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.

“Where can I find an on-fire church…with no tongues?”

The scourge of yesterday's seeker sensitive movement has infected today's mainstream church.

A question was posted to a local Facebook group, and while I applaud anyone's desire to be involved in an on-fire church, the request revealed something troubling.

“Where can I find an on-fire church…with no tongues?”

That was the question.

The answer? Nowhere.

Such a church doesn't exist. The concept is quite impossible.

DEFINING AN ON-FIRE CHURCH

Of course, it's entirely possible to find a church that is vibrant and passionate about Jesus without the gift of tongues in operation. There are many such places where you can connect, grow, and enjoy godly relationships. You can serve, go on mission trips, study the Bible together and experience an emotionally satisfying community of faith. There are such churches represented by most every authentic Christian denomination (or non-denomination).

However, the individual wasn't asking about vibrant churches. They specifically sought out an on-fire church. I maintain my contention that it is impossible to find a church that's authentically on fire without tongues manifesting.

“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1–4, ESV)

There is an immeasurable difference between a vibrant community of faith and one that's marked by the fire of the Holy Spirit. When a church is birthed and bathed in fervent, supernatural prayer, and unlimited room is given for the Holy Spirit to blow and burn in their midst, the resulting fire is indescribable. Incomparable. Other-worldly.

To be on fire is not to be emotionally excited. To be consumed by biblical fire is a spiritual reality. The Spirit of God breathes in and through us and ignites a supernatural flame that defies description.

Simply, there is an anointing that rests on churches that embrace the gift of tongues. You'll notice in the passage of Scripture above that tongues of fire rested on everyone there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they all spoke in tongues.

I'm not going to dive into a teaching on the different types of tongues, but to briefly address those who are convinced that the Bible teaches that “all don't speak in tongues,” suffice it to say that there are multiple types of tongues. All can speak (or sing) in the personal gift of tongues. Not all, however, operate in other types of tongues such as “tongues and interpretation.” I'd encourage you to study out the differences.

An on-fire church is an Acts 2 church where all have the opportunity to be baptized in the fire of the Holy Spirit. In fact, a true on-fire church will manifest groans of intercession and a supernatural release of God moving through all in attendance. 

“…but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26–27, ESV)

LARGE SCALE RESISTANCE TO THE GIFT OF TONGUES

I contacted two churches in my area that by all appearances were full of life and devoted to Jesus. I watched some of the worship online and people were legitimately engaging with lifted hands and at least a measure of visible passion. What I'm trying to communicate is that they appeared to be Spirit-filled churches.

I scoured their websites looking for a statement of faith or any evidence that they affirmed the gifts of the Spirit. I found nothing that remotely gave me confidence that I'd be stepping into an on-fire, Charismatic church should I choose to visit.

So, I emailed them. The first church copied and pasted their vague beliefs from the website I already studied. Here was my reply:

Thanks! Can you let me know your stance on the gifts of the Spirit? For example, during your services do people pray or sing in tongues? Are their words of knowledge? I appreciate it! Blessings to you all!

I never heard back from them.

The second church never replied at all.

Very interestingly, the first church was quick to reply to the Facebook post this article is about. “Where can I find an on-fire church…with no tongues?” A representative from the church claimed their church fit their requirements perfectly. Many other suggestions of other churches were offered as well. 

I find it even more disturbing that churches that presume to be Spirit-filled are all too often minimizing the gifts of the Spirit and even forbidding the gift of tongues during the service. The seeker sensitive paradigm has overtaken many churches as they seek to make everybody as comfortable as possible. 

The opportunity to engage in worship at many Spirit-filled churches has been reduced to fifteen or twenty minutes. I've visited churches that don't allow the people to go deep in the place of worship, to cry out, to repent, to groan in intercession or to encounter the Holy Spirit due to ridiculously short services. In fact, it's more common than ever to sing for fifteen minutes while being forced to listen to an often dry, tedious sermon that lacks any measure of anointing for nearly an hour. This is grieving! 

Pastors, you might notice that the rise of 24/7 prayer and worship is capturing people's hearts. However, you aren't going to find a 24/7 preaching and teaching movement. Both are important, but we must understand priorities. A foundation of fervent intercession and deep, supernatural worship is mandatory if the Word of God is going to have fertile soil to grow in.

From my book The Coming Church:

As we become supernaturally changed in a place of extreme intercession, worship will change significantly. It will be supernaturally driven. There is a new sound coming to worship, and it’s not simply a new style. There is a supernatural, otherworldly groan of intercessory worship that will explode out of the entire body as a new breed of trembling worship leaders lead the way into the shock and awe of the glory of God. We will no longer simply sit in a pew or stand with a raised hand while a familiar worship song is sung. The prophetic, groaning sounds of Holy Spirit-facilitated worship will make it normal to shake and fall to our faces as we cry, “Holy!” The natural, logical sing-a-longs will be no more. We will have a hard time standing as man’s karaoke gives way to God’s Shekinah and Kabod glory that takes up residence in his Church. Worship teams will practice less and pray in the Spirit with tears in their eyes more. Today, along with most other expressions of church life, worship is at least slightly and sometimes extremely marginalized for the sake of the less adventurous attendee. Since most people tend to be adverse to more supernatural forms of worship, and many would leave if the atmosphere became too uncomfortable, the majority has been winning. I’ve said it countless times, and have written before that I refuse to tone down the activity of the Holy Spirit out of respect of those less hungry. How is it that the naturally-minded majority has supplanted the supernatural remnant in the Church? How is it that burning, raging, intercessory worship that’s driven by the groans of the Spirit himself are not appreciated enough to risk losing people from our churches.

In the coming Church, it will be normal for people to hit their faces and tremble and cry holy as the fire of God’s presence rages! Do you see why we can’t formulate low level, seeker focused worship services that can be fully understood naturally?

Yes, people are drawn to churches that provide healthy community, excellent children's ministries, skilled musicians, engaging teaching and effective programs. However, this isn't the picture of an on-fire church. Not even close.

We need the raging, searing and fearful glory of God to burn through our services. The gifts of the Spirit must manifest and a supernatural tremble needs to strike us all. The shock and awe of the Holy Spirit should drive us all to our knees as we quake under his power.

What many are calling an on-fire church and what is authentically an on-fire church couldn't be more opposite. It's time for another Acts 2 outpouring to hit our nation.

From my article, “Seven sure-fire ways to end boring, predictable church services,” I'd like to suggest just what an on-fire church might include:

  1. Lengthy sessions of corporate praying and singing in tongues
  2. Embracing a vibrant prophetic culture
  3. Encouraging people to release prayers, decrees and declarations on the mic during service
  4. Inviting people to make biblical declarations
  5. Promoting prophetic art, flagging, dance and other expressions during the service
  6. Providing prayer for deliverance, healing and freedom
  7. Expecting manifestations of the Holy Spirit and refuse to shut them down

I'll leave you with one of my favorite descriptions of an on-fire church from over a hundred years ago:

An Azusa Street report:

…disgraceful intermingling of the races…they cry and make howling noises all day and into the night. They run, jump, shake all over, shout to the top of their voice, spin around in circles, fall out on the sawdust blanketed floor jerking, kicking and rolling all over it. Some of them pass out and do not move for hours as though they were dead. These people appear to be mad, mentally deranged or under a spell. They claim to be filled with the spirit. They have a one eyed, illiterate, Negro as their preacher who stays on his knees much of the time with his head hidden between the wooden milk crates. He doesn't talk very much but at times he can be heard shouting, “Repent,” and he's supposed to be running the thing… They repeatedly sing the same song, “The Comforter Has Come.”

All who are in touch with God realize as soon as they enter the meetings that the Holy Ghost is the leader.

People Worship, Distorted Love and Abandoning the Faith

A distorted view of love is causing followers of Jesus to renounce—or redefine—their faith.

“I love you guys, and I love all the support and friendships I’ve built here [Instagram]…I think it’s important to say that I’m just not a Christian anymore, and it feels really good. I’m really happy…I’m really happy.”

That's former Desiring God writer Paul Maxwell.  He continues, “I love my life for the first time…and I love myself for the first time.”

Paul Maxwell comes across as an authentically kind and caring person in the article. His desire for connectivity and relationships is clear, In fact, it would do all of us well to grow in tenderness and passion for people. The problem comes when we elevate people, including self, to an inappropriate and unworthy level. Pastors, it would do you well to know that a focus on people isn't primary.

Paul Maxwell mentioned love and happiness repeatedly, revealing a problem that's both driving people away from the church and infecting the church at the same time. I'll state it clearly: love has been distorted and happiness is not God's primary goal for our lives. The Gospel message has become skewed and confused. We must remember that mankind, you and I included, is fully deserving of Hell. 

PEOPLE WORSHIP

People have been worshiping people for a long time. Rock and movie stars are both stalked and adored. Everyone from paparazzi to those who buy the photos along with tickets and merch are famous for elevating their admiration to an unhealthy level. People worship.

However, idolizing celebrities is no longer the prime concern. People worship has gone mainstream. 

The Gospel message has morphed into a focus on people ahead of God in too many instances. Much of today's worship music has become entertainment driven as it focuses on who we are instead of who God is. Messages and entire movements are zeroing in on our great worth instead of our depravity. Churches are systematically wired to ensure visitors are valued, connected and comfortable in a sanitized, tepid, familiar living room environment.

Pastors are refusing to preach on holiness, hell, sin and repentance while favoring teachings on how much God loves us. They bend over backwards attempting to communicate human value while forsaking the revival-style messages that drove men and women to their knees.

The false-grace and false-love movements are infecting churches all over the world. Focus on the topics of identity and love is extremely valuable when handled rightly, and in the correct measure. However, an obsession with love and grace to the exclusion of judgment and fear of the Lord has resulted in many dabbling with the heresy of Universalism. 

People I know are teetering on the edge of Universalism as they are becoming convinced that love demands we affirm others regardless of belief or behavior. People worship elevates mankind while intentionally dismissing their sin as mere weakness. If the sin isn't dismissed, it's often celebrated as a unifying trait that brings mankind together as a loving band of misfits. What is forgotten, or ignored, or rejected is that sin literally kills. 

When we fully, radically and wholeheartedly surrender our lives to Jesus, his grace and mercy are overwhelming. The resulting peace, joy and abundant life are indescribable. However, today's people worship movement that is mirrored both in secular culture and the church attempts to relieve people of the struggle with sin by deeming it either benign or mildly concerning.

OUR HAPPINESS IS NOT GOD'S GOAL—AND IT SHOULDN'T BE OURS

Paul Maxwell's desire for authentic relationships is normal. However, this cannot be our goal.

Unredeemed humankind lives every moment seeking out the next pleasure, the next high, the next relationship. Those who don't know God are driven by a fervent passion to satisfy their desires. In fact, Christians who have merely made an intellectual or emotional decision to follow Christ are at similar disadvantage. This is why I unapologetically preach on authentic encounter with Jesus. Experiencing God supernaturally is the game changer. 

While I appreciate the effort, I tend to cringe when I see goodhearted preachers addressing secular audiences from an intellectual perspective. Facts, figures, history, logic and arguments that originate in the human mind have a place. We simply need to know that an intellectual approach is woefully limited. A Damascus Road encounter, however, changes everything. When we are visited by an otherworldly entity that floods our beings with divine love, power and freedom, attempts at a logical interpretation becomes laughable. 

When encounter comes, the Holy Spirit has phenomenal access to our lives. The Word of God then erupts in our spirits as we yearn for the truth it contains. It's at this point where human desires are dramatically calibrated to match God's. It's here where we understand that God's prime goal isn't to make us happy but rather to save our souls and to draw us into intimacy with him.

Deep friendships, sexual satisfaction, wealth, inner healing and other human desires become sanctified and reordered in importance. A life devoid of human friends stings less when our driving passion is to be a friend of God. A life of celibacy, should that be our portion, is a powerful sacrifice as we devote ourselves to knowing God more deeply. Again, our happiness isn't God's prime concern. Intimacy with him is.

THE GREAT LOVE DECEPTION

Consider this portion from one of the most important articles I've ever written, The Great Love Deception:

Keep in mind that false or tainted love doesn’t flow mostly from an evil, debased heart. It also doesn’t mean that there is nothing about the argument or viewpoint that is true. A person who craves pure love can, in their zeal or in their weakness, allow impurities into their expression of love that twists and compromises it. The reason I needed to say this is to encourage you if you’ve been hit by the false-love spirit. Your desire for manifested love is very probably true, yet the enemy can come in and confuse the process.

In fact, love most certainly doesn't always feel good. When we encounter love, we will be presented with a view of God that is quite different than what we previously understood to be true. God’s love can be expressed in a very direct, uncomfortable way that breaks you and you may even wonder how a loving God could act that way. God’s expression of love will often put you at risk, threaten you and trouble you. Jesus’ expression of love on the cross put Peter at risk of the same grisly death! How could Jesus do this? Peter was confused as he was presented with a side of Jesus he never saw—and he denied that expression of Jesus and his love for the world! I guarantee that Peter did not feel good as Jesus loved him by rescuing him from Hell by dying on the cross. Today, sharp, provoking preaching is rejected because it doesn’t feel good. They might say in their disturbed state, “That’s not the Jesus I know.” The risk is, like Peter, rejection of God when the feelings aren’t warm and intimate. This is one reason why being people of the Word is non-negotiable. We can’t afford to call good evil and evil good. We must learn about Jesus and how he functions so that our emotions don’t lead us astray.

FINAL THOUGHTS

People are not to be worshiped. We are all deserving of eternal torment.

God isn't here to satisfy our happiness. Friend, we are in a spiritual war. It's time to lay down our lives, to embrace the cross, to prepare for martyrdom, to develop deep intimacy with Jesus and to live our lives storming the gates of Hell and battling wickedness on the earth.

From that place, yes, there most certainly is opportunity for developing deep, holy friendships, in developing a healthy, godly identity and in enjoying the life God gives us. But we cannot abandon the faith when it doesn't satisfy. We can't reject God when he doesn't meet our demands. We can't quit when our intellect doesn't grasp God's methods. We must not redefine our faith to elevate the value of people to worship status. We aren't in it for our fulfillment, or happiness, our joy or our mental and emotional health. We follow Jesus because he is God, he paid the ultimate price for us and he is literally our only hope.

Photo credit: “Athiest bus advert” by thegreatgonzo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Originally published by The Stream.

 

 

The Year of Fear: Christians in Fight or Flight Mode

Fear has been an unwelcome yet dominant spirit in the church over the past year.

According to Northwestern Medicine, fear is physical. Blood actually flows away from your heart and into your limbs, making it easier for you to start throwing punches, or run for your life.

This is what we have witnessed in this year of fear, the life-source flowing away from the hearts of Christians. Punches have been thrown as the fight or flight response has overtaken many who previously were known as people of faith.

When our hearts are compromised and focus shifts to protecting self, all sorts of wickedness has an entry point into our lives. What seems like common sense and wisdom is often the manifestation of the spirit of fear. One has to wonder which emotion is stronger, fear of COVID or fear of vaccines. Both are actually a manifestation of a fear of death. Isn't it interesting how crafty the enemy is, taunting and haunting us with the threat of death while dividing us over the issue at the same time? Anti-vaxers and pro-maskers both trembling over the threat of dying.

Fear is evidenced in many ways such as the impending doom that surrounds a loss of our American freedoms, churches being shuttered, elections being lost and our way of life being put at risk.

No matter which side people are on, punches are thrown as they furiously fight for their cause. It seems most everybody is threatened whether it's from a piece of cloth that covers our mouths or the loss of freedoms in the midst of lockdowns.

THE FEAR IS CLEAR

Will the heart-sick church discern how a spirit of fear has infiltrated and infected the body or will we continue down this path of reactionary, fear-based response to crisis in our nation?

I propose the lesson has not been learned yet. It's only going to get worse and the church clearly is not ready yet.

Personally, my greatest sadness from the pandemic is the response of many who have been highly regarded people of faith. Fear, not faith, has been the driving force of their lives over the past year, or so the fruit of their lives suggests.

I was shocked at how rare it was for me to find Christians who were declaring boldly that no weapon formed against us shall prosper. Instead, I'd watch people who had reputations as giants in the faith cower at the sight of a much larger Goliath threatening impending death. COVID was the beast that did them in, not physically, but spiritually.

I'd read Facebook post after post, have one-on-one conversations and witness all sorts of responses to the virus, and it seemed that 99 out of 100 of them were about mitigating COVID. What happened to the powerful people of faith who refused to cower at the threat of disease? Where were the devil-fighters who exercised Heaven-level authority? Where were the decrees and declarations of health, healing, protection and victory? COVID scared them away.

Then we have those on the other side of the issue, people who proudly proclaim their fearlessness as they arrogantly strut maskless and free down the aisles of Walmart. The blood has flowed out of their hearts too, as they punch back at people and policies that threaten their lifestyles. The fear is clear as they desperately fight outside controlling forces, ignore government mandates and avoid vaccines like, yes, the plague.

Speaking of the plague, maybe we should consider how John G. Lake refused to cower to the bubonic plague:

Lake suggested the doctor take a sample of the foam from the mouth of a victim and observe it under a microscope.  Confirming the plague was very much alive, Lake took some of the foam in his hand and held it under a microscope.  The plague bacteria instantly died in Lake’s hand.  Why? Lake believed the Word of God is stronger than any sickness or any disease. 

A CRISIS OF FAITH

Instead of bold faith and absolute fearlessness regarding viruses, vaccines, lost freedoms, political turmoil and other issues of the day, we are experiencing something much more deadly: a crisis of faith.

No, the spoiled brat method of refusing to wear masks while blaming any and all who threaten our supposed freedoms isn't the answer. Rising up in a political spirit isn't either. 

It has been sad to watch Christians adopt an aggressive, flesh-driven political spirit. What looks like brash boldness is actually a manifestation of fear as the blood seeps out of their tender hearts and into their fists.

Many have shifted from an emphasis on faith, intercession, worship, revival and awakening to blasting opinions on politics and culture. Yes, we must not avoid confronting the spirit of the age with a sharp anointing, but that's not what we are mostly seeing today.

It's time to live, breath, walk and pray in the Spirit with great humility, lots of tears and unmatched faith that God is moving. We need those who walk in such an anointing that fear is chased out of every atmosphere they step into. 

God is ready to visit his church with revelation on how to confront this dark, deadly spirit of fear in our nation. As we draw very close to him and capture his heart and stay firmly rooted in the Word of God, mysteries will be revealed and faith will again explode in the church.

Photo credit: “fear” by Sean MacEntee is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Originally published by The Stream.

God Gets a Lap Dance on Saturday Night Live — Where are the Tears?

Political agendas instead of brokenness over souls have overtaken the American church.

“People are freaking out about your new video, where you ride down a stripper pole to Hell then twerk on the devil. Why are they upset?” (an actor portraying Brittany) Spears asks.

“Would you be able to give a lap dance to God, just to even things out?” Spears asks, before welcoming on a man with long white hair and tan robes. (An actor portraying) Lil Nas X leaps up and begins twerking in front of him for several seconds to the cheers of the audience.

This ET.com story has also been reported by most of the major news sources, and Christians are enraged. 

“God” gets a lap dance on the eve of the most holy day of the year, Easter Sunday. Resurrection Day. The day when Jesus destroyed the shackles of sin and death, just three days after the most loving act in the history of mankind. Brutal torture and slaughter were what the mob wanted for the man who famously said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

THE RAGE OF CHRISTIANS

This article isn't really about yet another heinous Saturday Night Live skit, this one about new shoes introduced by Lil Nas X that are literally anointed with a drop of human blood. It's not about the blasphemy of SNL or Lil Nas X. Christian friends, it's about you and me.

Hatred, division, rage, finger pointing and shaming have been the calling cards for many Christians over the past year. Whether it's blood boiling over due to a supposed stolen election or unbridled agitation resulting from masks, lockdowns, vaccines and, as some would argue, violations of Constitutional rights, followers of Jesus are up in arms.

