For Such a Time as This…

My brothers & sisters in the Lord,

Let me please start by saying I love you all. We are one family in Jesus, who is the only Way, Truth and Life.

The Passion of the Christ is to redeem His Father’s lost sheep. This is always first and foremost on the heart of our Heavenly-Dad.  

Many of us who profess to know Christ have allowed the forces of darkness to make us become offended with one another. This absolutely destroys the word of our testimony, and cuts short the work that Holy Spirit desires to accomplish through the Body of Christ. These attacks always come the same way: the spirit of offense,and getting the carnal mind to agree with Satan. A house divided cannot stand.

“Yes, yes, David. Amen… so what?”  Well, I am glad you asked.

The Shack.

This is a book, turned movie, that Father is desiring to use to draw those who do not know Jesus as their Savior, Redeemer and Friend to begin to ask questions.  Let me repeat this.

The lost are asking questions.

They are daring to wonder, “Is there a God who might actually love me as much as this movie is suggesting?”

I implore you. Come into agreement with what is on Our Dad’s heart. We are called to walk in His heart and mind and will… not our own desires.

The Church is arguing and contending with one another over the doctrinal accuracy of this work. 

Right now, the Church is on stage before the entire world.

All over social media, those who have not accepted Christ are silently comparing the love they see in this movie with the love they see in us. They are watching us. Studying what is invisible through the tangible representation offered through His ambassadors. We, the Church, are supposed to know, abide in, and walk submersed in the Love and Wisdom of Jesus Christ. Instead… we are choosing to tear each other down. Church is arguing and contending with one another over the doctrinal accuracy of this work. 

This needs to stop, my dear family.

There is a time and place for believers to come together, in love and unity, and discuss our doctrinal beliefs and compare our differences with scripture as our final authority. However, this movie is calling to the hearts of those who do not know the Savior of the world. This work is not meant to cause bickering and fighting within the body. You do not need to agree with everything in this book/movie to embrace the opportunity given to us by the producers of this film.

The Lord’s purpose of this movie is not for argumentative, theological debates. In any generation, when the body of Christ drifts from the heart of the Father, the Church will begin to display a nature other than the nature of Christ.

When this happens within His family, the rocks will begin to cry out.

This movie is a stone being whirled at the hearts of those without a Savior in order to shatter the windows of their pain and delusion. This book/movie is an evangelistic message. It is sowing the seeds. It is not meant to reap the harvest. The Church Body is meant to reap the harvest. We must work together on this one.

We do not have the time to wait around for another yearly Easter morning sermon. The lost are dying every day… not the  Monday after Resurrection Day.

We simply need to make an adjustment in our thinking and hearts. Then stay the course. Such as you have…for God’s sake… GIVE.

“Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.

For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god.

So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship–and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.” Acts 17:22-23


Paul understood how to use all things to win the lost.

The Church of this generation needs to walk in this kind of Wisdom… and at this very hour. Has it occurred to us that perhaps… just perhaps, this movie is meant to rip open the old, festering  wounds of its viewers in order that the rest of us may bring them to the Great Physician to heal? Does this offend our intelligence? Does this offend the depth of His love and faithfulness? I refuse to believe we have become so fat and blind as spectators in our own gatherings that we refuse to help haul in the fish. 

This is not who we are. 

For now, let us first heal and forgive. Let us ask what is truly motivating us. Let us come together and grow up into His fullness. Let us set aside our own ministries and pursuits and contentions that bolster our own self-righteousness. He does not need our anger so much as we may believe. He needs more of His love in us. I need more of His love in me… always more…

Let us beat our swords into plowshares and harvest some souls. This… is what is on Father’s heart. Let us not waste the opportunity here to share the true message of Christ. Rescue them from the fire… THEN teach them proper biblical theology. If we are tearing down the film more than we are discussing the love of God and how others may receive that love through Christ….(the only way to salvation)…then something is off in our own heart that goes way beyond proper biblical interpretation.

Please. Prayerfully consider what is really going on here … and if it bears witness with that same Spirit who was sent to empower us, ask Him for an opportunity to share what you posses.  Love you all… so much.

In Him,

David

15 thoughts on “For Such a Time as This…

  1. Oh, David! He has poured into my heart the desire for those on the “outside”. I am never interested in the theological debate. It bores me. What has been on my heart heavily today (not with regard to the topic of what you write) has been His Love….What those on the outside need first and foremost, and I speak as a former outsider, is not accuracy per se, but manifestation of that which they seek. How often this happens when our hearts are open to Him and our mouths are shut.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. David, I am sure that you would say that Paul was not lying when he wrote these verses to the Church:

    “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven”. (Heb 1:3, NIV)

    “In whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2Cor 4:4, KJ2000)

    “He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” (Col 1:15, NIV)

    I read “The Shack” right after it came out and was given a copy by one of the authors. The question I have is if Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the “exact representation” of the very being of God and is the very “image of the invisible God,” how can a fictional figure, in this case an overweight black woman who likes to cook, be the image of the Father as He really is? And how can a bumbling carpenter be the image of Christ who was perfectly obedient to the Father and only did what He saw His Father doing? My question is what gospel are Young and his co-authors preaching?

    All too much of what passes as “gospel preaching” these days is aimed at stirring up human emotions or titillating human intellect in order to get an emotional response and this story line is designed to stir up the emotions. In the case of this book/movie it was aimed at making millions of dollars and appealing to the largest crowd possible. I happen to know one of the authors and there was a fight between Young and the other two over money after the book royalties went over the first couple million dollars and it finally settled out of court with all parties being made multi-millionaires from the royalties plus lining the pockets the publishers and of many lawyers.

    Are you sure that Jesus’ preaching of His gospel appealed to the emotional souls of men? When they emotionally wanted to take Him and make Him their King, He puked them all out by demanding that they eat His flesh and drink His blood! His sayings were often harsh and went right to the heart of all who refused to lose their soul lives for the Kingdom of Heaven. Or were any of the apostles made rich by preaching the gospel or the writing of their epistles and gospels? Did Jesus preach that we should take a brother to law? The end is never justified by the means. Jesus made it very clear that we cannot serve both God and Mammon.

    So, I ask you that you might consider these things and why Paul wrote,

    “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:6-8, ESV2011)

    And Peter’s words,

    “For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and his coming again. We have seen his majestic splendor with our own eyes.” (2Pet 1:16, NLT)

    Your brother,

    Michael

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Michael,

      Thank you for weighing in. I am honored. I spent some time thinking on the clearest way to respond and in a manner that best describes what is on His heart without repeating myself. I share all of this in so much love and respect. Here goes:

      I agree with all you wrote. Some would argue there is no gospel at all in the book.

      “Gospel” as you and I know simply means “the good news.” The book is an attempt to begin the good news that we are loved. It was the Church’s mission to finish the task and finish the message. We failed when the book came out, and we are failing now.

      For the record, I do not agree with all that is written in this book, and had to work through the offense of my heavenly-Dad being depicted a certain way.

      Nor did I agree with the Celestine Prophecies and Conversations With God. Writings I hold as outright demonic in origin.

      Paul said, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Cor 9:22)

      The immediate context here is winning the lost. Paul’s heart beat after the Fathers’s. Paul went after the lost. This was not a legal requirement but flowed from his inner man.

      This book is an opportunity for us (the Church-not the author) to share the True Gospel. By in large, the Church does not care at all to save some… or any. We perhaps care about how our doctrines appear to the lost.. not knowing our misplaced vitriol toward one another estranges us from the very thing we attempt to attain… His image.

      When The Shack came out several years ago I read it knowing that others would come to me with questions. I led many to Christ during that season. After that, the errors in that book were exposed, correct theology taught in love to them and most of them been discipled to maturity in righteousness. It really was not hard at all. It WAS and continues to be labor for the gospel. But not hard. Show them Love, offer them the Cross, then disciple them according to the scriptures.

      I did the same with the other two books cited above. I have done this with many other things.

