Sunday, July 11, 2010

Demonic Tricks

"For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12

I have never in my life experienced as much spiritual warfare as I have since I moved to Silicon Valley. To some of you that read this, you'll think this topic is absolutely ridiculous, but to others, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about and probably experience it yourselves.

The things I'm writing here are my personal experience with the demonic world in the last couple years of my life. I'm not exactly sure all the reasons what, why, and how this stuff happens, but I'll do my best to give you a glimpse of our experiences here.

First, let me give you my opinion of why I think demonic activity is seen and experienced more here in our environment:
  • Variety of Religions - there is a high concentration of every world religion and cult in this area. I believe that false religions are inspired and, in many ways, controlled by the demonic world - whose goal is to distract people from the Truth of Scripture.
  • Evangelistic Focus - as a church, we are very evangelisticly focused. That is, we put a lot of value on reaching people who are far from God and bringing them into relationship with Jesus Christ. Churches who lose that focus are not a big worry to the Enemy.
  • Demonic Domination - the San Francisco Bay Area has for many years been know as an area dominated by liberal thinking, anti-family values, and opposition to Christianity.
  • Unchurched - The Bay Area is one of the most unchurched metropolitan areas in the country - 95% of people here don't attend church services anywhere. This is a weird thought, but Satan does not have many options of churches to attack, unlike other places.
  • Big Vision & Aggressive Agenda - If I were Satan and I heard the magnitude of the vision of our team - to start a church planting movement and transform the Bay Area with the Gospel - I would also be trying my best to stop them!
Secondly, let me share with you some of the things that have happened as a result of demonic oppression. Most of these things happened right before a big weekend for us as a church. For example, a weekend where we will do a focused call for lots of people to receive salvation or take the step to get baptized.
  • Cats - Before one of the biggest Sundays of South Bay Church a couple months ago, a group of 5 cats would sit outside our bedroom door (opens to the patio) and make horrific noises all night long. Trust me, this was not the normal cat meows, they were very loud noises that sounded like people screaming in HELL. I would kick them out and they would come right back. After the 3rd night of getting almost no sleep, my wife and I prayed together for them to go away and they did. (I mean no offense to cat-lovers).
  • Kids screaming - Just last Saturday night, again before a huge Sunday, my daughters came out of their room screaming at the top of their lungs saying they were scared. I put them back in bed, but every hour at night (a total of 6 or 7 times) one of them would come out screaming. The last time, Cailyn - my 2-year old, screamed: "it scared me... it scared me and went away!" I stayed up that night praying on my knees until they fell back asleep.
  • Vivid Nightmares - I can't tell you how many times, especially on Saturday nights, my wife or I have very vivid demonic dreams. My last one I woke up and couldn't move or speak. Then I finally got the name of "Jesus" out and whatever held me let go.
  • Other countless incidents: There are some so many other things I can share, from neighbors partying all night, to computers crashing right when we need it most (we have Macs and they don't crash easily), to our family getting sick during key weekends... They might seem like coincidence to some people, but their timing and patterns are almost predictable based on the magnitude of our events and impact.
Lastly, let me share why I think God doesn't protect us from all demonic activity, though I believe He shields us quite a bit already:
  • Reminds us to stay dependent - when this stuff happens we are reminded that the battle is bigger than us. It is a spiritual battle for the souls of people. We cannot do it on our own.
  • Keep us on our knees - nothing will motivate you to pray more than to see the demonic world attacking your family. They are reminders for all of us to stay on our knees and pray hard.
  • Remind us that this battle is more spiritual than physical - the Scriptures are clear that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of the spiritual realm.
  • Same reason we're not exempt from pain - As Christians, we are not exempt from pain and suffering, because pain protects us from deeper suffering (like burning your finger on the stove), it reminds us of the temporal nature of our lives, it makes us long for eternity with God...
In spite of all this, in a strange way I feel very encouraged when we face these attacks. It shows that whatever we are doing is causing the Enemy to get very upset. He sees the potential in our vision. Also, I love seeing God come through as victorious every time. Just last weekend when my kids kept getting up due to something scaring them, we ended up having one of the biggest Sunday services in the history of our church. People still get saved, restored, and take huge steps of faith.

The Enemy cannot stop God's Church. He can play dirty tricks, disturb our sleep, attack our families and even our flesh, but God's Church still advances. She is an unstoppable force, because the Spirit of God lives in her and He cannot be shaken!
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