Rousing Her Radiance: Day 32
Contending for the Good News
‘Our Gospel came to you, not simply with words, but with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with deep conviction.’ -1 Thes. 1:5
Leanne Payne preached the Gospel eloquently and profoundly that evening in England: she made clear how the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit, could love us deeply in the gaps of our wounded early lives, so much so that we could rise out of our arrested development.
While she taught, I looked around the room and saw dozens of young adults ‘stuck’ in their teen years, unable to move into the real challenges of moral and psychological maturity. And I ‘saw’ the Holy Spirit resting upon them. I asked her if I might express this leading and ask those on whom the Spirit rested to receive prayer. She agreed.
About a dozen young men and women came forward. We prayed and the Spirit moved like fire upon them—descending and ascending as if routing barriers to their ‘becoming.’ God’s ‘deep’ summoned theirs and cleared out unseen channels where they were blocked by trauma and lies and compensatory sins. It was a marvel of the Father’s love: the Gospel preached with signs and wonders following! God manifested His power tenderly at the core need of disempowered lives.
Something shifted in these ones, a qualitative difference that opened eyes and hearts and wills to ‘more,’ the next steps they could now take to maturity. And isn’t that the goal of Christian sexual integrity—the choices we can make to love decisively, solid within and clear without?
Our kerygma—the declaration of Christ Crucified and Raised—has power. Our Gospel probes the depths of young lives and frees them for their ‘yes’ to whole sexual personhood. We need to reclaim that Gospel today. We declare the good news, and we manifest spiritual authority in ministering His healing Presence.
‘A new teaching, and with authority!’ (Mark 1:27) declared those who first heeded Jesus’ Kingdom call. We need no less today: we preach Jesus, and He gives us power to manifest His message. Most, at core, believe that Jesus is the answer to our sexual crisis. They just doubt the Church’s authority to do much about it. Jesus says differently.
Renewal pioneer (and good friend of the late John Wimber!) Ralph Martin stirred us with His ignited ‘kerygma’ last week in Kansas City. He opened a conference of which we were a part with three words: ‘Jesus is Lord!’ then explained deftly (this guy is brilliant) the relevance of a renewed Gospel to a Church sleeping in the light. He employed Francis’ confusing approach to LGBTQ+ issues as a sign of our impotence.
Jesus is Lord. While Martin taught, I saw a pier jutting out into the ocean with one of its main pilings (heavy support posts underneath the water) rotting and about to give way. Like our sexuality, pilings are hidden yet essential to the integrity of the structure.
It was an invitation to holy fear: I, we, could be lost! And an invitation to hope. What we expose He will reinforce and restore. I stood up and asked anyone who needed to repent to come forward. I then invited our LW team to come minister.
Jesus is Lord. Ralph empowered us to contend for ‘good news’ endowed with Holy Spirit. May our holy words and prayers manifest fire.
‘Burn off intimidation and enliven us at core, Holy Spirit. Take our weak words and ignite them for Kingdom purposes. “Now Lord, consider their threats and enable Your servants to speak Your word with great boldness. Stretch out Your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of Your holy servant Jesus” (Acts 4:29-30).’
‘Father, we thank You for Jesus who established the Church on a Rock against which hell will not prevail (Matt 16:18). We pray for every Christian leader to build on Her firm foundation of sexual clarity and integrity. Father, unmask the deceiver and divider of Christians and unite us in one Spirit. As weak members of Christ, we ask for truth to guide our pursuit of sexual wholeness, for grace to sustain it, and for spiritual power to transform us. May we reflect the chaste radiance of Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18) as we “shine like stars in the universe, holding out the word of life” (Phil. 2:15-16) to a lost and hurting world.’