4.5.2018 - 'Binding the Broken Heart' - Brian connolly
Updated: Apr 11, 2018
Nothing quite masters disbelief or doubt like personal testimony. I've always thought of it like this, in the context of the Gospel being preached in a world hostile to it: one can argue doctrine, interpretation of scripture, or accounts of history, but it's very difficult to refute someone's living, breathing testimony. This is being nicely demonstrated through the 'Do it Again' Project, but it was also Brian's strategy on Thursday night.
The power of a drug addict turned Pastor & Author is hard to dispute or intellectualize, and I know the guy quite well, and there's no secret stuff going on under the radar. To the unbeliever or the doubter, you might find fault with something Brian says but you still must reconcile the evidence of transformation in his life.
One's past is often considered when we talk about testimony, and the one danger in it is bringing up the past and camping there, shifting the focus of what God has done and who we are now to where and why we were stuck before. In a sense, we can revert to the past, and if we're not careful, we can act like the sow returning to the mud pit of old. (2nd Peter 2:22) On Thursday, Brian recounted a time when he fell short, a stage when he was devoid of the Spirit, a season where he wasn't seeing clearly... with the express purpose of pointing a finger at what God has done.
"He is purging from our hearts every lover that doesn't belong there."
The Counselor Very Much in Need of Counseling
Brian's foremost story is perhaps his moment of brokenness in the office of a Christian counselor, while being a masters degree level counselor and pastor himself. What came of the first session was the simple truth that the fear of rejection and the effects of self-hatred were stealing Brian's lunch and driving his actions. In fact, at the time, Brian could not even muster the ability to say that he loved himself. Finally exposed and made plain, these lies and demonic strategies looking to steal his call and push him out of ministry were dealt with, and the rest is history. Brian explains the reconciliation that took place from that one counseling session: 'God has taught me more through humiliation than my greatest successes.'
The Enemy Targets your Biggest Strength
It's quite damaging to the enemy to be in your calling, hearing rightly from God, and doing the things that you were created to do. So it should be no mystery if we experience a bit of pressure from the enemy in those areas. For Brian, it was and even is sometimes today, doubt, contrary thoughts, and a panicky feeling around public speaking. We know him to be very good at preaching, explaining, and encouraging from the pulpit, which is why these arrows were and are often launched, attempting to halt his strength of preaching and public edification. Standing firm then, is his only option when these thoughts and feelings come.
The other part of this equation is that what we've overcome and now have authority over tends to be an area of grace we have in ministering to others dealing with similar things. It might be as simple as having experience in that area, or others having a bent to listen since we've been there and done that. For Brian, having been an addict of different things has translated to being an effective minister to those in bondage in that area today.
What you are Rooted in Really Matters
Most matters, if not all matters, really do come back to the heart and the motive with which we do things. You can and should be rooted and grounded in love - (Ephesians 3:17) this is right motive - but there are so many alternatives of the world that would love to occupy your root system and feed your tree. TV, Facebook, the opinions of men, or even your ministry can crowd out your love and attempt to replace it. For this reason Jesus addresses the Ephesian church in Revelation 2:4 "I have this against you: you have forsaken the love you had at first." This scripture notes that it's quite possible to lose the love we had at first... the Ephesians did. And what's next in Revelation 2 should really wake us up:
"5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate." REVELATION 2:5-6
What you're rooted in and what drives you to do things, or not do things, was probably the predominant theme last Thursday, and it all harks back to an understanding of love. My son asked me just the other night: why do we love Jesus? And I responded pretty quickly: "Because he loved us first." (1st John 4:19) It's essential to know God loves us, in fact it's probably the first and most fundamental step in the Christian life. And in exchange we reciprocate that love, and I believe that's only possible because He first loved us. This step is necessary to take the next one: loving ourselves... and then the next one after that: loving others. Such is the progression in Matthew 22:37-40. Is this the only possible sequence in loving others? Yes, I believe so. If love is pure and in alignment with what love truly is and how it's expressed, (1st Corinthians 13) I think it has to be. God is love and He is love's originator. He has to be our source if we want to get it right.
Shame - Unworthiness - Failure
Brian & Co. focused on and went after these three things in the ministry time that immediately followed the message. From my standpoint, it was apparent that strongholds were leaving and people were getting freedom in certain areas. Some folks fell under the weight of the presence of God, others became emotional, and I caught wind that one individual, in particular, had a vivid vision during this time. Brian also honed in on one person and was prophesying reparation from past wounds.
You can join us this week, April 12th, as we invite guest speaker Valora Bock to i61, where she will share on 'Overcoming Anxiety.'
A Shift is Coming - A recent prophetic word from Pastor Brian
- JF D'Orsie