Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Zeal of the Lord of Hosts Will Perform This!

"6 For unto us a Child is born,
      Unto us a Son is given;
      And the government will be upon His shoulder.
      And His name will be called
      Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
      Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
      There will be no end,
      Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
      To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
      From that time forward, even forever.
      The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
"
Isaiah 9:6-7 (NKJV)


Isaiah was a very special prophet.  His career began in the throne room of God’s temple where, in his vision, the Lord of Hosts Himself personally commissioned him.   Perhaps that explains the intensity of divine emotion that Isaiah’s writings convey, such as the opening line of chapter 64: 
“Oh, that You would rend the heavens!  That You would come down!”

And surely it’s no coincidence that this same Isaiah brings us more messianic prophecies even than David himself.  Perhaps the most often quoted of these is Isaiah 9:6-7, which begins with: “For unto us a Child is born …”  In two short verses, the majestic reign of Jesus is chronicled from birth, to throne, to eternity. 

But then, the prophecy is sealed with a singular pronouncement:  

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Scroll of Remembrance

"Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name."
– Malachi 3:16 (NIV)


"Church membership in Wales was declining in the last decade of the nineteenth century."

So begins church historian J. Edwin Orr's classic book The Flaming Tongue.

"All of the denominations (Nonconformist and Anglican) suffering the effects of a loss of power in the pulpits and of a worldly spirit in the pews. Writers in various denominational papers complained of low attendance at Sunday services, fellowship and prayer meetings, and of a decline in Bible reading and in family worship; a Divine visitation was the only remedy, they said.

"Evan Phillips, a Moderator of the Presbyterian Assembly (the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church), declared in June of 1900 that Revival was the great need, and until met, all efforts to supply every other need would be in vain."

Sound familiar? CNN's recent story, A Rough Decade for American Congregations certainly sounds like a rerun. And yet, Orr's opener was a segue to

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

As He Is, So Are We In This World


To our good friend Bradley Brown, missionary to Nicaragua, on his 60th Birthday

At the Last Supper, Philip implored Jesus, “Show us the Father, and it’s sufficient for us.”

Jesus replied, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you haven’t known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” 

You see, Jesus didn’t need to live among us for thirty-three long years in order to purchase our salvation.  He could have beaten a path to the cross, risen from the dead, and returned to His throne in considerably less time than all that.  But then, how would His disciples—and how would we—ever have known the incredible love of the Father Who sent Him?

What does this have to do with Brad Brown as we celebrate his 6oth birthday?

“As He is, so are we in this world,” John the Beloved tells us (I John 4:17, NKJV).  In fact, the entire chapter is about our Father God’s love for us, and how He longs, in turn, to extend that love through us to a lost and dying world. 

In the words of an old hymn: “Lord, lay some soul upon my heart, 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

When We Pipe, God Shall Dance


Brad's new book is now available—in paperback and e-book formats!

For more information, visit the web site:
When We Pipe, God Shall Dance

Told in parable form, this story is a challenge for each of us to connect with God and discover personal revival and the fulfillment of His purposes for us in our generation.


A DAUNTLESS QUEST FOR SUBSTANCE
IN A WORLD OF MAKE-BELIEVE!
Are they twenty feet tall and swallow live kittens—or eight inches tall and shelter in tree hollows? Nobody knows for sure. But the strange, ugly creatures must be found, and their wretched curse broken, before it’s too late.

Willi Wagner, a young Anabaptist, fled his native Germany in 1916 on a pilgrimage that would take him deep into the forgotten sierras of Central Mexico in his search for the legendary Skunk People. At stake … the very notion that God still cares to be involved with men and women in our own time!

Wagner’s dogged tenacity, through triumph and tragedy, stands as an inspiration for those of us living a century later who would dare—as he did—to believe that God not only exists, but that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.

WARNING: You will NOT be able to put this book down!

A bonus 39-page Study Guide is included, for personal devotion and small group dialogue.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Why Leave Egypt?

"For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the tent of meeting, before the LORD. There I will meet you and speak to you; there also I will meet with the Israelites, and the place will be consecrated by my glory. So I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. 
"Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. They will know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God."
– Exodus 29:42-45 (NIV)


Egypt is headline news this week, with sociopolitical upheaval bordering on anarchy.  May God comfort and sustain that nation, and may His will prevail speedily.


Of course, it won't be the first time Egypt makes global headlines.  One well known instance was about 3500 years ago.  That's the time when Pharaoh's impressive cavalry was defeated at the Battle of the Red Sea, where God fought for His people and thereby led them out of slavery.

But, why did God do it?  In His own words, "...So that I might dwell among them."

He wanted to be close with them, and not just in a poetic sense.  In fact, they were instructed to build a portable

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ONE

“Onward, Christian soldiers / Marching as to war / With the cross of Jesus / Going on before; / Christ, the royal Master / Leads against the foe; / Forward into battle, / See, His banners go.”

Deep calls to deep in one of the Church’s best known hymns.  Indeed, it dredges up memories of countless revivals great and small, which have left their crater on our land.  It’s difficult, though, to sing these words during a time of spiritual drought (such as the present) without feeling their poignant irony. 
   
For my part, the most frightening passage of the anthem is the part about: “We are not divided,
All one body we, / One in hope and doctrine, One in charity.”  What an utter farse!  And yet, I’ve witnessed periods of American Church history—in the ‘60s and ‘70s—when these words didn’t stick in my crop quite like they do today. 

So, what was different during those times?

The answer is that God was sovereignly at work.  And when He moves, the Church seems to forget its petty fractures.  Not that we would ever fully agree on all points of doctrine and practice.  But rather, we have no time to dwell on minutiae because our eyes are on the One Who it’s all about!

If we, the American Church, wish to have an impact once again on them, the American lost, then let us pray effectually and fervently for unanimity of purpose, for Him to manifest Himself once again and “lead us into war” against the enemy who has (for the moment, once again) divided and conquered.

In Ezekiel 28:25, God promises to gather Israel together as one—as a witness to the world of Who He is.

In John 17:15-23, the principal focus of Jesus’ prayer for us, the Church, was that we shall be one—as a witness to the world of Who He is.

Our disobedience leads to fragmentation and defeat (Deut. 28:25), while our obedience and focus on Him alone leads to His sovereign power of unanimity (Deut. 28:9-10).

Christians of America, let us assault the throne with our prayers.  That we may be one.  That He may lead us as one body.  To victory.  That the world may know...!   Amen.

Onward, Christian Soldiers (1864)
Sabine Baring-Gould and Arthur S. Sullivan
 

Chorus:
Onward, Christian soldiers,
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before.

1.
Onward, Christian soldiers,
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before;
Christ, the royal Master
Leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
See, his banners go.

2.
At the sign of triumph
Satan's host doth flee;
On then, Christian soldiers,
On to victory.
Hell's foundations quiver
At the shout of praise;
Brothers, lift your voices,
Loud your anthems raise.

3.
Like a mighty army
Moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading
Where the saints have trod;
We are not divided,
All one body we,
One in hope and doctrine,
One in charity.

4.
What the saints established
That I hold for true;
What the saints believed,
That I believe too.
Long as earth endureth,
men the faith will hold;
Kingdoms, nations, empires,
In destruction rolled.

5.
Crowns and thrones may perish,
Kingdoms rise and wane,
But the church of Jesus
Constant will remain;
Gates of hell can never
'Gainst that church prevail;
We have Christ's own promise,
And that cannot fail.

6.
Onward then, ye people,
Join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices
In the triumph song;
Glory, laud, and honour
Unto Christ the King;
This through countless ages
Men and angels sing.