God is a mystery,but if you are a married man, you know that so is your wife! However you won’t usually avoid knowing her or trying to understand her because you sometimes don’t. God is mysterious,but mysteriously good and mysteriously loving and mysteriously awesome and He isn’t so scary He is to be avoided. In Hebrews 10:31, when talking about “insulting the Spirit of Grace(or God), it says “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of a living God”. Of course that is true but to help us try and understand our God ,we will need to grasp the healthy balance of two seemingly opposing personas we see in God that walk together. We see this balance all the time as we read through the scriptures . But it is not a good/bad dualism or even the ying yang in Tao. It is the likable/lovable vs the frightening/perplexing.
Today there is a new wave of understanding about God’s nature of grace. But as people dive into these wonderful truths they can tend to get carried away,then come to crazy conclusions and say things like, “God is so gracious,I’m sure satan can be saved, too!” Or, “I am pretty sure we don’t even need to read the Old Testament as it’s irrelevant.I’m all about Jesus.The God of the Old Testament was guilty of killing people and I can’t reconcile or believe in a God who would do that! Those stories must be just allegories”. While I can see how people might go there, they seem to miss the point that God is beyond our comprehension! His ways inscrutable…and He is beyond understanding. The bible tells us God can actually give us a peace that defies understanding! So why is it such a stretch to think we are invited and asked to BELIEVE ,but not necessarily UNDERSTAND? Winston Churchill after WWII, when trying to describe the way Russia operated, called them, ”a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. Now that was trying to understand and describe how the police state of the Soviet Union worked. But God is infinitely more mysterious than that! Yet the problem is not with GOD. Because there is one thing we can be clear about, and that is that GOD is good,loving,merciful and HE is LOVE. So whether we understand HIM or not, God is the unchanging ONE, not us. WE are the ones with the challenge of believing in a being we scarcely understand.
The fear of God could be said to be the acceptance of these extremes of compassion,love,mercy & grace on one hand and righteousness, justice, truth and wrath on the other! These contradictions are seen all through BOTH the Old and New testaments and can confuse someone trying to have faith in a God he barely comprehends. For example the characters of suffering JOB and joyful JESUS don’t seem to intersect, but God thinks they do. Another example of this kind of apparent tension is in Luke 12 where Jesus, not Job, said this:“I say to you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Luke 12:4-7
I used to think the secret to being blessed was how much faith I had or how much I tithed or my church sowed. While there is truth in that, I came to realize that wasn’t the whole story. We can know the truth but there are truer truths we can also know. I saw that the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, was also the wealthiest and that those who are the most blessed had wisdom to do the right thing in each situation. I discovered the key to abundance rests on understanding honor. We honor those things that we value, but will not get things of real value as long we value the wrong things. Jacob valued his brother Esau’s firstborn birthright as the oldest son yet he talked Esau into selling it to him because he was hungry and wanted a bowl of porridge.This is why Malachi 1:3 says “Jacob I loved and Esau I hated”. While the Hebrew word means “love less”, it is actually talking about the nation of Israel versus the nation of Edom who became a source of problem for Israel. The bottom line is, we should see the importance of viewing things through God’s priorities. It seems incumbent upon us to put a proper value on those things God esteems worthy of honor. If we do, we end up blessed and happy, but if we don’t, we might live in lack and frustration.
God says, if we honor our fathers and mothers, we will have a long life. He says marriage between a man and a woman should be honored by all. If we honor what He thinks is important, we receive both riches AND honor. David honored God’s presence and went to great lengths to get the Ark into Jerusalem. When God asked Solomon to ask anything of Him, he didn’t ask for money or revenge, but instead for wisdom to lead. He ended up getting riches,honor,glory and peace! The offering King David took up for the building of Solomon’s temple was so immense because the people knew they wanted to honor God. And before they did anything else,David made a massive sacrifice to the Lord that same day he took that temple offering! He had 1000 bulls,1000 rams and 1000 lambs as well as drink offerings. (1 Ch 29:12-25) They both chose wisely.
Recently I wondered, is the American church valuing the wrong things? Are churches so in fear of losing the 501(c)(3) or tax-exemption, preachers avoid preaching the truth about same-sex marriage, immorality,abortion and other topics,considered “taboo” by the media?? I just returned from preaching in 9 different churches in Australia and none of them have a tax-exemption but their churches thrive. So are our priorities skewed? Does the church value money and being PC by media standards? Don’t we know our authority is in bringing to our culture the Word of God?
Recently, Wikileaks revealed that mainstream media, the New York Times,Washington Post, CNN, ABC,MSNBC, Salon, were ALL in collusion with & pushing a narrative for the DNC to elect Hillary Clinton. While liberal bias is no surprise,to be covering up bad stories and highlighting untrue stories, basically telling lies and spreading propaganda means they are no longer “speaking truth to power” but instead “power speaking propaganda to people”. This election exposed how blatantly out of touch ,corrupt and deceitful the media is! Even though it is the largest communicator and legitimizer of deceit & immorality in our culture, the church still seems to tip its hat to it, bows down to Mammon and worships Jesus on Sunday-Baal,Mammon and Jesus! In ancient Israel when they worshiped many gods that was called pantheism. Isn’t that what churches are doing today?
I told a pastor friend recently, you get what you value and what you value ,you talk about. If we value the Holy Spirit and welcome Him, He shows up! If we honor wisdom ,talk about it and run to get it, we will have it. If we talk about miracles and supernatural things and value those, we will get them! But if we don’t esteem these things God esteems important, we end up doing without that blessing. We can have as much of what God has by accepting or rejecting it. God rewards us when we honor what HE esteems and so we need to learn to love what the Lord loves and even hate what He hates because He sees things in a vastly different way than we do! (Is 55:7-9) My question to you is, what do you honor in your heart,your life priorities, your home, lifestyle and culture of your church?
So what are the reasons for this prophetic deficit and the prophetic blindness and deafness?
The Media Mountain of Slime
If you are confused about the election results,maybe take the cue from Paul who told us to examine ourselves (2 Cor 13:5)and see if you are in the faith, then ask yourself :
1) Am I acquainted with the Spirit of Truth? Scripture’s clear that God will participate in your delusion if you agree with it.
2 Thessalonians 2:11 “Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false”
We have to learn to LISTEN to hear the truth. “If anyone has ears to hear”…
2)How many cues am I taking from the voice of a dishonest, corrupt Jezebellic media,now exposed to be corrupt and a propaganda instrument for the Democratic party?
The old media: NYT,Washington Post, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, 1/3 at Fox are losing so many followers it appears the New York Times and others who pushed their narrative may close in the next few months! Goebbels and the Nazi propaganda used to elevate Hitler was child’s play compared the level of deceit, propaganda and dishonesty spewed out by these priests of the “media mountain,”Lance Walnau calls it, to push their position for the election.They are guarding their version of truth and propagandizing rather than reporting truth. Almost NONE of them are Christians. The reason they missed so BADLY and are IN SHOCK is they actually believe their own propaganda!
Believers must get our worldview from the scriptures and a clean conscience determined by our spirit,not the media. The media is not our “conscience”.They are polluted priests of their own wicked religion where up is down,right is wrong and victimhood and perversion is everywhere.
3) Do I receive my understanding of “truth” through abiding in the Word of God & hearing the voice of God or am I tipping my hat and taking my worldview from a corrupt, immoral media ?
I would suggest media is a false god of this present world system and many people, pastors,leaders and churches bow their knee to it. While there are many wonderful elements to it that are not at all corrupted, it has the power to create a narrative that sways us. 40 years ago,the US free press was considered unbiased,not taking sides but uncovering truth,reporting FACTS and whistleblowing on corruption. Today it is bought and paid for by corporate interests that attempt to move opinion and reality to its narrative of right and wrong.
Without discernment coming from the Holy Spirit we are dumbly led astray.
Think: are you bowing your knee to worldly wisdom and the gods of this age in the media? Is that where you get your worldview? If you are,repent,open your bible and have your mind transformed!
I have an observation about the election of Donald Trump and the profound prophetic deficit it exposed in the church. While new media clearly foresaw it, (FB,Twitter,blog sites like Drudge) the church overall either rejected or ignored it initially,which shows we have a BIG problem with prophetic vision. It’s astounding to me how FEW Christian prophetic voices really saw what was happening concerning this presidential election. Few if any teachers saw it. Where were the prophets? The people jumping on board now are irrelevant. While there were scientific,mathematical and of course political analyzers,forecasters and prognosticators who use data and algorithms, Christian prophets are to see things with spiritual vision and God’s eyes,NOT through a political, natural or PC church lens!
In addition, did America’s “prophets” NOT see the gravity of this election? The danger and stakes couldn’t have been clearer: economic decline,spiraling debt,Christian religious persecution,rule of law ignored, chaos and lawlessness with rioting,open borders immigration,international adventurism, a refugee crisis,ISIS and more. When people asked me, I told them- look, the bottom line about this election is it was either going to be the end of America or a return to basic common sense Americanism. Trump’s 306 to 232 electoral college 31 state landslide victory over Hillary Clinton was historic and a stiff repudiation of Obama and the Democrats,not seen since 1980! But the sheer silence from the pulpit or blindness of many church leaders to the gravity of the situation was seen in our so-called prophets-where? and pastors-what? That complacency was appalling and frightening!
While I do not purport to be anybody special in the “prophetic circuit”,whatever it is, I clearly saw Trump would move to get into the race by late 2014,saw the authority in his words and knew he would go all the way! And when he openly declared at his announcement to run in June 2015, my wife Linda and I were astonished at his clarity of the problems and the anointing and authority on his words was palpable and forceful! It was NOT because he said what the PC media sycophants think is abominable, but because it “rang true” with common wisdom and immediately seemed to clear the haze of blindness and open the ears so that people might be free to think and speak something contrary to what the media was saying. While I told those in my circuit of influence ,I saw how the corrupt PC culture had already anesthetized Christians with their foolish worldview. Trump prophesied his win every time he spoke and his clarity released courage to others to speak truth!
But where were the prophets? Where have the prophets been?
Mario Murillo saw clearly that Trump was “crushing a corrupt system and teaching Christian leaders a lesson”. Lance Walnau went to a meeting of evangelical leaders with Trump and saw Trump was “a wrecking ball to political correctness”. Many at that first meeting sensed he was God’s choice but I am not sure they knew what to do? Is that NOT a problem? Jeremiah Johnson said, “Trump does not fear man nor will he allow deception and lies to go unnoticed. I am going to use him to expose darkness and perversion in America like never before,” We saw this on an unprecedented scale the weeks leading up to the election through hackers Anonymous and Wikileaks. While both tend to be left wing,they seemed appalled by the immense level of corruption of the Clinton crew,including involvement in the occult with “spirit cooking” and the “child sex ring” pedophilia accusations concerning Podesta, the 26 trips to “Orgy Island”taken by the Clintons and other. God help us but I believe we will see much much more implicating the Obama administration as well.Bobby Conner saw that in 2008.
The most accurate prophetic word about this was the one Mark Taylor gave on April 28 2011, which was a divine declaration and a prophecy of the future of America.It was positive and hopefilled,not like the gloom and doom of MANY who call themselves prophets today .Unlike many prophecies we see that are conditional,like “If you,I will”, his was a foretelling word of divine intent and has been 100% accurate so far! I think it’s interesting that Mark Taylor is retired fireman and an outsider, not necessarily in the “prophetic circuit”,yet his spiritual vision and clarity is epic and accurate. We needed that word to give many of us the faith and courage to see this election through to the end with prayer and voting. I understand Trump got the largest evangelical vote since Reagan! Taylor’s prophecy,entitled “Commander in chief”, had millions of views on Rick Wiles TruNews radio and Charisma also ran it which MILLIONS also read that. The follow interview with Mark Taylor the day after the election is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNV9I_2sRXk
So what is the reason for such a massive prophetic deficit? Why such a lack of MORAL clarity about what has been going SO WRONG in the church first and in the country and culture? Why did leaders miss it or even try to avoid it? Why did high-profile leaders like Max Lucado and Beth Moore take a cowardly PC line,effectively siding with a immoral,unethical corrupt,deceptive,even perverse 30 year pol,rather than going with a potty-mouthed businessman/patriot who professed God, was pro-life and religious freedom?
FEAR-After decades of observing the bad fruit of the disciples & leaders who embrace the seeker mentality & philosophy, I would go so far to say there is a strain of fear instilled in the seeker approach which masquerades as “being all things to all to win all”,but instead, behind it all is a fear of man, a PC nod and a bow of the knee to mammon which emasculates the boldest preacher! The fear of loss and idea of losing their 501(c)(3), of losing money and bodies has permeated the church culture. The fear of man,fueled by the desire to have an enterprise rather than a “church of the living God”, seems to make eunuchs out of men of God. These leaders can be very bold on ambiguous topics of little moral relevance pr cultural consequence but when their preaching may turn compromised people off,they come under the leash of political correctness and the fear of losing givers. The culture of these churches begun by Bill Hybels,then perfected by Andy Stanley and others has cemented the philosophy into “successful” leaders that church meetings are evangelistic crusades about attracting seekers and winning the lost instead of discipling and equipping saints and being a trumpet and pillar of the truth and justice!
A COMPROMISED CHURCH- Today in America the church at large tips its hat to a corrupt, immoral PC MSM,bows its knee to mammon and then worships Jesus on Sunday with Bethel songs! This is NOT Christianity but pantheism or the worship of many Gods! Hey guys, this is basic 10 commandments 101-
#1 Commandment-I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD and you shall worship NO OTHER GODS before ME.” Politically correct cowards like Beth Moore and Max Lucado typify this ethical rot and prophetic ambiguity in the church,who crumble at the slightest push back at the first sense of a loss of mammon!! Call the WHAMBULANCE! Well ,here’s what I prophesy: “ALL the pantheistic pastors leading these pantheistic movements who continue to toe the line of the Baal & Jezebel infested media, then serve mammon in your lifestyle but break out worship of Jesus with Bethel songs on Sunday,will be faced with a stark choice: REPENT, Change your thinking and even the way you think ABOUT your thinking then change the way you do church where you honor these other Gods or God will not trust you with the new breed Millennial harvest about to stream into the churches.That which you are afraid of losing will be taken from you!
The millennials want leadership, not the eloquent blabbering of a marble-filled mouth saying nothing! The reason people recoiled at Trump was because many times he said things many people are thinking but do not have the courage to say,because he can’t be bought and won’t back down. He is a stark lesson to our cowardly “pastor class”.
How can the church have moral clarity and be “the pillar and support of the truth” when Sunday mornings, pastors are avoiding the moral crises of their generation to be “nice” and “inoffensive”? and to make sure to toe the line of whatever the corrupt Jezebel infested media is saying.The church used to hold up the moral fabric of our culture and society but they abdicated to the corrupt immoral media. The church has lost its moral clarity due to pastors fear of loss and rejection of the prophetic. Mario Murillo says “I believe that a majority of preachers in America have two sermons: The one they are preaching and the one they want to preach. But, it is even worse than that—they have the sermon they are preaching, and the one that God wants them to preach.
Barna Group was curious about why so many people including millennials were leaving churches, and was not afraid to ask thousands of Christians. Here is what they said they wished their pastor would preach on:
-91% want their pastor to take a public stand on abortion.
-86% want them to address the persecution of the church.
-85% want them to confront dependency on government programs.
-83% want them to speak out about restoring morals.
-82% want to know their position on traditional marriage.
This is why Millennials leave the church! They are looking for absolutes ,a lack of ambiguity and a foundation that is immovable! They don’t want to be told a PC answer that looks and sounds like the MSM and they also value many sources of news in the new media.
GIVING HONOR TO an immoral,ethically corrupted media- Over a generation ago when the“Greatest generation” who literally saved the world from tyranny in WW2 came home,the church governed what the culture looked like. The media asked permission of the church what was permissible. Today Mammon & Jezebel direct the media and the church tips its hat to a media that Wikileaks revealed to be corrupt through months of email leaks showing rampant collusion with 65 reporters at ABC,MSNBC, CBS,CNN with the DNC to rig debates and primaries and polls. Truth was unimportant.Today the media see themselves as part of the state,preserving the sttus quo and TRUTH BE DAMNED! There are only 5 billionaires control ALL the media in the US and their values are ALL dictated by the market. In an ungodly culture the values are set by what is marketed and sold so lies,sex,sin & violence sells. Why are we surprised? Much entertainment is creative and amazing but a lot of it is propaganda for a lifestyle the media thinks is acceptable. Once a whistleblower of corruption and a watchdog to protect us from dangers to our way of life, 80% of the MSM is now a corrupted institution speaking untruth and propaganda that is harmful and not helpful. It has become an institution of LOWER not higher learning and has done some of the most damaging and damning things to our society. The new guardians of the republic seem to be hackers like Wikileaks,Ed Snowden and Anonymous, who have become the only ones spilling the truth,who “speak truth to power”. Once a guardian of the republic,it was supplanted and replaced with a priesthood of the elite spewing lies,propaganda and disinformation. Instead of giving us many points of view, a free press,instead it had a synchronized message of corrosive corruption and wickedness not unlike Big Brother in 1984. Thank God for new media and Julian Assange. The Clinton campaign was threatening war with Russia over the leaks that were coming from the FBI! Horrifying to discover. God helped us.
Fear, a compromised church and an immoral and corrupt media have each been used to “gouge the eyes” out of the prophets of God in the church. We need to do what Jesus commands in Revelation 3:15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me”
Several years ago we were in a wonderful move of God in our church, a unique time of favor and blessing that lasted over 5 years . Today I was remembering how, in one of our times of prayer and fasting, I saw this HUGE angel standing over our church building .It was almost 150 feet tall and from a distance, looked similar to one of the big “Transformers”. But as I saw it closer and it became clearer, it looked like those huge power lines that run along valleys, yet was a huge angelic being and it looked something like this:
My mind was blown! I knew that angels can take on any size and shape necessary,even massive size ,like the one David saw in 1 Ch 21:16 -And David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. This angel David saw must have taken up a lot of the sky,standing between earth and heaven! I had also read and heard about divine encounters where people had seen small even tiny ones,mistaking them for fireflies or fairies.
At that time,I was not quite as experienced or confident about my prophetic visions as I am now, so I called a prophet friend, Bob Jones. Bob is in heaven now but was a very unique prophet and taught many in the body of Christ about the prophetic through his mentoring. He discipled and imparted insight to Linda and I and many others ,passing out prophetic wisdom to a literal army of people over the years. So I called him and when I told him what I saw, there was no question in his mind what I saw ,because he said he saw it too! He said that massive angel represents the Spirit of Truth and transfers POWER (hence power line) from heaven to earth ,to us as He declares to us all that Jesus is and has!
John 16:13-15 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
I realized that there is no contradiction in scripture because we regularly see where the Holy Spirit takes upon himself an aspect of God’s character like the seven spirits of God and many other descriptions. God is unfathomable so He can also be unexplainable!
I then realized that’s why the enemy is so determined to keep us ignorant and in the dark about God and ALL HIS benefits! 2 Corinthians 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
That is precisely why the devil wants us deaf, dumb and blind to what is really going on!
Actually, unbelief is spiritual blindness and rebellion against the truth is spiritual deafness. The Holy Spirit reveals to us, brings to us ALL these wonderful things as we begin to start agreeing with and seeing the truth in Jesus.
I was reminded this morning of that vision and that our power level is directly tied to our truth level. I sensed there has been a blindness on us ,truth has been lacking ,we have stumbled in the street, for a long time…but…God is responding to our cries.. all of a sudden,God is revealing more of Himself as we agree with Him and call out to HIM! He is showing up and now it is obvious what we have been blind about! AND…here comes the Spirit of Truth!
When we believe God’s reality, which is a truer truth than is evident in what is going on around us,we agree with heaven for all that God is and has and things become clear. We won’t be able to see natural truth till we believe and agree with heavenly truth!
1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
We should ask for God the reveal Truth to us and the TRUTH is JESUS and IS IN JESUS!
The Spirit of Truth is coming!
The great teaching pastor we listened to the first 5 years after we were born again used to regularly say , “Don’t be so heavenly-minded you’re no earthly good’’. I’m not even sure our pastor told us where he heard that quote,but he would repeat it a lot. Coming from an old-time pentecostal upbringing in England,he might have needed to remind himself of that more than we did. I get it that we can’t be unable to function in real life due to our spirituality. Our spirituality or our awareness of God should help us be MORE effective on earth. Col 3:23 says, “ And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”.
Then one day I was reading the brilliant intellectual Christian writings of CS Lewis in “Mere Christianity” and saw this: A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this (one). Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in:” aim at earth and you will get neither.
(Mere Christianity, p.134)
In Luke 18:8, Jesus mentions and refers to this topic of being effective and helpful on the earth without exercising faith in a heavenly reward in a discussion about prayer. He says that prayer and exercising faith on the earth gets a heavenly response on the earth. “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
You can also easily surmise a correlation between living a life here on earth withOUT exercising faith or acknowledging God and living only for our pleasures is NOT a life of faith. To do what we want every day may be safe and fun and pleasureable but it is hardly “walking in the Spirit” and is NOT “in all your ways,acknowledge Him…” Without living a life of faith,risk and adventure can any honest person say it is really a walk of faith?
I visit churches in our area and in other cities from time to time if I am not preaching somewhere else. And the more churches I am in or go to, I see a startling conformity and sameness, a “cloning” of sorts,the same thing in so many churches: an aversion to being different,a desire to be “normal”, a desire to appear “safe” , to avoid “surprises” that would cause any discomfort to guests. While I think If you own a store or restaurant that is a good tactic,pastors are torn because they have to grow and increase to survive and the less safe and more unexpected things guests see or are exposed to,the more likely they are not to come back.
Maybe it is an aversion to the spirit of religion? Or maybe it’s an over reaction to what many have seen growing up in church where zeal and fervor were more evident than fruit. But you can’t be passionate and remain quiet. You can’t be “on fire” and remain subdued. People don’t reject leaders for their personality. People need vision and sense life and passion and fervor is part of that. If we haven’t been effected by the heavenly than its hard to get people excited about theories. Paul was so ruined by His encounter with Jesus and the heavenly vision he experienced on the road to Damascus it transformed him forever and so he mentioned it to King Agrippa in his defense.(Acts 26:19)
But are churches really even called to attract the lost? Or are they to equip the found to go find and win the lost? Aren’t churches supposed to be for the “EKKLESIA”, the called out ones? More and more they are about comfort,safety and info-tainment. So when churches begin to look more and more like an info-mercial for a blender,isn’t it likely that we have taken the “supernatural” aspect out of church meetings so as to avoid any unpleasant surprises. People don’t get excited about knowledge, they get excited when someone communicates vision and passion. Are churches becoming so earthly minded they are no earthly good? Are we so earthly minded we are no heavenly or earthly good? But can we really be any earthly good if we are not heavenly minded? I think CS Lewis is right!
