Eschatology and God’s Beauty – Keep the meat, spit out the bones

I’ve been wanting to express my frustration and excitement for some time now with respect to some of the revelation distributed to different places in the Body of Christ:

  • Excitement – fabulous revelation that will change how we think and usher us into new realms in God and new dimensions of the manifestation of His Kingdom concretely here on earth if we will just get this stuff into us at a heart level.
  • Frustration – people whom I respect, either personally or from afar based on their body of teaching and ministry, who contradict each other in aspects of their teaching. Contradiction is not necessarily a bad thing and is certainly not to be unexpected when groping to discover the Infinite God with finite minds and weak hearts. Where it becomes frustrating for me is the passion with which those “on one side” of a perspective categorize and label others.

Of course we all do it! 🙁 I was just in a church meeting Sunday afternoon where the diversity of perspectives, personalities and communication styles was exhilarating…which at first blush means: “Dang I wish they’d just shut-up!” I was seriously exhilarated and pleased by the diversity, but I was also seriously annoyed as a first reaction! 😉 As another example, just yesterday I was in the parking lot of a local supermarket waiting on Angela and Olivia who were inside shopping. While waiting I observed the stream of people arriving and leaving. One car caught my attention as it maneuvered slowly, directly in front of me, into it’s parking spot with its three occupants. You could see the visible signs of brokenness on what I supposed was a family. You could see where they needed a radical change of perspective and the gracious healing that only Jesus could bring. Unfortunately all of this “hindsight description” that sounds so spiritual manifests itself in my heart initially simply as “Ewww! What a depressing sight!” So, I admit, I put labels on people and I don’t do it with amazingly objective compassion and love.

That being said, when it comes to how we perceive God and His Kingdom I really think it’s important to realize that at the same time that we are being stunned by the depth and breadth of some revelation, our perception, our perspective, is really amazingly limited and small. I’ve attempted to represent it with an image in this mashup of clipart (ugly but I think it gets the idea across):

God and His Kingdom are so vast and multi-faceted that eternity will not be long enough for us to understand and experience everything. What I see/hear when I listen to/read about various revelations of who God is, how He acts, what His Kingdom is all about, etc. is more like this following image:

In this image, there is the logical realization that others do hold different perspectives, but over-simplification distorts reality and there is a tendency to lump all other perspectives into a few clearly defined camps that are then easier to dismiss. What happens then is that group “A” presents arguments as to why perspective “B” doesn’t really work. Group “A” will have some good points about their objections, but will neglect the fact that “B” is not really summed up that easily and that there are groups that they’ve lumped into “B” that hold to certain facets of that perspective but are really based on perspective “C”, etc. The fact of the matter is, that one needs to sink deep into the perspective of the other to see what they see and understand what they understand. I think when walking a mile in another man’s moccasins, we often stop after about 100 yards and are pretty sure our conclusions won’t change…forgetting how many miles we had to walk to gain our perspective.

So with that little soapbox dealt with, I want to present two different series of teachings. One is Martin’s Scott’s fabulous, line-upon-line presentation of a “framework” for developing an eschatological perspective broken down into 40 (that’s right 40! ) 15-minute podcasts. Both the podcasts and their transcripts can be found on his great and lively blog site (worth connecting with):

The other is one of Mike Bickle’s many teaching series. Mike and the worshiping intercessors at IHOP in Kansas City have focused a LOT on eschatology in the last 10 years. They have come to many different conclusions than has Martin (who is more interested in creating a healthy framework for interpretation than to be rigid in interpretation). There are many other series specifically on the End Times on Mike’s site, but I chose one called “The Beauty Realm of God“, which is 8, 1-hour messages specifically on Revelation 4-5. The reason is that this series lays the foundation for the IHOP “framework” of how they view eschatology. So you kind of have two different “eschatological interpretation frameworks” if not really two different rigid eschatology theologies. I think they are both valuable to explore… deeply …as they both include rich, rich truth not presented in the other. You’ll have to deal with some unresolved tension however as there are definitely conflicting aspects to what they’ve concluded based on their perspectives.

