One of the reasons I started going to my church here was because of the lively worship and joy that they all seemed to have. I enjoy people who are not afraid of worshiping their God (this is my youth group on the right...)
BUT some days things aren't so right on when it comes to theology. This week we had a guest preacher who started off by telling us that we were going to talk about prayer and then spent the next 30 minutes talking about basically nothing as an intro. (Most people would be annoyed at this point, but this is just a weekly experience for me) The NEXT part was the part that really got me. He had us all turn to 2 Kings 13:14-20. If you haven't read this chapter recently go and take a look.
I read it to myself as he was rambling on about nothing again and thought, 'What in the world does this have to do with prayer?'
I'm not kidding, I was actually impressed that this guy could write his entire sermon and then randomly said "Hmm what chapter should I use? 2 KINGS!"
The chapter is about how Elisha is about to die and the king at the time went to get his last words of advice before he dies. Elisha tells him to take a bow and shoot an arrow through a window. Elisha places his hands on the kings as he shoots and then Elisha says, "The Lord's arrow of victory" and tells the king to strike the ground with the arrow. The king does it, but only three times and Elisha gets mad and says, "You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it." And then Elisha dies. (Really I'm not doing it completely justice... go and read the passage!)
Here are the points that our guest speaker had as he went through the passage.(It took notes because I was so impressed with how he got something that wasn't there!)
1. Crying is good as long as its real. Fathers listen to their crying children.
2. Bows and arrows are like prayers against Satan.
3. Pray is like incense that is a beautiful aroma to God.
4. The king did not have direct communcation with God, so the prophet had to help him.
Which means that we must teach new believers how to pray.
5. If you ask wrongly (meaning doubting and without faith) He will not answer your prayers.
6. Pray with windows open towards Jerusalem (he gave Daniel's example how he prayed 3 times a day, windows open toward Jerusalem).
7. Prayer without passion does not have power. If you do not hit the ground (like the king struck the ground with the bow), Satan wins.
Here is the thing with some of these points... they are not necessarily WRONG. Yes, we must teach new believers how to pray. Yes, prayer is how we fight against the Devil... but here is what truly saddened my heart. This man is taking any old passage of Scripture and making it say exactly what he wants it to say without any regard to context... and the people of the church are eating it up.
My desire for the church is Loja is that the believers in it would learn to study the Bible for themselves. I long for them to know the truth of the Word and that would set them free from legalism and fear. Please continue to pray for the pastors and believers in Loja, that they would peach the truth of the gospel boldly and correctly.