Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Declaring War

I'm not one to look for the "devil behind every bush," but recently there have been events that I believe could be attributed to a world that, while unseen, encroaches upon ours constantly. I am writing about the spiritual realm that is, in many ways, more real than we realize.

Regen has recently been going through the book of Luke. As we've rounded Chapter 4, which has been a powerfully packed chapter on Jesus' identity, messianic message, and ministry we've experienced some challenges. Reading about Christ's temptation, we learned about how our identity is tested right after God affirms us of who we are (vv.1 - 12). We then jumped off of the diving board  into the deep waters of the Good News:

| The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. (vv.18 - 19) |

This study was a sobering reminder that the gospel is not an "abstract, head knowledge, prayer to get my golden ticket to heaven" but a robust declaration that His kingdom is connecting with ours and that we should be changed and be a changing agent in the broken world we live in.

What followed in the weeks to come was something we did not expect as we invested time to break down the passages of Jesus casting out demons and healing the sick. What we experienced, as a church, resonates with what Paul stated:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12) |

As Jay preached on the passage where Jesus was casting out a demon from a man in the synagogue, strange occurrences surrounded the preaching. Prior to the sermon, as Jay is getting ready around the house, he hears small footsteps running around, thinking it was his 1 and 1/2 year old son, Jacob, he goes to look for him only to find his boy fast asleep with his mother. Later that day, Jacob has a painful ear ache, keeping his mother at home tending to him. Ironically, Jacob was fine when the service had ended.

During the service as Jay was delivering the sermon he oddly heard, what can only be described as a voice that said, "Ha!" while he was preaching. He was distracted three times during the talk but couldn't place where it was coming from. He felt this distraction right off of his peripheral vision and couldn't quite catch a glimpse of it. What we encountered here was the dark realm pushing in on us and trying to plant:

in our heart as we move forward. It's a good thing that Jay has a thick skin and continued on without a hitch. I don't know if I could've done the same if I was in his position.

The following week, I took the passage of Christ healing Simon's mother-in-law (Luke 4:38 - 44) and we went into a discussion on the parameters of healing and what the scripture has to say about it. We saw Jesus as our "Restorer," our second of four values at Regeneration. Wherever Christ went, he touched people and restored what was broken and misplaced in the natural and supernatural world. He was also proclaiming and "preaching" the word as he went, leaving people no doubt as to who He was. 

What we found that weekend was uncanny. About a quarter of our congregation was sick with something from the "bug" to "migraines." Some were missing and some had headaches while the service was proceeding. We had a time of prayer for those who needed healing but we definitely saw an increase in those that were sick on this particular Sunday. Even as we opened the floor for prayer, there seemed to be a spirit of complacency about us. We continued to seek God together, asking Him to meet us there. Numerous people  were heard coughing during the service with others absent as their entire family became ill. This was no coincidence. As we lean into what God is doing, the enemy is hard at work and we find that experience in our natural world. 

We know that while God is at work and His kingdom is present and powerful, it does not go unnoticed and the Dark forces will not sit idly by. The one consolation is that there is a response and this could be translated to mean that Regeneration is heading in the right direction with proclaiming the word and practicing what God has called us to ... live out the Gospel message.


  1. This is a great reminder not to give the enemy too much credit, but also to attribute evil rebukes when appropriate. All dependent on the discerning act of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

    1. Great reminder to engage in the warfare, Mimi. Thanks.

  2. Its insane how we often forget this! We go on living as christians without realizing that we are at constant battle with the enemy. Awesome reminder Nate!

    1. Indeed, Art. His best weapon is to convince us that he's not there.