November 17, 2007

Acrobatic Strength or Anointed Power

“And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18, NKJV, (emphasis mine).

6:55 a.m. Saturday morning, November 17, 2007. I have just awakened from a very frustrating dream.

I was in a room that seemed like a college lecture hall, only those who were sitting in the seats were Christians. The room was somewhat dimly lit and the host for the event was a person whom I knew fairly well and he asked me to preach that evening.

I had no idea this was going to be happening this particular evening, but his request created an incredible excitement within me and now I had to prepare my sermon in just a matter of minutes. How was I going to do that? I needed a few hours of time to prepare for something such as this but I only had a few minutes, 20 at most, but it really felt like I had only 2.

Then the host handed to me a toy model of an Air Force F-16A fighter jet and he said, “Here. Use this for your sermon.”

I thought it was odd he would hand this to me to use something like this as a visual aid, but considering my military background as a Marine, I could do this with no problem.

So, I headed to the front of the stadium style lecture hall and walked through a large door that was cut in half, top and bottom, to begin preparing for my opportunity to preach.

Behind those doors were approximately 12 -15 people who were grading tests and my father was there as one of the officials reviewing the answers on these tests. Now this was odd for sure.

I walked over to my father and said hello and he asked what I was doing with the model fighter jet in my hand. “I need to use this as an illustration to preach tonight.” In my father’s typical fashion, with excitement in his voice he smiled and said, “Well, good luck!”

Time was running out and I needed to get going, so I departed for a place to sit and write as much as I could in so little time. Then the room seemed to get busier and filled with more people.

I found a couch to sit on which was by the door that I had just walked through earlier and I attempted to write down some notes.

With a small notebook in hand, a pen and my Bible open, I wrote at the top right-hand side of the notebook, The Supremacy of Christ.” As I wrote the title, I felt it was odd that I would write the title on the right, where one would normally write the date, but I continued.

Then my father called for me and said, “Kurt! I have your test here!”

I quickly got up and walked down the long room to stand near my father to look at how well I had done on this test. I do not even recall what the test was for either, but I did want to know how well I did.

So, my father had checked it over and noted the wrong answers for me to determine my score.

When I asked how well I did, he said, “Well, let’s see...” and began counting, but I became quickly frustrated because I had not done anything to prepare for this sermon, except for writing the title and time was running out, so I left the table where he was sitting and walked away in frustration saying, “I don’t have time for this! Just tell me later what I got!”

Back to the couch, I sat down and began to try to prepare this sermon. Through the doorway, I could hear the host say, “We’re going to worship the Lord with one more song and then Brother Kurt will deliver a word from the Lord for us.”

Great! Now I had about 4 or 5 minutes at most to do this when a woman sat down next to me and placed her head on my left shoulder, as if she was tired from some arduous work she had just completed. This, to no end annoyed me because it was interrupting my preparation time for this sermon.

I rudely gave her a lift with my shoulder and yelled, “Can I just please be left alone!” Then I heard my father yell at me in correction, “Kurt!”, which I ignored because I could not get this sermon ready and all I had was “The Supremacy of Christ” written on the page.

The woman got up from sitting next to me on the couch and left.

Then I tried to look up Isaiah 40:31, as I thought this verse could be used within what I would speak in just a few minutes.

It seemed like forever and I just could not find the book of Isaiah in the Bible! I have read that verse many, many times before and I just could not find it. Was I going crazy here?

I know the verse too, which says, “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

The book of Isaiah is practically in the middle of the Bible and I could not find it for the life of me! What was going on?!?! Why was it so difficult to find this???

Then I could hear, what appeared to be the voices of Israel Houghton and Darlene Zschech’s (pronounced like check) singing, “Eagle’s Wings.” (This is a great worship song that I love too.)

Then I heard from God as I looked at the model F-16 in frustration as I had accomplished very little and had too many distractions.

He said to me, “Do you want to do this with acrobatic strength or My anointing power?”

