Culture

The Valley of Slaughter—Fighting Abortion in a Blood Soaked Land

You shouldn’t argue with baby killing demons, no matter how brilliant your defense may be.

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4 For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. 5 They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal–something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind. 6 So beware, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. Jeremiah 19:4-6 (NIV)

There is a battle to be waged against the murderous spirit of abortion in our nation, but many in the church are fighting the wrong fight in this valley of slaughter—and they are losing.

My wife and I have lost seven babies, not to the intentional act of abortion, but to the heartbreaking shock of miscarriage and stillbirth. I’ll never forget my wife convincing her doctor to induce labor on what would be the earliest, smallest baby he’s ever delivered naturally. I’ll also never forget the moment that tiny baby was delivered into our waiting hands. She was little. She was perfect. All babies are perfect. All seven of ours most certainly were.

In the middle of our losses, Amy and I were in the delivery room praying, contending and crying out that our baby boy would be delivered, alive and healthy. Less than a minute before Jet Samuel Burton would enter the world, the doctor, who was with us through our previous losses, asked me if I’d like to deliver my new baby boy. We switched positions and he took me to medical school—a thirty-second lesson on how to deliver a baby.

I was unprepared, but more ready than I can explain. Jet’s head emerged, I carefully grasped it and helped guide him into the world. Emotions were overwhelming. Tears were flowing. Jet was alive.

In fact, my miracle baby is sitting next to me right now in Starbucks as I’m writing this. I asked him to smile for a pic as he hangs out with me, watching videos on his phone. Children are precious. All of them. Another picture is of me delivering Jet twelve years ago. I’ll never forget that moment.

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So, yes, children are worth fighting for. But, are we fighting the right battle?

FLESH, BLOOD AND MOLOCH

The Bible makes it clear that we don’t war against flesh and blood. As gruesome as it is, this symbolic picture becomes very real when we deal with the spirit of abortion. Literal flesh and blood are ripped and spilled every hour. Worldwide, there is an unborn baby violently destroyed every second. Eight-six children are sacrificed to the murderous principality Moloch every minute. The worship is Satanic at a level none of us can truly understand.

Moses warned the Israelites about sacrificing to this god. In their rebellion, they rejected the mandate of God.

Read this sobering passage of Scripture:

36 They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. 37 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. 38 They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. 39 They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves. 40 Therefore the LORD was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance. 41 He handed them over to the nations, and their foes ruled over them. 42 Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power. Psalm 106:36-42 (NIV)

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America is at this point. The land is desecrated by the blood of millions of children sacrificed to a deadly demonic entity.

The church is fighting the wrong battle.

To be clear, I do see some value in presenting a godly defense and in electing righteous politicians who can promote righteous laws. However, I don’t believe the battle should be waged there as it cannot be won there.

It’s easy to rise up in a spirit of debate, attempting to use logic to sway people from one position to another. There are some out there who can cause true introspection using this method. I think of someone like Ben Shapiro, a non-Christian who is extremely effective at using secular logic and debate to make a case. Ray Comfort is a Believer who can be quite effective at causing individuals to reconsider their stance on abortion. However, we need to understand that memes, Facebook posts and righteous indignation directed at those who support taking the life of babies are poor weapons in this war. Why? The battle is spiritual.

Zachary King, a former high wizard in a satanic church says abortion is a spiritual battle that must be fought with spiritual weapons.

“I know abortion is a satanic sacrifice,” King said at a conference on spiritual warfare organized by Toronto-based Serviam Ministries.

“Why is the devil intent on killing the unborn?” he said. “Satan does fear certain things. Innocence is one. You can’t get more innocent than the baby in the womb.”

“Every hex, we used an abortion,” he told the conference.

“The bigger thing you request from the devil, the more you have to do for the devil to get it. … A hex requires an aborted baby.”

Indeed, if everyone on Earth marched against abortion, the next day, the abortion centers would still be open, King said.

He knew it was a spiritual battle.

“It’s spiritual warfare, (but) we fight it physically,” he said. “You cannot defeat a spiritual enemy” with physical weapons.

(https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/former-satanist-and-high-wizard-fight-abortion-with-spiritual-weapons)

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HAS VOTING REPLACED INTERCESSION?

While he’s not anywhere near the perfect President, I’m thrilled that President Trump was voted into office and that he’s promoting godly agendas. He addressed hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates during the March for Life. But, I’m concerned.

It seems millions of Christians have traded in the call to intercede and govern in the Kingdom for a vote. For many, it’s now President Trump’s job to deal with abortion. The Supreme Court is looked to as a force against abortion as well. But, what about the intercessors? Where are those who are waging war in the spirit?

Understand, the people we are debating are mostly ungodly and even demonized. Using logic against their Moloch anointed mission is futile. President Trump and the Supreme Court are absolutely helpless against such a powerful principality. The church is the nation’s only hope.

MOLOCH MUST BE DEFEATED

You’d be shocked at how many professing Christians, including pastors, are unapologetic advocates for abortion. While this is nearly impossible to believe, it’s true that much of the church is actually in covenant with Moloch. Others in the church are doing little to confront this spirit other than voicing their irritation on Facebook. Governmental intercession is nearly nonexistent in today’s church.

Manesseh, the king of Judah, instituted pure evil in the temple. Included was a sacrifice to Molech.

1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 4 He built altars in the temple of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “My Name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” 5 In both courts of the temple of the LORD, he built altars to all the starry hosts. 6 He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 2 Chronicles 33:1-6 (NIV)

He sacrificed his sons to Molech. God was provoked to anger. America is in this place right now.

I’m hoping you can see memes, marches and debates will never defeat a principality as powerful as Moloch. It’s laughable. Again, please hear me. I’m not opposed to voicing truth, to confronting the spirit of the age and addressing evil arguments. There is value in that. There is value in voting righteous people into position. There is value in using logic. But, the value is limited. Alone it’s futile beyond measure. We must see the church lead the nation in repentance, prophetic decrees, governmental intercession and high level spiritual warfare. It’s time for the church to govern again.

IT’S TIME TO WRESTLE

It shouldn’t shock us that most of the people who are aggressively promoting murder are those who simply don’t know God. Listen closely to me please. THEY HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED LOVE. They don’t know what it’s like for a Heavenly Father to flood their souls with immeasurable, indescribable, supernatural love. They don’t understand. They are completely limited to their logic, emotions and human wisdom.

8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8 (NIV)

They cannot love unborn babies because they don’t know God. The only way we can love unborn babies is because of a revelation of God’s love. It’s as simple as that.

We must not wrestle against these people. There is a spirit they are aligned with that has defiled them, confused them and desecrated them. It’s that spirit that demands our warfare.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

Too many Christians are wasting time and energy struggling against people while fully ignoring the necessary battle against rulers, authorities, powers and spiritual forces.

We know the spiritual armor necessary to fight. A helmet, a belt, shoes, a sword. We also need to pray. Prayer is the forgotten weapon, and without it we cannot win.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers… Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)

The flesh and blood of millions of babies cries out. But, it’s not flesh and blood that killed them. It’s a wicked and powerful spirit that has been worshiped in our nation for years.

It’s time to:

  1. Repent.
  2. War against spiritual forces with spiritual weapons.
  3. Pray.

That is the three-fold strategy to see Moloch taken down and for abortion to be eradicated in our blood soaked land.

We fight blood with blood. The blood of millions cries out for the blood of Jesus to cover America.

Let me finish with a prayer.

In the name of Jesus, I declare we are covered in his precious blood as we wage this war. We reject the spirit of the age that is attempting to seduce us into a state of mindless inaction. We call the church to rise up and lead the nation in repentance, in war and in intercession. Holy Spirit I pray you would anoint your people to pray like they never have before. Forgive us for any and all partnership with wickedness, compromise and apathy. I speak life over our church and over our nation! Church rise up! Amen.

17 no weapon forged against you will prevail… Isaiah 54:17 (NIV)

Bad Tipper? You Might be Driven by Three Demonic Spirits: Poverty, Entitlement and Offense

I’m SHOCKED at how many Christians aren’t generous tippers and givers—and many argue against the need to tip their servers at all!

7 But just as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us–see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 2 Corinthians 8:7-8 (NIV)

imageAre you the most extravagant giver among those you know? Do you tip passionately? Are you looking for opportunities to bless? Or, are you holding back, expecting others to serve you? Has a spirit of entitlement and poverty gripped your life?

Here’s a truth that will set you free: If you expect other people, systems, the church, the government or any other entity to meet your financial needs, you are destined for a life of frustration and lack. However, if you are focused on giving to others, no matter your current financial condition, your joy will abound and your faith surrounding your finances will skyrocket.

19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

  • A spirit of poverty will cause us to keep the dollars that are actually meant to be sowed and multiplied back to us.
  • A spirit of entitlement will result in a lack of gratitude, causing us to keep our money in our pockets while waiting for others to give us more.
  • A spirit of offense will cause us to reject the call to use our money to bless others who we have determined don’t deserve it.

These three spirits must be eradicated from our lives. I’m offering a powerful, free resource at the end of this article to help you find freedom. Keep reading.

HOW COULD ANY CHRISTIAN ARGUE AGAINST TIPPING?

12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

I’ve heard arguments against tipping by Christians who honestly admit that sometimes they simply can’t afford it. I understand the seasons of scarcity, and I know that these seasons can come for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s our fault and sometimes it’s not. However, to presume in seasons of scarcity that we can still live large is a sign of these spirits having a root in our lives.

Entitlement demands they experience life the same way those who prosper do. They argue they have a right to eat out just like everyone else, even if they can’t afford to tip. This is absolutely nonsensical. In fact, it’s selfish and rude to expect a server to wait on us and then to tip poorly or not at all. Everybody is in a different financial position, and some can afford to eat out, some can’t. Some can afford to buy a new car, some can’t. Some can afford to go to the Super Bowl, some cant. Some can afford a new computer, some can’t.

Nobody has a right to things they can’t afford, including eating out. Some actually presume the tip to be an optional but unnecessary bonus for servers if they do a good job. I wonder how many people actually think that the majority of waiters and waitresses are mostly supported by their paycheck every two weeks. They aren’t.

In fact, are you aware that most servers receive ZERO dollars in their paychecks? They live solely on the generous tips from those who are eating at their tables. Taxes on those tips wipe out the $2.13 per hour that most servers make today. This means, if I don’t tip $20 or $30 on my $100 check, my server may miss a student loan payment or they may not be able to buy their children new shoes or take them to the amusement park they were promised. I take this responsibility very seriously. I want every person who serves me to be more blessed than I was by the time the hour-long dinner is over.

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

Our resolve to bless those who live on tips (servers, valets, hairstylists, bellhops, your Uber driver, etc.) should be a core value—even when their service is poor. My wife and I never decrease the tip by even a penny if we receive poor service. Why? There are many reasons. They may have had a bad day. The kitchen may actually be at fault. They are dealing with depression. Their family situation is bad and declining. They dealt with rude customers at their last table. Or, possibly, they have yet to meet Jesus. I guarantee I am not going to try to “teach them a lesson” by decreasing my tip instead of blessing them in the love of Jesus.

If we can’t bless those who don’t refill our drinks quickly enough, how can we presume to bless those who use and curse us?

27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:27-31 (NIV)

When the Bible talks about curses, that includes verbal assaults, insults and all sorts of mistreatment. We don’t seek revenge. We don’t try to teach them a lesson. We don’t leave a nasty note on the check. We don’t decrease our tip. We don’t attack them back. We love them. We bless them. We give.

BREAKING FREE FROM POVERTY AND ENTITLEMENT

I know many who are reading this are rejoicing. Many Christians are tired of others being such a poor representation of Christ. Many servers are tired of dealing with selfish, entitled people. There is a black mark on Christianity because of many in the after-church crowd on Sundays who eat together. They can be demanding, loud, difficult to deal with, entitled and absolutely terrible tippers. It’s embarrassing and many Christians out there have had enough. I know servers who despise working on Sundays. Great job Christians. You’ve made quite a name for yourself. Here’s some advice: If you can’t love your server and financially bless them radically, just stay home.

Nobody has the right to eat out if they can’t afford it. I was engaged in a Facebook discussion on this topic, and some came out of their skin with indignation that I would say such a thing. They feel no obligation to tip their server, and they believe their financial condition should have no bearing on whether they can eat out or not. I wondered if they also might just pay whatever they want instead of the total on the check. Do they just pay what they can afford when checking out at Walmart? Of course not. But, they choose not to pay their server’s bill (their tip). This is a clear indicator of being driven by poverty and entitlement. If you can’t afford to tip at least 20%, you can’t afford to eat out. Most definitely stay home or eat somewhere where tipping isn’t expected.

In order to break free from from poverty and entitlement, we must crucify our flesh and become radical givers instead of expecting others to meet our needs. There are many mad people in the world. Mad at pastors, government, friends, their church family and others for not meeting their financial needs. This mindset will ensure they remain sad, angry, disillusioned and in lack. We break the demonic grip of poverty and entitlement by turning the tables and giving with passion instead of expecting others to give to us.

1 As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4 (NIV)

The poor widow had every right to be bitter at the church and at the rich. The natural reaction when in lack is first to look to others to resolve our problem, and second to despise them when they don’t. The widow was applauded by Jesus because of her heart. She had the greatest need yet still gave everything she needed to live on. She wasn’t entitled, and, believe it or not, she didn’t have a poverty spirit. She certainly wasn’t offended.

Here’s a comment by my wife, Amy:

We have always tipped both in times of plenty and in times of lack. During our first year of marriage we were very poor, with (nearly) no money for Christmas presents and a sack of potatoes for Christmas dinner. We were barely scraping by. However, if we chose to eat out we calculated the tip amount into the cost when deciding whether we could afford to do so. I'm sure our server made a better living than we did at the time. It didn't matter. It's never appropriate to withhold what a server is due in an attempt to better our own financial situation.

I remember that season very well! In fact, I still vividly remember standing next to the sack of potatoes in the grocery store in Cleveland, Tennessee 23 years ago wondering if we should use our few remaining dollars on it along with a frozen chicken. That was to be our Christmas dinner. We did buy the potatoes and had just a little cash left over. On Christmas morning, my gift from my wife was a belt (that didn’t fit) and my gift to her was a Jenga game (that she was upset I bought because we needed that $10 for bills). That afternoon we had friends over to eat our chicken and potato feast—and then my wife burned the chicken. One of our friends ran home to get a frozen pizza. We enjoyed a wonderful mashed potato and frozen pizza Christmas dinner!

In that season finances were scarce, though we were working hard. Our car was bashed in on the passenger side and the doors didn’t open. We had to steer about 30 degrees to the right in order for the car to drive straight. We replaced the tires with $5 used tires once every couple of weeks due to the misalignment. We couldn’t afford a repair.

The bottom line is we had almost nothing and we very rarely ate out. Why? because we knew our $40 check would end up being $50 after tip. Instead we’d eat at home or grab something from McDonalds. It wasn’t our right to eat out if we couldn’t pay our bill—including what was owed to the server.

It wasn’t only our faithful giving to the church and to ministry that broke us out of lack. It was a “widow’s mite” attitude. We expected nobody to pay our way and we knew that we must be radical givers at restaurants and other places. If we couldn’t afford to tip, we stayed home.

The same is true with the church. I can’t imagine how anybody would attend a church, utilize their children’s ministry, receive teaching and be welcomed with open arms without giving extravagantly. We should give radically to the church, period. We should attend church with the same attitude as when we eat out. We are there to bless them instead of expecting them to bless us. We want to give with passion.

Unoffendable PaperbackIt’s true that the church is called to take care of widows. But, here’s the problem: when we stomp our foot and demand to be served because of this instruction in Scripture, we align ourselves with the spirit of entitlement and poverty, even though the church should in fact be helping. We should give and bless even when we aren’t taken care of in ways we should. Don’t blame, don’t point fingers.

Here’s a portion of my Charisma Magazine article The Spirit That’s Taking Over Our Nation—And It’s Not Jezebel:

It's time to repent for a spirit of entitlement that is destroying our testimony.

entitlement
noun en·ti·tle·ment:

the condition of having a right to have, do or get something
the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges)

In a self-centered, narcissistic world, one can only presume entitlement would be in the mix, as well. This attitude is doing great harm to our testimony as Christians in addition to creating a proud, lazy people who expect to be served instead of to serve.

I’ve heard about godly people who always tip double their check. I love this! While I wouldn’t suggest it’s mandatory to do this, I would suggest it’s mandatory to tip at least 20%. In fact, I’d encourage you to consider other opportunities to break off spirits of poverty and entitlement such as tipping double the check, paying for another patron’s check (including a huge tip), occasionally tipping five or six times the amount of the check or more and other opportunities to radically bless. When we give to others instead of demanding they give to us the spirits of entitlement and poverty lose their grip.

A SPIRIT OF OFFENSE WILL ENSURE YOU REMAIN ENSLAVED TO POVERTY AND ENTITLEMENT

Too many live offended lives. Offended that others aren’t taking care of them financially, offended that others are prospering and they aren’t, offended that they are continually overlooked. We should live free from offense. In fact, I’d like to offer my most popular teaching titled “Unoffendable” at no cost to you. Trust me, it’s revelation that will change your life dramatically!

You will receive the audio teaching, the eBook and teaching notes at no cost whatsoever. You can get this powerful resource here: www.burton.tv/free.

A spirit of offense is absolutely deadly. It will cause your love to grow cold and your heart to harden. It’s a death sentence. This spirit will cause you to rise up against others instead of serving them. Your unmet demands and expectations will result in a dark soul, a life of lack and deep resentment. This three-fold cord of poverty, entitlement and offense will imprison all who embrace these evil spirits.

When we break these three spirits off our lives, and discover the power of Kingdom finances, we can live free and full of joy, no matter how much money is in our account.

Faithfully giving and passionately tipping all who serve us out in the world will result in remarkable, prosperous, victorious lives!

Rejecting Jesus: Why so many do the unthinkable

Rejecting Jesus should be the defining symptom of insanity.

One second in the presence of God will cure the most devoted skeptic, or so the saying goes.

Continually, as I watch the world go round, I am utterly stunned that people go about their lives while either casually or aggressively rejecting Jesus. Do they not know what they are doing? Many don't.

34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 (ESV)

Almost with intentional naivety, I wonder just why anybody would refuse such a life-altering, healing and glorious gift. Historically, people still rejected Jesus after being a witness to the resurrection. Others ignored the call to the Upper Room. Today people react similarly to calls to radical surrender to the most powerful being in existence. It truly does not make sense—or does it?

There must be a reason—or many reasons—why so many do the unthinkable.

WHY PEOPLE REJECT GOD’S GREATEST GIFT TO MANKIND

They have no grid for the presence of God.

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)

One second in the presence of God will absolutely cure the most devoted skeptic. I believe it. I often wonder what unbelievers think when they witness moves of God that result in shaking, falling to the ground, groans of intercession, shouts of freedom and other manifestations. They have no option but to presume the people are hyper-emotional or mentally unbalanced. Why? They have not experienced the supernatural presence of God. Experiencing a visitation by a holy, supernatural force requires a “sixth sense.” They simply can’t understand it in the natural, so they dismiss it. Many mock it. They definitely reject it.

The countless times I’ve experienced the divine presence of God have changed my life many times over. It’s impossible for God’s presence to be invented, an emotional reaction, mind over matter or some other naturally explained experience. If you are standing in the ocean, you are wet. God’s presence is as tangible and simple to understand as that.

As a youth pastor in San Diego in the 1990’s, I took the teens to a powerful Vineyard Worship conference. It would be impossible for me to explain what happened there. God’s presence overtook me as he did many people there. I suddenly fell to my face as God’s weighty, holy and overwhelming presence consumed me. I was out. God was pouring out his love on me.

Hundreds of people eventually filtered out leaving me and a few others in the building. The youth helped me to my feet and I stumbled out of the room and to the van. When we pulled into the parking lot of the hotel where most of the people attending the conference were staying, I saw something I’ll never forget. All around I witnessed people being carried into the hotel, undone by the presence of God. This was no mass emotional delusion. God’s presence was healing and transforming people. Lives were forever changed. The lost have no grid for this.

They have never experienced a miracle.

11 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Acts 19:11-12 (ESV)

I often say it should be absolutely impossible to doubt there’s a God when a legitimate miracle occurs. I mean, when an invisible God moves in great power and does the impossible, what else is there to discuss?

The signs, wonders and miracles I’ve experienced over the 49 years of my life are too numerous to list, though I’ve written about many of them in my books (www.burton.tv/shop). My life has been changed time and again as God revealed his love and power through stunning, incredible miracles that are fully indescribable in the natural. Only a loving Creator could move in that way.

People who reject God don’t typically experience wonders like healings or they explain them away. Financial miracles are foreign to them. Prophecy that comes to pass is dismissed. They just can’t grasp the reality of a God who moves in the lives of those who love him.

True peace, joy and freedom are absolutely foreign to them.

11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 (ESV)

Speaking of miracles, when depression, fear and darkness are suddenly dispersed by a strange and wonderful supernatural invasion, you are forever free!

I love seeing before and after photos of people that reveal the transformation of Jesus. Before surrendering to Jesus you can often see emptiness, and after their countenance is erupting with joy and freedom!

How glorious is it to rest in God’s peace that passes all understanding and to rejoice with joy that’s unspeakable and full of glory!

It’s an awesome thing when two strangers meet, and they both know the other is a Believer, without even saying a word. The presence of God is on them. The joy of the Lord is evident. Sadly, the lost cannot know this freedom outside of meeting Jesus and falling in love with him.

Their have settled for counterfeit love.

23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. John 14:23 (ESV)

I’d encourage you to read my article The Great Love Deception for a comprehensive look at how both the world and the church are falling for counterfeit love.

As God’s love begins to manifest in such amazing, deeper ways at the end of the age, we have to be aware that the enemy will work hard to redefine, misrepresent and twist true love. He has a castrated version to offer us.

Today, those who have not experienced true, godly, supernatural love that transforms their hearts have no option but to seek out an alternative to satisfy their needs and desires. A counterfeit.

God’s love looks and feels very different than most would presume. When someone authentically encounters the love of God, everything changes. Everything.

They haven’t heard God’s voice.

3 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV)

My book Revelation Driven Prayer is a handbook that will help you discover the wonder of God’s voice. When God talks, it absolutely shocks and rocks us to our core! His voice is life-giving and life-altering.

The Bible tells us that it’s his sheep who hear his voice. The lost are wandering without a guide. They simply need to cry out to God in desperation and be amazed at the voice that bellows from the heavens!

God’s voice is real, not some weird, imagined, mystical message. God talks to us. We know his voice. Those who reject God enact radio silence.

Dreams and visions are foreign to them.

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; Acts 2:17 (ESV)

My life has been impacted beyond description by the communication of God through dreams and visions. When you have a “God dream” you just know it. His truth explodes through imagery that is delivered in ways only a deity could. Mysteries are revealed. Questions are answered.

I’ve written about several of my dreams and encounters with God in articles and books, and have taught on them many times. Other Believers all over the world have had even more dramatic encounters. Those who reject God are not in tune with him, and therefore don’t regularly receive from him in this way. Of course, God has and will visit people who have rejected him, giving them an opportunity to surrender all and follow him. It happened with the Apostle Paul. It happens with Muslims today. It happens with many who have hit rock bottom. But, it isn’t until we develop intimacy with Jesus that the dreams and visions become normal in our daily lives.

They misunderstand the power of sin and the nature of God.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV)

The allure of the flesh is powerful and satisfying, and many who reject Jesus simply don’t think surrendering to their passions are that big of a deal.

The enemy is very good at bringing confusion in hopes of validating sin in people’s lives. Further, people presume God to simply be a “good guy” who is unconcerned with behavior and is smiling on them from a far away place. In fact, many delusional Christians believe in similar ways.

My article Five Marks of the False Grace Message will bring clarity to this point.

God is holy. God is aligned against those who choose to reject him and his love—until they turn from their wickedness. Then he will run to them and embrace them and welcome them as sons and daughters! What a glorious God we serve!

Ask anyone who was living in rebellion to Jesus before leaving their life of sin behind. Their surrender resulted in phenomenal life! They live in the fear and love of Jesus and they would not have it any other way. The transformation is very real indeed!

They haven’t experienced the transforming baptism of the Holy Spirit.

31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:31 (ESV)

When the power of God truly hits, natural man yields to supernatural wonder!

Suddenly we are aligned and calibrated with the heart and nature of God in ways we could never have experienced before this baptism.

The moment I was baptized in power is the moment timidity disappeared from my life. No amount of counseling could have done that. Positive thinking was futile. It was only when God himself burned through me like a fire and transformed me in ways I’ll never be able to explain.

