KANYE FACTOR

Lk. 13:20,21 – Jesus taught them another parable: “How can I describe God’s kingdom realm? Let me give you this illustration: It is like something as small as yeast that a woman kneads into a large amount of dough. It works unseen until it permeates the entire batch and rises high.

Since everyone else is throwing in their two cents worth I thought I might as well join in at my own peril. For the old timers I want to remind you of another very public conversion of a very public influential figure by the name of Bob Dylan. All of us Christians were so excited when someone of his influence came to Christ. For those that are too young to remember, Dylan had a huge influence on society through his music. His anti-war message was espoused by an entire generation. His conversion was quite public. He recorded two overtly Christian albums; SLOW TRAIN COMING, and SAVED. Here is where the problem came in, new Christians are often compromised when they are thrown into the public and commercialized. That’s what happened to Dylan. Seeing Christian leaders use and manipulate his celebrity for their own benefit stumbled him. Today I am not sure he still considers himself a Christian. As far as Kanye is concerned just let him be. Let him just be a young Christian. More than that puts his faith in a precarious position. The testimony of Kanye can be very powerful, it can be like the yeast in today’s verse. Here is how the notes in the Passion Bible explain this.

“The meaning of this parable is that something small can impact and penetrate something great. It is the pervading influence of virtue and truth that is highlighted here. A transformation takes place when the hidden yet pervasive kingdom impacts every part of culture and society around us.”

I personally believe Kanye’s testimony is valid. Hopefully Christians will not try to manipulate him or his story. The testimony of conversion from the life he lived can stand on its own. Being delivered from the hedonistic lifestyle and culture Kanye West helped to build is enormous and is sending shock waves through society. Here are some words from Dylan after his conversion, this is for all of us, even Kanye.

Might be a Rock-n-roll addict

Prancing on the stage

Money, Drugs at your command

Women in a cage

You may be a businessman

Or some high degree thief

They may call you doctor

Or they may call you chief

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Yes you are, you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Well it may be the Devil

Or it may be the Lord

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

HOLD HIM BY HIS FEET

Matthew 28:8-9 And did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

There is something amazingly different about Jesus. There is no angel in heaven nor any creature or human on earth that has the attraction that He has. Now not everyone is attracted to our Savior, only those who belong to Him. To those who are perishing Jesus is actually repelling, but to those who are being saved, He is the most prized possession of our lives. This first Resurrection Sunday these precious women were amazed beyond words. Those three days of darkness and depression had been swallowed up in an instant. “He’s alive, just like the angels said.” The appearance or words of angels had not driven the darkness from their souls, but one word from His lips and they were at His feet worshipping Him, overwhelmed with His love. This is how Spurgeon describes this scene.

“Jesus permits these godly women to hold him by the feet. It was an act of humility, worshipping and holding; and holding not his hands, but his feet. They must have seen the nail-prints before Thomas did, as they held him by the feet, and worshipped him. I do not find that these women ran to the angels, they rather shrank back from them; but they came to Jesus, for we are told that they came, and held him by the feet. I think that there must have been a new attraction about Christ after he had risen from the dead, something more sweet about the tones of his voice, something more charming about the countenance that had been so maimed at Gethsemane, and Gabbatha, and Golgotha.”

But what about us today? Do we have to go on someone else’s words? Do I have to live on the testimony of someone who lived two thousand years ago? Hardly! Jesus is in heaven but the Holy Spirit, the very One who raised Jesus from the dead is here with us. He comes to us just like Jesus came to the women on that road to Jerusalem that Sunday morning so long ago. He speaks to us and surrounds us with His love. Before you know it, you too will be at His feet consumed with the testimony of Jesus.

TESTIMONY THAT OVERCOMES

Rev 19:10 – Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

The testimony of Jesus deals with authenticity. Christ working in us and through us is the testimony of Jesus. If you connect this verse to another verse earlier in Revelation, you can begin to see the power of the testimony of Jesus. This is how John said it in Rev. 12:1, “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death”. The devil is the father of lies. Everything he does is based on lies and deception. Christ is the absolute truth. Christ in us declares the truth of redemption in our lives.

If the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy, then declaring what Christ is doing in our lives is prophetic and is a powerful tool in tearing down the strongholds of the enemy. Not only does it bring victory into our lives, it goes on to break the yoke of oppression off of those who speak His word. Here is how the Fire Bible describes this verse.

“True prophecy is using one’s voice or communication to deliver a message from God—something that honors him and often reveals something of his plans and purposes. Prophecy can inform, challenge, predict, warn or encourage people regarding those purposes. Ultimately, all true, godly prophecy is related to Jesus and his work of restoring people to a personal and eternal relationship with God. As such, all true prophecy honors Christ and calls us to be in right relationship with him.”

So go ahead and boldly declare what Christ has done. Lift up your voice as a weapon and testify to what the Lord has done and is doing in your life. Tell about His power over past sin and addictions in your life. Proclaim how He has worked in your family and friends. Boast in the testimony of Jesus. Not only will you be strengthened in faith, you will begin to extend His kingdom. Those who you are around and you speak the word to will experience the life changing power of God in their lives delivering them from evil.

THEY OVERCAME THE DEVIL

Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

This passage of scripture is taken from the book of Revelation during the peak of demonic onslaught during the Great Tribulation. John is painting the picture of Satan as being desperate and defeated in his last days before he is locked up in hell at the coming of Jesus Christ. His defeat is certain and he is trying to inflict as much damage as possible upon the followers of Christ during this dark season. John gives the solution to the dilemma that the church was facing. It was the same one he had practiced throughout his life and is God’s word for us as we too face a heightened attack in these last days. He simply said that the devil is overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. Here is how the Fire Bible describes this conflict.

“Faithful followers of Christ on earth have access to an effective strategy for overcoming Satan’s schemes and accusations. It is not a matter of their own power, ability or efforts; it has everything to do with what Christ has already done and the victory he has already won for them. Christ’s followers are freed from Satan’s power by the blood of the Lamb—the personal sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave his life to pay the price for sin so that those who entrust their lives to him could be forgiven, restored to a personal relationship with God and have the assurance of eternal life with him. Christ’s death and resurrection are the greatest defeats of Satan and guarantee ultimate victory for those who are faithful to God. By determining to speak for Christ and by showing a willingness to serve him at any cost, Christians disarm the devil from being able to rob them of faith, even during the most difficult times of persecution and tribulation.”

What is the significance of the blood of Jesus in relation to demonic attack? The only basis for successful demonic attack against us is the sin we have committed, it gives access to our lives. As we stand in faith, knowing our sins are purged by the blood of Jesus, the devil has no grounds to defeat us. We enforce this truth by our declaration of victory in the Name of Jesus. So we too can say with John and the believers during the Great Tribulation, “we overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony”.

THEY OVERCAME THE DEVIL

Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

This passage of scripture is taken from the book of Revelation during the peak of demonic onslaught during the Great Tribulation. John is painting the picture of Satan as being desperate and defeated in his last days before he is locked up in hell at the coming of Jesus Christ. His defeat is certain and he is trying to inflict as much damage as possible upon the followers of Christ during this dark season. John gives the solution to the dilemma that the church was facing. It was the same one he had practiced throughout his life and is God’s word for us as we too face a heightened attack in these last days. He simply said that the devil is overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. Here is how the Fire Bible describes this conflict.

“Faithful followers of Christ on earth have access to an effective strategy for overcoming Satan’s schemes and accusations. It is not a matter of their own power, ability or efforts; it has everything to do with what Christ has already done and the victory he has already won for them. Christ’s followers are freed from Satan’s power by the blood of the Lamb—the personal sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave his life to pay the price for sin so that those who entrust their lives to him could be forgiven, restored to a personal relationship with God and have the assurance of eternal life with him. Christ’s death and resurrection are the greatest defeats of Satan and guarantee ultimate victory for those who are faithful to God. By determining to speak for Christ and by showing a willingness to serve him at any cost, Christians disarm the devil from being able to rob them of faith, even during the most difficult times of persecution and tribulation.”

What is the significance of the blood of Jesus in relation to demonic attack? The only basis for successful demonic attack against us is the sin we have committed, it gives access to our lives. As we stand in faith, knowing our sins are purged by the blood of Jesus, the devil has no grounds to defeat us. We enforce this truth by our declaration of victory in the Name of Jesus. So we too can say with John and the believers during the Great Tribulation, “we overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony”.

BAPTIZED IN WHAT?