Oh my gosh! Got Bickle?!

I am so excited!

IHOP just did something truly fabulous and incredible!!! (yes The Prayer Room web stream is now free…which is totally cool…but that’s not it).

I have to back up a little bit…

In 1999, we did our YWAM training (DTS) in Hainichen, Germany. Almost every morning during our DTS, as part of my personal devotions, I’d listen to one side of a cassette tape of a 20-part Bible teaching series. The series was The Life of David by Mike Bickle. I don’t think I can overstate how much that impacted me as a teaching and as the beginning of a powerful habit in my life…listening and re-listening to very good and deep teaching messages…almost daily. Then it was on cassette and I relished long car rides when I could listen to several in a row and just get lost and immersed in the subject matter. Now it’s while I do the dishes every morning using the mp3 player on my cell phone.

After the Life of David, I discovered two other 20-part series by Mike Bickle: The Song of Solomon and The Bride of Christ Later I collected CDs and DVDs of mp3 teachings. Most were from IHOP. Then I discovered some other good sources on the Internet. Then Bethel came along. Morningstar is in there too….but it all started with these teaching series from Mike Bickle. They made me the junkie that I am today…and along the way they helped to transform me as they transformed and energized my theology and my spirit.

I’ve had my copies, collected over the years and carefully stocked on my computer. As I’ve come across individual teachings that have impacted me, I’ve tried to place them here on this blog as a way to share them. I always hesitated to put the whole 20-part series up though. IHOP trumpets often that their “copyright is the right to copy” and certainly they’ve been extremely liberal with their teaching notes. But I was never quite sure since they’ve continued to sell a good percentage of their teachings from their site, and never posted their longer series… until now!

Now, all these great, in depth, transformational series are on-line for free access at a new IHOP sister site for resources specifically from Mike Bickle.

So, I urge you to head over to Mike Bickle’s Teaching Series page and begin…somewhere! Anywhere! Start to listen. Re-listen! Then download the notes and go through them in your personal study time. It will change your life!

Don’t return to your regularly-scheduled programming! Make 2010 different! I know that the last decade, with liberal doses of these teachings for meditation, has changed me radically. I think the next one will change me too. I encourage you to jump on the bandwagon!

Happy listening!

Forerunners get filled early

Yesterday, several of us who are involved in leading worship at our church had a time of targeted prayer for a worship team of junior high students at Olivia’s school. This was the 2nd such time of prayer that we’ve had for young worshipers in the last few days. We laid hands on them and spoke what the Lord gave us for them. It was a powerful time and we’re recognizing that God is moving on them specifically, but on younger and younger people in general. I mentioned a bit about this in the recent post about the Elijah Generation teaching by Steve Freeman.

This morning I was re-reading the most recent post in the monthly European intercessor’s blog, The Daywatch, by Roger Mitchell. In it, he’s studying the work of the Holy Spirit, using the book of Luke, to help us understand who the Holy Spirit is/what He does so that we can better recognize what He is doing NOW (and follow Him…duh!). The first thing mentioned in what I was reading is that the Holy Spirit is the Preparer. Roger underlined this by noting that it was the Holy Spirit who literally put the embryonic Jesus in a teen-aged girl.

As I’m studying German now (yea!), I thought reading through Luke 1 in my German Bible would be a good connection to this whole topic. Reading your Bible in a foreign language that you’re in the process of learning is a fabulous tool…not only for the language acquisition, but for opening up spiritual insights. You are forced to read at a different pace and frequently, you’re faced with translation differences that give you pause…to…reconsider…what…you…think…you…already…know.

This morning my (exceedingly) slow paced reading, and the focus of the work of the Holy Spirit caused me to stop at Luke 1:15 where the angel tells Zachariah that John the Baptist would be filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb. It’s not clear when exactly this happened, but in Luke 1:41 it says that John the Baptist lept in Elisabeth’s womb and that Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit at that time.

