Are You Missing Out?

by Kiplin Batchelor

“But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it” (John 12:4-6).

Judas said a good thing! Feeding the poor is kind, noble and praiseworthy. Who would not be impressed by such thoughtfulness for the less fortunate in society? To an undiscerning person, Judas is—at this time—a champion of social justice and a lover of the poor. However Jesus, Who always sees much deeper than what worshippers advertise, saw the hidden deceit behind Judas’ beautiful facade. Judas spoke with apparent compassion, but the truth is, while Mary bowed before Jesus in vulnerable and selfless worship, Jesus’ treasurer stood tall in self!

We often don’t think of a worship setting for something like this, but how many times do people say beautiful words that are intended to impress others, so they are perceived to be more than they really are? Judas could have kept silent as a mere observer in the room, but he opened his mouth and revealed his hidden deceit in the midst of worship. He not only wanted money, he wanted to appear good to Jesus and the influential crowd of Pharisees at dinner.

Judas is a humbling reminder that the stench of a wrong motive can be present while the fragrance of worship fills a room; Judas is a timely reminder that a worshipper’s heart can shift from Jesus the Divine treasure and be preoccupied with earthly Roman coins while doing ministry. He is a reminder that one’s proximity to Jesus doesn’t guarantee or equate to intimacy—we can be in the same room with Jesus, but our heart can be a thousand miles away. The difference between Mary and Judas is the difference between impressing people or loving Jesus, and all true worshippers must crossover to loving, if worship is truly worship.

Judas cheapens an opportunity to worship! Although his words may have impressed those who were close enough, it must have been disheartening for Jesus to hear his own inner-circle-follower market a great idea and a lovely self image—yet, all the while concealing theft, misappropriation of funds and betrayal. Unfortunately, Judas missed an incredible moment to join Mary in selfless worship at Jesus’ feet! Instead of being a participant who captures and seizes a moment in extravagant worship, he became a subtle, undermining critic! Like Michal who labeled David’s worshipful dance as undignified, Judas labeled Mary’s worshipful gift as a waste. What led him to think Jesus wasn’t worth a year’s salary? I have come to realize that those who struggle with God’s worth always struggle with worship. These are always the first to criticize and attack those who pour out all at the feet of His Majesty.

What is equally powerful in this story and many others in the Bible is that Jesus is not afraid, offended or incensed at His children displaying varying expressions in worship. The God of simple and quiet reflective moments in silence before Him is also the God of the exuberant and passionate worship. When He told the religious group to leave Mary alone, He allowed her to be unconventional, undignified, unrehearsed and unperturbed by her elitist environment, her terrible past and by the propriety that filled the room. Real worship kills self image, and it must do so, or we will see ourselves more than we see Him when He shows up.

Simon the Pharisee entertained Jesus over a meal, and Judas was distracted, but Mary bypassed all the pretentiousness and superficiality at the dinner and made worship her priority. One man invited Jesus to a meal, but one woman worshipped Him at that meal — there is a big difference! We must go beyond entertaining Jesus in our lovely auditoriums and actually worship without thinking our passionate expressions are too much. Mary saw her opportunity to worship Jesus, and she took it. Will you do the same? Don’t miss out on your opportunity to worship Him!

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Worship At A Higher Level

by LaMar Boschman

Recently, a well-known worship leader and CFNI graduate came to me with tears in her eyes. She said, “God has blessed me with favor and notoriety in my country. Young people see that and tell me they want to be famous like me. But I tell them I began as a worship leader in my local church; I just wanted to lead people into God’s presence.” Many young, aspiring musicians have the wrong impression of what worship is. Perhaps they have not been taught worship’s true essence. There is more to experience in worship than what we have today.

HIGHER GROUND

In my spirit I hear the Lord’s Bride cry out for a higher level of worship, where time passes quickly in His Eternal presence. It is worship beyond mortal music making and an encounter with celestial music makers in Heaven. It is a realm beyond the worship rhetoric of men and closer to worship lyrics of seraphs. It is a place where your spirit takes wings, and you hear the lyrics that cherubs sing.

There is a higher place of worship where singers lay prostrate and musicians fall upon their guitars crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy!” At this level, the worship of the people overpowers the performance on the platform. It is where worshipers sing outside the arrangement and musicians color outside the lines, because they see the Lord high and lifted up! It is about Jesus singing to His Father in the midst of His people, and we join His song.

It is a realm where Heaven and Earth kiss and signs and wonders break out, revealing that God is among us in power. It is a realm of worship where we don’t want it to stop, we feel so satisfied and content.

GOING HIGHER

Have you experienced that higher worship? Do you long for it? Do you know how to get there? I ask because some leaders or believers don’t. They might have tasted it. Enjoyed it. Wanted more of it. Prayed for it. But do they know what spiritual principles took them to that dimension?

I have discovered three things that will take you to a higher level of worship.

  1. Look up! The worship in Heaven is perfect, just like God likes it. Explore Heaven’s worship music — its characteristics, dynamics and content.

2. Study the principles of worship and music in the Bible. Take a course on the theology of worship or music and learn from the over one thousand mentions of music in the Bible.

 

3. Seek God in worship and prayer. Ask Him to show you the higher realm of worship. Without exception most revivals occurred as people hungered for God and waited on Him in song. In other words, when renewal comes, so do higher levels of worship and music making.

LaMar Boschman is a prolific author, keynote speaker and an adjunct teacher at CFNI for The Theology of Music and the Theology of Worship. He is a mentor to young leaders around the world. LaMarBoschman.com

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

CFNI Live Recording 42: Melody of Love

On February 10, hundreds of CFNI students, alumni, staff and Campus Days guests gathered in the Institute Building to be a part of the 42nd annual live worship recording. Our live recordings are always a highly anticipated event at Christ For The Nations, as worship is one of the foundational pillars of our ministry.

The dream of CFN’s founders, Gordon and Freda Lindsay, was to reach every tribe and nation with the message and power of the Gospel. One of the ways this vision has come to pass is through the worship music that comes out of Christ For The Nations. Over the years, songs from CFN have been translated in many different languages and have been sung all around the globe, touching thousands of lives.

Worship songs have a unique ability to capture the atmosphere of God’s presence and recreate it in homes, churches, cities and even countries. Phil King, one of the worship leaders featured on the album, gave voice to this: “This live recording was an extension of what we experience every day in chapel. The whole reason we hit ‘record’ was to capture it and send it out.”

Our 42nd live album, Melody of Love, is focused on two major themes: Songs like, There Is No One Like You, Melody of Love, There Is No Striving, Take Us In, and Incredible Love, talk about our passionate pursuit of God and knowing the depths of His love for us. The second part of the album features songs such as Every Tribe-Every Nation, I Give It All, Burn Spirit of God, and Let The Nations Rise, which encourage us to share this love with the world and to lift the name of Jesus in every nation.

What makes this live recording truly special is that most of the songs were written by CFNI students and alumni. Phil King, Jordan Stewart, Maddy Hunt, Kiplin Batchelor and others, in cooperation with a featured guest, Leeland Mooring, brought this project to life. Every song is a part of their lives and has a special story behind it. “We wanted to give songwriting back to the students,” said Robert Quintana, CFNI’s Creative Director.

Those gathered in the CFNI Institute Building the night of the recording experienced the powerful and gentle touch of God. One of the attendees, CFNI alumna, Celeste Ramirez, said, “CFNI does it again, making history and creating a beautiful sound of worship! One of the best albums yet! CFNI is a unique place where God’s presence is experienced daily in such a beautiful and humble way. This place holds so many memories and life-changing moments for me in times of worship … The Presence last night was just incredible!”

We pray that this recording will help you hear the Melody Of Love coming from the Father’s heart.

Mark your calendar for the album release on May 5!

Preorder Melody of Love today at cfnmusic.com/42.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

God Still Changes Lives

By Stephen Samuel

Is there a place on Earth that fosters the presence of God? Is there a place where Jesus still appears? Is there a summer camp that can change the heart of a troubled youth? At Christ For The Nations, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “YES!” In this article, Stephen Samuel shares his testimony of an encounter with Jesus at Youth For The Nations summer camp (YFN), showing the impact of providing a place for God to move and transform lives.

A Family Crisis

My family moved to the USA from South India in the 1980s. My brother and I learned English quickly, but it took us years to adapt to a drastically different culture. That reality hit me sharply while attending public school. I was the poorest, shortest and shyest kid in my class, so I quickly became an object of ridicule, and most of my classmates avoided me as if I had a communicable disease.

At that time, my little sister Peace was born. She suffered from many health problems and fought hard for her life. We enjoyed her laughs, her cute smile and celebrated her victories in many medical battles. However, the doctors’ predictions were not promising, and our only hope was God healing her.

One day, when I was eight years old, my mother ’s piercing scream woke me up early in the morning. I jolted out of my bunk bed, and my brother and I rushed into her room. We found her wailing with grief as Dad hung up the phone. Trembling, we heard the devastating news that our 3-year-old little sister had died a few moments earlier. The four of us knelt around my parents’ bed and did the only thing we knew to do. We prayed. We pleaded. We cried. Then we hurriedly dressed and rushed to the hospital.

When I walked into the hospital room, I saw Peace. I tried to convince myself that she was only asleep. I placed my little fingers on her cold forehead and was struck with the realization that she was gone. I cried all the tears that I had on the two-hour drive back home; the wells of sorrow erupted deep within me. I prayed to the only One Who could save my sister ’s life, but He did not answer.

A week later, I was back in school. I walked up the long stairway toward my class. I didn’t dare lift up my head; it seemed like everybody was staring at me. The teacher met me at the door. She put her hand on my shoulder and said, “I’m so sorry, Stephen.” That simple act of kindness was too much for me. I turned and rushed down the hallway into the boy’s bathroom. Crouched in the corner, I cried bitterly, asking the questions that come with every tragedy: “What kind of God would allow this to happen to me? Wasn’t He supposed to keep us from evil?”

Slowly, time muted the anguish, but my wound grew deeper and evolved from grief to anger. There was a deep rage seething inside of me toward one person — God. I was broken and feared relationships. I was afraid to be hurt again and resolved never to open my heart. My solitude consumed me for years. I dressed in dark colors and spoke very little. I struggled at school; I felt like I didn’t measure up to my classmates.

The harshness of racism in our community only affirmed the pain in my heart. We would often find our front yard littered with trash — beer bottles, fast food remnants, dirty diapers and other filthy things. I had no idea why people would do that to us. Then a neighbor told me, “It’s because ya’ll ain’t white.” I also saw church people do malicious things to my parents, who were pastors. Church splits, betrayals, blatant manipulation . . . time after time these incidents were killing the little hope I had of happiness.

My dad was a hard worker, and from an early age my brother and I were buried in work. From studying to cutting grass, to menial chores around the house or church, I worked hard to keep my mind busy. In my free time, I would find a dark corner in my room and simply sit there pondering the great sorrow within me. Suicide became a common thought. My parents, themselves burdened with the loss of a child and feeling the weight of poverty and the responsibility of running a church, noticed that something was wrong and tried to help me as much as they could. But it wasn’t enough. None of us knew what to do.

The Week That Changed Everything

In 1994, I turned 16. That summer, a small youth group invited me to a camp called Youth For The Nations. There were cute girls in that youth group, and that was the only reason I agreed to join them, never realizing that this one week would transform my life.

After arriving on the campus of Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, the first activity was the evening worship service. The speaker that night was Greg Johnson, a man I had never heard of before, but I was pretty sure he was going to preach one of a thousand sermons that I had already heard. So I proceeded to do what I normally did during church — daydream, count the squares on the tiled ceiling, and ask myself, “Why am I here?”

Then Greg said something that captured my attention: “Listen to me, some of you have been fighting suicide, you have fought God, and you are angry with Him.” He went on to fully describe the depression and anger in my soul. I gazed at him critically, resisting his words. I thought, “He doesn’t know what I have gone through!”

“But God sees you,” Greg replied as if reading my mind. Then he called everyone who wanted to “surrender to Jesus” to come forward. I had heard that call a hundred times before. I didn’t move. Greg extended the call again. Not really understanding what I was doing or why, I slowly made my way to the front. When I reached the platform, I called out for the first time in years, “Jesus, if You really want me, I have nothing to give to You.”

With that confession, I knelt down under a heavy weight of dark oppression. That moment, I felt my heart’s pain intensifying. The loss, the betrayal, the wounds . . . all those negative feelings were overpowering. Then, suddenly, a powerful sensation of heat, like a blanket, fell on my back. The weight of the darkness dissipated under an unfamiliar healing touch, and I slowly lifted my head to find that I was bowing at the feet of Jesus.

“Stephen,” He said, “Before you were formed in your mother ’s womb, I called you and ordained you a prophet to the nation. Follow Me.” In that moment, He dispelled every shadow of fear. My body began to tremble, and tears poured down my face for what seemed like hours. I realized that the Jesus standing in front of me was not the distant, indifferent god that I had so bitterly accused in my thoughts. When I saw Him, I knew that He was everything I’d ever needed. When I rose up from that place of prayer, I felt alive again, as if I had awakened from years of hopelessness. The horrible season of pain and fear ended, and a new journey began as I stepped out of the darkness and into His light.

Where Is He Now?

Stephen has a heart for missions that was planted in him at YFN. In addition to leading numerous mission trips overseas, he serves as a Campus Pastor with Chi Alpha Ministries at Lamar University and is the Missions Director at Cathedral Church in Beaumont, Texas. Over the years, he has brought many teens to YFN to experience the same life-changing presence of God that transformed him.

To  learn more  about CFNI’s summer youth camps, go to youthforthenations.com.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

If We Remember Zion

By Maria Erokhina

One of the most remarkable things about the recent inauguration of the 45th American President, Donald Trump, was the prayer of Rabbi Marvin Hier. It was the first time since 1985 that a rabbi invoked a blessing at such an important historic event. “Eternal God, bless President Donald J. Trump and America, our great nation,” Rabbi Hier started his benediction. Among other declarations, he also cited Psalm 137: “By the rivers of Babylon, we wept as we remembered Zion. If I forget thee, Oh, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.” What a powerful statement that was!

Throughout the Bible we find God lovingly call the nation of Israel “Zion.” The name Zion refers to a hill in Jerusalem. When God speaks about Zion, He is describing the very heart of His nation.

“Zion!” I can only imagine the tone of God’s voice when He pronounces this name. Waves of love, passion, mercy and jealousy are mingled in it. The truth is, God has never removed the nation of Israel from His front burner, as shown in Isaiah 49:14-16. “But Zion said, ‘…My Lord has forgotten me.’ Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.”