A supernatural force is ready to invade any who would ask.

How powerful would it be for another Azusa revival to erupt, except this time among those in Hollywood. Can you imagine a Holy Spirit fire burning in people like Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Robert Downey Jr., Johnny Depp, Will Smith, Tom Hanks, Jennifer Lawrence, Samuel L. Jackson, Harrison Ford, Angelina Jolie and others?

I’m not sure why I mentioned Hollywood at this point of the article, but as I’m sitting here in Starbucks writing this, a spirit of intercession came over me. Let’s all pray for a supernatural invasion of the Holy Spirit to interrupt movie sets throughout Hollywood!

The Word of God isn’t alive to them.

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

A barometer of spiritual vitality is when reading the Bible causes us to come alive! Reading the Word of God intellectually, as those who don’t know Jesus are limited to, doesn’t bring life. But when we are intimate with God, the Bible imparts revelation. The truths are enlightening beyond measure. You can’t get enough!

What they see with their eyes is more real than what is invisible.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)

They simply don’t believe. They are skeptics. Without faith people are hopeless.

They must be convinced that, yes, there is an invisible God who loves them and who is ready to come to their rescue.

Again, the number of times God has manifested in miraculous ways in my life rocks me! Oh, is he real! When we walk by faith and not by sight literally everything changes!

Their prayers have gone unanswered.

31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. John 9:31 (ESV)

The prayer of sinners God hears is the prayer of repentance, surrender and brokenness.

Those who don’t know God yet expect God to respond to their cries for personal satisfaction will forever be disappointed. It’s when we truly surrender all that God will hear our cry and move on our behalf.

Further, even Christians will go through desert times when the voice of God isn’t booming. God doesn’t just answer every email we send to him. He moves deliberately though often very mysteriously. He is to be trusted, not used.

They are unconcerned about eternity.

1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 (ESV)

There is no urgency. Today it’s becoming more rare for people to live in the fear of the Lord or at least acknowledging the severity of unavoidable eternity that rests just beyond the horizon.

They live for today. The need for God isn’t strong. There is life to live.

God sent a strong delusion and has turned them over to a debased mind.

10 …they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (ESV)

From my article These Are Words We Never Want To Hear God Say:

How strange (and troubling) it is that God would do this. In His wisdom, He opens and closes the window of opportunity for people to come to Him.

Most often we presume people have until the day they die to turn to the Lord. This isn't the case. There are many who have been turned over to delusion. Eyes have been blinded. Others have committed the unforgivable sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. It's too late.

Many are nearing the point of no return, and for a significant number of them it will come well before they die. They will be spiritually hopeless, fully dead, possibly decades before an obituary is written.

This is a terrifying reality, and it should increase our urgency for intercession and evangelism.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’m so terribly grieved when people reject Jesus. The price he paid for all to know him was so great. His love is so deep. The lives people could live if they only fell in love with Jesus would be miraculous. I hate that so few choose to live this way.

I wrote an article titled Christianity: Failed mission or glorious victory? Yes.

Jesus died for all, but so few will be saved.

There are many reasons people reject Jesus, including the few I revealed here. People say no to Jesus day after day, no matter how much God loves them and no matter how great their lives could be should they surrender.

I don’t understand it. I despise it. I’m wrecked.

If you aren’t radically in love with Jesus, be you an unbeliever or a Christian, please know that God is ready to pour out his Spirit on you! The miracles and wonders are waiting for you. Yes, the sacrifice and surrender are very real. The brokenness can’t be denied. The humility required to say no to our own selfish desires is costly. But, remember, we are talking about being intimately united with the Ruler of the universe!

Who could reject such an opportunity?

3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Hebrews 2:3-4 (ESV)

John Crist, Lauren Daigle, John Gray and the Critics

John Crist slams critics of Lauren Daigle and John Gray. Is he right?

Oh look, a can of worms. Let’s open it!

John Crist, an absolutely hilarious Christian comedian who regularly posts both humorous and provocative videos, recently posted something that was more provoking than funny.

John tells critics of Christian worship leader and musician Lauren Daigle, who recently refused to publicly condemn homosexuality to “just shut up.”

Critics of Pastor John Gray, who recently came under scrutiny for buying his wife a Lamborghini, was slammed by John Crist who told them to “shut your mouth.”

Is John Crist right? Many are celebrating his bold response to Christian culture’s latest controversies. Others are calling him out.

I personally land somewhere in the middle, though, I must admit, I’m more concerned than ambivalent, more troubled than neutral.

AN EMERGING AND DANGEROUS PHILOSOPHY OF SIN

First, let’s talk about the situation with Lauren Daigle and John’s primary argument against her critics.

Regarding Lauren’s reluctance to clearly renounce the sin of homosexuality, John uses an argument that many other people are also using today in this and similar situations. He attempts to downplay the power of sin by emphasizing the idea that everybody sins. It's common among all and no one particular sin is worse than any other (which, I dealt with in a two-part Charisma Media article titled, The Deadly Argument That Could Wipe out an Entire Generation of Christians and No, Not All Sin Is The Same—Here's Proof).

In his video, John says that he, “probably did 27 things yesterday that if you would have witnessed, you would be like ‘Wow, I thought he was a Christian.’”

The dangerous philosophy that is on the rise today is this: If you have sinned recently, you have no right to deal with sin in our culture or in other people's lives. Shut up. Stop preaching. Remove the pulpits. Keep truth silenced. Refuse to remove the spec in another's eye. Let them remain blind.

The message John Crist and many others seem to be conveying is: we cannot promote biblical standards of holiness if we have ever failed ourselves. We cannot expose darkness as Paul commands us to do in the Book of Ephesians.

Now, John is absolutely right if his intent is to correct those who are shaming, attacking and attempting to do harm to Lauren Daigle due to her position (or lack thereof) on homosexuality. I’ve seen enough of that behavior on social medial to cause me to wonder if some people should be banned from Facebook and Twitter until they pass an elementary test of kindness and decorum. People who act like that should be embarrassed.

However, there is an appropriate—and necessary—way to respond when the spirit of the age is being promoted, especially within the construct of Christianity. If we remain silent on these issues, millions are put at risk of Hell. How many easily influenced young seekers or Believers now deem homosexuality appropriate? Such a belief, when acted on, puts eternities in jeopardy. This is coming on Lauren's watch.

In  fact, I’m stunned that an influential Christian worship leader stating that homosexuality may not be sinful is being dismissed as a non-issue. Shocked. What if the next up and coming Christian artist were to admit that they don’t know if abortion is wrong? What about lying? Theft? Pornography? Murder? Will we continue to support them, arguing that their sin is no worse than any other?

Understand, if someone were to struggle with sin, if they were to admit that they are broken and desperate to find freedom from alcohol or anger or homosexuality, you better believe we should rush to their side, love and support them and, of course, refuse to throw stones. However, they must also be benched for a season while they work through their issues.

This is not what is happening with Lauren Daigle. She took it to an entirely different level, and she has not been removed from public ministry. She also hasn’t recanted what she said.

Just what is that “entirely different level” I'm referring to? She refuses to renounce sin. She is making room for the support of homosexuality in the lives of Christians. Innocent seekers and new Believers all over the world are most certainly entertaining the idea that homosexuality isn't sinful. This, friend, is a very serious situation. This is why we must say something. I have a hard time believing her music is still being played on Christian radio stations and sold in Christian stores. Again, what if she said that she wasn’t sure if sexual assault was a sin? Would the reaction be different? It absolutely would be.

John Crist seems to be communicating that cutting someone off in line at the Taco Bell drive-thru is the same as promoting immorality. What he's communicating is that yes, both are bad, but both are no big deal. If we yell at the guy who cut us off in traffic or are wrongly angry or impatient, we have somehow been disqualified from ever preaching truth or standing for righteousness, even if we have repented and asked for forgiveness. If this were the case, we would have no preachers and none of us would be able to share the Gospel with anybody.

The two verses that are used almost exclusively to defend the argument that we should not address the sin in others are found in the books of Matthew and John:

3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5 (ESV)

7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7 (ESV)

First, in Matthew, the instruction is NOT to ignore sin. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite! We must rightly address the sin! We must first ensure we are not being hypocritical by living in the same sin as the other person. When we are certain we are living a pure life, then the prohibition of action becomes an expectation of action. We must remove the spec from the other person’s eye. Why would leaving them blinded by their sin be a good idea? It's not. It's foolishness. Somewhere along the line it has become a bad thing to help people in this manner. This error must be corrected if we hope to rescue those who are deceived.

