Shaking the Gates of Hell

a-wesley-windowMy friend, Marty Schoenleber Jr, posted an article on his blog which is worthy of reposting. In fact, I would encourage you to read all of his posts. Marty is an experienced Church Planter and Pastor, and has a heart for encouraging and all who seek to build God’s Kingdom through service and sacrifice. Above all, Marty is a man of prayer. He heart beats with God’s compassion and desire for His bride to be holy, merciful and active! All of Marty’s posts breathe with his desire to see the Gospel proclaimed to this generation with clarity and conviction.

Here is the link to the article and to Marty’s blog:

Shaking the Gates of Hell « ChosenRebel’s Blog.

New Book – Praying in the Spirit

Praying_in_the_Spiri_Cover_for_KindleMy latest book, “Praying in the Spirit” has just been published. It is a culmination of several years of work. I have had the privilege of praying with many believers from various backgrounds, and those who walked in spiritual authority and power all had one thing in common…praying in the Spirit. However, this subject is seldom, if ever, discussed in our discipleship and leadership training. And yet, prayer is to be the strength, power, momentum and basis for all our work and ministry. In this book, we will put the subject back on the table for discussion by looking through the Scriptures and hearing God’s call to pray in His strength and under His leadership. We must return to the leadership of the Holy Spirit if we are expecting to see our prayers avail with God’s promises and strength.

In this book, we look at the ministry of the Holy Spirit in and through prayer. We will rescue this topic from the many misunderstandings about what it is, and will encourage all believers to learn to pray in power of the Spirit like the early church did. Praying in the Spirit is not about flexing our spiritual muscles but about letting the Holy Spirit flex His! We cover three main subjects:

    • What is it?
    • Who can do it?
    • How do we do it?

These three questions require us to walk through many areas of discussion. Some of them are: What is meditation? What is the difference between false and true meditation? What are the different kinds of prayer? What are the different seasons of prayer? What about praying with tongues? What about faith in prayer? What does it mean to pray “according to God’s will?” What is the deepest form of prayer? etc…

It is available in paperback from the Publisher. You can click 2T2 Publishing and purchase a copy of the paperback, and the book is also available for e-book readers in Kindle and Nook. It is also available in paperback from Amazon.

A Grandmother’s Prayer

MaryAliceI was three month’s old as I lay on the floor on a home made baby pallet. My grandmother, Mary Alice, was ironing clothes and watching over me and my older brother and sister. It was a delight for her to keep three of her grandchildren as my mother got away for some shopping. However, this was not an ordinary day…not for Mary Alice, and certainly not for me.

As my brother and sister played in the room, I simply kicked my legs, and pumped my arms the way infants do, slobbering and spitting. Then suddenly, the Holy Spirit spoke to my grandmother. He said, “I have called him to preach.” It startled her, but as a deep believer in Christ, she was familiar with God’s voice. She looked at all three of us kids and asked, “Which one Lord?” As her eyes scanned from my brother, to my sister and finally settling on me, the Holy Spirit said, “I have called him.”

Mary Alice NEVER told me this. In fact, it was many years after her death that my mother’s older sister related this story to me. My grandmother had shared the story with her years after I responded to the Lord’s call into ministry. When my aunt shared this with me many things in my interactions with my grandmother added up. I always felt Mary Alice doted on me. I can still see the sparkle in her eyes whenever we talked, and I can still feel the special pinch she gave me on my cheeks whenever I got close to her. However, she kept the words spoken to her by the Holy Spirit hidden in her heart and only breathed them back to God in prayer.

As a young believer I really struggled with the call into ministry. I knew the sin of my heart and my various struggles with the flesh and I did not want to bring shame or disappointment to the Lord’s name or His work. One particular day I was standing alone Continue reading “A Grandmother’s Prayer”

Holy Who? – Inviting the Holy Spirit Back into Our Gatherings

Every Sunday morning millions of believers gather in various places around the world for church. However, without the presence of the Holy Spirit they are only club meetings, gossip sessions or fashion shows….but they are NOT Church!

Jesus left the Holy Spirit in charge of the church when He ascended back to the Father. He called men into leadership, but He charged them to do nothing, except wait, until the Holy Spirit took His rightful place among them.

Times have changed, but the Scriptures have not. When we read the New Testament we are driven to our knees in prayer for the same work of God to take place in our generation. We wonder how, when and where the Lord will do it again. We read about revivals from various lands and previous eras, and again we wonder how, when or where will the Lord do it again?

I’m convinced we are asking the wrong questions. Instead, we should ask, “Who?’ Who empowered the saints in the Book of Acts to spread the Gospel with such exponential Continue reading “Holy Who? – Inviting the Holy Spirit Back into Our Gatherings”

The Lord Reveals His Power to a Village

Over the past year the Lord has performed some astounding acts among rural villages in India. These villages had never heard the wonderful news of Jesus Christ before we reached them. They were no believers or church in their midst. This week I received a phone call of an event which demonstrates how the Holy Spirit is working among our church planters.

One of our church planters, Amand*, and his wife held an outreach service. (Pictured to the left along with their 3 boys.) They have planted two churches in two villages since January of this year. In preparation for outreach meetings, the believers give themselves to diligent prayer and fasting. Also, they pass out tracts and invitations to villagers who have never heard the Gospel. This particular outreach meeting was going to feature a DVD of one of the messages I shared at one of our Church Planters Conference. The subject was on “The Cross.”

The government leaders in these villages are upper caste Hindu. One of them, Bram*, suffered from serious heart conditions. He attended a physician and was told there was not anything which could be done to help him. He was sent home to die.

Bram received news about the outreach and, as a village elder, came to investigate what is was about. He listened to the message about “The Cross” and became convicted Continue reading “The Lord Reveals His Power to a Village”

Christian Writers – Beware!

All we can do is thank the Lord for the abundance of Christian writers and authors we see today. Many young men are getting into the fray of ideas by sharing the truth of the gospel, either through blogs or books. I’ve been writing frequently since the early 90’s and simply want to share a brief warning to Christian writers to help guard against some of Satan’s tricks and schemes against authors.

All writers I have had the privilege of being around exhibit a very committed and tenacious personality. We are goal oriented and usually thrive over deadlines and ‘getting the ball’ over the hill. We are capable of shutting other things out in order to accomplish what we know the Lord has laid upon our heart and called us to do. However, in the midst of these traits, we face some unique temptations and traps from the enemy. Here are a few.

Traps for the Christian writer:

Replacing quiet time – First and foremost, we must maintain our ‘quiet time’ of prayer and biblical meditation with our Lord. We must guard against waking up and grabbing our laptop or pencil as our first activity of the day. Let time in prayer and meditation be our primary goal for each day.

Replacing living – Getting detached from on-hand experience with the people of God. We can become ‘hermit-tish’ (my word) instead of being giving to hospitality.

Replacing sharing – Witness only through writing and lose contact with one on one, face to face sharing of the gospel. This will cause us to lose the personal touch of identification with the broken lives of men. Also, this detachment will come across in our writing. Continue reading “Christian Writers – Beware!”

The Strangest Question Jesus Asked

We do not know how long the man had been a blind beggar. Maybe since birth, or for a few short years. However, his story of meeting with Jesus brings out several important issues worth visiting. As Jesus was passing through his vicinity this blind man could hear the commotion of the crowd. He asked those nearby what was happening and was told that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. He began crying out, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.” (Luke 18:38) As some of the crowd attempted to quiet him down, the blind man only got louder. (Luke 18:39)

Finally, his crying out garnered the attention of Jesus and in the midst of this large crowd the Lord stopped. He commanded that the blind man be brought to Him. (v.40) I can’t imagine the excitement in his mind and heart as he realized that Christ had called for him. He knew this carpenter from Galilee was a healer. He must have wondered if his cry for mercy had moved the heart of Jesus to heal him. As others brought this blind beggar to Jesus and he stands before Him, the Lord asked what has to be the strangest question in all of the New Testament. Jesus looked at him and said,

“What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18:.41)

Are you kidding me? It was obvious the man could not see. The Lord even commanded Continue reading “The Strangest Question Jesus Asked”

The Good Physician…He Has Never Lost A Case

Preparing for suicide, I set the steering wheel for the bridge rail. The pain of brokenness had to stop, and this was the easiest way. Satan showed me my own funeral…all the flowers, the eulogies, the friends. All were coming to pay respects as they were saddened by my death in a car accident.

Only one thing was missing; Satan never showed me the eternal damnation I was facing. The pain of my young life had overwhelmed me. Everything around me seemed broken. I had broken the hearts of many friends, my own heart, the moral law, the social law, and my own expectations. I was only 18, yet my inward life was in shambles. It was time to ‘go out’ under the guise of an accident.

Then, as certain as the still small voice spoke to Elijah, the Lord spoke, piercing the deception of the enemy and the darkness of my heart. He convicted me of my sin and offered me hope and forgiveness at the same time. I cried out to Him…repenting of my sins and surrendering my whole heart and life to Him as my Lord and Savior. Continue reading “The Good Physician…He Has Never Lost A Case”

Psalms – A Book of Rough Edges

The Psalms were not written for ‘post it’ stickers to place on our refrigerator door or bathroom mirror to jump start our day. In fact, neither existed when David, Asaph and others penned them. They were written by men in tears, terror, fear and loneliness. Some in the midst of victory and praise.

However, one thing is certain: most Psalms were written in the white hot furnace of affliction as men sought to understand God’s dealings with them. David and others poured out their hearts in honest contemplation and prayer, seeking not an understanding from man, but an audience with God! They were not attempting to wax eloquent and impress the readers. Instead, they lifted the innermost parts of their soul to the only one who could help them.

We face a danger when we read the Psalms. That danger is our temptation to remove the words from the dusty caves and lonely rooms of a broken heart. We bring them to our kitchen table, where we have want for little, and apply their blood soaked words to our Continue reading “Psalms – A Book of Rough Edges”

God’s Sovereignty and Spiritual Warfare

A casual reading of the Bible reveals the marvelous truth that God is Sovereign. That simply means that nothing takes place in this life which does not go through His Hands and that He is supreme over everything. That can be a controversial statement and one which gives rise to some interesting theological discussions. But how does it affect and apply to spiritual warfare? Let’s briefly look at this.

What does it mean to “go through God’s Hands?” Does that mean He instigates all things and that all things are the work of His Hands? Of course not. However, everything which takes place will either be promoted, permitted or prevented by the Father’s Sovereign will. That which He promotes and prevents can be declared the hand or finger of God with Scriptural certainty. However, that which He permits can have other sources; though none of them are independent of God’s Sovereignty.

Why all of this? Because while upholding God’s Sovereignty we must not press our view of sovereignty beyond the full Scriptural position. If we do, we will find ourselves calling the work of Satan the Hand of God. We have an enemy who fights believers and seeks to steal, kill and destroy. (Jn. 10:10) The OT prophets, Jesus and the early church stood against and engaged the powers of darkness as the cause of evil works. We must also recognize the presence of the enemy and stand in our rightful position in the finished work of Calvary lest we roll over and yield to the enemy’s hand while believing it is God’s Hand. Continue reading “God’s Sovereignty and Spiritual Warfare”

Famine in the Land

There are more religious networks and programs on television than ever before. Likewise, there are more churches than ever. However, upon closer examination there is another observation which saddens the heart of every genuine believer–there has never been as much false teaching, false doctrine and perverse representations of Christianity as we see today. There is a famine in the Land!

“…not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:” (Amos 8:11)

In the midst of an explosion of technology, we see a lot of lateral movements with showmanship and youth culture idolatry, but few genuine conversions. This famine is from the loss of the clear and biblical presentation of God’s Word and it produces several problems which now confront us.

Prosperity Pimps – We see the ‘get rich’ false prophets rob the widows and gullible so they can maintain their lavish lifestyles. They are worse than the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. These charlatans twist the meaning of passages in an attempt to manipulate the ignorant into believing they are giving to God, when in fact, they are financially supporting the fleshly lusts of the preachers. These are modern day ‘money changers.’ Continue reading “Famine in the Land”

Restoring Prayer

There are many instances of prayer in the Bible, but many times we see them only as examples of devotion by those whom we consider saints. Prayer, after all, is little more than a crying out in times of desperation for most. However, there is one event in the life of Jesus which reveals the priority He placed upon prayer–when He cleansed the Temple.

The world and those who love it are continually attempting to fill our life with junk…. that is, unnecessary and unimportant stuff which robs our time alone with our resurrected King. The very joy, peace and strength we long for is replaced by stuff, stuff and more stuff. And we wonder why we get stressed out, fatigued, depressed and frustrated. We fall from the sustaining power of God’s Grace when we attempt to live the life of a believer apart from the abiding presence of Christ. And we forfeit the abiding presence of Christ when we place our own ‘doings’ ahead of getting alone with the Lord in prayer. We become spiritually defeated Christians. Continue reading “Restoring Prayer”