Do you ever feel like you are laboring in vain? Lord, what am I doing here? What is this all about? Am I doing the right thing—in the right place?
To really commit to something, especially for the Lord, you have to know that you are called to do it and that you are within God’s plan for you.
Nine years ago this week I planted a church from scratch in a small tourist town that seemed to be firmly in the grip of the enemy. Knowing I am called here has been my strength here; knowing that I am doing what the Lord wants me to do, where He wants me to do it—and here’s the hard part I’m still learning—doing it in His power and allowing Him to do it through me, for me and sometimes in spite of me.
It all takes patience, faith, and humility—lots of each
Nine years ago I answered the call to leave Billings and a church and the people I loved, a church that I had poured my heart and soul into for 7 years, to come and start a church in Red Lodge, Montana. A church with a clear mission to minister to those who have grown weary of the battle, those who have been kicked aside or left behind by the church because they showed weakness or were no longer considered worthy of attention except to be pitied or maligned.
A church that would restore dreams, callings and passions; that would offer healing for wounded hearts and bring hope where hope was lost. A church that would honor Jesus and those who came truly seeking him. A church that was not afraid of the Holy Spirit and sought to minister in his power. A simple church with a powerful God.
(My first sermon in Red Lodge)
But this isn’t about where we are, or where we have been– it’s about where we are going.
My fellow laborers, I believe we are nearing the end of days but I also know that there will be at least one more great outpouring of the Holy Spirit—it has already begun (California revival)—that will be accompanied by a great harvest.
But we must be diligent.
2 Timothy speaks of these days:
After reading through this a few times this is what this said to me.
If you are more full of yourself then you are the Spirit of God, you will be; powerless—ignorant—stalled out.
Throughout his letters to Timothy, and to the other churches for that matter, Paul has been dealing with—false teachers and apostles. People, who claim to have a deeper understanding of the truth and the way things should be done. They are all about religion, ‘do this, learn this, listen to me’ and they draw people away from truth, away from the power of the Holy Spirit.
If you leave the Holy Spirit out of the equation there are no fruits or gifts of the Spirit, only the fruits of the flesh; the flesh which is selfish and greedy no matter how you disguise it with religious trappings.
This paragraph isn’t just talking about people in general, it’s talking about the church—people who claim to be teachers and leaders, wanting to be somebody, to appear to be Godly and religious yet stop short of truth, stop short of the Power of the Holy Spirit, thus they miss out on true freedom, true healing, so they can progress no further.
What about us? Are we moving in the power of God or are we just religious? Are we just always learning or are we coming to a knowledge of the truth? Are we progressing, or are we done?
I ask this because there are those who think we are done, my church and yours… That we have fulfilled our mission and that it is time to move on; maybe get out of the way for others. They may even be well meaning and, God bless them, but they are wrong. We have only just begun.
We have been engaged in a battle here in Red Lodge, a battle that we are winning but has inflicted some casualties along the way, heartbreaking painful casualties. No doubt the enemy has come hard after you as well.
But they were battles that needed to be fought to clear the way for what the Lord wants to do here because we are far from done. I still have a vision the Lord gave me for the ministry he wants to build here and we have now cleared the road to allow that to be fully implemented.
The first several years of this ministry were largely about clearing some huge obstacles to allow God to move unimpeded by the enemy, to take away the enemies claim to the land. I believe we have accomplished that. But that was not our mission, that was just the preliminary, kind of a clearing of the right of way, so that we can now build what the Lord has planned for us.
I, for one, haven’t been here just playing church and making motivational speeches interspersed with scripture, I am fighting for the souls of a community, for the church.
We do not have just a form of godliness, we have the power of heaven at our command and I will not deny it.
I believe we are poised and placed here to be a place where those who are going to be seeking truth, as the Lord pours out his Spirit, in what may be the last great revival, can come to be fed and encouraged. I want to be a part of that harvest. Why would I give up now after all the hard work we have put in?
9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. 2 Tim 3
“Progress no further.” We must not be of those who resist the truth or we will progress no further and the truth is, we still have a mission and a call, individually and as a church family to advance the Kingdom of God. I intend to continue to preach the word of God from this pulpit and from anywhere else in where the Lord would lead me, until I draw my last breath.
I pray that you’re with me and continue to content for your community, for this nation, as well.
The Lord reminded me this of the verse I taught on last Sunday, he made this come alive in my heart and I am claiming this for us:
6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. 2 Tim 2:6
We have worked here for nine years now, sharing the word, proclaiming truth, fighting the enemy, bringing healing restoration and hope in the name of Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit— why. . . why in the name of all things holy, would we quit now?
What farmer tills the fields, plants the seed, kills the weeds and the pests, prays for the rains and the sunshine, just to leave right when the harvest is about to start?
No farmer I know. And not this one either.
You my brothers and sisters in arms, have been placed where you are for a reason—don’t give up, strengthen your hands and prepare for the harvest—it is upon us.
Last year, at the end of an intense season of pitched spiritual warfare I had a vision as I lie in my bed one night of myself swinging a Viking war ax and splitting the skull of the enemy–as only a barbarian pastor could—very graphic and very satisfying.
Victory is ours my friends.