Second, in John, we need to deal with two points. First, Jesus was exposing the darkness of their people's hearts. Their intent was violence driven by accusation and hatred. We can be sure that Jesus will deal with us if we assault others who have been caught in sin with such motives. I’m sure John Crist is mostly attempting to communicate exactly this. Quit being hateful jerks and learn how to love. I appreciate that message. The right response is to say, “forgiveness is yours, now stop sinning.”

But, there is a second point in the text to consider. The analysis of that verse in John chapter eight doesn’t stop there. Check this out from Adam Clarke’s Commentary:

“He that is without sin,” meaning the same kind of sin, adultery, fornication, etc.

The argument that we must shut our mouths when others are involved in or promoting sin just doesn’t pass biblical muster. Our past failures don't disqualify us from attempting to set others free or from proclaiming truth. However, if I’m a thief, I absolutely better not rebuke another thief. If I’m committing adultery, I have no authority or right to speak into the life of another adulterer.

Similar to the passage in Matthew chapter seven, it's our hypocrisy that God is addressing. He is absolutely not endorsing radio silence on the issue of sin. Quite the contrary, he is looking for preachers and prophets who will sound alarms!

Committing a sin doesn’t remove our responsibility to act. We must both endeavor to live in holiness and to deal with the sin in our culture. If a Christian is promoting sin, we simply can’t stay silent. Our past sins don’t require we abdicate that responsibility.

So, no, I don’t agree with John Crist. Lauren Daigle can’t be given a pass just because she leads people in worship and impacts millions in a positive way. There have been many pastors who have done many good things and impacted many people for the Kingdom who have also fallen. They have failed. They can't be given a pass but must instead be corrected and introduced to a path of restoration. The first step in restoration is acknowledging and renouncing their error. Repenting. The world is still waiting for Lauren Daigle to do just that. When she does, we will all celebrate with her.

I implore you to read my timely articles that were released shortly prior to the Lauren Daigle controversy: Worship Leaders Must Take a Stand Against Homosexuality and Is Worship Music Lucifer's Next Great Battleground?

SO, WHAT ABOUT PASTOR JOHN GRAY?

The point I’m trying to make in this article is that we must stand for holiness. While the Lauren Daigle issue is a very serious one, as she refuses to take a stand on something that is clearly sin, the John Gray situation is different. What sin has he committed?

So, John Crist is probably right by calling people out for attacking the pastor.

I’m not going to take time in this article to deal with the message of biblical prosperity, though we should at least know that it’s God who gives us power to create wealth. If he gives us the power, we have to at least agree that acquiring wealth can’t be universally renounced. Also, nowhere in Scripture does it say we must give it all away. Our validation as Christians or as ministers isn’t gauged by how little money we can live on each month. A poverty spirit does nobody any good whatsoever.

The following verse affirms God’s role in acquiring wealth, and also an accompanying warning:

18 You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Deuteronomy 8:18-19 (ESV)

If Pastor John Gray has wealth, we should celebrate. If he uses the wealth to go after other gods, he will certainly pay.

Of course, Scripture deals quite a bit with impure motives in the area of money. The love of money, as we all know, is the root of all evil. But, money itself is not evil. It’s benign. It’s a tool.

I know, people are tired of ministers flaunting their wealth. I get it. The arrogantly presume to know better ways the money could be used, and they would love to share their wisdom with everybody who uses money for personal enjoyment.

As I recently heard someone say, when you let me tell you how to spend your money, I might let you tell me how to spend mine. Honestly, it's remarkable how presumptuous people can be regarding another's money.

I’d encourage you read two articles that deal with the biblical money issue: 10 Things to Consider Before You Judge Jesse Duplantis for Believing for a $54M Jet and Why Giving Large Portions of Our Finances to Church Might Require Disobeying God.

But, again, specifically regarding John Gray: He committed no sin! At least none that we are aware of. It is fully irresponsible to renounce a man who has done no wrong! You may not like the way he is spending his money, that, as we currently understand, was earned with integrity. If the IRS doesn’t have an issue, why are we assaulting him?

Should it come out that he acquired the money immorally, that would change everything. But until that happens, we should be quiet—and be careful.

The moment we reject the principle of biblical prosperity in another, we reject that principle in our lives. Poverty becomes our reality and Mammon our master. I've actually found the spirit of Mammon to often be much stronger in people who lack than in people who have wealth.

In fact, if you are so opposed to prosperity, would it be okay for people to pray for poverty to visit your household? Is that more in line with your biblical paradigm? I pray it isn’t. I pray the financial breakthrough you are seeking actually does come. It will come more quickly if we bless those whom God blesses.

I’ve talked with several people, including pastors, who have revealed how nervous they were to buy a new car or a new home or to go on a vacation. They knew other Christians would be calling them out, accusing them, judging them, wondering if they really needed something so nice. Pastors have revealed that people will decrease or withhold tithes and offerings to make a statement if they felt the leadership of the church was too prosperous. That behavior is preposterous. We should be rejoicing when others are financially blessed! Again, what’s the alternative? Poverty?

Remember, I'm not talking about people who acquire wealth immorally. We would both agree this is a sin that does great damage. I'm talking about those who have gained wealth via the power of God and who give, and keep, according to what God speaks directly to them.

IT’S ALL ABOUT HOLINESS

I understand that John Crist is tired of people dog-piling on other Christians when they are down. We should all become defenders of those who are unjustly treated. However, there is a right way to deal with sin and error. There is true justice. We need preachers and prophets to deal boldly, in love, with those errors for the sake of all. We need to be preaching truth today without apology. We must assault the darkness and reject the destructive worldviews that so many Christians are adopting.

Homosexuality has become normalized because the church has been reluctant to call it out and to address it as eternally poisonous. The same is true for lust and pornography and other common sins of our day. Instead of calling them sins that threaten where people will spend the rest of their lives, they are presented as minor issues that pose little threat.

Many Christian leaders are either falling into the sin of homosexuality or boldly endorsing it. In recent years people like Jen Hatmaker, Rob Bell, Vicky Beeching, Jennifer Knapp and others have left Christianity for another form of religious practice, though they still identify as Christian. This is the problem caused by the church's failure to address this cultural phenomena head on. The resulting confusion is wounding a generation. Lauren Daigle has added to that confusion, but she can be a champion of truth should she make clear just what the Word of God states.

We can love people while refusing to compromise. We can call out immorality. We must. If we don’t, the world will presume the church is totally okay with it.

Lauren Daigle, Homosexuality & a Critical Response

If the church remains silent when biblical truth is compromised in the public arena, millions are at risk of deception.

I released a prophetic message to Charisma Magazine that must be read in the new light of Lauren Daigle's recent statements regarding homosexuality. Titled simply, Worship Leaders Must Take a Stand Against Homosexuality, I highlight another extremely influential artist, Carrie Underwood who was leading worship at a Christian event. Afterwards, these comments came to light:

Our church is gay-friendly. … Above all, God wanted us to love others. It's not about setting rules, or “everyone has to be like me.” No. We're all different. That's what makes us special. We have to love each other and get on with each other. It's not up to me to judge anybody.

She also said:

As a married person myself, I don't know what it's like to be told I can't marry somebody I love and want to marry. I can't imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love.

Similarly, Lauren Daigle said on The Domenick Nati Show when asked, “do you feel that homosexuality is a sin?”:

“I can't honestly answer on that,” Daigle responded. “In a sense, I have too many people that I love that they are homosexual. I don't know. I actually had a conversation with someone last night about it. I can't say one way or the other. I'm not God. So when people ask questions like that…that's what my go to is. I just say read the Bible and find out for yourself. And when you find out let me know, because I'm learning too.”

A PROPHETIC PRESCRIPTION

I just returned from a ministry trip to Albany, New York. While there, I shared a simple but intense prophetic prescription that definitely applies to this situation.

  1. Embrace radical holiness.
  2. Engage in fervent intercession.
  3. Impact culture with truth.

As we are deeply devoted to a life of supernatural prayer, and are walking in extreme holiness, we will not be able to keep from impacting culture.