I’m guessing that John got the Holy Spirit before Elisabeth and that his reaction to recognizing Jesus was the key for his (aged, barren) mother to get filled. I think this is a pattern for our times!

Through listening to Mike Bickle and teachings from IHOP, I’ve been familiar for awhile with the concept of the Forerunner and the spirit of the Forerunner coming on a whole generation and seeing people getting on fire at younger and younger ages. That’s typically been filed in the “yes-Lord,-I’m-glad-you’re-doing-that-somewhere-on-the-earth” folder. Well, I think what’s already raining down in different places on the earth is starting to sprinkle here!

If John the Baptist is the obvious model for the Forerunner, I think the “younger and younger” manifestation is probably the normal progression. Watch out pregnant women!!!

Sarkozy and Cyrus

A year ago at this time, when France was between the two rounds of its most recent presidential election, Samuel Rhein said this, “Either Sarkozy or Royale needs to be a Cyrus in God’s hands at this time.” Recently, on Martin Scott’s blog, I posted a resume of the new “Mediterranean Union” proposed by Nicholas Sarkozy during his election campaign. Just now, I’m listening to a two-part teaching by Mike Bickle about “The Cyrus Anointing.”

This teaching was given in the context of IHOP’s “Joseph Company” marketplace-ministry. Mike is speaking mostly in a context of business leaders with respect to the Cyrus Anointing, though he does place it in a larger perspective as well. He probably wasn’t primarily thinking, however, about leaders of countries. Well, I was thinking about Samuel Rhein’s call to intercessors to pray for the next president to become like “Cyrus in God’s hands.” Consequently, when one sees what is proposed by the Mediterranean Union, the call for Nicholas Sarkozy to be like Cyrus and listens to this teaching, there are all sorts of interesting possibilities. Most importantly, however, I think that this is a call for intercessors to birth the purposes of God during this hour of history.

So, whether you listen to this specifically with respect to Sarkozy or just to understand the Cyrus anointing in the end times, I commend to you an excellent resource in these teachings to fuel your intercession.

The Cyrus Anointing – Part 1 (mp3 – 25MB)

The Cyrus Anointing – Part 2 (mp3 – 31MB)

Spiritual Violence and an understanding of John the Baptist

I’m excited to make this teaching by Mike Bickle available. I feel that it lays a key foundation conceptually, if not in practical detail, of how the Christian life is supposed to work. It can re-orient our western way of approaching Jesus and spirituality. It is also very important in how we position our hearts for the future that awaits us, and the future that we shape with our lives.

Practically speaking (in a theological sense) it also can help us make sense of Matthew 11 and John the Baptist…an often enigmatic figure in scripture…but who is, as you will see, of supreme importance to us in this generation of human history as a sign and an example.

I know this is all vague language, but you really need to listen to this to “get it” in my opinion.

Click here for the teaching (15Mb) (recorded during the 2007 Passion For Jesus Conference at IHOP)

Mike Bickle – The Magnet of Meekness

This is an excellent 2-part (the 2nd part is somewhat repetitive) series that flows well with many of the themes and topics covered by Mike Bickle and IHOP. It speaks of the way the meekness, exhibited in our life, attracts the attention of God. Mike emphasizes that God spoke it to him first…i.e. he’s preaching it but knows that he still needs to live it more…like all of us! 🙂

One of the reasons, however, that I’m posting it has to do with the application that is not mentioned – a corporate application for the United States.

It’s fairly obvious that the United States is big on independence. One side effect of this emphasis is that we receive most teachings as applying to us as individuals and a corporate application simply doesn’t occur to us.

So, as you listen to this, listen for yourself of course, but also take the points as referring to God speaking to your nation. If you’re an American, you’ll realize quickly (I think) that following this teaching would prove to be extremely radical…would that we did!

The Magnet of Meekness – Part 1 (30MB)

The Magnet of Meekness – Part 2 (26MB)