Standing Shoulder To Shoulder Together As We Fight the Good Fight of Faith A personal letter of encouragement to you, written solely to "lift up hands that hang down". TO SUBSCRIBE send a blank message to shoulders-subscribe@... . TO UNSUBSCRIBE send a blank message to shoulders-unsubscribe@... . IN EACH CASE you will receive an automated request for confirmation which you must answer. FOR BACK COPIES go to www.associate.com/digests/shoulders . Click on "Read Messages" SHOULDER TO SHOULDER #198 ---- 10/15/01 TITLE: "Now ---- The Time For Change!" My Dear Friend and Pilgrim Partner: I greet you today in the wonderful and victorious Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And, yes, today I am doing much better than when I wrote last week. I've had lots to process, and the Lord has been gracious to give me insight into more of what I've been feeling. Last letter was one almost impossible for me to write because I just couldn't seem to get a handle on all I was trying to sort out. I praise God for His promise that "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength", because He has been faithful to do just that. Trying to sort through so many conflicting reports, articles, and opinions of others . . . . and then trying to understand my own thoughts in light of those, was something that took lots of time. While I'm certainly not "out of the woods", God has surely given me a new level of clarity in how He wants me personally to respond and to minister. Others may not follow that same pathway, but that's fine. Whether alone or accompanied on the journey, I know it's going to be a good trip. So, thanks for praying for me. Before I share the word I believe is on my heart, consider these following tidbits. ODDS AND ENDS: 1. Here is a website you absolutely must see. A friend in Canada sent it to me. Please take a look. www.rock103.com/america/america.swf . It takes several minutes to download, but it will be worth your wait. 2. Last week I received an e-mail from a friend that had been passed on to him about an apparent young lady who had been dating a middle eastern man who suddenly dropped out of sight, but sent her a warning to not take any commercial flights on September 11th or go to shopping malls on October 31. My first reaction was "another hoax". However, Friday night I just happened to overhear ABC's Ted Koppel make a comment about a Halloween warning. So, for what it's worth . . . . 3. I also received a rather comprehensive report apparently originating last August from Radio Free Europe in which Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, expressed very strong and positive religious and spiritual feelings. Rather than give you tidbits or take up space with the entire article, I recommend you check it out yourself at http://www.rferl.org/nca/features/2001/08/23082001115445.asp. This is a posted article on Radio Free Europe written by RFE reporter Kathleen Knox. 4. Some have asked about our web site being developed. We are still proceeding and hope to have at least our basic site up and running before Thanksgiving. Even the recent events have caused us to re-evaluate some of what we had intended to do and make some changes. In addition, we're considering the possibility of two or three other sites that would specialize in specific areas . . . . i.e. revival and spiritual awakening, city reaching, and a clear Gospel presentation. It would be great if we could incorporate it all into one, but I'm not sure it will work logistically. I would really value your prayer for our team in this matter. 5. If you haven't joined the Presidential Prayer Team, let me urge you to do so and then encourage others in your family, church, and circle of friends to do the same. Last count there were well over a quarter million people who had signed up. The goal is to have 2.8 million subscribers. Can you imagine the outcome of such a prayer base? I doubt seriously that any president in the history of the U.S. would have had so many people praying for him daily. Let's do it! Go to http://www.PresidentialPrayerTeam.org. 6. Early on in the wake of September 11th terrorist attacks I was sent portions of a message by David Wilkerson, pastor of the Times Square Church in downtown Manhattan. Perhaps no pastor in America was closer to the event that he. His church meets almost directly next to "Ground Zero". In his typically passionate way, David pours his heart out for his people and for the Church at large. Because of copyright restrictions, I do not feel I can in good conscience copy even part of his letter without violating those restrictions. Therefore, I direct you to www.timessquarechurch.org. Please, please, please! Read his message to the Church. While portions of it are highly disturbing, there is no doubt that God is using David to sound another wake up call to the Church. 7. I just got the following message Saturday from a friend, and thought I'd pass it on to you as well. How crass and calloused can an American citizen be!!! "As our nation tries to heal ... as we seek justice ... and as we continue to pray for our country's leaders, military, and grieving families ... I say 'GOD BLESS AMERICA.' It's the simplest, most honest, most heartfelt phrase we've heard since September 11. And yet, astonishingly - the ACLU has objected to it and tried to censor its use. "During this time of crisis, the ACLU has even had the audacity to threaten a lawsuit in one recent case. 'God Bless America' went up on a sign outside Breen Elementary School in Rocklin, California ... and the ACLU contended it communicated 'a hurtful, divisive message'! "In a letter to the school, the ACLU said that 'God Bless America' is a 'violation' of the U.S. Constitution - and 'must be replaced immediately'! An ACLU attorney called the phrase 'a religious message' and said that the school is "dividing its young students along religious lines" ... 