, and HAVE IT MORE ABUNDANTLY!” “The works I do, YOU shall Do also and Greater Works than these shall you do.”  “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” But we are distracted. We are too consumed with our own desires. We love this world and the things of the world.  We are not living in the supernatural because we are so caught up in the Natural.  John also warns, “Do not love the world, nor things of the world, for if anyone loves this world or things of this world the Love of the Father is not in them.”  Dave Gibbons writes, “People walk around distracted, captivated by the superficial, ignorant of what is real, or of eternal value.”

We are trying to make sense of our lives. We are settling for respectable more than passion. We have sought safety more than stepping out by faith.  We are asking for wealth, cars, homes, and status and we wonder why there is no power in our lives. Oh we ask. We even beg. We cry for more God, but we receive not, “because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

    “This is why it is said:

‘Wake up, O sleeper,

rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.’

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5)

The Wheat and Tares

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.” (Matthew 13)

You know that conversation that happens when someone is telling you something that happened and you can’t remember it? They tell it to you in detail and you just can’t recall it? Or someone is trying to describe an object to you they want you to hand them, but they can’t think of the name of it, so they start calling it by some weird name. “That thing-n-abob” or “That whatcha-ma-call-it” and you just go, “what in the world are you talking about??????”

Now, what about the story you do remember, or the object you know they are talking about, and you just play dumb so you don’t have to go any further?? Maybe you just don’t want to think about it. Don’t want to talk about it.  Or maybe you don’t want to exert the energy to do it.  I think we do this a lot with Scripture. For example: What do you do with the some of the Scriptures in the Bible that are soo outlandish and crazy, that no one likes to talk about?

As the Father has sent me, So I am Sending YOU!” (John 20:21) What?? Come again? “I have given them the Glory you have Given ME! (John 17:22)  Are you for REAL Jesus?? Seriously?

I think most of the time we don’t hear some of these things taught because preachers are afraid of them. Some Scriptures awaken too many questions and cause  us to rethink a lot of our previous conceived thoughts, so let’s not go there. But it is for us. It is written to us. “Deep calls to deep,” but if we never get into the deep we will never know how far we can go. We will never know “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:18)

Herein lies the problem. If we do not press on toward the high calling, if we do not “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord,” then we may never have known the life of Christ. We may only have a head knowledge and not a heart change.  See, the wheat and the tares look exactly alike, until they produce fruit. Until the wheat produces, the tares are no different. In the parable they grow together. They are  growing in the same place. They are being feed the same food!  They have the same farmer attending them except the seed that they are from is not what the farmer planted, but from the enemy “who comes to kill, steal and destroy.” Until the fruit it is produced there is no telling the wheat from the tares. “You will know them by their fruit.. A good tree can not produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit.” (Matthew 7)

What fruit are we seeing? What are we sowing?  “For whatever a person sows that he shall reap.” The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:8

  “The seed unless it falls to the Ground and Dies can not bear fruit.”  So we too need to let go of that which we hold on to so tightly. Faith is not in what we hold on to as much as it is what we let go of. We hang on too so many things, thinking that in them we have life. We in some way gain some comfort, or peace, but in reality they keep us from producing Fruit needful for eternal life. So our stalks grow. We may live in the life of the church, even “searching the scriptures and thinking in them we have the life,” but not until we “fall to the ground and die,” that we will experience the resurrection of Christ. “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4)

  For too long we have lived unto ourselves. We think because we are in the right soil, church, our crop will be great.  Because we have the best farmer, pastor, feeding us we will produce more than others. But none of this will produce the fruit of the spirit, “for that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit,” for  “flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God.”

So how do we come to inherit eternal life? Jesus said “this is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.”  And the only way to know Christ is to come and die. “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  But we aren’t taught to die. It doesn’t come naturally.  Pastors, teachers, don’t want to lead us to death, for it would mean they too must be dead to themselves. Everyone want to show us life. They want to tell us about love. But you can have neither with out death. “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he Loved us and sent His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins.”  “Love one another, as I have loved you.”  Until we forsake all, and pick up our cross, we will never know the power of His resurrection. We may look like Wheat. We may be green and flourishing, but when it comes to fruit, in which we will be judged by, we will never produce anything, and the scariest part of this is what happens with those that do not produce fruit.

Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.” (Matthew 13:30)  “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”(Matthew 7:19)

According to Jesus’ teaching they don’t get into heaven. They do not make it into the Father’s Barn. “Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
“There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.” (Luke 13)