Maturing Toward Wholeness in the Inner Life
Restore the Ancient Anointings
2 – The phrase seemed to carry a prophetic call. It came during the early years of returning with Hanna to her home region of Germany—the Eifel.
3 – To Hanna, a Jewish Holocaust survivor, the Eifel felt like a very dark place. She had lived her first seven years there under the Nazis.
4 – In the year 2000 God began to lead her to return. We spent some days in her home town of Gemünd. We had no idea of what God was about to do.
5 – We felt God leading us to return the following summer—2001. We began to pray in each place in Gemünd that held painful memories for Hanna.
6 – Her family home had been on the Dreibornerstrasse. In the school yard Jewish children had been threatened. We prayed in the Jewish cemetery.
7 – We went to the cinema where Hanna and her friend Ruth had been denied entrance to see “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” No Jews allowed!
8 – We prayed at the synagogue site. Hanna used to walk there holding her father’s hand. She was in Gemünd when it was burned—November 9, 1938.
9 – We invited Jesus into each space, asking him to dispel the darkness and live there in his redeeming Presence. In prayer healing went deeper.
10 – Hanna (and I) began to pray prayers of blessing. “Come Lord Jesus. Redeem the past. Manifest your kingdom. Bless the Eifel and its people.”
11 – A Jewish follower of the Jewish Messiah had returned, in fulfillment of God’s calling to her people Israel—to bless the Gentiles. Genesis 12:3
12 – The next summer—2002—we felt the Lord leading us to return to Gemünd with intercessors. Thus five summers of prayer days in the Eifel began.
13 – In 2006 we sensed the Lord speaking through the words of Genesis 31:3, “Return to the land of your fathers…and I will be with you.”
14 – We asked the Lord what this meant. Where would we live? Where would the money come from? His answer: I will give you everything you need.
15 – We rented an apartment. We began to spend 4-6 months a year in the Eifel in a ministry of reconciliation, praying for spiritual renewal.
16 – What will it look like for God’s blessing—his forgiveness, grace, healing, new life—to flow freely among the people of the Eifel?
17 – Many will become alive in Christ. But that will present new challenges. Who will be among them able to disciple new believers to maturity?
18 – The more we prayed the more we realized the Eifel was not yet ready for a new move of God. The next step was to make preparations.
When Christian Confession Does Not Mature Into Christlikeness
19 – We had seen it all before. Great moves of God have turned into train-wrecks due to inadequately-formed character, especially among leaders.
20 – In 1972 we took the ship LOGOS to the Indonesian island of Timor. We heard of a powerful move of the Spirit there—miracles, healings, etc.
21 – Upon our arrival, we asked knowledgeable people about the revival. “It’s over!” they said. Why? “Lust for power, sexual immorality, greed.”
22 – An Austrian historian researched causes of moral failure among Medieval clergy. Her conclusion: Lust for power, sexual immorality, greed.
23 – Sadly this describes well-known church situations in the US today. Leaders are being de-railed by lust for power, sexual immorality, greed.
24 – How can this be? How can we study (and teach!) Jesus and still not get it? How can we act as though Christlike character is irrelevant?
25 – Can it be? Multitudes never find their way to inner wholeness because they are taught by ministers who have never found it themselves?
26 – No. The Eifel is not yet ready for a move of God. This is a time of preparation. Ministers must be identified and matured in Christlikeness.
27 – In this way, unknown to us, Maturing toward Wholeness in the Inner Life was in the process of being born.
Spiritual Strongholds—Hard Ground
28 – Hanna and I spent the first 20 years of our ministry lives focused on evangelism. First was Europe—Italy, France, Belgium, UK, et. al.
29 – Hanna spent two years in Israel. I went to India. Later she joined me there. We married. We oversaw outreach teams throughout the country.
30 – As senior leaders in a ministry with 2,000 workers, we also had in-depth relationships with ones serving throughout the Middle East.
31 – Europe. Middle East. India. Hard areas for evangelism. Little fruit. Why? Hard ground! The seed was being sown on soil that was unprepared.
32 – One day in Bombay (today Mumbai) I organized local Christians to give out tracts at city train stations. We gave out 500,000—in one day!
33 – The next day I walked through the city. Was it any different? Had any of the seed taken root? I wonder the same today—some 40 years later.
34 – The next chapter in our lives was ships. In 1971 I was asked to be director of the ship LOGOS. Our ministry was evangelism and discipleship.
35 – LOGOS carried 140 workers from 20 countries. We focused our outreach in the hardest areas—Asia, India, Middle East, Europe.
36 – God taught us how to develop leaders. We soon assembled the leadership core for a second ship. In 1977 God gave us DOULOS with 325 workers.
37 – We led the LOGOS and DOULOS teams for fifteen years. The ships carried out 40 programs a year. We ministered in scores of countries.
38 – In 1985 we completed our service with LOGOS and DOULOS. God was taking us to his next assignment. In 1987 Antioch Network was born.
39 – Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. He used words, then demonstrated the kingdom’s Presence through miracles, healings, etc.
40 – Transformed lives are manifestations of the kingdom’s Presence. Christlikeness formed in broken people (all of us) is a miracle of healing.
41 – Christlikeness is indispensable to
- the message preached
- the preacher’s life
- the fruit of the preaching
- the Christian community.
42 – For many years of my ministry life I held the historic church in dishonor. I saw her as being in error—dead! I confess this to my shame.
43 – God began to address my sin and ignorance by a trip through history. He began with the desert fathers. The life of St. Anthony gripped me.
44 – Anthony of Egypt (251-356). The surrounding culture was forming Anthony apart from God. He chose not to allow it. He withdrew to the desert.
