Friday, July 04, 2014

Sermon of the Week (6/29 - 7/4, 2014) Banning Liebscher on The Call to the Inner Room

Banning Liebscher at Bethel Church in Redding, CA (on iTunes). Liebscher's texts are 2 Kings 9:1-10, where Elisha obeys God's command to anoint Jehu king over Israel and speak a word of prophecy to him privately, "in the inner room" and Matthew 6:6 where Jesus commands his disciples to pray in "the inner room" privately, and not before men. (This is not an expositional sermon.)

"Liebscher talks about how every single one of us is called to be a part of a team that changes the world, carries the presence of God, and leads in the sphere we’re in! What separates us is not our call, it’s our response to the call by meeting God in the secret place. The most strategic thing you can do in your life is separate yourself to the inner room of prayer, where you’ll find God’s presence and His anointing and authority to change the world."

Liebscher makes the point that many people talk about revival, and may even pray for it because it's the right thing to do, but few actually spend their quiet time with God fervently asking for it. He calls these half-hearted prayers the "bring Rascal home" prayers (listen to the story) because they are ones you pray not actually expecting in faith God to answer-- so God doesn't--and you mainly just pray them to make others feel better hearing you pray it. "Many are called but few are chosen" - Liebscher interprets this statement to mean that we are all given the Great Commission to make disciples and do God's work, but few of us actually volunteer to do what needs to be done. If you really want to know what God wants you to do, ask him in the inner room. God doesn't honor policies, strategies, programs, etc.-- God honors the obedience of His people.

This sermon struck home with me because I am about to be made chairman of a committee at church that has some important responsibilities. That committee-- a group of people-- has not met all year. That likely means that there has not been concerted and fervent prayer for the area in which it oversees. That isn't good, but at least I know where to start.

Some of my Baptist and Reformed friends would be quick to call a church like Bethel a bunch of "heretics," namely because they believe in praying for healing, casting out demons, prophecy, blessings, etc. Suffice it to say I've known Baptists who felt that way until they actually encountered someone who was miraculously healed, a demon, or received a word of prophecy from someone and didn't know how to wrap their heads around it. The Reformed Church, in my opinion, is by and large logically inconsistent (or at least widely varies) in its approach both to the miraculous/supernatural and whether to take the Bible literally or not. (A loaded sentence.) If you only listen to people who already believe exactly as you do, you'll never learn anything. Give it a shot.

Years ago I had a (Southern Baptist) Sunday school teacher who was profoundly impacted by Bethel and the church's teachings revolutionized both his prayer life and his witnessing, and that's why I listen to their sermons. I should say I don't agree with every statement made from the pulpit at Bethel every week, but I by and large find them dedicated to taking God's Word seriously. They take prayer and personal evangelism more seriously than most churches I know.

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