      My point here is that the love of Christ has grown cold in His church.. all while defending His Name.

      This grieves of Dad’s heart.

      The veracity of this work was never in question, nor did I offer my opinion, simply because this is not the problem I was addressing. Others are already addressing those problems in a rather un-Christ-like manner.

      This was about our lack of Love, our poor witness, and ultimately, that we “might save some.”

      I had planned to publicly sidestep this whole movie and be content to disciple those who I have place to speak into. That changed when someone got in their car, traveled to where I work a town away to pull me out of my office and ask me one question:

      “David, why do you Christians hate each other so much?”

      God bless you, Michael. I admire and respect you so very much. I cannot shrink back from stating so boldly that what I shared is on our Father’s heart and hope I rounded it out more.

      Your brother always,

      David

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear David,

    Thank you for this post. I can see the heart of what you are saying, and I commend you for your call to unity within the Body of Christ – this is the heart’s desire of the Father, as expressed by Jesus to His disciples – one only need read the gospel of John to see how the love of God permeates it, and how His desire is that we, His disciples, would have that same love for Him and for each other.

    On a personal note: I suffered much abuse from a family member recently (out of the blue, but it was just one more thing to heap on me in what appears to be years of stored up vitriol and fear) because years ago I recommended the book, The Shack, as a way to show God’s love in the midst of tragedy – as a way to start a conversation. Or, as you said, to sow seeds. This person whom I deeply love did not read it, but instead read what others said about it, and recently spewed such a religious spirit and hatred at me for even suggesting it all those years ago, that it took my breath away.

    I’ve been watching this same “conversation” (I use the term loosely because people are doing a lot of talking, but not a lot of listening, which is what a conversation really is) happening between brothers and sisters. It feels like a stab to my heart every time I watch one believer attack another. So often there is no clear understanding – it reminds me of the old saying, “Kill them all and let God sort them out.” Isn’t there a better way to ask someone their thoughts? How about asking them PRIOR to attacking? Did anyone ever ask you what you thought about the book personally? I mean, before they attacked you and questioned your faith and your standing in Christ.

    We were never told that we had to be the thought police, the book police, the t.v. or movie police, or any other such thing. We are called to walk in The Way, and that is the only way we can lead others to do the same! How can they follow if they do not see us walking? How can we walk if we are continually getting sidetracked and spinning off on tangents? We can’t. If we keep looking back while we are plowing, we are 1) not walking a straight line for a plow to follow, and 2) not worthy of the Kingdom of God (his words, not mine). Teshuva – return – we need to turn around, return to our walking in The Way, with love, so that others may follow.

    Here is the very best question I think Paul ever asked of a brother or sister, who was sitting in judgment over another brother or sister [need to keep this in context]:

    “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4 NKJV

    We Christians have grown bitter, intolerant of others (not in the PC sense, but in the sense that we just cannot tolerate any other brand of theology than the one spoon-fed to us by our churches or seminaries. We curl up our lips in derision just before we start snarling if we don’t get the perfect KJV quotation from the lips of the person of whom we are inquiring (read deposing). In fact, I have witnessed that we are often AFRAID of each other!! Where these things exist, they push out the redeeming, washing, healing, filling love of Jesus Christ.

    There is no question there is a time and place for loving reproof and correction, and it is not always done “within relationship in the [sic] church”. But it must always be done within relationship in Christ, and with a spirit of love. Watch what Aquila and Priscilla did when they heard a man teaching in the Synagogue:

    “Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. (25) This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. (26) So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” Acts 18:24-26 NKJV

    I know you expounded on this somewhat in your latest podcast, but I wish to underscore this. We need a spirit of love in order to teach others the way. Jesus said that the World would know that we are His disciples by the love we have FOR ONE ANOTHER. I find that very, very revealing. If we cannot love our brothers, whom we do see, then how can we love our Heavenly Father, whom we cannot see?

    We need to get our own house in order, that’s for sure.

    Thank you for sharing.

    in agape,

    Sis Cate

    Liked by 1 person

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