"Stir Up Trouble!"

It’s been a long while since I have participated in a revival service, let alone three consecutive nights long! Our Methodist church had such a renewal experience this week. Personally, it was spiritually refreshing. We had altar calls at the end of the services where there was soul searching and confession of sin. There were also prayers of recommitment to Christ, intercession for healing (physically, spiritually, and relationally!), and genuine prayers for revival both in our church and throughout our city, country, and the world.

Image: stock.adobe.com

On the first night, we heard Bishop Jonathan Franklin, founding pastor of the Mt. Zion Apostolic Church, and president of the Springfield Ministerial Alliance. He brought a stirring message from the Great Commission in Acts 1:8 and Jesus’ teaching to the disciples at the scene of the pagan temple of Pan in Matthew 16:13-19. Bishop Franklin spoke like a prophet when he said, “Our nation needs prayer! We have evicted God from our nation! And if we take the church out of this world, it will implode! Politics can’t fix what’s wrong! Only a move of Almighty God!”

Standing before a temple of godlessness and pagan debauchery in Caesarea Philippi, Jesus sat His disciples down for a little discussion about His identity, along with instruction about the  power and authority of the new church He was establishing. In explaining that authority, He said, “You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no  more barriers between earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven.” (Mt. 16:19, MSG).

During pastor Franklin’s sermon, I spontaneously joined a verbal chorus of "amens" from the crowd after nearly every phrase from this eloquent and gifted speaker. But then I found myself squirming in my seat when he quoted Charles Finney, the nineteenth century Presbyterian minister and leader of the Second Great Awakening, who once said, “Everything wrong with society is the preacher’s fault!” Then without taking a breath, bishop Franklin followed that provocative statement with this comment, “And by extension, this is a judgment upon the church!”

At the beginning of his spirit-anointed message, Franklin had exclaimed, “Think of the authority God has bestowed upon His church!” Yet, as this guest pastor continued to make his point, I had many thoughts about how it should give us pause that with so much power and authority behind it, the church today seems to have retreated to the margins of our culture rather than engage it with the spiritual warfare required to take back our nation for Christ! How sad!

Finally, Franklin paraphrased Jesus who said, “I came to stir up trouble!” (Luke 12:49-51), and then he wrapped up his message with a reality check and stunning appeal, “We’re in a war! If you don’t have a stomach for war, you can’t deal with this!” What are we afraid of? Jesus established His church upon a rock-like profession of faith in Him alone! And He promised, “This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church  so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out!” (Mt. 16:18, MSG).

Maybe, it’s time for the church to “stir up some trouble!” That promise of scripture is clear about our calling, authority, and power to change the world for Christ! What’s holding us back?

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com

Comments

  1. This is so true, our pastor has been saying the same thing. We need a real awakening in our churches to save our country. Not all these politicians. πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™

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