Unfortunately, the nation of Israel has been forgotten by  many countries, including America. Even the Body of Christ is guilty! It’s scary to ponder the years that Israel has been neglected, despised, persecuted, suffered pogroms and the Holocaust. Its very existence has been questioned since its inception. The world has overlooked the fact that the land that lawfully belongs to Israel (historically and according to God’s ordinance) has been inhabited by hostile strangers. We condemned Israel for claiming her rights. We introduced sanctions; we gathered troops; we threatened and manipulated; we ignored her interests. Under the mask of guarding peace, we took upon ourselves the right to decide what is right or wrong for Israel, while God had already spoken about it in His Word.

Zechariah 2:8 makes a strong statement: “For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.’” We can see that God is not passive when it pertains to His people. His wrath rages against those who rob and devastate Israel; everyone who harms it, pokes God in the eye!

With America’s new President, there’s hope that Israel will be remembered again. Let us pray that the hearts of our government officials will be aligned with God’s heart toward  His  nation. Let us pray that after so many years of neglect, America will finally remember Zion, not only in words, but in action. Let us pray that America will be a nation that stands with Israel, defends her interests and protects her! Because if we bless Israel, we will truly be blessed.

CFNI travels to Israel every year. To be part of this powerful trip and learn more about the biblical history of Israel, go to cfni.org/israeltour.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Promises of Psalm 91

By Gordon Lindsay

“He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).

There is a glorious land of which few Christians are aware. Job spoke of it when he said, “No bird of prey knows that hidden path; no falcon’s eye has seen it. Proud beasts do not set foot on it, and no lion prowls there” (Job 28:7-8). Job goes on to say that the natural man does not know where this path is, but God reveals it to those that fear Him (verses 13-28).

The 91st Psalm is the wonder chapter of the Bible and is a favorite of Bible lovers. But although millions have read its words and are aware of its glorious promises, most have not seen those promises fulfilled in their lives. What is the reason? The promises are only available to those that dwell in the secret place. The door to the secret place of the Most High, that glorious land, is found in only one approach – the pathway of faith and absolute surrender to the will of God. Not many choose to walk in this pathway, for it appears to be a lonely one. But great are the privileges of those who boldly press into the secret place of the Most High.

A Refuge and a Fortress

First of all, this secret place is one of security. “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’” People today are seeking security in the world in which there seems to be none. But he who takes refuge in the fortress of God will find that no enemy can penetrate its defenses. It is a true refuge, a shelter in the time of storm. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10).

Deliverance From Snares

Some years ago, while conducting a series of meetings in a desert town of Arizona, we were invited by a trapper to accompany him while he set his traps. During the time we were with him, we didn’t see a single wild animal except for the omnipresent jackrabbit, even though many animals had their lairs in the desert. These keen-scented beasts of the wilds would catch our scent and be gone long before we were near enough to see them. But the trapper was not troubled. He knew the ways of the desert. With his gun he brought down a scampering jackrabbit. Its fur was worthless, of course, but our guide had another purpose in mind.

Laying his gun aside, he put on his gloves, disemboweled the rabbit, tied a string around it and began a trek down the arroyo, dragging the rabbit behind him. This naturally left a strong scent along the creek bed. At intervals, he would pause and lay down a trap, covering it lightly with leaves. He repeated his performance several times as we continued down the arroyo. Next morning, some of the traps held prey that had been ensnared during the night. The wary animals could not be captured by direct means, but were easily ensnared when the proper methods were used.

Satan also knows just what traps to set for the wary as well as the unwary. But he who lives in the promises of the 91st Psalm has no reason to be afraid. “Surely,” says the psalmist, “He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler.”

He Shall Cover You With His Feathers

“He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge.” One of the most touching illustrations that the Lord used when revealing His love for a people who had rejected Him is found in Luke 13:34: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” That tender love, which was thoughtlessly spurned by the inhabitants of Jerusalem, is for all those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High.

The love of such a simple creature as a mother hen is a compelling witness to the fact that the Creator of the universe possesses strong attributes of love. Some years ago, on the great prairies of the West, a fire got out of control, and fanned by the wind, it rolled across the plains with menacing speed. There was only one thing the homesteaders could do and that was to flee before the path of the flames. There was no time to take anything with them. Later, one of the ranchers came back to view the ruins and happened to kick aside a charred hulk. To his utter amazement, several little chicks ran out unharmed, having been protected from the passing fire by the mother hen who herself had perished in the flames. The little creature had seen the fire and fully realized the danger. But a stronger instinct than fear caused the hen to throw her wings over her charges in a desperate effort to save them. The lives of her brood were worth more to her than her own.

Once, a fire passed through the Earth – the fire of sin – the flames of which were so intense that they could easily take the lives of all who dwelt there. However, God, in His great love, took the full force of the holocaust and spread His wings to save all who would take refuge in Him. Having saved them, He now watches over His own day and night, for they are the apple of His eye.

His Truth Shall Be Your Shield and Buckler

The secret of the 91st Psalm lies in the believer’s loving obedience to the laws given by the Lord, for His commandments are not too heavy to bear. But how many Christians are committed to obey the entire Word of God? The truth is that too many obey the commands of the Master only when it appears not to cost them too much, and so, they stop short of entering into that place of safety and security.

However, as one prayerfully commits his way to the Word and will of God, he begins to see things change. The law of the kingdom begins to operate in his favor. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Gradually, the terrible complications of life begin to work themselves out. And as one sees God’s power working in his favor, his soul finds rest and peace.

You Shall Not Be Afraid

The world is full of fears. Even many Christians are afflicted with fears of all sorts. There are many church members who have a deadly fear of the devil. Some are afraid that they can succumb to a terminal disease when they have nothing of the kind.

These people live marginal Christian lives. It is only when trouble comes that they frantically look to the Lord to rescue them. And often He does, on an emergency basis, but there is a better way.

No Plague Shall Come Near Your Dwelling

“No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.”

Is it necessary for men to be plagued by accident, misfortune, disaster and pestilence? Not if he dwells within the secret place of the Most High, as implied in the words of this amazing psalm. The enemy who challenged Christ will surely challenge His followers. But these things shall not overcome the believer; rather he shall overcome them. “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble.” Glorious promise! The Lord will not only send help, but will come Himself and stay until the enemy flees in ignominious rout. “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”

The psalm tells us another great secret – the fact that angels guard those who dwell in the secret place. Most people who fall into sin do so when they think no one is observing them. They forget that angels are watching. It is quite probable that some Christians go to places where angels are unable to accompany them. When one gets on the devil’s territory, the enemy can take advantage of his vulnerability. Indeed, such people have deliberately exposed themselves to attack.

You Shall Tread Upon the Lion and the Cobra

“You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.”

So far, we have considered the protection offered by God to His children. Now we learn of something even greater. We are granted power to triumph over our foe. Jesus said, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19).

Many people have a fear of what the devil may do to them. They are haunted by complexes and feel defeated. How different is God’s plan for His people! Humanity was not created to be weak, cringing creatures, subject to sickness, disease, oppression, depression, evil habits and the deception of the devil. When God created people, He made them in His own image and destined them to have dominion over the Earth. Humanity has lost that dominion through sin, and the image of God has been marred.

All that humanity has lost through the fall, however, is regained in Christ. God’s purpose for His people is that they should regain their lost dominion, to become victorious and triumphant in Christ forever. For those who dwell in the secret place, this great promise is realized. Instead of fearing the devil, they can resist him – and he will run away, not just walk away (James 4:7).

The Psalm concludes with a final note. “With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” It is a long life, a godly life, for it is nothing else but life eternal. When his body, this old tenement of clay, finally crumbles to dust, his spirit, youthful, undimmed with age, will receive the glorified body which the Lord will give at His Coming. Happy is the person that has chosen to dwell in the secret place of the Most High. He shall taste of the joys of life eternal to the fullest and shall share in its everlasting delights.

This article is taken from the August 1972 issue of Christ For The Nations magazine.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Life Poured Out

(the story of Michael Lombardo)

by Maria Erokhina

The greatest quest of his life started with one encounter…an encounter that sparked a flame in his heart, a burning desire to make Jesus known. Today, his passion is to tell everyone about the fullness of life that can be found in Christ.

Not Alone in the Room

Michael grew up in a Christian home in New Jersey. In his teenage years, the world became more attractive to him than Christianity, and he went down the wrong path. He tried alcohol, relationship after relationship, even taking and dealing drugs. He thought these things would fill the void in his heart, and they did…but only for a while, leaving him broken, lonely and empty. Depression became his constant companion, pushing him to the brink of hopelessness. He started to hate his life.

His parents continued to pray for him, and Michael credits those prayers with saving his life. He truly believes that God preserved him in several life-threatening accidents, where the cars were totaled but he came out scratch-free. “It woke me up,” he says, “It made me think that God was with me, even though I wasn’t serving Him.”

Finally, he decided to give God a chance. One night, he prayed desperately, “If You’re real, I need You right now!” Michael thought he was alone in his room, but he wasn’t. All of his fears and anxiety left as the glorious presence of God filled the atmosphere. He was overwhelmed with God’s love, peace and joy. Then he heard God speak for the first time, “Son, I have plans for your life.” God delivered Michael from “sinful baggage” that day and restored every area of his life. From then on, Jesus has been his pursuit.

 From the Prayer Room to the Mission Field

The first worship album that Michael heard after his encounter with the Lord was Christ For The Nations’ album Overtaken featuring Kari Jobe, Rick Pino and Klaus Kuehn. “Listening to that beautiful worship, I cried like a baby in the presence of God,” he remembers. God began to speak to him about attending CFNI.

