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Comfort Zones

 

By Dr. Richard Ing

July 14, 2008

 

COME OUT OF HER!

 

Years ago, Dr. Frank Hultgren, the former prophet to the faculty at Oral Roberts University, prophesied that our church was a Joseph ministry.  He called me Joseph Ing.  God said that we would soon come out of prison and become second in command to only God.  That sounds like a pipe dream, and I have pondered over it, although I have never doubted it.


We are indeed in prison today, bound up with many doubts, unbelief, carnality and worldliness.  Our prisons are mostly self-imposed and created by our fears and lusts of the flesh.  Since early youth, we have been carving out lives designed to feed the flesh and provide safety and the good life for the flesh and Self.  Self serves the flesh and the natural and carnal mind is focused on the flesh surviving.


Our experiences in life have taught us how to survive and proof of our successes is the fact that we are still here.  Therefore, the carnal mind concludes that safety and survival is assured if we continue to do the same things we have done in the past.  The flesh needs to survive and for most of us, it means not sticking our neck out and taking risks.  Of course, there are people that lust for adventure and get involved in extreme sports and activities such as sky diving, climbing Mount Everest or swimming among sharks for the thrill of it.  They risk their lives for adrenaline rushes, “expanding their consciousness” and “connecting with nature.”  Of course, some of them die doing it.  Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority continue to live out their lives in hum drum comfort zones that allow them to survive.


Most Christians, perhaps 99.9%, are limited servants of God.  They will serve God only to the outer limits of their comfort zones.  Anything that smacks of risks and exposes them to places and things outside their comfort zone will cause them to pull back.  Things that threaten their money, possession, time and other things necessary or convenient to survival (in their own mind), are automatically rejected or compromised.  They will tithe and give offerings only to the extent that they can “afford.”  What they can afford is what they are comfortable with in terms of what they have left.  Jesus talked about that very matter in Matthew 12:41-44:

 

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.  And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.  And He called unto Him His disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast down more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

 

Many Christians think that they have great faith, but they will not give of their want; only of their abundance.  At most, they will give up to an amount that will still allow them to be “comfortable” and assured of survival.  That shows great unbelief.  Jesus said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul?”  Mt. 16:26; Mk. 8:36.  They are unable to “seek ye first the kingdom of God.”  Mt. 6:33.


I recall reading a book written by K.P. Yohannan, who was born and raised in India.  He had a burden for northern India as a youth.  He was miraculously given a scholarship to attend Bible College in Texas when he was about 18 years of age.  After graduation, he was invited to take over a church in Dallas, Texas and he prospered.  He married his sweetheart from Germany.  He bought a large house, had a new car and life insurance.  One day, God spoke to him and reminded him of his former desire to help his people in India.  He was convicted in his heart and sold his house and bought a much cheaper house.  He also sold his car and bought a second-hand car for $600 and vowed to live simply.  He never ate desert and never attended parties.  He ended up donating large sums of money for the work in India and today he supports over 16,500 church planters in India.


Most of us would not agree to live simply and donate large sums of money for the work of God’s kingdom.  We are far too carnal and distrusting of God.

 

YOU ARE YET CARNAL

 

The other day, I was discussing with a member my past experiences as an elder of the church for almost 25 years.  I was converted on September 23, 1983, became an elder on June 1, 1984, and an ordained pastor in 1990.  I became a senior pastor in 1996.  It is the most difficult job in the world, but I love it.  I found that I cannot change people’s hearts; only God can.  There were numerous times when we took the entire church to go house-to- house in order to train them to evangelize.  In my old church, we did it for three Sundays in a row.  When we stopped as a church, no one continued on.  In our church we did it for over eighteen months.  As soon as we stopped the program and asked the members to take the personal initiative to go house-to-house and evangelize, absolutely no one did it. 


Another time, we took the whole church to the International Market Place in Waikiki to evangelize.  When we stopped, no one went back.  We brought a well-known sidewalk evangelist from Chicago to train us.  When he left, no one went sidewalk evangelizing on their own.


Once, Ian --- of New Zealand gave my old church a 12-week session on evangelizing.  We bought expensive workbooks and practiced at church.  After the program ended, no one brought anyone into the church.


We used to fast for three days and pray overnight on the first Friday of each month. We did it for over three years.  As soon as we stopped, no one fasted or prayed on their own.


We have had Tuesday night spiritual warfare/healing training for over fifteen years and the same six to eight people attend.  There are people in this church that have never come to any Tuesday night, Thursday night or Friday night meetings for over fifteen years.  This shows a lot of disunity, disloyalty, lack of diligence and carnality towards God.  They simply don’t care.  They just want to come to church on Sundays and put out minimum effort.  They do not discern the body of Christ. 


Because of my past experiences, I do not believe in programs just to get people to do something.  When the programs end, there are little or no permanent results.  God is after your heart.  I firmly believe that Jesus desires people who are willing to trust him and carry their cross.  That means sharing His sufferings to bring the Good News to a dying world.  The flesh does not want to suffer.  In fact, it loves luxuries and the good life.  That is why so many Christians are weak and wishy-washy today.  The prosperity message is very popular because the people love it.  But they are going to perish in the end times.  All their luxuries will disappear.  Rev. 18:4-19.


It used to be that a person can become a Christian and do practically nothing to change his heart and mind or to become conformed unto the image of Jesus.  A sinner’s prayer bought you a ticket to heaven.  However, it will not be so in this generation.  This end-time generation will not have it so easy.  Salvation will be the same, but holding on to your salvation will be extremely difficult.  There has never been a generation that will be tested like this final generation.  When Satan’s One-World government and One-World Religion take over the world, they will require that every man, woman and child renounce Jesus by taking the mark of the beast.  Those without the mark cannot buy or sell and they will die.  Worse, those Christians that are captured will be beheaded. 


If you are not praying daily and reading the Bible, you are backslidden even if you attend church every Sunday morning.  Your flesh simply does not care.  If you don’t care if the Holy Spirit manifests during service, you are spiritually dead – self-righteous, carnal robots.

 

 

 


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