Christians Who are Known in Hell

paul the apostle

Leonard Ravenhill once said that he wanted to be known in hell.  He was of course referring to the account in the book of Acts with the seven sons of Sceva:

11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We[a] exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.  15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”  16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered[b] them, and prevailed against them,[c] so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

“Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?”  Paul gave hell headaches.  No matter what they did, they couldn’t keep him down.  Even in severe weakness, Paul was a giant in the faith that accomplished mighty things for God.  Mr. Ravenhill lists a few reasons why he was known in hell:

“He had no ambitions – and so he had nothing to be jealous about. He had no reputation – and so had nothing to fight about. He had no possession – and therefore nothing to worry about. He had no “rights” – so therefore he could not suffer wrong. He was already broken – so no one could break him. He was “dead” – so none could kill him. He was less than the least of the least – so who could humble him? He had suffered the loss of all things – so who could defraud him?”

Are we known in hell?  We should be.  But there are few who are.  Especially in the western world, most Christians have been so assimilated into American culture, that they are almost fruitless.  We are so preoccupied with entertainment & moving up the social ladder, that we have forgotten what it means to be used mightily by God.  As Leonard says it,

“We live too much in time, we’re too earth bound. We see as other men see, we think as other men think. We invest our time as the world invests it. We’re supposed to be a different breed of people.”

Only a “different breed of people” is feared by hell.  As long as we love the world and the things in it, demons have nothing to fear.  But there are vessels that have set themselves apart, whom hell still suffers from.  They have embraced the “narrow, difficult” road that few choose to walk on.  Such men & women are not always easy companions.  They insist on being a Christian all the time and everywhere.  They are obsessed with Jesus and refuse to waste their time with anything less.

Whether we join their ranks is a decision only we can make. It will be costly.  It will require us to die so that Christ can fully live in us.  But it will be worth it!

but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. – Mark 8:35

It’s easy to write about & give a sermon on.  It’s easy to talk about how great the “great” men & women of the faith are.  But it’s a lot harder to do.  Hell doesn’t fear Christians who watch television every night.  It fears Christians who have been “crucified with Christ”.

Lord, give us courage!!!

Remembering the Value of Our Story

People love stories.  That’s why we flock to the theater, read novels, and pay attention
when the Pastor tells a story in his sermon.  There’s something about the unknown of what will happen that excites us.  Adventure, romance, danger, pain, pleasure, joy, and sorrow grip us as we see/watch/listen.  But we often forget our own story.  It story bookdoesn’t seem as exciting as the movies or the adventures of other people.  Our stories often seem too dull and normal to take the time to remember.  But God remembers.  He is deeply interested in our story because our lives are for His glory.

He remembers when I first became awakened to the idea that He wasn’t boring.  He remembers the night when a bunch of high school students crammed into a small living room and spent the night listening to martyr stories.  He remembers when I first picked up a guitar and started singing.  He remembers the first prophetic word someone gave to me.  He remembers when I moved to Kansas City in 2005 during a huge blizzard at 19 years old.  All these things matter to Him.

In the movies, there’s always dramatic music in the background, but in our lives we never hear it.   All the small decisions and events don’t seem too dramatic, but in reality, they are.  They form the gift of love we give to Jesus when we stand before Him that day. They’re even important enough for God to base our eternal rewards on.  One small 80 – 90 year time frame determines the rewards and positions we will have in the next age forever:

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” – Hebrews 9:27

“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”   -Matt 16:27

“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”  -Rev 22:12

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body…”  -2 Cor 5:9-10

“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”  Hebrews 6:10

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”   –Hebrews 11:6

The seemingly insignificant things are a big deal to God and if we could just get a hold of that, we’d live a lot differently.  In essence, life is made up of many small decisions over time.  They may not seem important in the moment but as time goes on, they really form our story before God.  How tragic would it be too undermine the importance of the small events & decisions in our lives because they weren’t “big” enough, only to find that we never really lived.

The decision to not get angry at the bad driver on the road, the decision to serve our wives when we’re tired, the decision to open our Bible again instead of turning on the television, the decision to disciple someone when it’s inconvenient,  the decision to not speak a harsh word, the decision to show integrity at the work place.  They all add up and form the story of our lives.  Let’s not forgot how valuable they are to God.