The youth that Michael shared the Gospel with during his first mission trip to Thailand

“CFNI has changed my life forever. I wanted to get the most out of my time there, to separate myself and get trained for my calling, but above all, I desired to know God. I spent a lot of time in prayer and worship, and my friends started calling me a ‘prayer room guy.’ I joined the evangelism team and began to step out and push myself beyond fears and comfort to do what the Lord has called me to do,” he says.

While at CFNI, Michael took his first mission trip to Asia, and that experience lit a fire in him to reach the world for Christ. When he graduated from CFNI in 2012, he got involved with missionary work. He’s served with such ministries as Iris Global, Global Awakening and others, and preached the Gospel in many places around the world. He met his wife Selina on the mission field. Their love for God and passion for the lost, broken and orphaned make them a powerful team. Together, they’ve witnessed many people saved, transformed, delivered and healed.

Walking In Divine Destiny

Preaching to the indigenous people of Bicol, Philippines

The Lombardos were doing missionary work in Cambodia when they found out they were expecting a baby. At that time, God showed Michael a vision of a fire spreading across America. They both knew God was calling them back to the USA.

In America, their beautiful daughter, Selah Gloria, was born. Michael also brought to life a project that God had put on his heart seven years prior – he wrote the book Born For More. He says, “The purpose of Born For More is to impart in believers a hunger for more than just going to church, working and doing life; a hunger for constant fellowship with God. Once we establish an intimate relationship with God, everything else will flow out of it, come naturally…The most life-changing revelation for me was that God loves me and longs for me. When I realized that, guilt and condemnation left me, and He became my passion. I wouldn’t even want to reach the lost and do the works of God if I didn’t walk intimately with Him.”

Together Michael and Selina founded Life Poured Out (a nonprofit organization based in New Jersey) with the mission to “reach the lost, ignite the church, serve the poor.” “The name, Life Poured Out, came from the truth that just as Christ poured out His life for us, we, in turn, can pour out our lives for Him. So many believers ‘get stuck’ in the four walls of the church while God is moving us to go into all the world, preach the gospel, drive out demons, lay hands on the sick…Our passion is to preach the gospel and to empower the Church to walk in Her divine destiny,” says Michael.

Leaving A Mark

Talking about the legacy he wants to leave, Michael says, “I want to be remembered as someone who looks like Jesus, shines His light and makes a difference in the world, but also, as a man who loves his family well. I want to bring as many to the Kingdom as possible, and pass the baton to my children.”

He adds, “Life is a process and a journey, but in every season let Him teach you, transform you and prepare you for what’s ahead.”

To learn more about Michael and Selina’s ministry, visit lifepouredoutintl.org.

 

 

 

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

CFN Foundational Pillars: Prayer

By Dennis Lindsay

DAD – A MAN OF PRAYER

As a kid, I often remember seeing my dad praying over an open Bible. I could hear him praying in his room, above mine, morning and night. He would pray alone or with mom. Dad wrote a number of books on prayer – Prayer That Moves Mountains was his No. 1 requested book. His most famous prayer quote was, “Every person ought to pray at least one violent prayer each day.” Why? Our challenges are not against “flesh and blood;” they’re against demons of hell.

I personally have grown to understand this biblical precept as an essential necessity for every believer ’s life. Dad’s tombstone reads, “Man of Prayer.” In our campus missions building we have dedicated a prayer room in his honor. The men’s dormitory is also named in honor of Dad. Someday, I
hope to have a full-size statue of him, kneeling before an open Bible in the dorm’s lobby. Guests and students will see it every day – going to and returning from classes.

MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT

Many miracles occurred in my family. I’m convinced that dad’s prayers were the key to us receiving supernatural manifestations. Example: It was the final week of my junior year in high school. I was taking a friend home on the buddy seat of my motorcycle. I was in the fast lane on a six-lane boulevard, at 5 p.m., during rush hour. A large delivery truck had slowed to a stop in the middle lane of an intersection to let a car pass in front of it. Unfortunately, the truck now blocked the view. Traveling at 35 miles an hour, I was suddenly struck by a car moving through the intersection that hadn’t been able to see me. I went sailing through the air and landed on the opposite side of the median. My friend on the buddy seat was pinned under the car, suffered major injuries and was in a cast all summer. I only received a few scratches and a sprained ankle.

After my dad received a call from the hospital, he told me that he had been on his knees praying for me — he didn’t know why. Dad was in communication with the Holy Spirit because of his prayer life.

MOM: HER GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE EXPERIENCE

After Dad graduated to Heaven, Mom was elected the president of Christ For The Nations. Later, she was confronted with some major challenges. The vice president of our ministry elected himself as chairman, the director of the Institute wanted to be the sole authority over the school, and one of the faculty members began telling the student body that healing wasn’t for all of God’s children.

These tough challenges, along with Dad’s passing, caused Mom to do what she knew to do — pray. The Lord heard her prayers and turned things around. Many years later, a well-known minister apologized to her for saying that CFNI would close down within a year or two. Mom accepted his apology saying, “The devil told me the same thing.”

