Sunday, June 04, 2006

'Recovering Your Cutting Edge' by Greg Haslam.

WHAT a book! I cannot recommend it enough. Chapters by Terry Virgo are of course highlights for me on Ephesians 4 Ministries, Prayer and apostolic preaching. Also chapters by David Pawson and John Stott are outstanding. But it was a short 'Epilogue' chapter that struck me to the heart by Greg himself. His text was 2 Kings 6:1-7 and the story was of Elisha and the floating axe head. Although Greg applied the principles of application to those who attended the conference and to preachers of the Word, I do believe vervently it has some application for us 'laity' too.

He wrote:

"We note first of all that the incident occurs in the context of a 'company of prophets' who had outgrown their current accomodation and were anticipating further growth. I believe that many of us who preach and teach in Great Britain have a feeling that we must prepare ourselves for what God is going to do in our land. We want to be instruments in His hand because growth is coming to the church once again. That is what the company of prophets in Elisha's time were doing; they were chopping down trees and getting the raw materials ready for growth.

Secondly the company of prophets did not want to set about on their building project on their own: they wanted Elisha's presence. Elisha was God's representative, the most prominent prophetic figure in Israel's life at that time, a man clothed in the mantel that had been worn by Elijah with the Holy Spirit's Presence oozing from every pore of his body and every word that he said. The prophets wanted the Presence of God in the project. Isn't that what we want ... ?

Thirdly the story speaks of the loss of cutting edge. The prophet's axe head fell off in the midst of sustained hard work and business and God knows, for decades we have diligently tried all kinds of means to turn our nation around. But in that very business and feverish activity we seem to have lost our cutting edge. In the same way we have become blunted and rendered useless in this ministry ...

The distressed prophet who had lost his axe head cried out, "Oh my lord is was borrowed!" ... Our ministry is not ours, it is borrowed, it is on loan to us. It was not ours to lose. We are compelled to ask ourselves, where on earth did we lose the effectiveness that former generation of believers came to expect and experience in this business? If our cutting edge is lost, then it must be retrieved ... we will be held accountable.

For the prophet in question there was an amazing recovery of his 'cutting edge'. We are told that Elisha, the man of God asked him, "Where did it fall?" ... What we need to do is to cry out and admit our loss. In response to the prophet's cry, Elisha asked, "Where did it fall?" and in the same way each one of us needs to go back to the place where we have lost our cutting edge. There are many possible places where this could have occured. We may have lost it through discouragement and criticism or the climate of unfaith in which we live. We may have faced put-downs so often that we have lost our confidence. Perhaps we have become angry and bitter - angry with God's people - or nursed wounds that we have received as a result of people's reactions to our faithful preaching. Perhaps we have become angry with God at the lack of success in our ministry. Or maybe we have lost confidence in the Bible.

We need to go back mentally and emotionally to the place where we lost our cutting edge.

God wants to give back to each one of us our cutting edge. God is in the salvage business. Whatever it is we have lost and however we lost it, with God we can receive it back again and we can become very effective men and women in the years ahead. God wants to restore our cutting edge so that we will take more risks than we have ever taken before and become bolder and more outspoken than we have ever been before, sharper and more hard-hitting than we have ever been before. God wants to restore us to that place where we will promise Himthat we will faithfully relay everything that He has given us to speak and everything that He has put on our hearts to say.

Only in this way can we 'build God a house', accomodate the growth He wants to give us and form a 'school of the prophets' in the shape of a renewed Church that will once again become a prophetic voice to the nation. God is in the salvage or recycling business".

No comments: