Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting (Psalm 107:1).
The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord (Genesis 12:7-8).
He shall speak words against the Most High, shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High, and shall attempt to change the sacred seasons and the law; and they shall be given into his power for a time, two times, and half a time (Daniel 7:25 NRSV).
In 586 BC, the Babylonian army destroyed Jerusalem and exiled the Jews to the environs of Babylon. For seventy years the Jews lived in exile. Even in exile the war continued. In his war against the saints of God, the Babylonian king sought to change the times which were established by God as holy days for His people. In doing so the the king robbed God’s people of their spiritual heritage and promise. The Babylonian king was trying to transform the people of Israel into Babylonians.
If the church is to succeed in reaching this generation then the church’s message and methodology must be relevant. After all, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The Apostle Paul defined “incarnational ministry” when he said, “I have become all things to all people that by all means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).
We often sing, “You dance over me, while I am unaware; You sing all around, but I never hear the sound…” without understanding the beautiful theology contained within the lyrics of the song. While I am uncertain about the author’s source of inspiration, the lyrics reflect the words of the prophet Zephaniah:
“The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy” (3:17).
As a young believer in Sunday school I was taught rather straightforwardly that the gospels were written by real, historical persons with a direct relationship with Jesus of Nazareth. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John told their story just as it was lived. The Gospels (and all of Scripture) were divinely inspired and as such were inerrant and authoritative.
Once, I was watching a prominent Charismatic evangelist on a Christian network preach a message on salvation and healing. As he preached, I listened attentively. I thought, “He’s really doing a good job presenting the gospel.” Then, he gave the altar call. He said, “If you’re ready to receive from God, come now and sow your $1000 seed faith gift into our ministry.” I wish I could say that I was surprised, but I was not. This is all too common in contemporary Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. And frankly, it is appalling. Salvation and healing are the free gifts of God. Jesus paid it all!