Saturday, June 16, 2012


 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the LORD. Amos 8:11 There is a famine in the land. We never  tend to think of a famine coming to the shores of North America, but there is a famine none the less. As I traveled, I have gone to many churches across the nation. I have seen and heard some surprising things that you would not expect to see in the house of the Lord. As trends and fads come and go, and as pastors and leadership seek church growth, they have sometimes taken their cues of “how to do it” from the successful business world around them. That is sometimes their first mistake because church is not a business. It is so much more! In the business world, the highest goal is for profits. Money motivates. While the church of God needs money to operate, it should never be the chief motivator in how we do things. Pleasing God should be our first agenda. We do not please God when we push our worldly agendas and seek worldly favor.
  Recent trends in the church have been to make the atmosphere more and more like a night club, with all the flashing lights, dark sanctuaries, and although we do not serve alcohol, we prepare gourmet coffees and snacks for all.  If the presence of Almighty God is not felt in His house, making these kinds of changes will not change God. It will however change us. I fear for the next generation of believers who have not experienced the power of  God in a way that absolutely overwhelmed them.  It is not a carnal thing, but a deeply spiritual thing. Yet we prepare the atmosphere around us so our carnal flesh is impressed, while it is our spiritual man that needs to be addressed.
Preach the Word!
As our scripture has said, there will come a day when there will be a famine for hearing the Word of God. What are you teaching your children? What are you preaching to your congregation? What kind of spiritual nourishment are you providing those you are discipling? Is it the philosophies of men, good books, psychology or  ‘how to’ helps? It may be good stuff, and it may be helpful, but are they getting the Word of God?  It is well documented that most Bible believing Christians do not take the time during the week to read their Bibles. Today it is easier than ever before. There are special apps for your electronic gadgets that can put the Word of God at your fingertips at any moment of the day. But usually we are far too busy to read a verse, let alone a chapter.  Preach the Word!
Learning to Listen
  How do we expect the Words God has for us to penetrate our wilting souls?  We need to relearn what it means to listen. The scripture did not say it was to be a famine of the Word of God, but a famine of hearing or listening….. We are easily distracted! Did you know that the specific clause “hear the Word of the Lord” occurs 32 times in the NIV?  So what are we listening to? You might remember how in Revelations 2 and 3 the phrase He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” is frequently repeated. We are to listen with our spiritual ears to the Word of God. But if we do not read it, or listen to it as someone else reads it, we will be spiritually enduring a famine. God gives us His wisdom and knowledge in many different ways such as through singing, counsel and encouragement, but the chief way we are to hear his Words are from the Word of God. When we neglect this, we suffer, as a church and as an individual. God has given to every believer the Holy Spirit who is to teach us and make the Word come alive in our hearts. But we still have to dig into the Word for ourselves. Too often we have a church full a spiritual babies who rely on others to feed them their daily portion of the Word of God. When this fails to happen, they fail to thrive. Your spiritual diet will be no better than what those around you give to you, unless you are mature enough to get into the Word for yourself. A feast awaits the spiritually hungry man or woman of God in the Word of God. J. H Keathly puts it this way:  We can play church and do a kind of “nod to God” routine putting in our appearance physically while we are in essence absent spiritually. Result? We don’t even come close to truly hearing the voice of God. Why? Because we have removed our hearts from the Lord. We have become passive listeners because we aren’t really prepared physically, mentally, and spiritually to hear the Word of the Lord. Church attendance is often simply a part of our plan to pursue life on our own terms. We attend church not to really meet with God or listen in order to know, love, and serve Him, but to feel good, have an experience, to hear beautiful music, to hear an eloquent speaker, to see people or even to be seen by people. We attend church to soothe our consciences and maybe earn a little of God’s favor. In this case, one’s religious activity is a kind of insurance policy—a protection we think. But we are dead wrong if we think this way because such reasons do not line up with what God says to us in His Word.  If your pastor has become a passive listener, pray for him. If you have become a passive listener, repent, and get back to the basics of reading the Word of God, seeking your spiritual nourishment for each day. There is no substitute for hearing the voice of God speaking into your own heart to your own special needs. In your family, make it easier to focus on the Word of God by removing distractions. Help your children to listen by keeping it interesting and practical to their daily lives. When it comes to paying attention at church, leave the coffee in the foyer, use the bathroom ahead of time, and bring your own Bible to church. Mark sections that are particularly meaningful. Pastors, make it possible for people to read their Bibles by turning up the lights and clearly giving them references to scriptures. If we are not prepared to listen so we can respond with our hearts, let’s face it, we are simply playing church and we are withholding our hearts from the Lord. Our religious activities then become an experiment in futility. (H.J. Keathly)
 So what a person to do? We must prepare to listen to the voice of God.  God still speaks to mankind today. He never changes. He spoke in ages past and He will speak to you if you are willing to listen. Pastors, preach the Word as God gives it!  Don’t give in to the fads of the day. Don’t soft pedal the harsh truths God wants His people to hear. Let the anointing flow unhindered in your life. It will change those who are willing to hear!.   J. Johnson

Praise reports and prayer requests…..
Pray for revival!  Pray for those whose lives are filled with arrogance, struggling with forgiveness,  anger and doubt.
Pray for the Johnsons as they seek a new place of full time ministry...a church that needs loving  leadership. Pray as they intermin pastor in Wisconsin churches. Pray for grieving families who have lost loved ones (R. Janowski family, E. Yingling family). Pray for Evangelists, Missionaries, and Teachers. . Pray for US Army Chaplain Steve Maglio.
Pray for those needing a healing touch in their bodies: J. Berens (cancer) Rosemary (chemo treatments) Joyce Johnson (healing her muscles and feet —neuropathy) Praise the Lord, Joyce’s tumor is gone! Pray for those who are in a famine of the Word of God. Pray for the nation, for the President, for our service men and women, for Israel, for Christians in Muslim countries, for the unsaved,  and don’t forget to Praise and thank the Lord! 

Dear friends,
Please continue to pray for us as we seek God’s future for our lives. Praise the Lord! We are so thankful and so appreciate each of you who take the time to pray and write. Your financial gifts are so important and needed. Even though the tumor is gone, we continue to face many added bills from the treatments for Joyce’s cancer. Your cards and notes are so encouraging. God bless you all! God is faithful and we anticipate great things in the future……Serving the Master!  David and & Joyce Johnson
Update…..Joyce is getting stronger each day. We rejoice in the Lords touch. Together, on June 17th, we will be celebrating our 40th Wedding Anniversary. Praise the Lord for so many wonderful years together.  PS...Daves birthday was June 2nd.