Our mandate as Believers is to confront compromise and immorality in culture by trumpeting truth without apology. It's time to shout it from the rooftops! Yet, today, when clear violations of truth are committed, especially by Christian leaders, fellow Christians all too often demand silence as passivity overtakes them. They get mad when messages are preached that deal with sin. They rise up in indignation when error is exposed, even when it's done with great care and deep love.

We can no longer allow those opposed to the proclamation of truth and the confrontation of error to drown out the prophetic voices that have been commissioned by God to bring the sharp sword of the Word to our nation.

Be holy. Pray continually. Confront culture. Do it all in love.

WHAT SHOULD OUR RESPONSE TO LAUREN DAIGLE'S COMMENTS ON HOMOSEXUALITY BE?

Pray for Lauren.

While it's shocking that Lauren isn't clear on the unmistakable, historic and orthodox truth that homosexuality is a sin, it's encouraging that she admits to being teachable. She humbly said that she's willing to learn. I actually have a lot of hope for Lauren, believing that this might be a learning experience for her. If she sits under the right leadership, attends a healthy local church and allows the Word of God to saturate her life, she will most certainly correct course and move right into the place that God has for her.

My great hope is that she would become a women of fervent prayer, living a supernatural life in God and modeling a life of purity and passion for Jesus. To be a Christian leader requires nothing less than a life of radical intercession and devotion to the Word of God.

Protect those under her influence.

I've read posts on Facebook from quite a few people who are slamming others for sounding the alarm about this situation. Their argument is the same old, tired, “We aren't her judge.”

Are those who are using those Bible verses (incorrectly) arguing that we should remain silent when error is promoted?

11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:11-14 (NIV)

If your pastor made the same comments as Lauren, would you stay silent? Would you ignore it and go on with life as usual? Would you argue that “we are all sinners” and that the pastor's position is a non-issue? I certainly hope not. Your pastor has the ability to influence dozens or hundreds, possibly thousands. Lauren Daigle, as a minister of the Gospel on a national and global platform, is influencing multiplied millions. People under her influence are now at extreme, eternal risk. Does anybody care?

We must wake up the sleepers! We have no choice but to expose darkness!

The fact that Lauren is young and learning how to respond to the demands of fame doesn't remove the responsibility of the church to protect those who may be hurt by her ideologies. If my five-year-old does something to put other people in harm's way, I don't ignore it and let the people get hurt or killed just because my child didn't know better. Warning the people at risk doesn't mean I don't love or understand the maturity level of my child. They are two separate issues.

Do you understand how easy it will be now for people to embrace homosexuality due to Lauren's comments? Many others probably already have shifted their position to affirming homosexuality as acceptable for Christians. Others are now taking the casual approach that Lauren did, abandoning any urgency to promote righteousness.

When influential public figures make damaging comments or promote destructive theologies, it's the responsibility of prophetic messengers, pastors and every Christian to look out for those who are at risk. To do otherwise would be an abdication of our responsibilities. Love demands we don't stay silent.

Stand for truth.

1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Titus 2:1 (NIV)

12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, Titus 2:12 (NIV)
15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. Titus 2:15 (NIV)

Since Lauren told the world that she doesn't know if homosexuality is a sin or not, the church must clear up the confusion.

If we don't, we must be ready for the end result, a result that a silent church will be responsible for: God will turn people who surrender to homosexuality over to a depraved mind.

Friend, this is extremely serious. I know Lauren would never want to do something that would result in people going to Hell, but her position could do just that.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. Romans 1:26-28 (NIV)

Again, for someone who is ministering the Word of God through music, Lauren has made a grievous error that is so clearly contrary to truth that it's stunning that anybody would give her a pass.

The Word also says:

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV)

Lauren Daigle's theology is absolutely important if she is to continue ministering as a Christian artist. Her position matters.

Another article I wrote for Charisma regarding worship music might be a good resource as well. Here is the bullet point version:

Three Ways Lucifer Can Infiltrate Worship Music

1. Theology

Many people wrongly believe that the worship leader's theology is unimportant. The train of thought is that the senior pastor is the gatekeeper regarding theology in the local church, and the worship leader plays a lesser, supporting role. All we have to do is jump back a bunch of years to see that the great gatekeeper, God himself, was assaulted and his mission was radically damaged.

Lucifer, the worship leader, was not unified with God, and truth was violated. God Himself couldn't (or didn't) stop what happened next:

  • One-third of the angels fell with Lucifer.
  • Countless millions of humans will burn in the hell that was made for him after he was cast out of Heaven.

Bad theology in your worship leader can easily lead to many others in the church succumbing to the deception.

2. Secret Life

Worship leading should not be the primary job description of worship leaders. It should be the natural outflow of a life of intense, continual prayer. Praying in the spirit night and day must be job one for all of us, and especially those who are supposing to lead us into an encounter with a holy God.

It should be obvious that we cannot lead people where we have not gone. I propose many of today's worship leaders are simply pointing people to the holy place instead of going ahead of them and leading them there.

3. Lyrics

Does anybody else notice the trend in worship music toward the glorification of man?

Benefits, our position, our experience—shouted in song after song.

We need to get back to God-centered lyrics that proclaim His goodness!

It is becoming more and more common to hear worship lyrics (and contemporary Christian music lyrics) that are either wishy-washy and watered down or simply not biblical at all.

LAUREN DAIGLE AND ELLEN DEGENERES

While I think it's wonderful that Lauren had an opportunity to meet Ellen DeGeneres, I wonder if she truly understands how devastating homosexuality is. You'll notice a verse below about engaging people outside of the faith. Was Lauren wise? Did she truly impact Ellen? We don't know. I hope so. Is it possible Ellen influenced Lauren? I pray not. This is why it's so critical to know Jesus intimately and to stand for truth boldly.

I do believe Lauren was loving toward Ellen. That is impressive and she should be applauded. We need to love more deeply and also stand for truth at the same time. It can't be one or the other. Is it possible that Ellen comes to Jesus because of Lauren? I absolutely believe it is! I pray it happens! I'm ready to celebrate and dance and shout!

I had a dream about Ellen, and I shared it in another Charisma Magazine article. I strongly recommend that you read it. It's possibly the most provocative and intense message I've ever delivered to the church. Here's the portion about Ellen that's certainly relevant to this situation:

After I woke up from a significant dream about Ellen DeGeneres, I read my verse of the day… here it is:

Be wise when you engage with those outside the faith community; make the most of every moment and every encounter. Colossians 4:5

I felt God had a message of love for Ellen that I should try to get to her.

I decided to email Ellen. I have no idea if she will ever get it, but I pray she does.

Here's what I sent to Ellen DeGeneres:

Here's a strange story for ya! I'm a pastor & author, and I had a dream about you last night. It was crazy long and detailed and the first two-part dream I've had (I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle, and the dream continued after I went back to sleep).

You aren't someone I think about often at all (sorry!), so I have a feeling God may have dropped that dream on me. It started with you at the Academy Awards (or something similar) and you called me on stage from the audience. I was overwhelmed with grief and whispered to you, “Please forgive me for judging you.”

Later, you went on to share with me from your heart about some pain and you talked about your mom. Later on I met your mom and your brother at their home. (I didn't realize you had a brother until I googled it just a moment ago.)

There were other pieces to the dream, but I thought I'd leave it at that for now.

A little about me; I may appear to fit the stereotype as I do believe any lifestyle that embraces activities that God, in his wisdom, deems unhealthy must be avoided. Homosexuality included. However, what's also included is pride, which the Christian church is often steeped in. So is selfish ambition and having cold love. All deadly, all have hit the church at large. Again, please forgive me.

After the dream I decided to preach tonight on a crazy controversial message calling the church to repentance titled, “Almost Homosexual: The Church in Crisis.”

God likes you, he loves you. Me too.

Halloween True Story: Witchcraft killed my baby girl.

A suffocating spirit was out for destruction as we were contending for revival.

I’ve waited fifteen years to write this article. I implore you to read every word.

As young church planters in one of America’s darkest regions, Amy and I along with our two oldest boys, who were little guys back in 2001, launched Revolution Church. The vision was intense and our passion was for revival that would launch in that strategic city and impact the nations.

Manitou Springs, Colorado is famous for its dark history and present liberal leanings. Rumor has it that Anton Levey wrote at least some of the Satanic Bible from his home there. It’s a quirky town at the base of Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs. We started the church there in a 700 square foot office space and then quickly grew to a core of 25 people. We moved to our second of four ultimate locations, a 2000 square foot storefront right downtown Manitou Springs. It’s there where we met Janet (name changed for the sake of this article).

I’ll never forget the Sunday morning service as the sun shined brightly through the large plate glass windows in our small meeting place at the Arcade in Manitou Springs. Janet was a first-time guest, and she seemed to be attempting to engage during the service. Understand, at the time, Christians in Manitou Springs were few and far between, so it was not common to see Spirit-filled people visiting, unless they drove from Colorado Springs. In fact, I was invited to preach at a Manitou Springs festival the first year we were there. The organizer had no idea what he had done! In the middle of my fiery message, a bold declaration of the power and necessity of the blood of Jesus, a tall man in flowing garments stormed to the front and demanded equal time. This alternate religious, New Age leader was agitated by the anointing. It was uncommon in Manitou Springs and his turf was certainly being threatened.

At the end of the service I invited people to come forward to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Janet sprung from her seat and kneeled at the altar. I quickly realized she was not even saved.

After spending time with her, introducing Jesus to her and ministering to her, she boldly asked a question, “Do you ever pray for people in their homes?”

We agreed to meet at her townhouse that week to pray and encourage her. We had no idea what we were about to get ourselves into.

JANET’S HOUSE

John Burton Quote Halloween AliensWe arrived one evening, sat on the couch and prayed for Janet and her baby. It was an unusual moment for us as I felt little to no anointing. Something was hindering our prayers. Janet confided in us that she had dabbled in witchcraft and was ready to move on from it. I applauded her courage to break away from what I know is a very strong, seductive spirit. She repented of her involvement and we prayed some more. The breakthrough remained elusive. I asked her if she owned anything inappropriate that she should get rid of. She reluctantly admitted she did and disappeared upstairs to retrieve some items.

She emerged down the stairs with a T-shirt with some occult symbolism on it. She also held the witch’s handbook.

She surrendered these two pieces of occult paraphernalia to us, and we again prayed. I thought it would be easier to pray now that she had removed them from her life. I was wrong. Amy and I didn’t understand why it felt so dead in her home, but we had done all we knew to do. We encouraged her again and prepared to leave. She then asked us, “I’ve heard of anointing homes in oil. Do you do that?” I told her to find some Crisco.

We anointed doorways, windows and anywhere else we could dab some oil. After we finished anointing and praying downstairs, I led the way up the staircase. At the top of the stairs I saw a guest room and a bathroom. I also saw Janet’s room. I was not prepared for what happened next.

I stepped into her room and immediately could not breathe. It felt like I stepped into a swimming pool sideways. I was engulfed with a suffocating, heavy, evil presence. I stepped back outside her room. Relief.

I didn’t share my experience with Amy or Janet, but instead prayed through the guest room and bathroom. I then stepped back into Janet’s room. Crushing suffocation.

I attempted to pray in tongues, but there was absolutely no way I could. Every prayer fell dead to the ground.

I urgently asked Janet if there might be any additional items she should throw in the trash. She slowly, casually looked in her closet and pulled out a couple things and placed them on her bed. That didn’t work. I was gasping for air, but not only air, for the breath of the Holy Spirit! We needed God to move in that place, and quick!

I was very direct with her. I said, “Janet! I will not pray for you and you will not find freedom if you don’t immediately eliminate every single thing from your life that is impure!”

I was standing between her bed and the wall, next to her night stand. She placed several more items on her bed, but it was not helping. One final time, as I was ready to get out of there, I said, “There is something you are holding on to that is much more evil than anything you’ve surrendered so far. What is it? No more delay!”

She reluctantly glanced over to the night stand, inches from where I was, and pointed at something I had not noticed. She said, “Well, that’s where I perform my sacrifices.” I looked at a small altar with ashes all over it. Yes, that was it.

She ran down and grabbed a large, plastic trash bag. We renounced what was happening at that altar and threw it away. Immediately I could pray in the Spirit. The wind of the Spirit was refreshing beyond description. The fire in my prayer was a stark contrast to how debilitated I was previously.

Amy then began to pray with Janet and talk with her. I was praying in tongues and doing my best to hear what God was saying. God instructed me to ask Janet about demons visiting her room. God had given me incredibly precise revelation. I revealed to her that those demons require written documentation about her interactions with them. Her jaw dropped and her eyes spread open. She had never been more stunned at something someone said. I read her mail.

She went to the closet and pulled out a stack of at least 20 spiral notebooks. She said she had much more stored on her computer. She confessed that demons visit her every night and terrorize her. She is forced to write about their visits. That is why she invited us to her home. She wanted the demons to leave.

She put the notebooks and many additional things on her bed. Six trash bags of occult and witchcraft materials were taken to the dumpster.

JANET’S STRUGGLE CONTINUES

After that experience in Janet’s tiny townhouse, you’d imagine she would have gone on toward radical deliverance. Sadly, that didn’t happen, at least as far as we know. She disappeared. We aggressively searched for her and finally, after several weeks, did track her down. She would attend church occasionally, but would manifest demonically at times. She aggressively confronted my wife once and then ultimately vanished again. That was the last time we ever saw Janet, well, sort of. Janet was about to visit some people in their dreams.

HALLOWEEN SEASON IN MANITOU SPRINGS

John Burton Quote Halloween PrayerOctober in Manitou Springs is always extremely volatile. Witchcraft is rampant and the atmosphere in that town is heavy. Creepy. Threatening. Also, it was my favorite time of the year. We knew we were called to contend against the darkness as we we were advancing toward revival.

Each year in Manitou Springs we’d prayer walk the city as we witnessed small fires in the foothills of the mountains ignite. The flames would dance as thought the mountains were alive. Witches were having their meetings, and we were having ours. We’d never consider hosting a harvest party or other event like that on Halloween. It was all out war, a spiritual war, and we had no option but to be alert, armed in the Spirit and on assignment. It was time for prayer.

The attack during October each year was intense. Three years in a row, precisely on October 31st, our oldest son was admitted to the hospital with a severe asthma attack. The suffocating spirit was assaulting him every October, until God gave us some revelation on how the enemy was assaulting us. We responded and the Halloween attacks on him then ceased.

In 2003, two years after we had planted Revolution Church, and quite some time since we’d seen Janet, Amy was pregnant with our third child. One night, in the middle of October, Amy shot up in bed, frantic, and woke me up.

She was shaking. She said she just had a horrifying, vivid dream of Janet wielding a large knife. She drove it into my wife’s stomach and killed our baby.

After praying we went back to sleep, shaken but confident that God was in control. The next morning we awoke and prepared for a scheduled church staff meeting at our home. At the beginning of the meeting, I asked our staff for prayer and started to mention Amy’s dream. I was interrupted by one of our staff members. She said, “Amy, I had a dream about you too last night. It was disturbing. I saw Janet with a knife. She stabbed you in your stomach and killed the baby.”

We were speechless. Another staff member was beside herself. She said, “I didn’t have a dream, but I had an vision about the exact scenario you both described!”

Later that day, a friend of Amy’s who had never met Janet or known anything about her called. She was upset. She didn’t want to scare Amy, but she had to share about a dream she had. “Amy, there was this girl (she went on to describe Janet’s unique appearance precisely), and I saw a large knife in her hand. She attacked you, stabbed you in the stomach and killed the baby!”

Amy and I proceeded to do literally everything we could. We prayed, of course. We stood in our authority. We had a powerful deliverance minister and his team conduct a spiritual house cleaning in our home. They reported it was the cleanest house they had ever been in.

A CHRISTMAS EVE TO FORGET

A couple of months passed, and we had shaken off the disturbances that October visited on our family. In fact, we were excited about a special doctor’s appointment on Christmas Eve. We were going to hopefully discover the sex of our baby!

I will never, for the rest of my life, forget what happened in the waiting room. Amy, our two sons and Amy’s parents were there as we waited our turn to meet with the sonographer. Our appointment was the last of the day and doctors, nurses and receptionists were scurrying around, closing up shop and preparing to head out to various holiday festivities. Joy was in the house!

Suddenly, I felt an extremely heavy, holy blanket of grace descend upon me. My emotional strength suddenly tripled at least. I was spiritually tuned in, sensitive, wondering why God had decided to strengthen me in that manner. I was about to find out.

“Amy Burton,” called the nurse. It was our turn.

Amy and her mom joined me in the ultrasound room. Amy laid back as we were all excited about seeing our wonderful, new baby. The sonographer placed the instrument on Amy’s belly, and instantly removed it.