45 – In the solitude of the desert God taught Anthony wisdom. Many sought him out. Some joined him. They became the desert fathers and mothers.
46 – John the Beloved (6-100). Some view Anthony as heir to John’s legacy. John leaned on Jesus’ breast—the apostle of the contemplative life.
47 – Polycarp (69-155) was John’s spiritual son. John ordained him Bishop of Smyrna. Polycarp was burned at the stake for his faith at age 86.
48 – Irenaeus (130-202), Bishop of Lyon, was discipled by Polycarp. So three generations after Jesus, John’s legacy had reached Anthony’s century.
49 – I sought to trace John’s legacy beyond Anthony. Some historians suggest a close connection between the desert fathers and the Celtic Church.
50 – Patrick of Ireland (389-461) was born in England. Sold into slavery in Ireland, he escaped, but later returned as a missionary bishop.
51 – Patrick
- founded churches
- and monasteries
- did spiritual battle against paganism
- became father to the Irish church.
52 – Patrick’s apostolic authority was fueled by Trinitarian devotion. His Breastplate: I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity.
53 – Columba (521-597), one of “Twelve Apostles of Ireland,” founded a monastery at Iona. It became a center of Celtic worship and outreach.
54 – Aidan (?-651), sent from Iona, founded a monastery at Lindisfarne in northeast England. It too became a fountain of apostolic initiatives.
55 – The spiritual vitality of the Celtic Church began to spill over into missionary initiatives to northern England and the continent of Europe.
56 – Willibrord (658-739) evangelized in the Eifel! At Daufenbach he planted a cross at a pagan worship site in a river and baptized converts.
57 – I share all this only to chronicle a journey toward understanding God led me on. One more short dip into Church history before we leave.
58 – We Protestants have inherited a narrative that the Catholic Church of Luther’s day (1483-1546) was characterized only by spiritual deadness.
59 – The Bible came to Luther through the Catholic Church. Catholic reformers preceded him like John Wyclif (1320-1384) and Jan Hus (1369-1415).
60 – Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) was Catholic. Protestant scholar Dallas Willard said he learned more about the soul from her than from anyone.
61 – Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) was Catholic. His insights into spiritual formation have been widely embraced across the Christian traditions.
62 – John of the Cross (1542-1591) was Catholic. His work Dark Night of the Soul is considered a classic by Protestants and Catholics alike.
63 – Abraham. Moses. Ruth. David. Elijah. Mary. John. Polycarp. Anthony. Patrick. Teresa of Avila. John Wesley. William Carey. Billy Graham.
64 – God’s anointing—his hand upon individuals—permeates 4,000 years of Judeo-Christian history, reaching across the Christian traditions.
Revisiting the Subject of “Hard Ground”—The Ministry of Reconciliation
65 – Hanna and I began with evangelism. We learned about hard ground. Much later, we began to understand how reconciliation affects evangelism.
66 – Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. Then he demonstrated the kingdom’s presence. Reconciliation demonstrates the kingdom’s presence.
67 – Rebelling against our Creator has left mankind tragically fragmented. Relational hostility permeates families, societies, nations, churches.
68 – Violent acts and vengeful responses solidify hatreds and harden the ground for the Gospel. Christ’s cross has the power to transform them.
69 – Reconciliation is needed everywhere—in marriage and family, with those we or our ancestors have wronged, in our society, among the nations.
70 – Our greatest need is to be reconciled to God. We violated him by our rebellion. Oneness with him was severed—the choice that so damaged us.
71 – God has initiated reconciliation. He came to us in Jesus. He bore the effects of our sin. In Christ he offers a relationship that is healed.
72 – Now he waits. Whether to accept his offer of reconciliation is our decision. He doesn’t pressure. Reconciliation must be freely chosen.
73 – By experiencing our relationship with God being restored, we learn how to proceed in being reconciled with others. Jesus teaches us how.
74 – Hanna’s parents were gassed in the death camp at Chelmno, Poland, on May 3,1942. On May 3, 2015 she read from her book in the city of Bonn, Germany.
75 – When Hanna finished Markus came to the microphone. “Hanna, my grandfather was an SS Officer at Chelmno when your parents were there.”
76 – He continued. “I don’t know what to say. I can only stand here and ask for forgiveness.” Hanna went to him. “I forgive you.” They embraced.
77 – With tears the grandson of a German SS Officer asked forgiveness of a Jewish Holocaust survivor. She forgave him. The ground became softer.
78 – Over the last 500 years the number of Christian denominations has been multiplying. Too often divisions among Christians are deep and bitter.
79 – The world looks on. Hostility between Christians denies the Gospel. In many cases it has entrenched historic roots—a spiritual stronghold.
80 – As hate-filled battles between Christians dissolve into repentance, forgiveness, mutual honoring and love the ground will noticeably soften!
81 – Jesus: …that they [those who will believe in me] may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me…. John 17:23
82 – Reconciliation is an expression of Christlike character. We learn it in discipleship. Jesus becomes our Master Teacher in how to live.
Discipleship—Christlike Character Formed in the Inner Life
83 – How important is Christlikeness formed in the inner life? #1. It is what discipleship to Jesus is all about—its purpose and end result.
84 – How important is Christlikeness formed in the inner life? #2. It alone can bring meaning, healing, purpose and joy to the individual.
85 – How important is Christlikeness formed in the inner life? #3. As the Gospel is preached it manifests the Presence and power of the kingdom.
86 – How important is Christlikeness formed in the inner life? #4. It provides the Church with the leaders she needs to bring her to maturity.
87 – How important is Christlikeness formed in the inner life? #5. Without it any new move of the Spirit is in great danger of ending badly.
88 – Jesus: A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Luke 6:40
Last edited—December 2016