Every believer will have an opportunity for a Gethsemane, which needs passionate prayer to break opposing powers. Biblical examples include: Jacob, Job, Jonah, Joshua, Jeremiah and Jesus. The reward for passing the exam is spiritual authority. Mom became a mother of the faith and was respected for her anointing as a female leader in the Kingdom of God.

Her life is one amazing miracle after another of God’s supernatural deliverance. She prayed, stayed in faith and God used her to build an anointed ministry.

YOURS TRULY

Prayer is so much a part of our family that it is just second nature. Since I never received any medicine for sickness while growing up, other than cod liver oil, I never think of taking anything. I just take it to the Lord in prayer.

People often ask me why I think the healing movement of the 40s and 50s subsided. I believe we have been educated and indoctrinated away from the Word of God. Doctors, medicine, Medicare and Medicaid have replaced the power of prayer and God’s Word. I thank the Lord for my rich spiritual heritage and continue to make the principles of faith and prayer a vital part of my life. This is why I have made prayer one of the 12 pillars of Christ For The Nations. God uses doctors and the medical profession, but we should never neglect to pray.

SPIRITUAL BAR MITZVAH 

Returning from Youth With A Mission in 1973, I had aspirations to lead. In 1985, Mom asked the Board to elect me as CFN’s president. I soon learned that I had a title with no authority. The Holy Spirit directed me to flow with Mom’s leading. Like David, after he was anointed king, he went back to feeding the sheep. The Lord put a number of spiritual counselors around to help me, and in time, learned what spiritual authority was about.

During the next 15 years I encountered three “overthrow” attempts. However, the Holy Spirit intervened. If the enemy cannot destroy a ministry from without, he will seek to destroy it from within. In each case I learned the importance of prayer and the supernatural power that comes from God’s hand to destroy the enemy’s plans.

A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

When it comes to having a reformation in one’s life — how does one’s prayer life fit in with one’s daily devotional life? Is prayer simply a call for help, or is it a time of intimacy? One important aspect of developing an effective prayer life is a relationship with the Holy Spirit, which involves character building. God will bless you in the early stages of your prayer life with answers. However, if the answers stop, maybe it’s because God is waiting for character to develop.

If anyone fails to develop in their integrity, it is just a matter of time before the enemy knocks them out. Once one develops character, then comes understanding the importance of nights of prayer, early morning prayer, fasting and times of intense spiritual warfare. The bottom line is to never stop praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

The language that moves Heaven is prayer.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

A Message For the Church of America

by Laura Smith

I think we all realize that wickedness in America has grown to a breaking point, and that God’s judgment on our nation is impending. As Christians we are saddened, but what can we do?  There is so much rebellion against God!  We see it everywhere and shake our heads, but what can we do? Many of us have given up hope for America, but we are consoled by the fact that our own salvation is secure. We know where we are going…right?

This is a message for the Church of America.

God wants to save America.

He has not lost hope for America. How can we be sure of that? There are three reasons. First, it is not God’s will to destroy America. We know from Scripture that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  Second, God is compassionate. In particular, He has compassion on those in America who don’t know any better. When God threatened to destroy Nineveh, but later relented, He exclaimed to Jonah, “Should I not have compassion on this great city where there are 120,000 who do not know their right hand from their left?” Third, our freedom to worship Him is precious. I believe that this freedom is very important to God – something that He does not want us to lose. When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, it was for the express purpose of worshipping Him. “Let My people go that they may worship Me” is repeated at least seven times in the Book of Exodus. This freedom is a priceless commodity.

Does America deserve judgment? Absolutely! But we know from Scripture that God may relent and be merciful to us once again.

In Jeremiah, chapter 18, God says, “If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned” (Jeremiah 18:7-8).

So it is possible that God would relent, but only if the nation repents. And therein lies the problem. How can we, the people of God, bring about the repentance of this nation? It’s impossible! But it’s not… because our God also promised, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”(2 Chronicles 7:14).

As God’s people, we have the ability to cause God to relent, and to bring about the healing of our land. And here is the best part! It is not through any great or unusual feat on our part. It is not through mass evangelism or preaching or political change or legislative change. It is not through letters to your congressman or even rallying Christians to vote. Those are all good things, but that is not what God is saying. God is telling us that it is through our own personal relationship with Him that He will save America. Listen to it again.

“If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

If this verse is true, then the fate of America hinges upon us, the Church. It depends on each of us individually humbling ourselves and praying and seeking God’s face and turning from our own wicked ways. God is looking to us.

Now everything I’ve said so far is biblical and is really without question, but what I am about to say is by the Spirit of God. I believe that God has shown this to me, and it is merely an indicator of the timeliness of this message. Hopefully, as I proceed, the Holy Spirit will confirm the same to you.

I believe that God is giving us a window of opportunity between now and the Presidential election. A new President in office creates a turning point in our history, so it is obviously a crucial event. This time, right now, is our opportunity to humble ourselves and pray; we have the opportunity to move the hands of God by prayer. We have the opportunity to preserve America for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Don’t give up on America! You are the salt of the Earth. Draw near to your God and preserve America.

