FIVE REASONS CHURCHES HAVE NO POWER

"Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and

authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the

kingdom of God and to heal the sick. So they departed and went through the

towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere." (Luke 9:1,2) "If two of

you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them

by My Father in heaven." (Matthew 18:19)


Years ago, while preaching at Christ Chapel, Florence, Alabama, I was sitting

in my hotel room one cloudless, beautiful afternoon, looking down on the

Tennessee River. The sky was a bright blue and the atmosphere calm. Without

any explanation, the Holy Spirit interrupted my solitude and said, "Take

authority over the weather." I was puzzled about the message--still admiring

the tranquility around me--but obeyed and in the Name of Jesus took authority

over the "Prince of the power of the air." I forbade his touching that area of

Alabama with a violent storm. (Psalm 149:5-9, Matthew 12:29, Luke 10:17-

20.) There was no emotion in my voice–but I did speak with authority. To

most Christians such an action is absurd–even ridiculous. I agree. To the

natural-person it sounds that way. But Jesus taught it. He did not ask us to

understand but to obey. Nothing obvious happened and a short time later a

driver arrived who took me to the church.


Christ Chapel was still meeting in its gymnasium and each night the building

was filled to capacity. The Holy Spirit’s wonderful presence over-lay the

meetings; people were healed, baptized in the Spirit, and "signs and wonders"

accompanied every service. Many nights the entire floor-area around the

building was filled with people fallen under the power of God. Before the

worship that evening, Doc Shell, the pastor, hurriedly spoke to the

congregation, "I don't want to alarm anyone but the safest place in this

building is through those large, double doors." He pointed toward the main

entrance and a corridor leading into the school's interior. He explained, "You

have all heard the warning from the Weather Bureau that a severe storm-front

is coming toward us ..."


When he said that, I understood the Holy Spirit's message to me earlier that

afternoon. Going quickly to the microphone, I told the congregation about my

instruction to "take authority over the weather," and explained: "We are going

to obey Jesus, 'speak to the mountain'--in this case, the storm--and forbid its

harming us." Briefly, I explained the difference in praying to Jesus about a

problem and taking authority over the problem in His name. He taught both

principles. Everyone stood, together we rebuked the storm, telling it

specifically not to touch our homes, our property, or our lives. That was all we

did. The service continued without any interruption. There was no disturbance

that night from lightening, thunder, or violent wind.


The next evening, when Pastor Shell greeted the congregation, he held up a

cassette tape, and said, "This is a copy of the U.S. Weather Bureau's official

radio-report about the storm that went through Alabama last night." By that

time, everyone knew of the devastation that had swept across the state and into

Georgia. Many areas had been severely damaged. Our area had been

completely spared. The pastor continued, "The Weather Bureau explained that

the front divided just before it reached Florence, half went to the north, half to

the south, missed the city, and came back together on the other side." We had

been protected in a doughnut-shaped hole, surrounded by violent winds but

untouched by them. While we thanked the Lord we had been spared, we felt

deep grief for those who were not.


Many Christians are appalled that others believe they have power to speak to

storms, crisis, other disasters, and make a difference. Their attitude is

understandable. Speaking to storms is a sign of mental deficiency. But--it is

precisely what Jesus taught. He was not wasting words when He rebuked the

disciples after the storm on Galilee by saying, "Where is your faith?!" They

could have spoken to the wind as He did. (Mark 4:39.) He had already given

them "power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the

enemy." (Luke 10:19.) Please understand this: Jesus would not have stopped

the storm if the Father had sent it. The storm was demonic–not godly. Jesus

came to "set the captives free"–not to kill them with bad weather and earthly

disasters. Christians today need to re-learn that truth.


Hear me carefully on this point: If God has given us responsibility to do

something–and the power to do it–He will not do it for us. Our complaint,

"But my church does not believe in that power" only brings more resistance

from Him. If you gave your child a large amount of money and the next day

he comes begging for help to buy food you would be appalled! You would say

"Use the money I gave you!" So it is with God. Many of our personal

problems remain unresolved by prayer because we are asking God to do things

for which He has empowered us. We have to adjust to His method; He will not

adjust to our’s. Are you speaking to the storms in your life? If not, you had

better start! Christian maturity is best seen in Christian obedience. Matthew

21:21. The old saying applies here: "If you can’t take the heat–get out of the

Kitchen."


The reason for our disobedience is this: We are more afraid of being

embarrassed by failure than we are of being protected by truth. We are afraid

to put faith to the test. This fear rises from pride. Someone says, "What if I

speak to the storm and fail?" You probably will. The early disciples failed.

None of us enter the empowered life without effort. While we have authority

as solitary beings, it is also true that the church has greater dominion in its

corporate-unity. The devil know this and protects himself by keeping the

church divided and riddled with unbelief.


When Jesus conferred power upon the disciples, He called them "together and

gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases." (Luke

9:1.) He did not bestow this power individually; He called them together. The

next scene we have however, is the disciples' failure. They were unable to cast

a demon out of a child. The same chapter of Luke identifies five reasons why

they failed. These are the same factors we encounter today. Our failure is

identical to the early disciples. Hear them carefully:


1. Unbelief: "Jesus said, O faithless and perverse generation ..." Luke 9:41.


2. Pride; Fear of showing their ignorance: "They did not understand this

saying ... they were afraid to ask Him. 9:45.


3. Ego, Carnal Ambition: "A dispute arose among them as to which of them

would be greatest." 9:46.


4. Sectarianism: John said, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in

Your name, and we forbad him because he does not follow with us." 9:49.


5. Substituting Harsh, Religious Performance For Spiritual Power: James and

John said, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven

and consume the Samaritans? 9:54.


Until these same issues are resolved in us, we will continue in our failure. The

greatest hazard pastors face is not opposition from others. It is opposition

within themselves: Unbelief, pride, carnal ambition, sectarianism, and

religious performance, rob them of power. These are the spiritual assassins

against whom we battle. If we want to speak to a mountain and spiritually

move it, cast out a demon, heal the sick, we need to examine ourselves with

the list of these five failures. Then, we must obey God and watch the Holy

Spirit’s power fall. He is eager for us to experience a genuine New Testament

ministry. That includes speaking to storms. Soon after my baptism-in-the-

Spirit in 1977 and my return to Florida one of my former church members

called me from Atlanta. This woman had been a severe alcoholic for more

than eighteen years. In ten short minutes of ministry she was totally delivered

and never drank again. The demon of addiction was cast out and she was free.

"Deliverance" became an identifying-mark of my new ministry. Everywhere I

went–South America, Central Asia, England, Africa--even without trying–

people were set free.


It happened at our services here in Boynton Beach. Where drug addicts,

alcoholics, deviates of every sort, came and found themselves blasted by the

power of God. It was not us; it was the Holy Spirit. These people frequently

displayed the same pattern of Mark 9:20, "falling to the ground and wallow

foaming." Ugly? Yes. Demons are that way. Others roared. "For unclean

spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with

them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed." Acts

8:7. We saw that happen. One Sunday night a long-term alcoholic was

suddenly delivered in that same fashion. Unfortunately, we also fulfilled this

following pattern as well:


"Now it happened on the next day, when they had come down from the

mountain, that a great multitude met Him. Suddenly a man from the multitude

cried out, saying, Teacher, I implore You, look on my son, for he is my only

child. And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out; it convulses

him so that he foams at the mouth; and it departs from him with great

difficulty, bruising him. So I implored Your disciples to cast it out, but they

could not. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation,

how long shall I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here. And as

he was still coming, the demon threw him down and convulsed him. Then

Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the child, and gave him back to his

father. And they were all amazed at the majesty of God." (Matthew 17:14-21;

Mark 9:14-29) Our reason for failure–like many others–is explained by these

Scriptures:


1. Lack of Faith: "Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse

generation, how long shall I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son

here." Matthew 17:17.


2. Fear Of Showing Their Ignorance: "But while everyone marveled at all the

things which Jesus did, He said to His disciples, Let these words sink down

into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of

men. But they did not understand this saying, and it was hidden from them so

that they did not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this

saying." Luke 9:43,44:


3. Pride: "Then a dispute arose among them as to which of them would be

greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a little child

and set him by Him, and said to them, Whoever receives this little child in My

name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For

he who is least among you all will be great." Luke 9:46.


4. Sectarianism: "Now John answered and said, Master, we saw someone

casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not

follow with us. But Jesus said to him, Do not forbid him, for he who is not

against us is on our side." Luke 9:49.

5. Unforgiveness And Desire For Revenge: "Now it came to pass, when the

time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to

go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they

entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not

receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when

His disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, do You want us to

command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah

did? But He turned and rebuked them, and said, You do not know what

manner of spirit you are of. The Son of Man did not come to destroy men's

lives but to save them. And they went to another village." Luke 9:51.


My recommendation is that you carefully check yourself for obstructions that

prevent your experiencing the power of God. When you discover them, repent,

and go forward expecting the glory and power of the Kingdom to be upon

you. It is God’s will that you walk in the fullness of everything He has

provided. Do it! – Chas


AMERICA’S AWESOME FOREFATHERS


Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the

Declaration of Independence? These patriots willingly put their names on the

document as they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, for

the cause of freedom. Read this list and pray that such men of integrity will

again direct our Nation:


Nine of the 56 signers fought and died from wounds or hardships of the

Revolution. Five were captured by the British, tortured, and died in prison.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in

the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Francis Lewis’ home and properties were destroyed, his wife captured and

died in prison.


John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13

children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were destroyed. For

more than a year he lived in forests and caves. When he returned home he

found his wife dead and their children vanished.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships

destroyed by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his

debts, and died in rags.


Vandal-soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton,

Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.


Thomas McKeam was constantly pursued by the British and forced to hide his

family in a number of secret locations. He served in the Congress without pay,

and his family was kept from him. His possessions were destroyed and he died

in poverty.


At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., learned that General

Cornwallis had captured his home converted it into the British headquarters.

He urged General Washington to open fire on the building. It was destroyed

and Nelson died bankrupt.


These men were patriots who loved America! Honor their memory by

thanking God for their sacrifice. Pray for the restoration of such men of

integrity to national leadership. Remember:


It is the soldier, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to

assemble.

It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the soldier, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.

It is the soldier, not the President, who has given us the right to bear arms.


Freedom Is Never Free!