13 May 2008

Some connections from the dark side...

(Kristin, I’m posting this letter to me blog at the same time, so if I get the details wrong, please correct them.)

Obviously one of the main themes I’ve been harping on here has been the theme of noting and understanding the connections that are happening. Most of those have been positive in nature but with the axiom that every move of good meets demonic opposition, I did want to relate one point of reference from the dark side. There may be others that I’d really love to record here. Remember: a tactic known is a tactic lost. Or in Bible speak: We are not ignorant of the schemes of the enemy...

Keep in mind here, the timing and scope are the things to notice.

As we were building up to Boot Camp (April 24-27) we had more spiritual warfare then maybe we’ve had ever before. Typically that warfare is primarily attacks form the outside (logistics, suddenly failing technology, financial issues) but this time, it was primarily form the inside (interpersonal issues) and took the form of a wide spread depression in the members. There were specific phrases that we were all hearing: ‘you’re done’, ‘you’re a failure’, ‘this [bootcamp] isn’t working’ and also that this would be our last camp because ‘[you’re] exhausted. This isn’t worth the work’ We battled through all of that, but frankly it was more raw stubbornness than raise my hands victory. I know several guys showed up at camp more out of a sense of being true to their word and not because they really believed it was ‘working.’

What’s cool is that it turned out to be one of most powerful events events, maybe the most powerful, and a lot of that was fueled by he rawness we were all dealing with. And that’s neat and all, blah blah blah.

But what I want to get to is what we learned a few days later. Ransomed Heart (John Eldredge and his team) were also putting on an Advanced Camp the week after ours. Shortly before they started, and just after we wrapped up, we got a prayer request from them (so did a lot of people, we’re not at all special in that regard) where they described the warfare they had been going though in the build up to the camp. Here is an excerpt from that letter:

Wow. I’ve got a story to tell. So yesterday, we were having our mission briefing for the upcoming Advanced that starts tomorrow. 450 men coming for a life-changing encounter with God, and coming to be equipped to rescue others. Part of our briefing is given to asking God some questions about how to pray, what to be head’s up about. It was just an okay time of prayer. I wasn’t hearing clearly. Finally I asked the guys, “Is anybody else having a hard time hearing?” Just about everybody said, “Yeah, I can’t hear right now.” I was aware, as we prayed, that something was in the way, something that felt big, and defiant.

So this morning, Gary, Craig, Bart and I are meeting to talk through the new talks, new flow of the retreat. We stop to ask Christ about a particular session. Again, something is in the way. We all feel it. We begin to ask God about it, and bit by bit we begin to get some clarity, one piece at a time. We were asking God, “What is this, Lord? What is set against us?” No answer. But what began to be revealed were some deep agreements we’d made either personally or as a ministry. Agreements with different enemies like resignation, and discouragement. As we prayed, we renounced the sin, the agreement, and brought the blood of Christ over that issue, then the next. On and on it went. The enemy was faltering; we could feel the block giving way. We asked for more, and God led us a piece at a time.

The big issue is what is set against Ransomed Heart, not just this mission. The sentence “It’s over” and “I'm done” has been too close to many of us, both here at the Outpost and in our families, on all sorts of different issues. Like an overwhelming assault, looking for different circumstances to come in, looking for different opportunities to get the agreement, from anyone in any way. But the theme is the same. The theme is, it’s over. I’m done. A spirit of Overwhelming Defeat. Using things like fragmentation, isolation, indifference, offense, discouragement, resignation to get in...

Here is what we sense Jesus telling us to pray:...against Fear, and Unbelief, Sickness...The phrase “wet tinder” came to us...Bind those things with us. Hebrews 12:1-3 seemed for us this time. And God said, “Stay focused on joy. Beware dropping your guard. Watch for My lead. I love this. I’ll show up.”

Yes, he will. He already has.

It was cool enough to get a solid confirmation that we were not alone in what we were going through and it put a clean capstone on the battle that went a long way to erasing the wounds to each other that came from that fight. But since then, I’ve also been learning a LOT of people, particularly those in ministry, found themselves going through the same ‘fiery trial’  at the exact same time. Not the least of which was a report I heard from the other side of the country in TN of two or three gals who not only got hit with the same depression, but also started to notice the connection in timing and ‘flavor’ between themselves.

OK look, depression is a long way from being rare, so while I generally don not believe in coincidence, I’d be willing to bend in this case...if the words spoken to these people weren’t so eerily similar and the timing wasn’t so specific and immediately proceeding what is now being seen as one of the biggest Holy Spirit moments in the last 20 years. (In case you’ve been asleep, this is NOT limited to NC and Florida – it’s gone nationwide.)

So the question comes to my mind: is the enemy now waging these attacks on wider fronts or has it always been like that and we are only now starting to network in such a way that makes the widespread nature of his attacks evident to the church? I don’t have an answer, I’m just thinking.

1 comment:

Risa said...

(Un)holy oppression, Batman!

Okay, that puts some things in my own life in perspective. For the past couple of months, I've been in a dark place that has felt very different than the "typical" depression I've experienced before. This hasn't been something that a little sunshine and some extra exercise could hold at bay. I have been feeling a sense of separation from God, unable to feel or hear Him. I even woke up in the middle of the night once in April(?) with this absolute heart-pounding, dizzying sense of total and complete isolation from the Lord. My brain has gone all sorts of directions with it, from wondering if the entire Christian experience is merely superstition, to shame and humiliation, to lambasting myself for being so spiritually immature. I kept listening to y'all talk and blog about the movement of the Holy Spirit, and all the while I was thinking, "Forget about 'revival'- I'd just like to feel Jesus' presence in any small way, just to know it's real!" There was one morning at church when I didn't even feel like I belonged there, because the enemy was whispering in my ear, "You're just faking it anyway. You can't truly worship what you don't believe." There have been some small windows of relief, but overall I've still felt like there's a big, wet blanket over me. I told Beth this weekend that I felt like I was back to "Christianity 101" after all this time.

Clearly there is a large-scale warfare tactic in play here. Divide and conquer. Make them all so disillusioned and burnt out and hopeless that they'll give up the fight.

I want to take this opportunity to call on the covering of Jesus' blood. Lord, I renounce this hopelessness, this despair. I ask your forgiveness for the part that I've played. I plead with you to stand between us and the enemy, to wipe the scales from our eyes so that the enemy lies exposed and weak. YOU ARE OUR VICTORY! Amen.