I believe that the current popularity of burlap is a sign of the times. Just in case you haven’t noticed, burlap is very popular in decorating right now. You can find it anywhere they sell crafts, fabrics, decorations and home furnishings. You may have some in your home. We have it on the tables in the parish hall. People are using it in weddings. You can find burlap in magazines and catalogs and Wal-Mart and Target. It is everywhere.

Burlap is a modern-day sackcloth. Sackcloth was worn in the Bible times to signify humility, repentance and sorrow. I believe that God has brought about the current popularity of burlap as a sign of our need to humble ourselves and as a sign of this window of opportunity. I am hoping that you will be reminded of this message when you see burlap.

The story of Nineva, recorded in the Book of Jonah, chapter three, is a great example for us of how a people humbled themselves and repented—and God relented. It’s also a great example of how a king, or a president, could lead his nation back to God. But do notice that in this story, it was the people who first believed God and humbled themselves. Then the king followed suit.

God wants to save America and that He is giving us, His people, a window of opportunity between now and the Presidential election where we may influence God to preserve America using this formula: “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Please join me in humbling yourself and praying and turning from your wicked ways. What wicked ways? We all have them, but it is hard to see our own faults. I suggest adding to your prayers this prayer of David, “Search me O God and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts, see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Let’s stop pointing our fingers and shaking our heads at the wickedness of our culture and get on a mission to draw close to God and clean up our own lives. This is not about them. It is about us… His people… His Church.

 

The Plan For Prayer and Fasting For Our Nation

Church,

The Lord has given us a plan to prepare for the Presidential election. This plan is for all of us, whosoever will.

The plan is to fast for three days: Oct. 12, 13 and 14, and then for each church family to hold a solemn assembly on Saturday, Oct, 15 at 8 a.m. The fast is to be a water-only fast and the emphasis of the fast is to be personal repentance.

The assembly is to be a humble prayer meeting, and God has given us very specific instructions for that meeting:

  • There is to be no makeup
  • No jewelry
  • No hats
  • People are to wear plain clothes or burlap
  • There is to be singing, but no music – voices only
  • There is to be prayer and the spontaneous reading of Scripture (especially those Scriptures that the Lord impresses upon people during the fast)
  • The gifts of the Holy Spirit are to be allowed to operate in this meeting

The Lord has promised, “If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Our Father has told us clearly what we are to do. Let us be obedient to Him in all things.

Grace and peace be to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.  May you all be filled with the Holy Spirit to overflowing.

Amen.

Please share this announcement with the body of Christ.

CONTACT:
Laura Smith
904-335-0586
jamielaurasmith@yahoo.com

Facebook Page: Prayer & Fasting for our Nation.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Shut the Door

by Brian Francis Hume

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.  Jesus Christ

We all look for doors of breakthrough to walk through. Doors of promotion. Doors of opportunities. Doors of ministry.

I sense in my spirit that the Lord is calling many to “SHUT THE DOOR and pray to your Father” (Matthew 6:6). The Lord wants unhindered time with His sons and daughters, right now!—that means all unnecessary distractions removed for an extended season. I see much grace extended by the Lord in the secret place as we humble ourselves before Him. Deep, personal renewal in the Lord.

This is the door to minister unto the Lord in the secret place.

Paul had his Macedonian call in the night (Acts 16:9)—many are about to encounter the Lord in a similar fashion. This is the breakthrough many have been crying out for. It is the breakthrough to know His clarion call for your life in this immediate season.

Behind SHUT DOORS, the Lord is going to issue life-altering clarion calls. For some the call will be geographical in nature. For others it will be to university campuses scattered about. And for some it will be to a nation abroad—or simply a city in the next state over. Others will be called to specific industries to bear His glorious image in media, government, education and entertainment. Regardless of where, it is a call that originates in the heart of the Father.

Read the words of Acts 16:9 and allow the words to penetrate your spirit so faith arises in your heart to seize your calling from the Lord: “A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’”

“Come…and help us” is the clarion call you must hear from the Lord in the secret place.

We must come into the full reality of Matthew 6:6 in this immediate season: “But when you pray, go into your room and SHUT THE DOOR and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” It is the call to seek Him in the secret place.

Our call to Him must precede our call to them. Why? Our ministry to Him in private always precedes our ministry to them in public.

Shut doors precede effectual doors. As you SHUT THE DOOR, you will be able to declare that “a WIDE DOOR for effective work [will open] to me” (I Corinthians 16:9).

When we hear our Macedonian call in the secret place, we’ll recognize those “wide doors” that we must go through that lead us to effective kingdom work.

We thereby must shut the door. Pray. Seek His face. And cultivate our secret history in the Lord. From the secret place, the Lord will entrust us with His Macedonian call to “come over to…help us.” Then we possess the depth of Christlikeness necessary to walk through effective doors of breakthrough so that the “news about Him [will] spread throughout all” nations (Matthew 4:24).

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.