Matt. 3:11 – As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

I was recently driving down Lakefront Boulevard with my pastor friend Sam Carr. We were passing by the very spot where Parris and I came to Christ and were water baptized the following week. We were baptized in Lake Ponchartrain on a Friday night in August of 1973. Before I was baptized in water the ministers were sharing with me about another baptism, the baptism in the Holy Spirit. You see I was baptized in water that night but not many days later I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit since you believed? I think many Christians don’t understand the magnitude, importance, and value of the Baptism with the Spirit. Actually water baptism is only a type or shadow of the real. Being baptized into God, the Holy Spirit, is a complete game changer. Here is how Watchman Nee described it.

“God only gives good gifts to His children. Unfortunately we are apt to esteem them lightly because of their sheer abundance. The Old Testament saints, who were less favored than we are, could appreciate more readily the preciousness of this gift of the outpoured Spirit. In their day it was a gift given only to the select few, chiefly to priests, judges, kings and prophets, whereas now it is the portion of every child of God. Think! We mere nonentities who trust in Christ can have resting upon us the same Spirit who rested upon Moses the friend of God, upon David the beloved king and upon Elijah the mighty prophet. “Among them that are born of women,” said Jesus, “there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is but little in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

It wasn’t great men who have been historically used by the Lord. Think about who the Lord has used; Moses was a murderer, Amos was a farmer, Jonah was a deserter, Jeremiah was a child, Joseph was a slave, Peter was a fisherman, and Paul was a persecutor. These were common, flawed men that were empowered by the Holy Spirit to effect their world. How can we have a casual attitude about the Baptism in the Spirit? Pursuing Him and allowing Him to move in our gatherings is a game changer.

SMACK YOUR LIPS

Eph.1:14 – Amp. – That [Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance [the firstfruits, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment on our heritage], in anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring [complete] possession of it—to the praise of His glory.

Nothing like some good home cooking. Last week there was an impromptu Mary’s Song Banquet for ladies involved with Rodan and Fields. There was several thousand women from Rodan and Fields in New Orleans for a convention. Because of a friend of a friend being in leadership with that company, a request was made for a banquet with the Mary’s Song girls to “give back” in light of all the Lord has given us. It was an awesome night of testimonies and giving but that is not why I brought this all up. The meal was cooked by the Mary’s Song girls under the direction of Tyren George.The ladies at my table were raving over the “home cooking”. They also said it was the best meal they had eaten all week; pretty good with the amazing restaurants they all went to in the French Quarter. I guess you just can’t beat home cooked meals.

Now this brings me to the whole point of all of this, today’s verse says that the Holy Spirit is the foretaste of all the Lord has prepared for us. That first taste, or sampling of the food before a meal, tastes awfully good. It actually increases our anticipation for the coming feast. In Psalm 63 David was enjoying feasting on the Lord. He was enjoying the feast of God’s presence, enjoying what he was receiving, but smacking his lips in anticipation of more. Here is how it reads in the Message Bible.

Psa.63:3-5 The Message

In your generous love I am really living at last!

My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a breath;

My arms wave like banners of praise to you.

I eat my fill of prime rib and gravy;

I smack my lips. It’s time to shout praises!

The good meal at our banquet for our out of town guests last week was really only the foretaste. The real meal was when Parris, Ali Spitsbergen (the lady with Rodan and Fields), and the girls from Mary’s Song began to share what the Lord had done in their lives. The testimony of Jesus was our taste of the coming heavenly banquet. So I think I’m going to join David and smack my lips, if this first taste is this good it’s hard to imagine what the whole meal will be like.

TOO GOOD FOR WORDS

Acts 9:3,4 – Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?

Jonathan Edwards wrote several volumes defending the Great Awakening. Actually the famous missionary book, THE DIARY OF DAVID BRAINERD, was written by Jonathan Edwards in defense of the Revival. Brainerd had been strongly influenced by the preaching of Edwards and George Whitefield. His amazing story of expulsion from Yale and his missionary work to the Native Americans were all connected to the outpouring of the Spirit. Edwards took the diary David had compiled shortly before his death and used it as a testimony to the legitimacy of the outpouring. Here is a quote from Edwards defending his wife’s response to the Spirit. He left her anonymous in this account.