Recently, I woke up sensing a number of pastors were discouraged and feeling overwhelmed with not just what is going on in their churches, but also what is happening in our country and world. These are tumultuous times!Being in ministry for 36 years,I completely understand how pastors feel! I vividly remember those monday mornings after a Sunday when they hear nothing but bad news-somebody having marriage problems or needing a miraculous healing or hearing that people you love and care about are leaving the church,saying “The Lord told me to leave”. Financial challenges pile on and then there all the dreaded meetings coming that week you just don’t want to go to! Inside, you might feel you want to go back to bed and stay in your room for a few….months! Then you have staff and board meetings that are really all about what a BAD job you are doing.
It is SO much more difficult pastoring today than when I started 36 years ago. Today the persecution churches and pastors face with the LGBT rights emphasis would have been unimaginable then. People expect things of pastors that are unrealistic and those who show up after a debacle in their former church,somehow bring all their garbage with them. And today,everyone can compare what you are doing with everyone else on earth.Through Youtube and social media the world is smaller and more connected. And unfortunately the more we “compare ourselves to ourselves, we end up without understanding”. (2 Cor 10:12) The truth is,the more we compare then adopt what others do,the less distinct and unique we become. Nothing is wrong in picking up good habits or traits,but In some ways, all the connectivity seems to cause some people to adopt what others are doing more than being real. And it appears to be bringing a frighteningly rigid uniformity almost like cloning.Actually in many ways,there is much LESS diversity and creativity. Trying to “be different”, everyone is becoming more the same. And when you pile on the insecurity in pastors,it further causes pastors to resist being “themselves” thinking they don’t measure up.
WAL-MARTING of the church
1 Corinthians 14:3-But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort…or edification, exhortation and consolation… or building up, stirring up and binding up.
As we explore the potential of the prophetic gifts we use today, we must also look at Old Testament prophetic types. Why? Even as Jesus Christ is the fulfillment and “the end of the law to those who believe”, Paul said many things that happened in the Old Testament were to be “examples” for us to follow. 1Cor 10:11
As we look at all the prophets in bible, we see they manifest their gifts in different ways. As we learn more about this gift and how it functions through, we will see that a “one-size-fits-all”description does not apply. Each person is uniquely gifted to fulfill a specific assignment in the earth at that time in history. Acts 13:36
Every man or woman of God will face barriers to their movement forward. Once a believer realizes they were allowed to be placed on earth at a specific place and time in history for a specific reason, then the challenge for them is to discover what that calling is,develop it, then deploy it in the world to change history! One person who finds their calling and walks in it is more significant to fulfilling God’s purpose than an auditorium filled with immature, unbelieving believers, always wondering about it yet perpetually wandering from it. And it’s not good enough just to know it in our heart, but to get to that place where we are actually doing it,deploying it efectively. Whatever it is we are called to do, we are to do it heartily as unto the Lord. But unfortunately, even in the process of doing it,some don’t make it.
Jesus said in Mt 22:1:14 “Many are called but few are chosen” and the best translation of the Greek word kletos is called, with the implication of AN INVITATION. An invitation is great because it means we are invited, but whether or not we get there is up to us. We have to do certain things to ensure we can comply with the calling and be chosen.We actually have to prepare to be chosen in this sense and God wil give us grace. 2 Pet 1:3
Chosen is the Greek word eklektos which means, “the one who showed up,participated and stayed for the wedding”. Just like when a close friend asks you to be in his wedding, whatever that requires for you to do to get there,what you should wear ,what you should bring, is up to you to accomplish. Each of us must determine whether the cost ,time and effort is worth it to us. To be “chosen” is more accurately then, those ones who counted the cost and endured to the end,almost as in an athletic contest. Paul also uses this racing analogy of Olympic-type competition when referring to the Christian’s race in life in 1 Cor 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
Leaders will face these barriers on their way to the finish line. Determine to finish well.
Pastor Marc Lawson
There are 168 hours in every week. The 166 Factor is the answer to the question: "Who are you the OTHER 166 hours a week when you are NOT in church?" Join the community here as we will be discussing this and other topics related to Reformation in the Church, The End of Church (As We Know It) & The 166 Lifestyle.