'hurting' and 'isolating' the school children! "How can this beloved phrase - words that have resounded through our history as a cry of encouragement and freedom - in any way threaten our children? The ACLU says that displaying 'God Bless America' 'implies' that 'only students who share the faith are truly patriotic.' ACLU's attacks on the very spirit of our nation are absurd! THEY ARE ATTACKING YOUR FREE SPEECH! It's incredible - especially since 'God Bless America' is actually CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED SPEECH. And yet, such attacks are actually happening all over our country.... "- A Parent Teachers Association president in Illinois created and distributed a flyer inviting students to wear red, white and blue to school. The district demanded she cut off 'God Bless America' from each flyer before children took them home! "- In Oklahoma, one community is in uproar because the school district had a sign removed from the front of a school. The supposedly offending message? 'God Bless America'! For more information, you can contact the American Center For Law and Justice at http://aclj.com . In case you hadn't heard, the school district in Madison Wisconsin just last week outlawed the public pledge of allegiance to the American flag . . . . simply because it contains the phrase, "one nation under God" to which a handful of parents and students objected. Wonder what they did this past Friday while the rest of America pledged allegiance to the "flag of the United States of America and to the country for which it stands"? I suspect, if you look hard enough, you could find a web site or e-mail address for the school board there. THINGS HAVE CHANGED: The author of Ecclesiastes said it well . . . . "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven . . . to give birth and to die . . . . to plant and to uproot . . . to kill and to heal . . . to tear down and to build up . . . to weep and to laugh . . . to mourn and to dance . . . to throw stones and to gather stones . . . to embrace and to shun . . . to search and to give up . . . . to keep and to throw away . . . to tear apart and to sew together . . . to be silent and to speak . . . to love and to hate . . . for war and for peace." (3:1-8) He continues in verse 11 by saying, "[God] has made everything appropriate (beautiful) in its time. He has also set eternity in [man's] heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end." So, indeed things have changed. Times have changed. And much of it, as the writer said, we certainly don't understand . . . . we still see things through that clouded veil. Yet, we are not the same, and we will never be the same . . . . I hope. Recently I ran across the following quote made soon after September 11th by Henry Blackaby: "As we have all noticed, much of America is making major adjustments in light of the tragic events of September 11. Congress has made major adjustments. Democrats and Republicans have made major adjustments. Our military is undergoing major adjustments. The airlines, other businesses, state and local governments as well are responding to all that has happened." And, he's absolutely right. In fact, last month Max Lucado wrote the following in response to the cry of many for life to get back to normal. "IS THIS NORMAL? by Max Lucado "Four thousand gathered for mid-day prayer in a downtown cathedral. A New York City church, filled and emptied six times last Tuesday. The owner of a Manhattan tennis shoe store threw open his doors and gave running shoes to those fleeing the towers. People stood in lines to give blood,in hospitals to treat the sick, in sanctuaries to pray for the wounded. "America was different this week. We wept for people we did not know. We sent money to families we've never seen. Talk show hosts read Scriptures, journalists printed prayers. Our focus shifted from fashion hemlines and box scores to orphans and widows and the future of the world. "We were different this week. Republicans stood next to Democrats. Catholics prayed with Jews. Skin color was covered by the ash of burning towers. This is a different country than it was a week ago. "We're not as self-centered as we were. We're not as self-reliant as we were. Hands are out. Knees are bent. This is not normal. And I have to ask the question, "Do we want to go back to normal?" "Are we being given a glimpse of a new way of life? Are we, as a nation, being reminded that the enemy is not each other and the power is not in ourselves and the future is not in our bank accounts? Could this unselfish prayerfulness be the way God intended for us to live all along? Maybe this, in his eyes, is the way we are called to live. "And perhaps the best response to this tragedy is to refuse to go back to normal. Perhaps the best response is to follow the example of Tom Burnet. He was a passenger of flight 93. Minutes before the plane crashed in the fields of Pennsylvania he reached is wife by cell phone. 