We are in Ivanhoe Virginia at Ivanhoe Pentecostal Holiness Church with Pastor JC McPeek. The services have been marked again this week with an unusual freedom to preach, to pray, and to minister. I think part of it is we are in an area with no cell phone service and slow dial up internet connection…I have to drive out to the Interstate to get a cell signal and high speed internet service! It's amazing to me you can get full service cell service in the bush in Kenya East Africa, but can't get a quality internet connection or cell service in many parts of the U.S.!
Recently I was accused of being arrogant and too critical. I know I'm going to be labeled as being critical on this post, but I'm not trying to be critical, I only want God to move in America and in my life also! Everyone who really knows me knows I do not want to come across like that; but there are times in this business you have to say some things that will be construed as being arrogant and critical. But if I respect your opinion of me more than God's opinion of me, I will lose out in the end.
I was watching Sponge Bob (the cartoon) recently when I kept hearing a word come up in the cartoon over and over; it was the word respect. The characters were of course attempting to teach kids to respect their parents and to respect each other.
Over the last several weeks as I have pondered that cartoon (amazing God can use a cartoon to speak to you!) I have begun to realize this very well may be the reason so many people are having a hard time getting close to God!
I don't want to write a book on this but this is burning in my heart…the reason some can't seem to get anything out of our church services, out of our Bible reading, out of our praying is we've lost respect for God, His Word and for the moving of the Holy Ghost in our lives and in our services!
We don't want revival any more because we have lost respect for the moving of the Holy Ghost in our midst!
And then if God does happen to show up, it's been so long since God manifested Himself (because He's not been welcomed) people head for the doors!
How did we lose respect?
1. We have no respect because we are not a trusting generation. We don't respect our leaders, our president, our congressmen; we don't respect our parents, our teachers and our preachers. It's hard to trust people who deliberately hurt us or demand we respect them. You cannot demand respect. Respect must be earned. We don't trust our leaders, and then we wonder as pastors and church leaders why congregations don't trust us!
2. We try to process everything. We analyze, scrutinize, and criticize and pick apart every sermon, every song, every movement; we tear apart everything that happens in church to the point the world says, "You folks are crazy, this all is a load of garbage, I'm out of here!"
I'm not saying we should go back to a time when we simply allow anything and everything to go on…God is definitely a God of order! But instead of us coming together to look for Jesus to manifest Himself among us, we spend all our time looking for the faults in the preacher in the evangelist, in the singers…are we looking for Jesus to pour out His Spirit or have we bought into the cessationists lie that says you must be careful when you are asking God for something, because the devil might give you a counterfeit! We want to know the hows instead of looking to God for the outcomes!
We want to be seen, be praised, be popular, be right, be on top, be first…but
I want to hear Him say "well done good and faithful servant!"
3. We have no respect because we are a jealous generation. We are so afraid of someone being promoted before we are; being blessed before us; being recognized before we are! We are so jealous when someone who is perceived to have not "paid their dues" but they get promoted, they get healed, they get blessed, they prosper…while we are still struggling to find the key to get God's attention!
We are jealous when someone preaches a better sermon…sings a better song…has a better idea…and they get people's attention!
We do not respect people with different giftings than ours, nor has a different opinion than ours because we are afraid they may get more recognition than we do. Or, they may be right, and we may be wrong! They may get an open door that we feel belongs to us.
I wonder is anybody interested in getting God's attention.
The think a major key to getting God's attention is: