Celebrity Christianity should cause great rejoicing — and caution.

Revival in Hollywood would shock the planet with the love and power of Jesus.

I come alive imagining a spirit of legitimate revival blowing and burning through the sound stages and mansions of Southern California.

Consider an atmosphere of intense intercession with some of the media elite on their knees, weeping, crying out and contending for a move of God to overtake the nations of the earth. Can you see it? Tom Cruise leading the room in repentance, Miley Cyrus declaring freedom to the oppressed, Jimmy Fallon casting out demons, Ellen DeGeneres healing the sick and Tom Hanks preaching the Word. I can see it.

The thought of daily prayer meetings that draw the most prominent talent from television and the big screen is invigorating. It's past time for the Jennifer Aniston's and Johnny Depp's of the world to fall madly in love with Jesus and to lead the charge for a Holy Spirit outpouring in Hollywood.

Possibly more powerful and far reaching than a move of God in any other segment, revival in Hollywood would dramatically shift the entertainment industry into something that impacts the world for Jesus.

TWO TROUBLING CONCERNS

As I dream of a Jesus revolution in Hollywood there are two troubling concerns that haunt me.

First, the lack of authentic revival there to date grieves my spirit. While I'm certain there are some who have been dramatically transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, the numbers are few. I'm struggling to think of a single well known celebrity who has had a legitimate Damascus Road experience. Where are the tear-jerking stories of radical surrender to Jesus in Hollywood? Why are there no (or so few) testimonies of life-altering encounters with God, undeniable healings, deliverances and overwhelming freedom? It should become common for people like Sylvester Stallone, Dwayne Johnson, Will Smith, Harrison Ford and others to wholeheartedly repent and start following Jesus with exuberant passion. Yet, such reports are rare.

Second, and possibly more concerning, is the potential redefining of Christianity by those who do appear to embrace God.

For quite some time I've been alerted in my spirit to the risk of “celebrity Christianity.” God has often been thanked behind an Oscar Awards podium, yet it's obvious most who shout his name are in no way devoted to Jesus. This casual shout-out to God has now morphed for many into an intentional redefinition of biblical truth. While it's certainly exciting to see some of the world's most famous people mention God in a positive light, we have to reel in our fervor and honestly consider whether it's truly Jesus who is being promoted.

“So, you now telling me that I'm allowed to redesign my relationship with God as an adult, and make it how it feels most accepting to me, makes me feel so less turned off by spirituality.” This is the message Miley Cyrus seemed to get from Justin Bieber's wife, Hailey in an Instagram video interview.

Hailey Bieber recently talked about the expectations she and Justin have as professing Christians. “As a model, Bieber says she’s often expected to “show skin” but then hears that’s “not a good representation” of her Christian faith. When she receives flak for posting certain photos of herself online, Bieber says she wonders, “Am I doing something wrong? Am I setting a bad example [because] people in the church will see this? And the reality is—no.”

We must understand that we are all in process and Hailey and Miley are very young and still searching. We need to celebrate the search. They are remarkable human beings and deeply loved by God. However, we can't remain silent when the signals being sent in the midst of that search may lead people astray.

It is troubling, whether Hailey meant to communicate this or not, that Miley Cyrus felt vindicated and confirmed in her own version of spirituality.

“I was raised going to church as a believer, and that was a really important part of my life,” Miley shared. “And I kind of fell off that path a little bit because I think I had a hard time finding a relationship with God that worked for me as an adult.”

Miley's journey seems to have led her outside of biblical boundaries and to feel confirmed in her decisions is troubling.

New Age, psuedo-Christian spirituality has been around Hollywood for a long time, yet now it's being affirmed as authentic, biblical Christianity, which it is not.

In the Instagram video Hailey promotes community whether it's at church, on a sports team on in a book club where there's no judgement and where you find acceptance and love. She states, “For me that's church and that's God and that's faith.”

Miley, who was raised in church, said, “I'm so happy I just learned something. What I just took away from you is I'm allowed to decide what my relationship is with spirituality as an adult that doesn't have to be aligned the way it was when I was brought up.”

Hailey said, “It's your journey between you and God. I've always had a hard time too with church making people feel excluded and not accepted and like they can't be a part of it because of what they believe in or who they love or who they don't love.”

ONE EXCITING REASON TO REJOICE

In the interview, which was supposed to be about makeup (and eventually did switch over to that topic), Miley said something that caused my spirit to rejoice.

“I'm so happy we are talking about God and not about makeup! This is like what I need right now. I need to hear this. I can just talk with God directly.”

The Holy Spirit is drawing Miley and so many in Hollywood and the entertainment industry right now. I'm wildly awakened to the wooing of the Spirit of God in what many would call the most unredeemable cultures. Whether it's Hollywood, Nashville, Washington D.C., our nation's universities or other atheistic environments, the power of God will burn through the arguments, confusion and resistance.

We must contend for the souls of the searching and stand strong, in love, with humility against mixed messages that lead people away from the truth.

Miley Cyrus is on God's heart and while she has been jaded by church hurt of the past, her future is prime for surrender to the One who loves her with such overpowering zeal. Pray for Miley. Pray for Hailey and Justin. Pray that God's character is fully revealed, that love and holiness are pursued and that they all embrace him for who he is, not who they want him to be. This message is for you and me as well.

Photo credit: “Miley Cyrus [HM: BackStage]” by AlexKormisPS (ALM) is licensed under CC BY 2.0

How Should Christians Respond to “proof” of UFOs and Aliens?

Former President Barack Obama believes the revelation of UFOs and aliens could unite humanity.

So now we are looking for E.T. to bring peace and prosperity to the world it seems. 

The Department of Defense and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are scheduled to soon deliver an unclassified report on unidentified flying objects to Congress. Many are quite curious about what is about to be revealed.

In March, former director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe offered some hints in a Fox News interview, saying it would describe events from “all over the world,” and that “there are a lot more sightings than have been made public.”

Our former President said, “But no doubt, there would be immediate arguments about, well, we need to spend a lot more money on weapons systems to defend ourselves,” Obama said. “And new religions would pop up, and who knows what kind of arguments we’d get into.”

President Obama admits that even he, with the wealth of information and secrets only the highest officials in our nation are privy too, doesn't know if aliens exist. He is not sure what the unidentified flying objects that have been reported over the years are.

“What is true, and I’m actually being serious here, is that there is footage and records of objects in the skies that we don’t exactly know what they are,” he went on. “We can’t explain how they move, their trajectory,” Obama said. “They did not have an easily explainable pattern, and so I think that people still take seriously, trying to investigate and figure out what that is.”

Former president Trump claimed last year that he had heard “very interesting” things about Roswell, the New Mexico city known for an alleged UFO event in 1947.

“I won’t talk to you about what I know about it, but it’s very interesting,” Trump said at the time.

We have pilots speaking about their experiences with UFOs on 60 Minutes, videos captured by military personnel and even the Pentagon confirming several videos of UFO activity in 2019.

HOW SHOULD CHRISTIANS REACT?

Branson Ambrosino of the BBC writes, “The discovery of life on another planet might seem incompatible with faith in a deity.” “…How could a believer reconcile this with their faith that humans are the crowning achievement of God’s creation?. How could humans believe they were the apple of their creator’s eye if their planet was just one of billions?”

While Billy Graham reportedly told the National Enquirer that he “firmly” believed God created alien life “far away in space,” it would not be a stretch to admit that such a belief is challenging to support with Scripture. 

In our post-Christian world we first must agree that the Bible is the final authority on all matters. If a big-headed, thin-limbed green alien were to stare us in the face with their oversized eyes, and the Bible explicitly revealed that aliens do not exist, we'd have no option but to consider other conclusions. Contrary to the science-first crowd, I'm a Scripture-first guy. The Bible isn't threatened by scientific revelation, nor is it constrained by it.

Creationist Jonathan Safarti believes that humans are alone in the universe. He said, “Scripture strongly implies that no intelligent life exists elsewhere.”

Of course, many Christians, including General of the faith Evangelist Billy Graham, give room for the possibility of other-worldly life. 

On the official billygraham.org website a question about the possibility of alien life is answered beginning with this: “The Bible doesn’t say anything about the possibility of life on other planets. Its main concern is with human life on this planet, including our problems and our future. This doesn’t mean life can’t exist on other planets, for it well might; the Bible simply doesn’t tell us.

Granted, the Bible is silent on many issues, including many astronomical facts. Biblical silence doesn't erase the possibility of aliens existing.

Of course, we do know that God created everything, including Earth and all the worlds beyond. If aliens existed, it would mean that God created them as well.

However, there are some difficulties that we must consider when discussing the possibility of aliens existing.

INTELLIGENT LIFE

We often hear about the possibility of the existence of intelligent life on other planets. The question we'd need to consider as Believers is a bit different. Does this life, if it indeed exists, have an eternal spirit? Dolphins, dogs, pigs and other animals are extremely intelligent, yet they are distinctly separated from humanity. They do not have an eternal spirit. God gave dominion over the animals to humans. Further, the whole of Scripture is intent on rescuing the souls of man. It has nothing to do with our intelligence, but rather it's our capacity to be in relationship with Jesus forever. So, would these aliens have an eternal soul?

EARTH-CENTRIC SCRIPTURE

It would take quite a creative theological dance to dismiss the reality that Scripture is centered on Earthlings. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Yes, of course, there's space here for the creation of aliens and other worlds in this scripture, but what follows in the entirety of the Bible is zeroed in on mankind on this planet. It's important to note that there is only one Bible. There cannot be additional “words of God” for other civilizations that qualify as the Word of God. There is no other. The Bible we have on Earth is the supreme and only true Word of God.

With this being the case, if alien life-forms did have an eternal spirit (meaning they were like humans and not animals), then how could they gain access to the Bible? If God provided a copy of Scripture for them, how could they relate to it if earth and humans were foreign to them?

THE CROSS AND RESURRECTION

Central to Christianity is the death of Christ on the cross, which, of course, took place on our very own planet. There can be no duplicate scenario for other worlds. God's son was sent once, only to Earth, to die. Is it possible that other worlds could be benefactors of the death and resurrection of Jesus? Yes. If we populate the moon or Mars, and people are actually born and live their entire lives there, they would, by definition, be aliens to Earth. Just because someone is a “human Martian” who never visits Earth doesn't mean that Jesus would visit Mars as a baby, die and rise from the dead for that culture. That has already been done and it will never be done again. Those living on the moon or Mars would have to learn about the story of Jesus coming to Earth, a place they would never visit.

That's a fairly easy scenario to imagine as it would be inhabitants of Earth migrating to another world. Our stories, books, history, culture and much of what we experience on Earth would be readily accessible elsewhere. How unhuman foreigners from light years beyond would gain access to this truth is harder to conceive. Their sin must be atoned for just like ours is. The truth remains, the death and resurrection of Jesus on this planet must be embraced by all who wish to be saved, no matter where in the universe they may live.

Dr. Jason Lisle on the Answers In Genesis website said, “If there were Vulcans or Klingons out there, how would they be saved? They are not blood relatives of Jesus, and so Christ’s shed blood cannot pay for their sin. One might at first suppose that Christ also visited their world, lived there, and died there as well, but this is antibiblical. Christ died once for all (1 Peter 3:18Hebrews 9:27–28Hebrews 10:10). Jesus is now and forever both God and man; but He is not an alien.”

THE RETURN OF JESUS

Earth is also central to the return of Jesus and God's forever Kingdom. This is where it will all take place at the end of the age. All authentic Believers in Jesus will be living here as Jesus governs from Jerusalem. Will there suddenly be an insurgence of aliens who somehow gave their lives to Jesus? Though silence doesn't preclude it from taking place, Scripture doesn't remotely give room for anything this far-fetched happening. 

“PROOFS” OF ALIEN LIFE MUST BE SCRUTINIZED BY THE WORD OF GOD

One thing we know with clarity is that the end of the age will offer all sorts of extremely convincing deception. If something contradicts the Word of God, we must reject it, even if the alien is staring us in the face.

“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,” (2 Thessalonians 2:9–11, ESV)

There is much to be discussed including the possibility of Nephilim appearing as aliens and other Satanic deception. Numerous scriptures about God's unique relationship with Earth-bound humans could be studied. Dr. Jason Lisle said, “From a biblical perspective, extraterrestrial life does not seem reasonable. Intelligent alien beings cannot be redeemedGod’s plan of redemption is for human beings: those descended from Adam.”

We could also talk at length about the possibility legitimacy of alien life. Are there some divine loopholes that would enable extra-terrestrial souls to find salvation in Jesus? Maybe. For the sake of this short article suffice it to say, the arguments against the possibility of aliens existing far outweighs the probability that there are other explanations.

Photo credit: “The Science of Aliens” by MIKI Yoshihito. (#mikiyoshihito) is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Demonized States of America

It's time we grasp how deeply wickedness has infiltrated our nation.

I'm a revivalist, and I'm a realist. Like many, I'm contending for an overwhelming outpouring of God's spirit in our nation. Unlike many, I don't believe it's near. The combination of the lack of fiery passion of Believers and the level of debauchery both in the church and in the world is all I need to arrive at that conclusion.

The truth is our nation is both blind and numb to a truth that most would reject regardless of their desensitized condition. As offensive as it sounds we must admit that demonization has overwhelmed the United States of America. Those that live in their sanctified, puritanical, Christian bubble might scoff at the suggestion that the prince and the power of the air is the predominate force in the land.

I'm not talking about your stereotypical hissing and vomiting at the altars of some third-world style deliverance church, though that is certainly a manifestation of what I'm referring to. The surrender to, no, the eager embrace of the evil one and his minions over the last few decades has set up this country for Sodom and Gomorrah level judgment.

LET'S START WITH THE CHURCH

Barna Group and Covenant Eyes reveal some striking results from a research project:

68% of church-going men and over 50% of pastors view porn on a regular basis. Of young Christian adults 18-24 years old, 76% actively search for porn.

Only 13% of self identified Christian women say they never watch porn – 87% of Christian women have watched porn.

57% of pastors say porn addiction is the most damaging issue in their congregation.

Another study, this time by Pew Research, reveals most Christians say sex between unmarried consenting adults in a committed relationship is sometimes or always acceptable, and about half say casual sex is sometimes or always OK.

In fact, 57% of Christians believe sex in a committed relationship either is or sometimes is acceptable. Half believe casual sex either is or may be okay.

Today it seems Christians who refuse to allow themselves to be entertained by media with foul language, nudity, sexual situations or coarse joking are the outcasts of the church. The consecrated remnant is truly the minority. In fact, they have become quite rare. Instead of contending for a move of the Holy Spirit (note his title, “Holy”) many of today's professing Christians are barely a shade lighter than a world gleefully stained by sin

Another report, this one eighteen years old, reveals born again Christians believe the following to be “morally acceptable” behavior:

  • Having an abortion (33%)
  • Gambling (45%)
  • Enjoying sexual thoughts or fantasies (45%)
  • Using profanity (29%)

We can only presume the condition of the church has degraded since this study came out in 2003. And many believe revival to be near? Forget the seven deadly sins, the church has become infested by innumerable vices that would make Legion proud.

IS AMERICA A GODLESS NATION?

Almost. Again, if we don't peek our head out from the safety of our sanitized religious seclusion, we'll never understand how demonized our nation has become. 

The darkness has reached a level that's hard to fathom. It's so deeply sad and grieving. Americans are intoxicated on pleasure, power and greed. 

I believe America is at a great disadvantage to nations like Haiti, for example, due to our cultural denial of anything supernatural. We are a common sense, science-minded people who walk by sight and not by faith. The idea that people could somehow be controlled, manipulated and modified by an invisible, evil spirit is laughable to most. In Haiti nobody is laughing. 

A Haitian pastor shared with me that evil spirits visit women, even Christian women, in his nation on a very specific schedule to have sexual encounters with them. The entities require the husband to sleep in a separate room on certain nights of the week so they could be alone with his wife. Pure terror results in obedience to the spirit's commands.

This sounds like nothing more than a Hollywood horror script to most Americans. Our nation's denial of the supernatural in favor of intellect and logic has allowed a Trojan horse into our culture, filled with all sorts of wickedness.

We are witnessing demonization in every sphere whether it's politics, movies and media, music just to name a few. I believe a strong delusion has descended on America. 

Watch the liberal left, listen to the Hollywood elite. Nonsensical madness is being spewed from their lips. I remember when sex, drugs and rock and roll were identified not by the church but by a more moral American culture than we have now as wicked. Today? You don't have to look to secular society. Pastors and preachers are filling their ears with the devil's music, watching impure movies and television, enjoying sexual lust and living worldly lives all while preaching God's Holy Word on Sundays. And we believe revival is just about here? Now that's madness. 

WE NEED REVIVAL

Revival is not almost here. Shockingly, some preachers actually report it's already upon us. If this is revival, I don't want it. Take me home, Jesus.

The only hope for our nation rests with the church. If we as God's people don't rend our hearts and repent with tears and groans, it's all over. If we do repent, however, if we do cry out to God for mercy, if we do renounce every evil deed, thought and motive in our lives, maybe, just maybe, God will hit our nation with his holy fire.

We must embrace supernatural reality. The enemy is real and he's ferocious. Satan is raging and is in control of many. The Holy Spirit is an invisible wind and fire. We need him to manifest in power without delay. 

Our nation is in very real trouble. Revival is our only hope. Repentance is our first step. We need to act fast. Hell is expanding and filling with millions of people God loves so tremendously. If we do pray and turn from our evil ways and seek God's face we can slow the flow to hell and see the immeasurable evil overtaking our nation take a hit.

Will the darkness ever be fully eradicated? No. In fact, it will grow darker. This is why we must live in such a way that the light of Jesus burns through us. When the power of God is made manifest, some will turn, and those are very precious souls indeed.

Photo credit: “The sun is shining brightly in the morning sky, through our American Flag.” by Beverly & Pack is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The God of Woke

A new religion has been born and the liberal left is crafting its unholy bible.

I shouldn't be shocked at what I see coming from the left anymore. Outraged, disturbed, saddened and often embarrassed for our nation, yes. But shocked? No.

I've come to believe that a delusion is settling over much of the nation, a spiritual confusion that results in people legitimately thinking wrong is right and evil is good. The twisting of reality and truth has reached levels possibly never seen before on the earth. It's as if a large and influential segment of society has been seduced and drugged by some demonic, supernatural concoction.

Can you believe The U.S. Sun, among many other publications is actually reporting this comment by Congresswoman Cori Bush?

“Trans people give birth. Gender non-conforming people give birth. I identify as a mother, but not every person who gives birth identifies as one.”

“Everything I do is rooted in love, a love that means that everyone’s identity is respected, welcomed, and celebrated,” she added.

The controversy? Instead of celebrating mothers on Mother's Day, Cori promoted the idea of “birthing people.” Delusion. Not only is it delusional, it's unbelievably offensive to women. They are being dehumanized, erased and cancelled.

Greta Van Susteren writes, “To all those who reject the term “Mother’s Day” in favor of “birthing persons’ day” you have just slighted all the incredible mothers who adopted children.”

The left can't even define what a woman is today. They are confused over the most basic and obvious scientific facts such as what defines a male and a female. Many are abandoning the term “breastfeeding” in favor of “chestfeeding.” Our nation is going mad and those who are actually sane and in their right minds are being demonized.

La Leche League Canada states, “We proudly support every breastfeeding and chestfeeding family under the rainbow.” Even my spellcheck believes chestfeeding to be an error.

I wrote long ago that future generations will look back on America in the early 2000's and laugh, mock and wince due to the embarrassment they are feeling for us. In a matter of a few short years, mankind has truly highlighted what it looks like to live without God, and quite often radically opposed to him.

A NEW RELIGION

Make no mistake, the left is forming a new religion. As we watch it play out it's clear they are etching out their own version of commandments in their worship of the god of woke. Thou shalt be inclusive. If not, though shalt be cancelled.

They are attempting to create a new morality. We've seen the attempt to redefine love (all while most of the church refused to push back). Cori Bush said, “Everything I do is rooted in love…” Unfortunately, it's impossible to truly love without a vibrant, surrendered devotion to Jesus. God is love. Just as Lucifer's jealously and pride resulted in his attempt to become a god himself, the god of woke (just another manifestation of Lucifer) is endeavoring to be worshiped as the god of true, redefined love. Of course he'll never fully succeed, but he's doing a heck of a job gathering his disciples and forming his religion.

Wokeness as a religion campaigns as a ministry of love, but the moment you fail their morality test, the serpent's fangs come out and strike with a vengeance. There is no forgiveness in the religion of woke. No second chances. No tenderness. No kindness. No humility. And no love.

The church of woke promotes people worship by affirming anything and everything that someone believes in if it feels good and doesn't “hurt” others. Well, anything and everything except that which contradicts their standards and values.

A quick study of the Church of Satan makes you wonder if the church of woke may be borrowing from their creed:

“…we can offer love to those who deserve it and deliver our wrath (within reasonable limits) upon those who seek to cause us—or that which we cherish—harm.”

The system of punishment for the church of woke includes destruction of people, their families, their livelihoods, their reputations and all they hold dear. This extermination, or “cancelling” has infiltrated our culture as the spirit of fear and destruction, not love and forgiveness, is unleashed on all who dare cross them.

Attempts to destroy Supreme Court justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett were unlike anything our nation has ever seen, simply because they held to a belief system that threatened the liberal left.

Actress Gina Carano was fired by Disney for likening censorship of conservatives to Nazi Germany.

President's Lincoln and Washington's names have been attempted to be erased from American history.

The police have been demonized, defunded and decried, and crime is soaring.

Comedians are afraid to be funny.

“I think it is a scary time to be a comedian because there are so many crazy people in the world,” comedian Nicky Paris said.

One wrong joke or tweet, and funny could get you fired.

“I have a brother with special needs and I’ve watched somebody struggle their entire life to just do every day things that anybody else would be able to do. He loves when I make fun of him. I have so many jokes about him and a lot of ways, it’s healing. I’m a firm believer that if you can talk about something and make a joke about it you can get through it. It makes you stronger than whatever you’re going through,” Paris said.

Nope, we can't make lighthearted fun of people anymore. Comedy has been cancelled.

Ironically, liberal Bill Maher said:

“I don't want to live in a world where liberals are the uptight ones,” he said. “Once upon a time, the right were the ones offended by everything. They were the party of speech codes and blacklists and moral panics and demanding some TV show had to go.

“Well, now that's us,” a disgusted Maher said. “We're the fun-suckers now.

THIS IS A SPIRITUAL SITUATION

“…they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,” (2 Thessalonians 2:10–11, ESV)

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” (Romans 1:28, ESV)

For blood-bought Christians it should be obvious: we aren't fighting against flesh and blood. The war is against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). A failure to understand this elementary truth is a key reason why the spirit of the age is raging and the wicked principles of the left are having impact.

The spiritual principles of the church of woke must be confronted with the Spirit of truth. Spiritual warfare must be waged as the battle exists in the invisible realm. What is birthed and nurtured in the spirit will ultimately manifest naturally. This is true both positively and negatively. If we live and walk and pray in the Spirit, and live holy lives as the Spirit of God empowers us, our natural lives will be testimonies of God's miraculous power and grace. And, those who live in darkness will see their alliance with wicked supernatural beings manifest in their daily lives.

On a larger scale, this is what we are seeing with the bizarre happenings in the world today. Pro-science people (as liberals often refer to themselves as) being confused over the simplicity of gender, mothers, breastfeeding and many other seemingly easy to understand topics is evidence of this. For people who stand firm on the altar of science to do an about-face and refute the most basic and clear scientific truths settles it. A delusion has visited our nation.

This is why we must have movements of fiery, fervent intercession arise in our nation. Revival is truly our only answer. A massive outpouring of God that will remove blinders, send demons fleeing and return people to their right minds is our only hope.

Understand, we are to love our enemies. While we can and should bring attention to destructive paradigms like the woke left promotes, we aren't fighting against them. We pray for them and reveal what true love actually looks like. We war for their souls. We weep and rend our hearts over their eternities. We need a holy army to arise, not to prove the left wrong but to set the captives free.

Photo credit: “Minnesotans Unite Against the War on Women in the capitol building” by Fibonacci Blue is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Originally published by The Stream.

New Stimulus Checks Every Payday

Believers in Jesus do not have to wait for the government to send another stimulus check.

“For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Matthew 13:12, ESV)

Whether we want to believe it or not, socialism has crept into the mindsets of many Americans. Most often it manifests in an attitude of entitlement, and it's not just the Millennials who are acting this way.

The Bible teaches some unpopular truths that don't seem at all fair. For example, those who have will be given more and those who don't will suffer loss.

The parable of the talents drives home the point, communicating what happens when someone is lazy and unproductive:

“So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Matthew 25:28–29, ESV)

In my part of the world people are coming unglued over a recent controversial remodel of our Walmart Supercenter. Most of the checkout lanes have been removed to make room for their replacements: self-checkout lanes. Gasp!

My son witnessed customers complaining, mocking and verbally accosting Walmart employees about the change. Grown, mature adults, not the younger Millennials, were whining about having to scan grocery items themselves. I'm certain those in Haiti and other third-world nations would be grinning ear to ear if they had the opportunity to scan hundreds of dollars worth of comfort food and personal care items each month.

Online the primary complaint I saw was guised concern for those who are losing their jobs as a result of the makeover. In come the robots, out goes the workers, so they say. This is where the smell of socialism comes in.

AMERICA WAS BORN ON INNOVATION

A spirit of invention and innovation has driven our nation into strength and prosperity from the very beginning. People like Henry Ford and Elon Musk are examples of American ingenuity that results in making our nation and the entire world a much better place to live.

Resistance to innovation, even in the attempt to save jobs, is a crippling maneuver. It cuts our American spirit down at the knees and progress is derailed.

We must understand businesses aren't in business to hire employees. They are there to maximize profit. Any businessperson would tell you keeping staffing costs to a minimum is critical. With rare exceptions, simply hiring someone for the sake of providing for them financially is nonsensical. Hiring a whole workforce for this reason would be insanity.

If you planned to open a snow cone business, would you hire someone to greet the customers, another to chop and manually shave the ice and another to stand on the street corner shouting to all around that you are open? Or, would you hire just one person, purchase an automatic ice shaver and buy a blinking open sign to announce you are ready for customers to buy your product? One scenario ensures at least three people have a job. The other employs only one.

Consider bowling alleys. Is it somehow immoral that human pinsetters from the 1940's were replaced by machines in the 1950's?

What about robots on factory floors? Automatic coin collection at toll booths? ATMs? Automatic car washes? The suggestions are endless, and honestly quite obvious. Yet, somehow people are in an uproar over Walmart innovating to save money and to improve the flow in and out of the store.

Businesses are under no obligation to staff people beyond their operating needs. In fact, doing so would be both foolish and irresponsible.

If people aren't complaining about the loss of jobs, they are upset that they have to get involved in “hard, manual labor.” I suppose scanning candy bars and sticks of deodorant would cause them to break a sweat. I wonder if these same people are also furious that they are expected to pump their own gas as they reminisce about the glory years of full-service attendants allowing them to remain in their vehicles during the fill-up. Entitlement.

WHEN IS THE NEXT STIMULUS CHECK ARRIVING?

USA Today reports, “More stimulus checks of up to $1,400 are on the way. The IRS, on Wednesday, announced that it had sent the next batch of the third stimulus checks. This new set marks the eighth batch of payments since Congress approved the $1.9 trillion stimulus package in March.”

If the government chooses to send out stimulus checks, that's great. I'm not going to debate the merits and risks of the government dispersing them (well, except that the labor shortage that has been caused by extra unemployment money may be a catalyst for businesses like Walmart to innovate).

What I will say that as Born Again Christians, we are part of an entirely different financial system.

First, for Christians who are able to work, I submit that it's shameful (if not illegal) to refuse employment in order to stay home as the extended unemployment checks keep rolling in. You are setting yourself up for financial ruin as you shift your trust from God and his timeless protocols found in Scripture to manmade government. Again, this is a spirit of socialism at work. A wicked spirit of Mammon is in play as well.

“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10–12, ESV)

If we align with a spirit of Mammon, we will attempt every shortcut we can find to get paid, even if it means violating Biblical mandates.

So, when is the next stimulus check arriving? That's actually not the best way to frame the question. It's actually a two-part answer.

First, it's when you receive your next paycheck from your place of employment (or your investments or other sources of income). Then, the true catalyst for the stimulus comes next: when you give money to others.

“…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”” (Luke 6:38, ESV)

A spirit of Mammon is broken off of our lives when we look to become a financial stimulus for others instead of expecting others to send us money. It really is as simple as that, however a radical shift of thinking about money must take place.

Those who work and who handle finances with integrity and ingenuity with a creative and inventive spirit will not only reap financially, but they will continue to prosper in the midst of famine. Understand, this isn't about getting rich. I'm not talking about an unhealthy “name it, claim it” theology. I'm addressing this at the most basic level. Work and you will eat. Give and it will be given. Every paycheck you receive is a potential stimulus check for others whether it's tithe, an extra generous tip at lunch, buying someone a car they desperately need or donating extravagantly to various causes.

When we have integrity in regard to work and when we joyfully give to others each pay period, we can't help but to receive the blessings of God. Our prosperity (however you wish to define that) hinges on these two truths: work as hard and as smart as you can and give a bunch of your financial rewards away to other people.

You are the next stimulus check that people are waiting for.

Originally published by The Stream.

BREAKING: Jeff Jansen Scrutinized for Trump Prophecies, Dismissed from Church Leadership

Controversial prophetic leader Jeff Jansen is under fire this week.

Newsweek brought a controversial viewpoint, one held by many Christians (and refuted by many others) to the forefront yesterday. “What's coming can't be stopped,” Jansen said in a Facebook video on Tuesday. “There's all kinds of amazing things that are happening, and I'm talking about President Trump. I'm talking about him coming back into power.… I'm talking about everything that God promised, back-to-back terms.”

While many who have dug their heels into the ground regarding the certain re-election of Donald Trump have quietly stopped pushing their agenda, Jeff Jansen continues to stand firm. Other ministers have issued apologies for missing the prophetic mark but there are some, Jeff included, who are not shying away on what they feel is inevitable—the heroic return of Donald Trump.

Newsweek followed up with another report today, “Evangelical Christian pastor Jeff Jansen, a self-described “prophet,” said that he is “quadrupling down” on his prophecy that former President Donald Trump will be reinstated—despite his previous prediction that this would happen by the end of April failing to materialize.”

I've often wondered just what benefit there is to predicting certain things such as who the next President will be. Understand, I fully affirm legitimate prophetic ministry. I'm convinced we need to hear God's voice more, not less. In fact, God will be revealing extremely important information to those who have an ear to hear as we move deeper into the End Times. Key revelation will be needed so the church can respond in strategic intercession and move into position to battle the enemy and advance the Kingdom. Without divine communication, God's people will be at a great disadvantage. We can be sure those who are tuned in to the evil one will respond with precision to his commands.

That being said, the barrage of prophecies about Donald Trump have resulted in some really bad fruit and widespread division among Believers. I honestly can't think of any healthy, beneficial result of forcing these so-called prophecies into the mainstream conversation. Are we looking for an I-told-you-so moment? I know many are. They point their fingers and puff out their chests as they proclaim, “Just wait, you'll see. The prophets were right and you will be exposed as one who is lacking faith, naturally minded and listening to the voice of the enemy.” I know that sounds extreme, but that sentiment, if not those very words, is being relayed. Those who disagree with the prophecies are outed as doubters, enemies of God's plans.

I'm so appreciative of Dr. Michael Brown's leadership in releasing the Prophetic Standards Statement. It's time for calibration to God's Word in the prophetic camp. The “thus sayeth the Lord” approach to prophecy is often damaging to those who are listening, and watching, and waiting for the word to come to pass. Quite often, it does not and the level of faith of those who are tainted by the unnecessarily bold prophecy plummets.

JEFF JANSEN HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM MINISTRY

To say Jeff is under fire this week would be an understatement.

I believe it's necessary to emphasize how important it is to pray for Jeff. We all know, regardless of his situation, Satan is looking to devour him. We shouldn't be doing the same. Love-driven intercession for Jeff, especially right now, is mandatory. Yes, it's appropriate to address the issues that Jeff is bringing front and center, and it's right to confront any trouble that results. This is a seriously critical season of learning for the church, and we need to allow the Holy Spirit to recalibrate us. Unfortunately, people God loves can often be spotlighted during such seasons. Our response must include sobriety, fervent prayer, introspection, repentance and a determination to undergird those in challenging seasons. The enemy wants to crush Jeff. God wants to bless Jeff.

In possibly unrelated news to Jeff's controversial prophetic views, Newsweek reviewed a message received by those connected with Global Fire Church. Jeff's information seems to have been removed from the church website and his wife, Jan Jansen, is now listed as the Senior Leader.

“It is with deep sorrow that Jeff Jansen has been asked, by his board, to step down as Co-Senior Leader of Global Fire Church, and from Global Fire Ministries due to unscriptural and unbiblical behavior. He was asked to step down in April, and this was made public to the church body on May 2, 2021. A statement was released to partners and friends on May 5,” the email said. “Rather than submit to the process of healing and restoration, Jeff recently made an intentional decision to leave his wife and family to pursue his own desires. He remains unrepentant and unremorseful,” the ministry said. The statement noted that any further actions or statements from Jansen should not be associated with Global Fire Ministries.

Many years ago I had a significant “God moment” that was nothing short of miraculous, and Jeff was instrumental. I had the opportunity along with a few others to connect with him in his hotel suite in the Detroit area. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that God dramatically impacted my life through Jeff. The reports from this week are grieving to my spirit and I hurt for him and his family.

Unfortunately, we as Christians have the responsibility to react and respond, and if necessary, warn about trouble. Certainly, we also have the responsibility to pray. We don't know what's going on inside of the heart of those who are in the midst of trial. We are left with the call to analyze fruit. Bad fruit doesn't make someone bad. It doesn't make them unredeemable. Quite the opposite. Those are the very ones God desires to reveal his love to in an even more powerful way.

Of course, this part of the comments by Global Fire Church is quite disturbing:

“Rather than submit to the process of healing and restoration, Jeff recently made an intentional decision to leave his wife and family to pursue his own desires. He remains unrepentant and unremorseful.”

If true, Jeff is without question disqualified from ministry. In fact, his soul is in jeopardy. Satan is raging and the church must respond in love and en force!

The takeaways to all of this include the need to cover (not cover up) our brothers and sisters in Christ. We as the church must endeavor for prophetic accuracy and conformity to biblical protocols. We should understand the times we are in volatile. We have no option to dabble haphazardly in the prophetic. We need to embrace humility. Intercession must skyrocket.

I'd like to conclude by saying I'm praying that Jeff is well, the reports are not accurate and that concern is unwarranted. If his prophecies come true, we should celebrate. If the situation in the church and with his family is other than is being reported, we can rejoice. We need more bold prophetic leaders right now, and for many years, Jeff Jansen has been one of them. At this point, however, it seems all of us, Jeff included, should seek God's face and allow him to refine, redefine and renew us. A humble, repentant heart is necessary if we are to endure what is to come.

Photo credit: “play of light in santhome church” by VinothChandar is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Death Row, the Gas Chamber and America’s Grave Distractions

In this end-time hour, Christians are distracted by everything from politics, masks, American freedom, building ministries and seeking all sorts of pleasures. 

“Leave it there, I'll finish it later.”

Standing in the gas chamber at the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City, Missouri, I overheard our guide's story of the last moments of a prisoner's life.

The air-tight capsule took the lives of forty people between the years of 1937 and 1989. The Warden would pull a lever initiating the process that combined sodium cyanide and sulfuric acid. The resulting gas would painfully and all-too-slowly end a human life.

A few short feet from the cramped gas chamber was a cell. This is where death row inmates spent their last few hours before being secured with leather straps to the last chair they would ever sit in. The cell was also the place their last meal was eaten. 

As the story goes, after eating a portion of his meal, the unnamed prisoner was escorted from his cell toward the gas chamber. A guard took the unfinished meal to throw it away, which caused the concerned prisoner to say, “Leave it there, I'll finish it later.”

He wasn't joking. He didn't fully grasp what was about to happen. Eternity was not on his mind.

There was no need to save the food. He would not be finishing it later. 

I propose the whole of America, and the bulk of the church isn't grasping what is about to happen either. Eternity is not on the mind of most.

DISTRACTED IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING

I received a text message several years ago that launched me into one of the most bizarre, sad and thankful moments of my life. The message contained condolences from a pastor in Branson, Missouri. My dad died. I immediately called my mom and she confirmed the unexpected news. My head was spinning as I immediately started mentally preparing for a sudden trip from Detroit to Branson. Suddenly the phone call with my mom dropped as another call was coming in. It was from my dad.

Dazed and confused, I answered the phone. My dad was alive. I asked him, “What in the world is going on?” His voice was weak as he explained that news of his death was premature. My mom was bedridden and was not able to be with my dad in the hospital. She heard incorrectly and shared the false status with friends and family. News spread and my dad, who was literally on his death bed, called all over town (where he was very well known) letting people know he was still alive.

He told me, “I'm still in the land of the living, but it won't be long.”

He was peaceful, thoughtful, still with a sense of humor and focused on his soon coming transition into eternity. 

Our family made the long drive and I was able to see him, though he was sedated and unable to respond. He died that night.

Of course, I was deeply sad, but I was also thankful I was able to talk with my dad on that fateful phone call one last time.

Eternity is coming to all of us and it is of supreme importance that we talk about it. A lot.

Can anybody explain to me why it's so rare for pastors and preachers to prepare people for the end-times, much less eternity? Does anybody know why Christians are so distracted by the cares of life instead of staying intently zeroed in on the most dramatic moment of their lives, entering into forever?

We are distracted by lesser things in the land of the living while not understanding there is a transition coming soon and very soon.

MISGUIDED ENERGY

I've never seen such passion from people as I have in the last year. Sadly, it's not because of revival. The zeal isn't a result of encountering the Holy Spirit. People haven't been provoked by the soon coming return of Jesus. No, people are shouting with ferocity about masks, elections, riots and politics of every sort. They are energized by the short-term, temporal issues of this lifetime. 

Other passions people are exhibiting have nothing to do with the previous year in our nation. Many ministers have been drunk on growing bigger churches and email lists for decades. Christians are trying to live the American dream while forsaking their Kingdom perspectives. Idols, fears, desires and debates are distracting us.

I'm not saying we can't joyfully invest ourselves in the life God gives us. We can. We should. There's a right and good way to deal with politics, cultural issues, our jobs, family demands, dreams, building businesses and everything else that fills up the seventy or so years we are on the earth. However, the moment the land of the living takes precedence in our daily lives is the moment our lives become endangered. Everything we do must be in sync with preparing for the end-times and the coming trillions (endless) years of our eternity.

DEATH ROW

We are all on death row. It's a sobering thought, one that most of us want to shut out, but it's truth. 

I wish I could explain the feeling I had as I was standing outside of the small out-building that contained the gas chamber. The left door was for spectators of the execution. The right was for the inmate, Warden and others directly involved with the process. I was overwhelmed, spiritually more than emotionally, as I envisioned demons all around preparing to escort one of the parade of souls into their version of eternity. This literally played out time after time in years past as unrepentant criminals vacated their bodies and entered the torments of hell. Only those who authentically surrendered their lives to Jesus prior to the gas overwhelming them would see angels instead of demons. 

As I looked at the never-ending rows of claustrophobic cells in the main prison cell blocks, my feeling was only enhanced. Sadness struck me knowing the despair and hopelessness that possessed all who lived there throughout the years prior to the prison closing. While we are debating over Trump and Biden and viruses and vaccines, people are flooding into eternity. Imprisoned souls are hopeless as the church is distracted.

It wrecks me knowing the high majority of those inside that prison entered into madding torture that will never end. Friends, we must change our focus. 

I'm troubled by how few are waking up every morning preparing for the end. We should also be preparing others. It's coming very soon, and the distractions in our nation are killing us.

Our life now is but a vapor. What we focus on everyday matters, and that focus must absolutely be eternity.

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:13–14, ESV)

ABUNDANT LIFE

“…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, ESV)

Not only will we be full of life but others will be powerfully impacted when we are driven by eternity. 

Our life in Jesus is not as much about finding satisfaction here as it is in living with eternity as our prime focus. It's about Jesus and ruling and reigning with him forever! It's about sounding alarms and warning as many as we can about the reality of hell and the hope of Jesus. It's about capturing the heart of God and preparing our families for the end season we are quickly moving into. 

Let's reprioritize pretty much everything and look at politics, viruses, the church, our families, our dreams, our entertainment and all the rest through the lens of eternity. The flow to hell will slow and the church will be ready for all that is to come. Masks, viruses and politics won't be as important and will finally receive attention with a Kingdom perspective.

Both angels and demons are getting ready for our point of transition into eternity, not to mention billions of others all over the world. 

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2, ESV)

Originally published by The Stream.