Epic Times Require Epic Prayer

27 06 2012
Pastor Steve Holt’s Thoughts on the Colorado Fires

In the spring of 1940, the Nazi regime controlled almost all of continental Europe.  On May 10th, Hitler launched his forces against France and Belgium. The assault was over in two weeks and the British army found itself trapped and encircled in the small port city of Dunkirk. 

The British army was stranded, outnumbered, outgunned and the only salvation was a full evacuation over theEnglish Channel. This successful withdrawal, in which almost every soldier was saved, has been well documented through countless books.  It is described as the ‘miracle’ of Dunkirk and Winston Churchill himself called it “a miracle of deliverance.”

A few months later on August 13, with Nazi attacks on the British airfields and radar stations, the Battle of Britain had begun. These attacks on the airfields continued until August 24 and the RAF (Royal Air Force) suffered greatly. Almost 25% of their pilots were lost then and, if the Germans had continued these attacks, the RAF would surely have been destroyed. But German military leader, Goering, then changed tactics, switching the attack from the airfields to the control centers, which sustained major damage, severely compromising the command infrastructure.

On September 7, the Blitz began upon the population center of London. German bombers appeared in force over London and for the next fifty-seven nights, night-time raids pounded Britain’s cities in an attempt to break the will of the British to fight. Not only did the spirit of the British people remain unbroken, but it could be said that the spirit of the German leadership is what suffered.  Hitler and Goering suspended operations and the English were given time to reorganize and regroup.  

Something had changed and something had happened that didn’t make sense in both cases.  When one reviews the facts and studies the history of that year, the two momentous events were the “miracle” of Dunkirk, and the amazing halt of bombings in the Battle of Britain. But, there is one thing that ties the two together, that is, for the most part, overlookedin our history books – the unprecedented decision made by the reigning royal, King George VI, to call the whole nation to prayer. This he did two days before Dunkirk and seven days before the Battle of Britain.  Churches all over England were packed as people flooded to their respective parishes and cried out to God for deliverance.
Epic times require epic prayer.  Colorado Springs is in an “epic time” to quote our mayor, Steve Bach. And now is the time for epic prayer.  Never has our city experienced such devastation.  The past twenty-four hours have been epic in our city as the Waldo Canyon fire has spread from the mountains into Colorado Springs.  Hundreds of structures have burned to the ground.  Over thirty thousand people have evacuated with tens of thousands more evacuating tonight.

Jesus gave us one of the most unbelievable promises ever given to humankind when He said in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened.”  He knew that we would face situations in our lives that required divine intervention.  He understood the frailty of our lives.  Jesus knew that we would experience times when, without His power, we would be doomed.  So He gave us this promise accompanied by a provision.  The provision of prayer.

Last night and this morning at Mountain Springs Church, we cried out to God for an epic move of His hand of deliverance upon our city.  We cried out for rain.  We cried out for His hand to move.  We cried out for His power to be released upon our city, firefighters, our city leadership, and over nature, that these unprecedented fires would be extinguished.  Even as we prayed the rains began to come, but not enough.

Men and women, let me challenge you to join us in prayer.  All of us have been touched by this epic event. We all know people who have lost homes, been evacuated, or are packing their homes due to pre-evacuation notices even as I write.  Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, stop and pray.  Gather your family, your church, your small group together and pray.  Now is the time.

Epic times require epic prayer for epic results!  Join us in prayer today.

Pastor Steve

Shouting Aloud Allowed. Chapter 2 of The God-Wild Marriage

18 06 2012

I am using The Inkling to introduce you to each chapter of my new book, the God-Wild Marriage.

chapter 2: shouting aloud allowed

God-Wild Marriage

While God is everywhere, He is not everywhere manifested. He is most ‘at home’ in praise and, being at home, He manifests Himself best as God. When you or I choose to make God at home through praise, we invite Him to act ‘at home.’

Jack Taylor

To be sure, we have many challenges to overcome, but isn’t there a way we can use marriage to draw us to God rather than allow it to dull our senses and lead us into a practical atheism … Rather than letting marriage blunt our spiritual sensitivities, can we use it to awaken our souls in new and profound ways?

Gary Thomas

… speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

Ephesians 5:19-20

I was hanging out with my seven-year-old son, Josh, one day by a campfire when he said, “Daddy, is my voice going to change one day?”

“Yes, it is,” I replied.

“Why?” he asked.

As I was pondering exactly how much of the testosterone tale I needed to tell him at his tender age, he very excitedly announced, “Well, when my voice changes, I’m going to speak Japanese!”

We have four children who have passed through the unsettling, often-conflicted years childhood experts call “adolescence.” If you’re a parent, you know how crazy those years can be. Among the many physiological changes during this time, one of the more dramatic (to the child) and humorous (to parents) is the voice change. You know it’s happening to your son when you call home and a man whom you’ve never met answers the phone. You know your boy is changing when, as he sings along to a song on the radio, he tries to hit those high notes and it sounds like he just got hit by a truck.

But we all know that the changing of our child’s voice is a sign of growth and maturity. Scientists and pediatricians tell us that the voice box is a structure at the top of the windpipe that is made of cartilage. Stretched across it are two vocal cords, which are a bit like elastic bands. As air is expelled from the lungs, it passes between the vocal cords, making them vibrate. As a young boy grows, testosterone increases in the body, causing the cartilage to grow larger and thicker. During adolescence, the vocal cords also thicken and grow 60 percent longer. Now when they vibrate, they do so at a lower frequency than before. With the release of more testosterone, the facial bones grow, creating bigger spaces within the face. Larger cavities in the sinuses, nose, and back of the throat give the voice more room in which to resonate, thus deepening the voice further.1

Even though we may laugh whenever our kid’s voice breaks or croaks, we know this is the natural result of a gradually maturing body. It’s not only natural, but healthy. A healthy child will grow physically, and with growth will come a tonal change to one’s voice.

In a similar way, as we mature in giving control of our lives and marriages to Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, our voices will also change. God wants our tongues! God wants to have control of what is admittedly the most difficult area of our life to control—our tongue, our communication with Him and with our spouse. But this is difficult—especially in the marriage relationship.

27 Minutes a Week?

One researcher found that “the average married couple actively communicates on the average of just twenty-seven minutes a week.”2 Unbelievably, most couples “exchange the most words on their third date and the year before a divorce.”3 Most marriages rise and fall on the use, lack of use, misuse and abuse of the tongue. Obviously, most couples are not communicating very well. (But they are shopping. The average married couple shops six hours a week!)

Communication is risky. Experts say that how a couple communicates, how they use their tongues with each other (I know what you’re thinking, but that’s not what I’m talking about—wait for Chapter 6), is one of the most important indicators of a happy or unhappy marriage. In Twelve Hours to a Great Marriage, the authors list several verbal “risk factors” that can damage a relationship the most:

  • having negative styles of talking and arguing (for example, putting each other down, refusing to talk or yelling)
  • having a hard time communicating, especially when you disagree
  • not being able to handle disagreements

These risk factors are the ingredients in a simmering brew of eventual marital misery and disaster.5 But it is in learning to tame our impulsive tongues and intentionally expressing our hearts in more positive and loving ways that we can see God transform our dying, atrophying marriage into a great one.

Surrendering Your Heart and Tongue

Just after His command to be filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul provides us with the first indicator, the first step into the Jesus-honoring, wild Spirit-empowered marriage, by saying, “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:19-20)

Read more in The God-Wild Marriage by Dr. Steve Holt