|Intercessors for Canada|
Mid-Month Notes - February 2004
|Here are some notes of things I have personally been involved with recently, followed by a teaching on 'The Secret Place of Thunder', a call to develop power in prayer. It is our privilege to live in such a wonderful country where Vancouver (#1 tied), Montreal (#6 tied), Toronto (#13 tied) and Calgary (#16 tied) were in the top 16 out of 150 cities rated by measuring 12 factors grouped into the categories of health and safety, culture and environment, and infrastructure. Infrastructure is so important and is built in a nation through trust, but can be destroyed quickly through corruption. How we need to pray for our Prime Minister and Government at a time when a huge federal 'sponsorship' scandal has surfaced in Quebec. Let truth prevail and all corruption be revealed.
THE PASSION film by Mel Gibson is about to be released all across Canada on February 25th. It could have a dramatic effect on all who watch it, as Christ and His suffering on the cross is made all too real. In Greater Vancouver, 21 churches have booked theatres in 3 locations for a week of showings in cooperation with Campus Crusade. Our own church is sharing with another church at Silver City, Metropolis. This is a pilot scheme to encourage Christians to take their pre-Christian friends to see a vivid presentation of the Gospel story, and could result in a more widespread initiative with the film near Easter. Hundreds of thousands may watch the film across Canada so let's pray that multitudes are saved and the church returns to first love!
THE MARKETPLACE was the focus of a three day conference this last weekend in downtown Vancouver. The ICCC (International Christian Chamber of Commerce) held its first Canadian Conference to share the vision for Canadians in business, the professions, education and government to seek the call and purpose of Jesus in the Marketplace. ICCC started in 1985 and is now in over 90 nations. Canada's first Chamber recently opened in Fort St. John, 800 miles north of Vancouver, where a group meets for prayer every Tuesday morning at 6:30 am. The teaching was excellent! Dr. Paul Stevens gave a masterful talk on the difference between calling and vocation and Dr. Ed Silvoso said that in Argentina they were on the threshold of reaching a whole nation. He defined the Marketplace as a combination of business, education and government and said that a revival in a church was like a parade, but revival in the marketplace was a beachhead for taking a nation for Christ. Pray that the emerging truths on Transformation find clear expression.
IMPACT CITIES INFLUENCE NATIONS (ICIN) I am planning to attend this annual conference in Red Deer, March 1-3. The theme is 'Going where you have never gone before' and is designed to help equip us for the future in a rapidly changing culture. The convening pastors, Mel and Heather Mullen, have a vision to build churches and ministries that will transform cities and nations. There are several important tracks planned including the Marketplace with Rich Marshall who will teach on rebuilding the biblical walls of commerce. Let's pray for this conference to be truly effective in the very necessary transformation of our nation.
THE SECRET PLACE OF THUNDER I continue to seek God for levels of intercession that will result in change. Scripture has some powerful examples of prayers that shook whole regions, look at Samuel in 1Samuel 7: "And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him. And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel."
Thunder and rain were very rare at wheat harvest in Israel. Look again in 1 Samuel 12: "Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the LORD will do before your eyes. Is it not wheat harvest to day? I will call unto the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking for a king. So Samuel called unto the LORD; and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel."
When Samuel prayed it thundered! Even Hannah praying in 1 Samuel 2:10 knew the available power of God: "The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed. "
But remarkably God says in Psalm 81:7 "Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder.
Now the immediate context for that seems to be the deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea and the confusion that came upon the Egyptians from the pillar of cloud, the awesome presence of God. But what if there remains a secret place of thunder for us today, we certainly need it! When Jesus called His Twelve (Mark 3:17) He renamed James and John ‘Boanerges’ or ‘Sons of Thunder’. What is necessary for Canadian Christians to become ‘Sons of Thunder’ in our prayer lives? I believe we are in great need of divine intervention in our nation but how will it come? Here are four suggestions:
1. CHRIST CRUCIFIED In 1 Samuel 12:10, the enemy advanced as Samuel was offering up a burnt sacrifice of a young helpless lamb... But God answered with thunder. Samuel came through the blood of an efficacious sacrifice and that is still the way today. The Lord will honour the name of the Lamb of God who shed His blood and poured out His life for us. I believe that intimacy with the Lord Jesus and identification with Him will have profound results. Do we really know the power of Christ crucified?
2. DISCIPLESHIP THAT WORKS Samuel grew into this level of authority. It did not come overnight and that is our problem. We want things to happen now but God is still committed to us becoming more like Christ. What do our characters have to be like to be trusted with great power, influence or wealth? 1 Samuel 12:23 teaches that we need mature people who will pray for us and teach us the ‘good and the right way’.
3. REPENTANCE The fear of the Lord produces a deep repentance from past wickedness and a desire to forsake useless things that do not count for eternity - 1 Samuel 12:21 "Do not turn aside after vain things which cannot profit or save, for they are vain."
4. LIFESTYLE Does our privileged Canadian lifestyle result in a loss of power with God? We have so much stuff and things to distract but Samuel said: "Only fear the LORD, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you."
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