July 2014 Newsletter

“Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain!  Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord is coming, for it is at hand…” – Joel 2:1

Joel spoke these words to the nation of Israel in july photothe middle of two severe crises in the land.  One judgment had already past; the locust plague had already come.  But Joel warned the people of yet another crisis on the horizon.  If they did not repent of their wickedness and wake up from their spiritual stupor, another judgment would come, far worse than the last one.  The message of judgment is not always easy to hear, but it is vital to our survival.  I believe America stands in the same place as ancient Israel did.  We must hear the trumpet call and return to the Lord with prayer, fasting, and repentance.  Nothing less than revival will do.

In 1999 David Wilkerson wrote a book called America’s Last Call.  He said this:  “Our nation right now is receiving its final call to repentance, just prior to a great judgment!  I believe America stands at the brink of an economic and social collapse.  Now I say this not because I’ve had a vision or dream about it.  Rather, I have simply studied God’s Word, and I discern from the Scriptures that God is dealing with America in the same way He has dealt with all nations who have forsaken Him.  The fact is, God’s ways are absolutely unchangeable when it comes to His dealings with sinful nations.  There is no “shadow of turning” (James 1:17) in His ways; He works the same way in every generation, because He is just.  In short, He will deal with our generation in the same way He has dealt with every generation that sinned as we are sinning.  By learning these principles of His ways from Scripture, we can deduce exactly how He will deal with us today.” 

This is where our IHOP-KC community is right now.  Allen Hood, one of the senior leaders on the mission’s base has asked our community to join in a 7 day fast that Billy Graham’s daughter called our nation to July 1 – 7.  Anne Graham Lotz gave a powerful message from Joel 2 on the national day of prayer.  You can see it online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7cnT7OiI84.   She said the same thing David Wilkerson and all the prophets in the Bible have said:  Now is the time to awake from slumber and turn to the Lord, lest He judge us in righteousness.  The fact is that we are committing the same sins Sodom & Gomorrah did before they were destroyed.  “Now this was the sin of Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed & unconcerned; they did not help the poor and the needy.  They were haughty and did detestable things before me.  Therefore I did away with them as you have seen (Ezekiel 16:49-50).”  But there is also hope for our Nation.  If the ancient city of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah, we too can repent.  Loretta & I are joining our community this week by setting apart extra time to be before the Lord in the prayer room as we cry out for America.

It’s important to understand that God’s individual dealings and corporate dealings are two different realities.  Individually, as those who love Jesus, many are cherished by the heart of the Lord.  But God’s dealings with Nations are a different reality.  In the same time frame, God can warm our hearts and give us revelation individually while sending a great judgment upon America.  There are no discrepancies in His character as He does so.  We must contend to understand God’s heart not only for ourselves but also for our nation.  Though He delights in many believers individually, His heart is burdened and grieved by the corporate sins of America.  Let us join together to wrench ourselves from the stupor of self-seeking these next weeks to cry out for mercy in our nation.

June 2014 Newsletter

“For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation
to generation…He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth.  No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” – Daniel 4:34-35

These are the words Nebuchadnezzar spoke 2 yr anniversaryafter God humbled him and his sanity returned.  He finally recognized that he wasn’t in control.  The Most High God was.  This revelation is something we all need right now.  Though the sin of man rages and the curses of the fall surround us, God is still on the throne.  He is not a helpless bystander in the events on earth.  He is sovereign.  He can do whatever He wants yet He waits to do certain things till the saints ask Him.  Rather than relieve us from the place of prayer, the sovereignty of God should actually motivate us to intercede.  If He is fully in control and waits for His children to ask Him for things, how much more should we lift our voice to Him for breakthrough?

As we stand in the Prayer Room day by day we remember that the battle is still raging.  Human trafficking is escalating like never before.  The fatherless are crying out for fathers and mothers.  The government grows more corrupt.  The love of many is growing cold.  But God is also on the move.  We are seeing human trafficking awareness spread like wildfire as brothels are shut down.  Christians are adopting children and choosing to reach out to the fatherless, and the prayer movement is joining forces with the evangelism movement to preach the gospel to every tribe & tongue.  So if we ask “Is the world growing darker or lighter?”  The answer is both.  Like Jesus said, both the tares and the wheat are growing together until the end (Matt 13:36-43).  We can rest in the fact that Jesus is in control of both & His leadership over the earth is perfect.

One reason this is so dear to Loretta & I right now is because of a holocaust survivor we went to hear last Tuesday.  Elizabeth is a secular Jew around the age 93.  She survived 3 death camps and was even shot on the last day of the liberation.  As we listened to her story we were struck with how often she referred to a “hidden force” or “sixth sense” that kept her alive.  Though she still isn’t aware of it, this “hidden force” was clearly the hand of God keeping her alive.  God was enthroned during one of the most horrific times in world history and He will always be enthroned.  As we drove home we prayed that God would reveal to Elizabeth her need for a Savior.

Elizabeth is one of many secular Jews in the area that the International House of Prayer is committed to showing the love of Yeshua to.  There are a surprising amount of Jewish communities in Kansas City.  Most of them are not believers but there is a remnant of Messianic Jewish churches that love Jesus and come to the Prayer Room often.  In the 1980’s a prophetic man said that one of the International House of Prayers main focuses would be the salvation of Israel.  Though it didn’t make sense at the time, 30 years later it has become a strong pillar in the House of Prayer.  Every Tuesday, we set aside 6 hours to pray specifically for the Jewish people in Israel & the Nations.  Many messianic Jewish communities in Israel are close friends with our community here in KC.  There are even a handful of houses of Prayer in Israel that watch the IHOPKC webcast every Tuesday to pray along with us.  Jesus is moving!  If you have time I’d encourage you to watch the upcoming conference in KC concerning Israel on June 13-15.  The webcast is free and it’s a great way to hear about what God is doing among the Jewish people.  God is on the throne.  May we never forget it.

When Stuff Breaks Down, Doesn’t Work, Etc

I’m writing this article in the wake of a broken lawnmower, a broken clothes washer, and a faulty air conditioner that all stopped working in the last two weeks (part of the joys of home ownership).  Yes, it’s a waste of money when things break down.  Yes, it’s a waste of time when things stop working.  Yes, it can be downright upsetting when projects start piling up.  So what possible good can come out of them?  Well, besides the fact that we can learn how to fix things and become handier around the house, I think there’s something else to learn.  God can speak to us through them if we have ears to hear.

It’s my opinion that before Adam & garden of edenEve sinned there was nothing to fix.  The curse of corruption hadn’t entered the world yet so nothing broke.  Nor did anything wear out or grow old.  Everything was perfect so there weren’t any fixing projects.  Imagine that!  So what did Adam & Eve do all day?  We’re so used to things wearing out, it’s hard to imagine.  Genesis tells us,

Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it” –Genesis 2:15

If nothing needed to be fixed what did Adam do to “tend and keep it”?  Maybe he tended it by planting seeds and cultivating the soil.  He might have protected it from wild animals and against the violence of winds or the burning heat of the sun.  We can only theorize.  What we do know is that whatever Adams work was, it really added to his happiness. His work was never frustrating or futile because every act was glorifying God.  God made man in such a way that we cannot function if we don’t work.  Adam wouldn’t have been happy if he had been idle.  The same principle applies to us.  We were designed to work and though the curse of corruption has been added to it, it still glorifies God.

So how does God speak to us when things break down and we have to fix them?  Every time something stops working or wears out it is made to remind us of the Garden of Eden.  There was once a time when the curse of corruption wasn’t here.  There was perfect union between God & men.  Just like the rainbow in the sky reminds us of Gods covenant to never destroy the earth with water again, the presence of corruption is made to remind us of the Garden of Eden when there was no corruption.

When stuff breaks down we can turn our frustration into longing.  We join with creation and cry out for Jesus to return to earth and reverse the effects of the fall:

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” –Romans 8:18-25

So as we spend time fixing our washer or getting our lawn mower to work, lets remember God’s desire to dwell on earth again without corruption.  Just like Adam, we work for the glory of God.  But one day there will be no more frustration or futility.