Sure, watching defiling wickedness overtake our nation should provoke a strong response from us. The last thing we need is comatose, apathetic Christians who presume lukewarm passivity to be equal to love and kindness. I agree that we need men and women of God to speak boldly on political and cultural issues that are destroying our nation. To remain silent from behind the pulpit on the far-left agendas that are killing America is enough to disqualify anyone from ministry. We need holy, anointed freedom fighters to emerge. However, it's critical to understand just what freedom we are fighting for. Yes, there's a battle for our nation, but too many have lost focus by identifying as American patriots ahead of Kingdom ambassadors. This war is a spiritual war.

If pastors would have vigilantly prepared the church for the end times, Christians would not have panicked when a virus emerged, churches were shuttered, persecution arrived, the election didn't go the way they wanted and government tyranny deprived them of the life they were used to.

Instead we have naturally minded, reactionary people scrambling to fight the oppression, demonize their enemies and blame all who have threatened their elusive American dream. 

It's telling when American Christians presume God has promised freedom in our nation while forgetting freedom in Christ can be found in prisons, in Communist nations and anywhere other people remove natural freedoms from us.
The Bible guarantees perpetual national freedom literally nowhere from Genesis to Revelation. In fact, an argument for the opposite could more easily be made. 

You might presume this famous verse about God's promise to prosper a nation would support an argument for perpetual national freedom:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11, ESV)

However, you should back up one verse. National freedom won't come for seventy years:

““For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.” (Jeremiah 29:10, ESV)

And these verses drive home the point:

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:12–14, ESV)

I might argue that America is closer to being sent into exile than it is stepping into promise. 

Our response should be a hardcore turning to God, national repentance and a heart-wrenching cry for revival.

WHERE ARE THE TEARS?

@LilNasX
Mar 27
i spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the s**t y’all preached would happen to me because i was gay. so i hope u are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.

Lil Nas X sells out of 666 pairs of Satanic shoes, each containing a drop of human blood, and he reveals the reason for his provocative business venture: Christians. 

Where are the tears? Where is the compassion? Where is the cry, “Father, forgive him, he knows not what he does?”

Where is the brokenness over lost souls and devastated hearts that have been seduced by the enemy of humankind? Do we understand both saved and lost share the same enemy? Those who don't know Christ are not our enemies, and we aren't theirs. It would be hard to believe that in today's volatile American culture however. 

Instead, we are witnesses, many of us participants, in the war against any and all who oppose our “righteous” ideologies.

It's rare to find people crying out with passion for God to move on the hearts of people like Lil Nas X, President Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bill Maher, Whoopi Goldberg and others who are commonly in the sights of our holy sniper rifles. 

Instead, we do in fact snipe. We pull the trigger time and again with our “righteous” banter in an attempt to out them, shame them, accuse them and bring correction to them. How our gossip could ever reap positive results is beyond me.

INTERCESSORS ARISE

When I call intercessors to arise, I'm speaking to every blood-bought Christian reading this. Intercessors aren't a special brand of Believer. We are all called to pray with fiery zeal for those who are targeted for eternal destruction by Satan. 

The last year has revealed yet another angle of the ugly side of Christianity. It wrecks my heart that so few are exhibiting love for the lost. It's rare to find those who will put aside differences and truly fight the horde of hell for people God so deeply loves.

How can we expect those who have not had a genuine encounter with the Holy Spirit to ever buy into our brand of morality and values? It makes no sense, yet Christians are still enraged when people don't see things the way we do.

An intellectual or emotional affirmation of the truth of the Bible will never transform a human heart. Yes, they may engage positively at a logical or emotional level. Yes, they may try to understand our point of view. Most, however, will partially or fully reject a biblical worldview unless a supernatural, unmistakable, life-altering, soul-shocking invasion of God's glory floods into their being. 

This is why I so passionately preach the need to live, walk, pray and move in the Spirit. We exist in an invisible world that only those with spiritual eyes can experience. We need the blind eyes of the lost and deceived opened to the abundant life of Jesus. Contend for this in determined prayer. Push back the enemy. Battle for souls. Love deeply. Weep for the wandering. Stand in the gap for those who mock God. Preach with anointing. Pursue a spirit of revival to overtake Hollywood, Washington, and, oh yeah, the church. Some good old fashioned repentance at an simple, holy altar, Christian, would be a good first step.

Photo Credit: “Satan (after Botticelli)” by Maxwell Hamilton is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Origionally published by The Stream.