Archive for August, 2010

Aug 30 2010

Thoughts on Being Aware of the Lord

Researching John Robert Steven’s life, I’ve discovered so many things that he was interested in; so for him to say that he discarded his hobbies just shows how much he let go of in order to follow the Lord fully (see the previous quote).

He loved photography and film. He loved music and history. He loved to tell jokes and loved to laugh. He set himself to serve the Lord with all his heart, but no one would say that it was to the detriment of his vivacity and personality. And in all of these things that he loved to do, he never let them distract him from an awareness of God. To me, this is a great balance, but it all must start with God.

John said, “I do not think that anything is greater than coming into an awareness of the Lord.” And this is what I want to apply in my life. God is first, and everything else is second—at best! If an awareness of God is our foremost desire, then everything else in our lives will fall into place.

This is why John Stevens is such a great example to me. He never forsook his first love, and everything he did lined up to his relationship to God. However, it never robbed him of his joy for life! This is how we know we’re doing it right: the joy of the Lord and the joy of life must be present, otherwise I would say that our awareness of God is lacking. If we know God, we will have His love in our hearts. As I John 4:8 says,”The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

 

Aug 28 2010

I have never had many hobbies or interests because when I was yet a boy, God met me, and I became aware of Him. The Scriptures became my focus. I loved them, searched through them, thirsting after the Lord, knowing that they would reveal Him. What have I gained? What have I lost? How can I evaluate my life? One thing I know: I live twenty-four hours day with an awareness of the Lord. I never read a Scripture without it living for me. I do not think that anything is greater than coming into an awareness of the Lord.

  • John Robert Stevens, "Tune In," 1975
    John Robert Stevens, "Tune In," 1975
    Excerpt from the This Week "Tune In" by John Robert Stevens, Copyright © 1975 by John Robert Stevens & The Living Word, a California non profit Corporation. Used by permission.

 

Aug 25 2010

Thoughts on John’s Intensity

I think that the previous quote from John Robert Stevens really captures the intensity for the Lord that John had. I recently discussed the spiritual hunger for God that characterized his life. Now this quality of intensity is another trait that really defines who John was.

He referred in the quote to the story about King Joash, who was overwhelmed by his war against Syria. Elisha told him to strike the ground with his arrows. While Joash did what Elisha told him to do, he only did it three times. Because of this, he only won three victories against Syria, and was eventually overcome.

The point of the story was that while King Joash walked out the Word of God, he did it without a true intensity. Because of that, the fulfillment he saw was very limited.

This is exactly the opposite of the passion that I feel from John in his writings, and the intensity I hear in his sermons. There was a fiery quality that every believer should have—and not just when things seem to be going well.

It’s one thing to believe the Word of God, and it’s quite another to pursue the fulfillment of that Word with an intensity of faith. Many people believe the Word of God, so I’d say that it’s not too impressive of an attribute. I mean, Joash believed the Word of God, otherwise he wouldn’t have been obedient. But that belief, in itself, didn’t get him very far.

So now I want to gather together in my mind all of the things of God that I have believed for and see if my intensity to see them fulfilled has waned, or has even died off completely! If so, it is not difficult to reach back into God and find the ember of my heart sparked once again by and for His Word.

 

Aug 24 2010

I want God to use me to the utmost. I want Him to do whatever is necessary in my life that will enable me to believe for a fulfillment that has no limitation on it. I do not want to beat the ground three times with the arrows. I want to beat the ground until the points come off, the feathers fly out, and all that is left are splinters in my hand. [II Kings 13:14-21]

  • John Robert Stevens, "Elijah and Elisha," 1975
    John Robert Stevens, "Elijah and Elisha," 1975
    Excerpt from the Book "Elijah and Elisha" by John Robert Stevens, Copyright © 1975 by John Robert Stevens & The Living Word, a California non profit Corporation. Used by permission.

 

Aug 16 2010

John Robert Stevens’ Spiritual Hunger

I know I gave this quote from John a few months ago, but I was reading it again and had some further thoughts about it.

The first thing I ever knew [in God] was the old-fashioned tabernacles and the sawdust floor and all the red-hot potbellied stoves; we went through a winter of services every night. It was marvelous. Those were days when God met me and I found my heart reaching into Him. I can remember visiting a little tent meeting outside of town, and they were really holy rollers….

I was in that thing, carefully seeking the Lord, because I saw God in it: a little kid seeking God in that, because I loved Him and I wanted to serve Him. And I watched those other people do it; they’d all go home with sawdust in their hair. I can remember those days in which God began to open up a whole frontier. It was called “storefront religion,” because churches would not receive it, but they would rent a store building and they would preach the Word of the Lord.*

Gary Hargrave was telling me that during this time, John would pray all night long, seeking the Lord for the Holy Spirit, and then still have go to school the next day (and he was still a great student because he ended up graduating second in his class). That’s how hungry he was for the Lord.

The Bible is clear about the effectiveness of spiritual hunger: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)

While John found many fulfillments in his life, it’s pretty clear that his hunger for God was never satisfied. And when you read this Scripture carefully, you see that the person is being satisfied, not their hunger. This is how God functions, and John was the proof. Because God is determined to satisfy the hunger, no matter what we receive from the Lord we should never drop this basic hunger for Him.

Gary Hargrave told me another thing about John that relates to this. When John Stevens was traveling by train as an evangelist, he was so young that he would have to beg preachers to let him have a revival because he was so young. And all he wanted was to share the living experiences he’d had with God. Now that was a man who lived his life with a spiritual hunger.

As Gary Hargrave said to me about hunger: “It is John Robert Stevens 101.”

So today I’m asking myself this question: Am I hungry enough for God?

  • *John Robert Stevens, "The Sin of Not Loving Him More," 1982
    *John Robert Stevens, "The Sin of Not Loving Him More," 1982
    Excerpt from the This Week "The Sin of Not Loving Him More" by John Robert Stevens, Copyright © 1982 by The Living Word, a California non profit Corporation. Used by permission.

 

Aug 12 2010

Thoughts on Not Criticizing

When I read John Robert Stevens’ writings, I feel strongly his heart of care and concern. I know I’ve written about this earlier, but so many people I’ve talked to about him often say the same thing: John Robert Stevens was a man who loved God’s people very deeply.

The quote previous to this post is another great example of this, because the other thing I hear from so many people who knew him is that he was a man of great perception. He was able to look at people and the Holy Spirit revealed to him their strengths and their weaknesses.

I was thinking recently how it’s so easy to love someone when you are not that aware of their problems, but it takes a greater depth of love once you see the issues. Well, John saw the issues very clearly, but he had a commitment and love in his heart to help people. He had faith for every man, no matter what they were facing! As he said: “God did not give me the deep insight of the word of wisdom or the word of knowledge or discernment so that I should criticize, but rather that I should help.”

I’m thankful that John Robert Stevens established this kind of relating among believers in his churches, especially since I pastor one of them! I see first-hand the fruit of his heart and his teaching in the people who attend Grace Chapel of Honolulu.

Of course, we all know where this attitude comes from. It comes from the Lord and His Word. It could only come from Him! It is exactly what Christ taught us in the Book of John:

“A ​​new commandment I give to you, ​​that you love one another, ​even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

 

Aug 9 2010

When I minister and I see the need, I do not put anyone down. I always try to help. I do not want to ever beat down a man with my words, no matter what is wrong in his life. I want to always give a word of faith to build others up. God did not give me the deep insight of the word of wisdom or the word of knowledge or discernment so that I should criticize, but rather that I should help. Neither should you criticize each other! When you see a need, do not fail to move on it with faith! If you need to repent concerning your lack of love, then get busy with it!

  • John Robert Stevens, "Are You A Turkey," 1980
    John Robert Stevens, "Are You A Turkey," 1980
    Excerpt from the This Week "Are You A Turkey?" by John Robert Stevens, Copyright © 1980 by The Living Word, a California non profit Corporation. Used by permission.