Monday, September 24, 2007

Retreat and Advance

In the Gospels, we read of Jesus retreating into the mountains to pray and seek God—to listen for His voice. This past weekend, the men of my church retreated from our hectic Northern Virginia world, and spent two days in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Shenandoah National Park to do that very same thing. Each of us spent time alone seeking God and listening for His voice. And many men heard God speaking a personalized message into his heart.

Sometimes God will speak when we are not expecting to hear His voice. But when we quiet ourselves and prayerfully focus in on Him, wanting specifically to hear from Him, we quickly learn that such things are not automatic.

One session of the retreat focused on the power of the name. Leaders talked about Abram becoming Abraham, and that the name Jacob means supplanter (one who takes the identity of another through craftiness or deceit). Other examples were given. Following the session, retreat leaders instructed us to go up into the woods and listen for God to speak what name He had chosen for us, personally.

In the Scriptures, God Himself goes by any number of names: Righteous Judge, Holy One, Counselor, Prince of Peace, the Consolation of Israel, the Door, Lamb of God, Author and Finisher of our Faith, Rose of Sharon, the Good Shepherd …

My given name is Mark, which I learned long ago means “Warrior.” The name is fitting, as I am one prone to sometimes cut against the grain, and am often engaged in a crusade of one sort or another.

As I sat awkwardly that Saturday afternoon on a craggy rock protruding from the hillside, constantly adjusting my legs for comfort, I heard the words, “Bridge Builder.” My spirit energized, knowing that I had indeed heard God’s present name for me.

By Sunday afternoon, my heart had been so filled with God’s presence, that I knew I had entered a new phase of my walk with Him.

Seeds of this new phase had been planted many years ago. Beginning in 1980, and for the next three years, I had the privilege of sitting under the teaching of a very gifted man who began to open up to me the concept of a comprehensive Biblical worldview. We examined the Protestant Reformation and the idea of liberty of conscience. We explored the lives and convictions of our nation's Puritan founders. I began to grasp just how deeply our nation is rooted in Biblical precepts. In the fall of 1986 and the spring of 1987, I attended two six-week classes on America's Christian history. The roots grew deeper and my passion increased.

Then, in the summer of 1988, a man of God named Travis, hailing from Richmond Virginia, singled me out of a crowd one Sunday morning, and delivered a personalized, prophetic message to me. Among other things, Travis claimed that God had called me to be “a prophet to the nations,” and “a prophetic voice in the land.”

His word confirmed what I already knew in my heart.

I have long carried a burden for this nation, a burden to see her return to her Christian roots. I have learned that true freedom can only come from God, and that no governmental entity can ever take His place as the grantor of that precious gift.

Our weekend retreat produced wonderful results for every man. Personally, I found myself exiting a birth canal. On Sunday, God birthed me into His purpose, into the "one thing" He created me for. Yes, prior to that Sunday afternoon on a hillside in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I had spent twenty-seven years in the womb. But today I can say with a good measure of confidence that I have been born into a fuller understanding of my call and purpose from God, and a release from Him to move forward.

In the past I have been a “Warrior.” And that name still fits. But to that old name has been added a new one—“Bridge Builder.”

God has instructed me, as He did with His prophet Jeremiah, to “root out, pull down, destroy, and throw down. To build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:10)

Our nation sits at the brink of ruin. Those who laugh at God, or at best, have attempted to re-make Him into their own image, have slowly, methodically deconstructed our great Republic. And sadly, few of us possess the tools to defend and rebuild her.

For twenty-seven years in the womb of preparation, God has been instructing me. He has given me some understanding of how He views nations, and why a righteous, God fearing nation is so essential in a fallen world. He has shown me many of the Biblical precepts underlying our nation's Constitutional system, including the ideas of federalism and republic. He has taught me about Biblical covenant and its essential role in a self-governing society.

He has helped me to understand how slavery and the mistreatment of Native Americans created a breach in God's wall of protection, and how through that breach came the godless philosophies of Darwinism, Freudianism, Marxism, and many other vacant ideologies whose seeds have now grown into deadly fruit—the stinking, putrid fruit of self-worship.

And I have seen how gnosticism, dualism, and some forms of eschatology have rendered the Church nearly impotent.

God has instructed me so that I can instruct others. One of the steps I hope to take in the near future is to put together a series of classes which I plan to teach in my home. My calling is to equip and prepare others who wish to enjoin this battle, who want to fight but may not yet have all the weapons they need to engage the enemy.

We are in an ideological struggle for the future of our nation, and in some ways, for the future of the world. Our foes wield lofty-sounding, but ultimately empty ideas. Their ideas wreak with the odor of godlessness. When confronted with God's sound, logical, holy, and beautiful thinking, their ideas only shrink and wither.

As a "Bridge Builder" I intend to invest this next season of my life, for whatever amount of time God allows, to lay in, piece by piece, those ideological components that will construct a bridge. For all who wish to cross over from the despair and frustration of watching our once-Christian nation disinegrate into the dust, God is offering a new vision. And this new vision is really just the old vision, reconstituted once again for those with hearts that long for righteousness and justice, freedom and truth.

There remain some matters in my own personal life that need attending. Just as a newborn cannot immediately walk and talk, so am I in a place where I am not yet ready to launch into a steady gait. Please pray for me that God will continue to expunge from my soul those things that offend Him, and continue to give me wisdom on how and when to proceed. And thank you for indulging me in this very personalized posting.

In summary, after this weekend and after twenty-seven years of foundation, formation, and incubation, I am ready to publicly state that God has called me to a prophetic mission. He has apprehended me to summon God's people to a rediscovery of His work in our nation's founding, and to stand up and fight to save our nation from destruction, believing that hope for restoration, though seemingly improbable, is not unfounded.

I plan to spend several months prayerfully planning my next steps. I will periodically communicate as the design comes into focus.

With continuing preparations still in mind, I have learned from this pivotal RETREAT, that it is now time to ADVANCE forward.

2 Comments:

At 1:21 AM, Blogger Brian Francis Hume said...

Mark,

I am excited for you regarding this new birthing that has finally taken place. I anticipate great things coming forth!

Your friend,

Brian Francis Hume

 
At 6:40 AM, Anonymous Barbara Thrasher Finity said...

Mark,

I'm elated for you. And, a bit envious, if I can be honest. I've always wondered what God really created me to "do." Frankly, I feel I completely missed his calling (or chose a different course) and at the half century mark, it seems odd to wonder, "What is my God-given purpose?"

Your blog blessed me deeply. John and I are thrilled to have you & Sallie in our church family and I pray our paths will cross often.

Thanks for sharing your heart. You have instilled hope in MY heart!

Barbara

 

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