“sometimes the sufficiency and faithfulness of God as the covenant God of his people, appearing in these words, “I am that I am”, in so affecting a manner as to overcome the body: a sense of the glorious, unsearchable, unerring wisdom of God in his works, both of creation and providence, so as to swallow up the soul, and overcome the strength of the body: a sweet rejoicing of soul at the thoughts of God’s being infinitely and unchangeably happy, and an exulting gladness of heart that God is self-sufficient, and infinitely above all dependence, and reigns over all, and does his will with absolute and uncontrollable power and sovereignty; a sense of the glory of the Holy Spirit, as the great Comforter, so as to overwhelm both soul and body; only mentioning the word, “the Comforter,” has immediately taken away all strength; that word, as the person expressed it, seemed great enough to fill heaven and earth: a most vehement and passionate desire of the honor and glory of God’s name”

Edwards said that he couldn’t refer to the Holy Spirit, or Comforter, after his wife Sarah had been touched. She would be incapacitated by just remembering the awesomeness of the Lord’s touch. Brainerd turned his own awakening into evangelistic fervor. His passion for God spilled over into his zeal to reach the Native Americans. Sarah and David became powerful, irrefutable examples to the reality of God’s outpouring. It becomes impossible to argue with the testimony of Jesus. Theory folds in the presence of the reality of the testimony of Jesus.

YOUR STORY EFFECTS YOUR WORLD

Rom.1:8 – First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.

We often don’t realize how much our faith, our testimony, matters. The people in your “world’ notice, they are always watching you. Paul said that their “world” was watching the Roman Christians. The supernatural difference Christ made in their lives effected everyone who heard their story. It’s no different for you. The change in the lives of those truly converted is undeniable. There has been a shift, a total life change that can’t be ignored. That’s why Paul went on to say in this same chapter “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Rom.1:16)”. The gospel is the power of God. Embracing the gospel of Christ makes us totally different people. Here is how R.C. Sprole describes today’s verse.

“The word Paul uses for “thanks” is eucharisto, from which the church gets the term Eucharist. The word was used to describe the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. A profound spirit of thanksgiving lay at the heart of the Supper in the primitive Christian church, thanksgiving for what God had wrought in the work of Jesus Christ. Paul conjoins the words universe and cosmos to say that the Roman Christians’ reputation for faith has been broadcast throughout the cosmos, or universe. In a sense Paul is using hyperbole, but it is important to pause and pay attention to his use of the term world, one of many times in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament, where it occurs. When we think of the world, we typically have in mind the entire planet. We think of the continents and all the people who live in far-off places. However, when first-century people spoke of the world, they were speaking of the known world, which, in their case, was the Mediterranean world. Therefore, Paul is expressing joy that people throughout the Mediterranean world are talking about the faith of the Roman Christians; their faith had made an impact.”

So maybe you were once an alcoholic, all that has changed. Perhaps you were addicted to pornography or promiscuity, now you are a holy man or woman of God. Whatever your past contained in Christ, it is gone forever. Today your story is being proclaimed throughout your world.

SUPERSTAR

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

It’s funny the things the Lord uses to reach the people He is after. My story has been intertwined with Jesus Christ Superstar even before my conversion. Actually, I was mesmerized by the sound track from the Broadway Rock Opera even before I was converted. I knew every song and listened to that album endlessly. When the movie was released, Parris and I had to go. It was a hot summer’s night in August of 1973, we had no idea the drama that would unfold in our lives as a result of that movie. Even though the movie wandered away from the Biblical account, I was somehow entranced by the crucifixion scene. In the movie there was a fast moving collage of famous artwork of the cross. Somehow, I connected the dots. I got it, it was my sin that was somehow responsible for the death of the Lord. I left the theatre that night a blubbering mess looking for someone just to point the way.

That’s when the real drama began. Parris and I ended up at the Mardi Gras Fountain on the lakefront of Lake Ponchartrain. The Lord was waiting for us there. Actually it was a small group of Jesus freaks but the Lord was unmistakably in their midst. Before the night was over I had experienced the new birth.

What a strange season the seventies were. In a moment of time I experienced a life change. It didn’t happen in church, there were no televangelists involved. Just some hippies, a folk guitar, and a testimony. You see, at the end of the day I was looking for something real. I had tried the whole sex, drugs, and rock and roll thing and it left me empty. Finally I was tasting something with some substance. Is it possible that is what this generation is looking for? Rather than a watered down relevant message that seems to be borrowed from a multi-level marketing scheme maybe its the reality of God found in the same old gospel message that this generation longs for. We will never know until we try it. Maybe its time to get out those old gospel tracts, dust off your guitar and launch out into the deep. Maybe there are some other lonesome souls crying out for something real.