I was humbled at that moment and ashamed when I heard this. How foolish of me to think that I could preach the Gospel without the help of God? How foolish of me to think that I could do so in my own strength and wisdom? It is just simply impossible to do without God.

I closed my Bible and notebook, grabbed the model fighter jet and walked over to the host, looked at him and politely said, “If I am going to preach tonight, I need to hear from God. Would you mind if I could go and pray while you continue to worship until I come back with a word from the Lord?” The host smiled at me like a teacher who was proud of one of his students and said, “Of course. We will all look forward to what the Lord will place on your heart to share with us tonight.”

Then I woke up and looked at my clock and it read 6:55 a.m.

While I was writing this blog, I could not figure out why I had written the title on the right-hand side of the page where the date goes. And as I thought about it, the Holy Spirit quickly revealed to me why and that was because Christ was not at the center of the message in my dream.

Was this a rebuke to me or was it a reminder? This was one of the most vivid dreams I have ever had and one that I could recall rather well too.

In each of my blog messages, I firmly strive to place Jesus Christ at the center of each blog. If I do not, then I am wasting my time as well as those whom read it and furthermore, people would be drawn to read it, if His name is lifted up (John 12:32).

In the following 11-minute video by John Piper, from one of his sermons, he illustrates for us the supremacy of Christ. Despite being cutoff in mid-sentence at the end, it is well worth the time to watch and listen.

“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.” John 19:17-18.

I find it interesting that Jesus was in the center of two thieves who were crucified with Him. Each of these criminals represents us, but which one are we? Are we the one who blasphemed Jesus demanding to be saved from death while ignoring the guilt of our sins (Luke 23:39), or are we the one who recognizes that we are guilty of our sins and deserve to be punished and that Jesus had done nothing wrong, but died for our sins anyway (Luke 23:40-41).

"It is certain that true repentance is never too late; but it is as certain that late repentance is seldom true. None can be sure they shall have time to repent at death, but every man may be sure he cannot have the advantages this penitent thief had. (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, retreived from using e-Sword).

How sad, for any man or woman to live and die, with a heart hardened in unbelief of salvation through the cross?

The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses each person from all sin (1 John 1:7) and to believe that it cannot, that our sins are too great from being cleansed by His blood is completely a lie.

Each person must repent and believe in the Gospel (Mark 1:15) and we must become born-again (John 3:3-5), to see and enter the Kingdom of God.

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,” (1 Timothy 2:5-6, emphasis mine).

Related reading - The Sorcerer's Profession of Faith and The Sorcerer's Sin (Acts 8:9-24)


Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary of Luke 23:32-43.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kurt-
Thanks for sharing your blog with me. It is yet another great blog.

Dreams are so profound at times. I think God speaks to us through dreams. Amazing how we go through our lives many times and put God to the right or left and not in the center. It's encouraging to remind me that God has to be in the center, especially through some of the things that I am going through. I am sure it was encouraging for you as well. Again thanks for sharing.
God Bless,

Anonymous said...

I think it is interesting in light of the fact that your last blog began with a verse from James 1 that talked about testing and patience. What strikes me the most is when you write that you don't even recall what the test was for, but you did want to know how you did. It reminds me of how we don't care very much for the testing itself; we just want to come out of the trial with flying colors: please God, let it be over so I can get to the good part. And how quickly we forget the pain and frustration we feel as the testing is actually taking place, once it is over. Once the trial is over, we become complacent again. We grow comfortable in our non-testing state, and so God will send another test our way.

Sometimes, we do not have the patience for the testing, yet patience is what testing is supposed to produce. We don't want to wait, we just want to look in the mirror and see that shiny silver right now!!

Definitely, this is a dream about performance: when we take the focus off Christ, we want to collect the glory for ourselves: "How did I do?" is a legitimate question when we are the ones doing the work, not God.

Anyway, just my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Wow and awesome blog. See you in the morning.