'We're all going to die," he told her, "but there are three of us who are going to do something about it.' "We can do something about it as well. We can resolve to care more. We can resolve to pray more. And we can resolve that, God being our helper, we'll never go back to normal again." Max Lucado I suspect you and I agree that things have changed so radically, both in good ways and bad, that we cannot go back to the way it used to be, and we must not allow ourselves to do so. Virtually every area of society has changed in some way. The real question for us, though, is "has the Church changed? Has it made some necessary adjustments?" HAVE WE REALLY CHANGED: I'm afraid that the answer may not be as promising as in other areas of society. For some strange reason, it seems that far too often the Church is running at the back of the pack, huffing and puffing, to stay in the race. Apparently it has failed to take off its warm up suit, jettison the weights, step into the starting block, and get a jump on the starter's gun. It seems that most of the time the Church is still back in the locker room talking strategy . . . . or taking a shower. Oh, to be sure, most churches are finding increased attendance, are singing more patriotically and vigorously, are even doing more "things" in reaching out to people with humanitarian needs. Special offerings are at all time highs in many local congregations and denominations. Ministry projects are on the increase. But these are all things that usually happen automatically when a crisis arises. There is no doubt that some things have changed . . . . . but . . . . have we changed things??? Have we changed??? It's one thing for circumstances around us to change; it's quite another for us to change in the wake of changing circumstances. This has always been a major problem with the Church. Usually, instead of changing ourselves, we talk about what has changed "out there". It's safer, it's cheaper, it doesn't take any significant energy, it takes almost no thinking or deliberating or praying . . . . . and it gives us a perfect opportunity to sound spiritual by spewing out proclamations, resolutions, declarations, judgments, and other varied forms of verbal diarrhea. And still we can be safe behind our facade of counterfeit spirituality and hypocritical social consciousness. I quoted Henry Blackaby earlier. Here is the remainder of his comments made that day. "Almost every segment of our society and culture is responding in light of September 11. However, a question that is on our heart is, 'Will God's people be the only ones who do not make major adjustments in light of what happened on September 11?' In other words, will God's people continue with the programs and activities they were involved with prior to September 11, or will they recognize the need to stand before God in order to understand the changes He wants them to make?" WHY WE MUST CHANGE: Why should the church make some changes? I believe there are a number of reasons. Well, first the plain simple reason the Church must change is because not only is it inconsistent in who it claims to be, but it is also inept in what it claims it can do. Far too often it is hypocritical in its lifestyle, inconsistent in its message, and self centered in its activities. In spite of the wonderful moving of God we have been seeing in recent years, the Church, particularly in western cultures, is still far from what it should be. My heartache over that fact is intensified as I see the same model being copied in the Balkans and other regions of the world; it is most distressing. Secondly, we must change because, using the model and methods currently being used, it is a logical and practical impossibility to carry out the Great Commission. Continuing to use the same paradigm we have used for years will do nothing but bring the same results. The Great Commission just can't be done . . . . and it won't be done unless we change, and change immediately and dramatically. I wonder when many of our pastors and denominational leaders will finally admit that? The wake up call of September 11th provides a good opportunity to do so. Then, we must change because we are basically powerless to handle the circumstances and conditions before us. What in heaven's name are you going to do about missions in light of these terrorist attacks and ongoing world-wide threats toward Americans in general and Christians in particular? What are you going to do when it comes to bringing strong spiritual influence back into the fabric of society? What are you going to do in trying to put the elders back at the gates of the city where they can again be salt and light in the presence of those making major decisions for your community? Is it going to be just what you've been doing? Then, if it is . . . . . expect the same results. And don't gripe about it. Also, we must change because we're basically out of touch with reality in this world. Having grown accustomed to a consumer society that is attracted only to that which they think will meet their needs and satisfy their desires, we must somehow realize we don't have what they want. True we have what they need, but because we no longer know how the pagan world thinks, we don't have a clue as to how to simply, compassionately, and clearly articulate the reality of a living Christ. We complicate it, distort it, add to it, or take from it. Also, we must change because we're not getting the job done the way we're doing church today. Now I realize there are some exceptions, and your church may be one. But, generally speaking, the vast majority of churches are holding their own at best, trading members back and forth with other churches, or are in a state of decline at worst. You'd think that we'd eventually get the message that people are no longer looking for good music programs, scintillating doctrinal expositions, slick promotional advertising, and little prizes for ridiculous contests. Over the past five years every single survey I've seen regarding what unbelievers are looking for has indicated the two things people are craving above all else are hope and relationships. And, when we sit in our theater style sanctuaries looking at the back of each other's head, both being entertained by a handful of performers on the stage, we are sending a clear message that tells the unbeliever that what they're looking for won't be found in this building. We still expect people to "come" when Jesus said "go". We want conversions without getting our hands dirty. We want the Gospel to be proclaimed, but only from a distance. Finally we must change because we are not prepared for either the battles we will be facing or the opportunities God will be providing. We're about as prepared for battle as a Boy Scout Troop would be prepared to go to war in Afghanistan. If we don't change, and do it quickly, we will neither survive the oncoming attacks that are going to hit us from more sides than we have ever dreamed, nor meet the challenges of mind-boggling opportunities that will spread out before us like a global road map. All the world will become a "Macedonia" shouting, "come and help us! Come and help us!" We've got to change, my friend! We've got to! The need for radical change is not a new call. My library shelves are filled with books by people like Larry Christiansen, Dave Wilkerson, Bill Bright, Chuck Colson, Francis Schaeffer, Bruce Larson, and many others . . . . all crying out for the need to make some major changes. Back in March and April of 1998 I wrote a series of letters entitled "Seven Strangleholds On The Church" in which I identified the following characterizations of the modern "Romanized" version of Christianity which had . . . . 1. Institutionalized the Church. 2. Intellectualized the Bible. 3. Credalized our Doctrines. 4. Culturalized our Approach. 5. Rationalized the Supernatural. 6. Compartmentalized God's Activity. 7. Minimized Holiness and Obedience. Those five letters were written just three months after I began my "Shoulder To Shoulder" ministry. Of more than 225 such letters written, that series became one of the most requested of all I have written, along with my series on "Rhema's", "Vision", and "Patterns of Purification". If you're interested in them, you can request them personally by writing me at lifeunlimited@... or you can go to Associate.Com's website and click on www.associate.com/digests/shoulders. Then click on "Read Messages" and navigate back to March of 1998 issues. The first one begins March 22 and goes for five consecutive weeks into April. If I recall, they are "Shoulder To Shoulder" issues #'s 10-14. To that list above I would also add that we have vastly under estimated the cunning and relentless strategies and tactics of the enemy. We are still fighting a spiritual battle in an earthly arena with human ideas and resources. And we don't have a clue as to why we're getting nowhere fast with it all. Our heads really are stuck in the sand in many cases. WHERE WE SHOULD CHANGE: Now, you may not feel we need to change. If that's the case, then my letter probably won't have any particular benefit to you . . . . unless it causes you to change your mind. But in trying to sort out things about just how and where we need to change, it gets really confusing in my mind. I finally figured out that it was because I was focusing on the wrong thing ---- I was focusing on activities, methods, and programs. While there are surely some changes needed in those areas, that's really not where we must begin. Those areas will take care of themselves if we first can make changes in the important matters. In what areas then are changes desperately needed? + Change in Character. God has reminded me again that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Here's a little "formula for success" for you. C = A = B = C = R. Character = Attitude = Behavior = Conduct = Results. Have you ever had some well-meaning church member come up and start complaining about the results . . . . i.e. attendance, offerings, baptisms, length of services, type of music, special projects? Probably so. How did you handle it? For a long time I wasn't very successful at making excuses for poor results, whether they were the churches or my own. The reason is because I didn't understand the "formula". And because I didn't understand the formula, I assumed that poor results was my fault and subsequently a reflection on me . . . . especially on my character. However, if you and I can grab the reality of this five-phase formula, then we will more clearly understand where the root of the problem is, and subsequently not spend so much time justifying our failures. So . . . . let's cut to the chase and avoid one of my long drawn out analytical descriptions of each step in that formula. Here it is in a nutshell. Results is based on our conduct or performance. Our conduct and its effectiveness comes out of our patterns of behavior. Our behavior is determined by our attitude at the moment. And, . . . . our attitude is generated by our character. That, my friend, is why I believe the first change we must undergo in the body of Christ is a change of character. And, the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus notwithstanding, we still manifest some enormous character flaws because we have not allowed the Holy Spirit to work out in our own lives what the Lord Jesus worked in when He saved us. There need to be some major changes in our character. We must once again see ourselves as the redeemed, delivered, empowered, anointed, gifted, unstoppable army of the Lord. We must again embrace the character description that Jesus expressed when He told us "On This Rock I will build My Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." Next, I believe there must be a . . . . + Change in Priorities: Yesterday I preached from Hosea 10:12. In dealing with the subject of "Breaking Up Fallow Ground" I discussed the Conditions, Causes, and Cure of fallow ground. Under cure, I indicated that we must get our Priorities Right and make our Activities Right. Activities are useless unless we have right priorities. There is no doubt that not every church has right priorities; not every pastor has right priorities. Some have personal advancement, prestige, election to an office, or being "number one" in conversions as their priorities. How tragic. While there may be several priorities, I believe our first priority must be prayer. I've said that often in recent weeks, and I believe it more strongly today than ever before. Remember when Jesus cleansed the temple? He made two profound statements. "My house shall be called a house of prayer", and "you have made it into a robbers' den". Potent stuff! No other priority is worth its weight if it is not built first and foremost on the priority of prayer. I firmly believe that the ministry of prayer is the foundational issue out of which all other ministries should flow. As Oswald Chambers said, "Prayer does not prepare you for the greater work; Prayer Is the greater work." I was recently asked to become part of a prayer strategy task force for the state in which I live. This coming Friday and Saturday a particular denomination in this state will have a "Great Commission Prayer Conference". By Saturday morning I'll have a good idea of just how important prayer really is to this denomination of 2,000 + churches. I can just about guarantee you it's still not very important to most of them. Interestingly, there will never be a change of priorities if there has been no change of character. Our changed priorities, in order to be effective, will necessitate our making a . . . . . + Change in Focus: A few weeks ago I happened to watch a Christian program on television while sitting in a motel room. Jo Ann and I were enraptured by the message this brother shared. Using the theme, "A Generation That Will Rock the World", he proceeded to note seven different characteristics he felt would be necessary in order for the Church to really reach the world with the Gospel. I found his selections to be absolutely intriguing and very exciting. Here's what he noted. ---- That generation must be mufti-cultural both in its make up and in its ministry. The day of "tribalism" is over. Somehow the Church must come to grips with its cultural prejudices and remedy them. Virtually any city of size in the world today is a multi-cultural city. Any missions program is multi-cultural. The Gospel itself is trans-cultural, sweeping away all the things that divide us ethnically, socially, economically, educationally, or otherwise. ---- That generation must focus on bringing restoration of the earth. It must take more personal responsibility for the use and abuse of natural resources. While the Church recognizes this is certainly not the heart of the Gospel, by becoming more conscious of our limited resources and being better stewards, we will send a message to the world and will gain favor with some people we will otherwise never reach. That's their "thing", and we need to develop sympathy for it and practice God's command to replenish and care for the earth. ---- That generation must move beyond the survival mentality to the mentality of Destiny. It's frightening to realize just how many churches have the attitude of survival with no real confidence that they are people of real destiny who can make a difference. I'll never forget the moment a number of years ago when I realized that Life Unlimited Ministries could be a ministry with a destiny and not just another "also ran" ministry. I think that's one reason why what we do is unique in so many ways. Every local church and every minister, volunteer or vocational, must be absolutely convinced they have a real destiny. ---- Then that generation must learn how to discern between wheat and tares, between what is spiritual and carnal. So much that goes on in Christendom today is carnal through and through. If that were not tragic enough, even more tragic is the realization that many believers don't even recognize that. I am still appalled at just how much we do is soulish to the core. It's no wonder you sometimes can't tell the difference between Christian and unbeliever. We're often so caught up in that which appeals to the physical, the intellectual, the emotional, or the volitional, that we never grab hold of that which is truly spiritual. ---- That generation must also be unsinkable and unshakeable. There must be a jaw set that says we will never give in, we'll never give up, and we'll never give out. We must be in it to the finish. If a flood comes upon it, we ride it out on top. If a mighty shaking comes, we must be so grounded that we stand firm in all situations. ---- That generation must know how to relate both to the spiritual and the human. Far too long have churches and denominations attacked each other on the basis of "social" gospel versus "the real" gospel . . . . forgetting the many New Testament instructions that caring for widows and orphans, ministering to the prisoner, feeding the hungry, binding up the broken, clothing the naked, reclaiming the alienated . . . are all means of revealing the compassion and love of Jesus and creating an open door to minister to the heart of man. The day must come when we are willing to do all we can do regarding practical human needs in order to do the impossible in meeting the spiritual need. ---- Finally, that generation must live, move, work, and speak in the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God. Enough of fleshly effort! Away with human limitations! Let's move into the realm of the unexplainable and supernatural. That can come only when we fully acknowledge that