Lysa TerKeurst, Proverbs 31 Ministries, and Two-Way Conversations with God

It seems more and more that there are popular teachers giving instruction on how to hear from God when we pray. If you’ve followed my blog for almost any period of time, you know that I feel this is a very dangerous practice and one that Christians should avoid. Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries is the latest proponent of this practice that has come to my attention.

A friend and fellow servant of Christ wrote briefly about Lysa TerKeurst’s teaching on listening prayer. I wanted to share that with you (with his permission).

Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries has a women’s study, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. She teaches how to hear the voice of God and build personal, two-way conversations with God. You can check out the video and her PDF document: How to Hear Gods Voice at: http://lysaterkeurst.com/what-happens-when-women-say-yes-to-god/.

In my opinion, she is teaching Contemplative Spirituality / Mysticism. Listening prayer, also known as spiritual formation practice, contemplative prayer, centering prayer, etc., seeks to entice others and lure evangelicals into ancient Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox contemplative practices in order to draw closer to God, experience His presence, and hear His voice apart from Scripture. In order to embrace this mystical form of spirituality, contemplatives are willing to compromise at virtually every turn. Central doctrines such as Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura are shrugged off as secondary. Methods never found in the Bible as the true means of spiritual growth and of knowing God, are emphasized.

Nowhere in scripture are we told to listen for God through internal impressions or voices. Nowhere in scripture are we taught how to listen for God. Nowhere in scripture is there any example or evidence that God spoke internally or inaudibly to any of the disciples or anyone else for that matter. Every time God spoke in the Bible, it was in an audible voice. Nowhere in scripture are we told to silence our minds and enter solitude in order to listen for God to speak to us. Prayer is never seen in the Bible as being a two-way conversation. God has not left us to fish around in the world of spirits and subjective experiences to know Him and speak to Him. The Bible promises us that He hears us. It doesn’t give us a set of techniques to hear inner voices and call these techniques prayer.

…God has spoken to us in His Word (Hebrews 1:1-2). He has graciously, clearly, and perfectly spoken in His Word. We have no need to be still and wait for His voice. He has not stuttered, stammered, or whispered. If we want to hear from God [audibly], we simply need to open our Bible and read out loud.

He goes on to talk about how those in Christian leadership are to honor their responsibility to protect the flock.

We have a responsibility before God to protect the sheep, to warn, to watch, and to oversee, realizing that perverse men are just waiting to rise up and wolves are just waiting to come in and tear up the sheep. We also have a responsibility to teach the truth. God’s people need to be warned about false doctrine and religious apostasy, such as what is being taught by Lysa TerKeurst.

It is my prayer and desire for all Christians everywhere to be discerning when they read and listen to popular teachers, blog posts, and even their own pastors.

The Berean Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica;
they received the word with all eagerness,
examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Acts 17:11

No Rusty Swords — A Song (and an Encouragement)

rusty_swordWith what we call the Great Commission, Jesus guarantees us victory in this spiritual battle. This victory is based on his own authority. In Matthew 28:18-19 Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” That’s a command, by the way. Jesus wasn’t saying that it might be a good idea to give this a try. He commanded all of his followers to Make Disciples.

More than that, he made it clear that everyone who is not obeying his commands is working against him. Matthew (12:30) and Luke (11:23) both record this statement by Jesus: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

That brings up a question, doesn’t it? Are you gathering with Jesus, or are you scattering? There’s no neutral position. There’s no third option. You’re either working for Jesus and his Kingdom, or you’re working against him.

Michael Card wrote a song titled, No Rusty Swords, in which he talks about this.

Don’t you know the battle’s raging
And you’ve got to join the fight
There’s an army of the darkness
And an army of the Light
There’s a side that fights for Satan
And a side that’s for the Lord
And on this battle field there are no rusty swords

Christ has made the final move
So our side is sure to win
He became like us so we would have
A chance to be like Him
It seems strange so many fall back
When the victory has been won
You just need to ask yourself
Which side you’re on

There’s a fact you need to understand
Before you join our side
You need to know when Jesus calls
He bids you come and die
He’s invaded Satan’s kingdom
And He’s claiming all His own
When the battle’s over
He will lead us home

And on this battle field there are no rusty swords

So, are you involved in making disciples of all nations, including your own?

There are many ways for you to be involved, if you’re not already. They mainly fall into these categories:

Pray – If you are a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, you can pray. This is the very least that we all should be doing. Everyone can do this.

Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” So, you can pray that God would raise up his children to go out into the harvest of human souls and make disciples.

You can also pray for the souls of the lost. Pray that our Lord will prepare their hearts for the message of those who will go to them with the message of Christ. Pray that they would eagerly accept the message of the Truth and become disciple makers themselves.

Pray for those who are actively engaged in disciple making on a daily basis. Pray for the missionaries that your church supports. Pray for the many missions agencies who are training and sending out missionaries.

Pray for yourself. Should you move beyond just praying? Ask God to show you how you can be more involved in obeying Christ’s command to make disciples. It doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a missionary and heading out to a foreign country (but it might).

Give – If you own the computer that you’re using to read this, I feel confident that you can afford to support the work of those who are making disciples. Almost everyone can do this.

We are commanded to support the work of Making Disciples. And Paul says that our giving is “a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.” The money is all His anyway, so why not use it in a way that is pleasing to him.

There are several ways you can give to support disciple making. You can (and should) give faithfully to your local church as your church supports missions and disciple making (or it should; if it doesn’t, ask your pastor for an explanation).

You can personally support a missionary or a missions agency on a monthly basis.

You can set aside a certain amount out of each paycheck to support people’s short-term missions trips or other disciple making projects as they come up.

Go – While we should all be sharing the Gospel as we go along in our normal lives, perhaps you are in a position, or can put yourself in the position, to do more or go farther. Perhaps you can even make the decision to become a full-time missionary. I believe there are more of us that can do this than those who are doing this.

Those who Go are those who have come to the understanding that God may want them to more actively be about the disciple-making task. It can be full-time and for the rest of your life. It can be a short-term missions trip somewhere where you can be about the business of sharing the Gospel or helping those who do, either alone or with a group. It can be simply going out to a city mission to the poor to help serve food and share Christ. It might even be getting involved in street evangelism.

I heard someone say once that there are three types of believers when it comes to making disciples: the Zealous Goers, the Zealous Senders, and the Disobedient. If you are a follower of Christ, I pray that you take Jesus’ commands seriously. For Christians, this life is not about being successful (by the world’s definition), nor is it about being sure our children get the best life they can get. For believers, this life is about telling the world that they are condemned by God for their crimes against him, and if they don’t repent, they’re doomed. For us, this life is about making disciples. You’re either doing that or working for the wrong side. That isn’t my assessment, that’s what Jesus said.

Jesus also said that if anyone would be his follower, he must follow him completely, for what profit is there in gaining the entire world if a man loses his soul? This life is an eyeblink compared to what’s coming. For those who are not believers, eternity is Hell. We have the message of salvation. How much do you have to hate someone to not give them that message!

So, are you actively involved in making disciples? You can start today.

My life is but a weaving — A Poem

This is a poem of unknown authorship, though it’s been attributed to several people. It was made popular by Corrie ten Boom in her book, The Hiding Place.

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft times He weaveth sorrow
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

He knows, He loves, He cares
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.

O that I had not slept! — A Quote

Let us not sleep while it is still day!

I looked then after Christian, to see him go up the hill [called “Difficulty”], where I perceived he fell from running to going, and from going to clambering upon his hands and his knees, because of the steepness of the place. Now about the midway to the top of the hill was a pleasant Arbor, made by the Lord of the hill for the refreshment of weary travellers. Thither, therefore, Christian got, where also he sat down to rest him: then he pulled his roll out of his bosom, and read therein to his comfort; he also now began afresh to take a review of the coat or garment that was given to him as he stood by the cross. Thus pleasing himself awhile, he at last fell into a slumber, and thence into a fast sleep, which detained him in that place until it was almost night; and in his sleep his roll fell out of his hand. Now, as he was sleeping, there came one to him, and awaked him, saying, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” And with that, Christian suddenly started up, and sped him on his way, and went apace till he came to the top of the hill.

But thinking again of what he had heard from the men, he felt in his bosom for his roll, that he might read therein and be comforted; but he felt, and found it not. Then was Christian in great distress, and knew not what to do; for he wanted that which used to relieve him, and that which should have been his pass into the celestial city. Here, therefore, he began to be much perplexed, and knew not what to do. At last he bethought himself that he had slept in the arbor that is on the side of the hill; and falling down upon his knees, he asked God forgiveness for that foolish act, and then went back to look for his roll. But all the way he went back, who can sufficiently set forth the sorrow of Christian’s heart? Sometimes he sighed, sometimes he wept, and oftentimes he chid himself for being so foolish to fall asleep in that place, which was erected only for a little refreshment from his weariness. Thus, therefore, he went back, carefully looking on this side and on that, all the way as he went, if happily he might find his roll, that had been his comfort so many times in his journey. He went thus till he came again in sight of the arbor where he sat and slept; but that sight renewed his sorrow the more, by bringing again, even afresh, his evil of sleeping unto his mind. Thus, therefore, he now went on, bewailing his sinful sleep, saying, O wretched man that I am, that I should sleep in the daytime! that I should sleep in the midst of difficulty! that I should so indulge the flesh as to use that rest for ease to my flesh which the Lord of the hill hath erected only for the relief of the spirits of pilgrims! How many steps have I taken in vain! Thus it happened to Israel; for their sin they were sent back again by the way of the Red Sea; and I am made to tread those steps with sorrow, which I might have trod with delight, had it not been for this sinful sleep. How far might I have been on my way by this time! I am made to tread those steps thrice over, which I needed not to have trod but once: yea, now also I am like to be benighted, for the day is almost spent. O that I had not slept!

— John Bunyan, A Pilgrim’s Progress

There are many times, more than I wish to confess here, that I’ve taken advantage of a short period of rest and turned it into an occasion to indulge my tendency to be slothful. And as Christian experienced on the hill Difficulty, it almost always, perhaps without exception, caused more hardship for myself.

“We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.” John 9:4

God is Working in Ukraine — We Have Proof!

image by Trey Ratcliff

image by Trey Ratcliff

My friend, Chris, and I have been studying Acts since February 2014, and one thing we’ve been impressed with is the lengths God will go to work in the hearts of people and people groups. You can’t read Acts without seeing it. God is about the business of saving sinners and he invites his children to take part!

The Media team at SEND International has just recently returned from a trip to Ukraine and they have picture and video proof that what God started in Acts he’s still doing today. And what’s more is that he’s still inviting and using his children to take part in that work!

As you know, Ukraine has been going through some rough times lately, but that hasn’t stopped his church from working toward the end goal of taking the Gospel to the world. In fact, the church in Ukraine, while continuing to reach out to their own countrymen, are sending out Ukrainian missionaries to other parts of the world.

Please take a moment to read the latest article on The Mission Blog to get a sneak preview of what the team witnessed in Ukraine.

You can also be a part of what God is doing. If you’re a Christian then not only is God inviting you to take part, he’s commanding you to do so. Do you doubt that? Here’s some Scriptural evidence:
Cmd2Missions

But, honestly, who needs the command when the privilege and honor of the invitation is so high? Who wouldn’t want to be involved in God’s work? Is there a true Christian who would think otherwise?

A Quick Note on a Biblical Command to Be Discerning

infant_with_bottleThis is just a quick thought on Heb 5:14.

Solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

I very rarely like to post or comment on a single verse. As Greg Koukl says, “Never read a Bible verse,” meaning never just take a single verse and try to figure out what it means. You can’t rip a verse out of its context and expect to get a clear understanding of what the original author meant when he wrote it. And if you get a different meaning from a verse than the original author meant, you’ve got the wrong meaning. Many false teachings and false applications have been drawn from the bad habit of neglecting the context of a verse.

Hebrews 5:14, however, is one of those verses that might be called principle verses. The author of Hebrews has been talking about the fact that the old Law is gone by evidence of a new priesthood, that of Melchizedek. He then goes on to say that he’d like to say more about it but his audience is lacking the spiritual maturity to understand. He says that his readers should be mature, but, like babies, they still need milk and can’t handle solid food. Then he says that, “solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

This maturity that he’s talking about is what I strive for. I hope you do also.

Take a moment to look at how he describes maturity. The mature person is one who has his “powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Discernment doesn’t come naturally to us little humans. It takes training. It takes constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

There are very few things that are more dangerous to a Christian than the thought that he cannot be deceived, or the thought that he sees everything clearly. One of the most common sources of this danger, I believe, is personal feelings. Just because a saying or writing makes you feel good or resonates with you doesn’t make it good or right. It must be compared with a proper understanding of Scripture, and that takes practice. And practice takes work.

So, get to work! As will I.

“God Calling” Is Not A Christian Devotional

The New Age book, God Calling

Pardon the sudden rant, but this angers and saddens me at the same time….

How sad is it that an otherwise reputable Christian book seller would stock and sell this book. CBD is selling this along with several other versions of the New Age book God Calling.

God Calling is a book that was written in the 1930s by two anonymous ‘listeners’ who prayed to God and then listened for what he had to say. They then wrote down what they heard him say and that’s what became the devotional God Calling. That is a New Age practice called channeling. It is very dangerous and is forbidden in Scripture. This book is listed in The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs as an example of a popular New Age book (Ankerberg & Weldon, Harvest House Publishers, 1996, p. 103).

Please don’t get sucked into the trap of this book. So many New Age practices sound and feel beautiful and right, but they are not of God and are not in line with Scripture.