we have been called to a task that is infinitely beyond all human resources, no matter how sincere or skilled. With that type of focus, can you imagine what could happen in a church? Unbelievable things! Out of such a focus, I believe we would automatically see, then, a dramatic . . . . + Change in Strategy: When your character is right, your priorities will be right. When your priorities are right, you'll have no problem adjusting and changing your focus to where it needs to be. And, when you have a clear understanding of your focus or target, then you'll find it relatively easy and unbelievably exciting to change your strategy. When you begin to understand your "what to", and "why to", it changes your "how to". No longer will you think in terms of one individual or one family; you'll begin thinking in terms of a city. No longer will you be content to pray for the sick and the hurting, but you'll begin ministering directly to them in ways appropriate to scripture. Your Sunday school takes on a new vitality in that you realize it's not there just to teach scripture lessons to people, but it's there to change believers' lives and turn them into radical disciple makers. Something interesting happens when your strategy changes . . . . when your paradigm shifts. You suddenly discover the necessity of a . . . . + Change in Resources: Instead of depending on the banker, credit cards, denominational headquarters, wealthy church members, and the like, you remember that God is your one and only resource. And, as He chooses to release His abundance to you through others, you find a heart of gratitude instead of a striving spirit trying to make it all happen. When you remember that your resources are as limited as God, then your not taken back by the enormity of the task or the inadequacy of what others may or may not have. Once you discover the true dimensions of your resources, nothing is impossible. Such dramatic changes will most likely shake current systems and structures to the core, because most of them are built out of human mentality, powered by human resources, and directed by human short sightedness. However, if these changes take place, you can pretty well mark it down that there will inevitably be a . . . . + Change in Structure: I don't know why this sacred cow is such a problem for so many. Jesus was clear and direct in telling us that such things are inevitable. When He talked about putting new wine in old wine skins, He was simply telling us that structural and programmatic changes must take place if we are to be effective in proclaiming the Gospel and declaring the Kingdom of Heaven. And, it's not that a system or program is necessarily bad; it's just that it's too restrictive for what God wants to do in these days. It's much like the turtle that must shed its old shell because it's too small. And I can tell you, dear friend, that God has much bigger plans than you or I do. A final thought ---- don't be deceived into skipping one of these "steps" or in reversing the order. If you do, you'll have a catastrophe on your hands. Deal with the character issue first; that's where everything else flows from into the incomprehensible will of God. And that brings me to the final point . . . . HOW WE CAN CHANGE: You may be saying, "O.K. Bob . . . I agree. The Church must change. "But . . . . How? How can we change? We've been this way for so long, . . . . where do we go? What do we do?" Frankly, it's not possible to change . . . . except through one simple way. You see, if I come along right here and list a bunch of "ways" to change, then it becomes another canned program concocted by another human being. For that reason, I really like Blackaby's final statement in that earlier quote ---- "will God's people continue with the programs and activities they were involved with prior to September 11, or will they recognize the need to stand before God in order to understand the changes He wants them to make?" "Will they recognize the need to stand before God . . . . ?" That's where it is, my friend. We must change . . . . for the sake of the nations, for the sake of this new opportunity, for the sake of the Gospel. If we don't, I believe with all my heart that tens of thousands of local churches and many denominations and para-church ministries are destined for the trash heap of cast offs. God's jaw is set, His eyes are cast firmly, and He knows full well His own intention and His plans. He will honor no other. He will neither compromise nor deviate from what He has in mind from here on. But because nothing in us wants to change, we have no other option. If we are going to be involved in the flow of God's kingdom work in these days, then we must not only be willing to change, but we must actually change. And the kind of changing that must take place is outside our realm to accomplish. We have no other choice than to stand before Him . . . . and humble ourselves, and repent, and wait . . . . until He answers and until He acts. When we come and stand before Him in humility on the one hand and breathless anticipation on the other, then we'll begin to understand the changes He wants us to make. Otherwise we won't be ready . . . . again . . . . when another September 11 event comes. And, they are coming . . . . all around the world they are coming. Changing will certainly not protect us from such evil acts, . . . . but it will help prepare us for when they do come. People are going to need us like never before. Are you ready to change? Everything else around us has changed; how about us? In His Bond of Grace and Mercy, Bob Tolliver -- Rom 1:11-12 Copyright October, 2001 Life Unlimited Ministries lifeunlimited@... Do You Get "Shoulder To Shoulder"?