She said, “Wait here. I need to see if I can find a doctor before they all leave for the day.”

The next two minutes were spent in silence. Joy and gladness gave way to nerves.

The doctor finally arrived, took a quick look, and said, “I’m so sorry, your baby has died.”

WITCHCRAFT KILLED OUR CHILD

ElizabethWails, cries and tears emerged out of my wife. The strength I received minutes prior was now being put to use.

The next day was Christmas morning. We did all we could to make sure it was a wonderful one for our boys. We unwrapped gifts as we sat around the tree. Literally every single present I got for Amy was either maternity clothing or a gift for the baby. She carefully unwrapped each as her turn came and placed them in a pile to return to the store.

The following day we were in a hospital room, waiting for Amy to deliver Elizabeth Hope Burton.

As the labor inducement was quite a ways from taking effect, Amy said I could go to a late-night prayer meeting a few blocks away. My phone was kept on and I remained ready to rush back to the hospital at any moment. At that prayer meeting, God again strengthened me. Shortly after returning to the hospital at around midnight, we both met Elizabeth.

The doctor was shocked at the cause of death. It was a cord accident. Cord accidents aren’t unusual, but this particular one was. He said he’d never seen a cord wrapped five times around a baby’s neck. Elizabeth was suffocated to death. Witchcraft killed Elizabeth.

WE WRESTLE NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD

Amy and I bless Janet. We pray for her, wherever she may be. We don’t hold her accountable in any way. She was a hurting, lost young lady. She didn’t kill Elizabeth. Extremely vile, destructive, evil entities did. At the time, we did all we knew to do to help Janet. We also did all we knew to do to cancel the curse and to wage war against hateful, murderous evil spirits. We failed. We learned.

We lost six more babies after we lost Elizabeth, but we are so blessed to have three wonderful boys and two precious girls in the Burton family.

Amy has been a champion. She has ministered to those who have lost babies to stillbirth or miscarriage. She has cried with them, grieved with them, prayed with them and stood with them.

While our faith was hit, it was not shattered. We have learned over the years to war, to wrestle with the enemy and to contend with faith and passion. Life isn’t about some set of rules that Satan has to obey. He cheats. He hates. He does all he can to rip us to shreds, and he wastes no time finding just the best way to do that.

I know many of you who are reading this are already thinking about theological issues with my story. You might think Christians can’t be touched by witchcraft. You’d be wrong.

John Burton Quote Blood AuthorityThe slightest open door or lazy approach to intercession, or pride or even ignorance can give the enemy access. He doesn’t fight fair. He knows our weaknesses. In fact, some of you may be considering Job. He was upright, yet struck.

Understand, the blood of Jesus doesn’t grant us immunity. It grants us authority. We need to enroll in the school of the Spirit and learn how to battle. If we don’t fight, the fight will come to us. If we don’t engage, we will be hit.

I held off for fifteen years in writing this article because it’s not a happy story. But, I realized that so much of today’s church has become inauthentic by only highlighting that which makes us happy.

In order to win battles, and ultimately the war, we have to learn from struggles. We must understand the ferocity of the enemy. We need to be in the Word, in prayer and free from even the slightest sin or compromise.

The lesson we learned was not that we were steeped in sin. We weren’t. We were living holy lives as young though immature Jesus lovers. The lesson is that we must clearly understand that the enemy is ready to pounce, and that we must be ready.

HALLOWEEN IS EVIL—AND NO CHRISTIAN SHOULD PARTICIPATE AT ANY LEVEL

Witchcraft is permeating the atmosphere this and every October. It’s time to war, not party. Pastors, call solemn assemblies instead of holding harvest parties. This is an all hands on deck season.

I’ll leave you with some short bullet points that I posted to Facebook earlier today about Halloween. If you didn’t understand before why I so vehemently renounce this unholy day, you now should.

Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD. Joel 1:14

Eleven reasons Christians celebrate Halloween

  1. They don't believe witchcraft is a big deal.
  2. They wrongly think the way they celebrate doesn't involve witchcraft.
  3. They incorrectly assume Christians are immune to curses and the power of witchcraft.
  4. They can't imagine the thought of their kids missing out.
  5. They celebrated Halloween as children and conclude it didn't have any negative impact on them.
  6. They wrongly equate it with Christmas, which “also has pagan roots” yet is universally embraced by Christians.
  7. They believe it can be sanitized and Christianized.
  8. They believe it's a great opportunity to evangelize, but without exposing the darkness or revealing how wicked the holiday is.
  9. They have fallen for false-grace deception that allows them to be free and have fun no matter what.
  10. They haven't experienced the wonder and terror of the spirit realm.
  11. They lack discernment.

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Humbug! How can a Christian celebrate Christmas?

Would Jesus say, #metoo?

#metoo proponents need a fresh understanding of what love and forgiveness really look like.

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. Luke 23:34 (ESV)

I’m a holiness preacher. I am feverish in my pursuit of revival that will be marked by purity in the church and mass, glorious repentance in the nation. As is true with many of today’s prophetic messengers, there’s an urgency in my spirit that can’t be shaken. We must see a move of God that both initiates and is a response to tears and mourning over the state of the church and the debauchery of our nation.

The egregious moral condition of America and the entire world is sickening beyond description. Recent news reveals the grotesque and depraved state of our culture.

For example, an abortion doctor recently boasted about her method of murder that ensures baby’s cries can’t be heard:

On Sunday, Leah Torres, a Utah abortionist who is active on Twitter, responded with gruesome detail to someone criticizing her work.

When someone asked Torres if she hears the screams of the babies who she aborts, she replied:

You know fetuses can’t scream, right? I transect the cord 1st so there’s really no opportunity, if they’re even far enough along to have a larynx.

I won’t apologize for performing medicine. I’m also a “uterus ripper outer,” if that’s how you’d like to describe hysterectomy. https://t.co/lng0W3ta5J

— Leah Torres, MD (@LeahNTorres) March 11, 2018

(From lifenews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2018/03/15/abortionist-i-cut-unborn-babies-throats-so-they-cant-scream/)

Just today, a suspected mail bomber in the Austin, Texas area died as one of his bombs detonated as police were closing in.

Of course, we have recent mass shootings and other heinous assaults that are becoming normal. Hollywood movies are becoming more vile. Pornography is rampant even in the church. The status of our nation is nothing less than depraved and desperate.

#metoo

Jesus Christ was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Romans 4:25

Jesus died so we might have life. He died so others might have life. He died so our very dark sins would not keep us from a relationship with him. He died so other people’s sins, including the sins of murder, abuse and hatred, would not keep them from a relationship with him.

When I watch crime stories or hear news reports about the trials and convictions of murderers, rapists, abusers and others who have committed absolutely horrifying crimes against humanity, I find myself especially grieved when something specific happens. Time and again, I hear the family members and friends of those who were the target of the various crimes say, “I’ll never forgive him.” Those words wreck me. They are sealing their fate, a fate of darkness and despair that will never be escaped without true forgiveness.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV)

Those who have been abused or who have been affected by the hateful crimes of others most certainly are scarred deeply, beyond what words could ever describe. I’m a father of five and the husband of a wonderful, beautiful wife. If anything ever happened to them at the hands of another, I would experience a range of emotions that would rock me. Anger, despair, fear and other responses would be expected. But, as a Christian, forgiveness and love for the perpetrator must follow. I must shift from accuser to intercessor so both he and I are free, forgiven and healed.

Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us. (Matthew 6:12)

A common violation of truth occurs when we presume our sins worthy of forgiveness while the sins of others must result in punishment. The true condition of our heart is revealed as we accuse.

Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it’s mandatory. Even though forgiveness is potent, we can’t always expect a perfect resolution to immediately follow. Restitution may not occur. Forgiveness isn’t about us, it’s about setting free those who have wounded us. Jesus could have screamed #metoo and demanded justice. Instead, he shouted #iforgive, as people continued to abuse and humiliate him by casting lots for his clothes. His forgiveness didn’t move them, but it moved Heaven and rocked the planet.

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. Matthew 27:51 (ESV)

Forgiveness will set the abuser in place for freedom should they accept it. Forgiveness will set the abused up for healing. True love does just that. It heals and sets free.

I am so blessed by the courage and true love exhibited by a true victim–Rachael Denhollander, who, instead of shouting #metoo declared #iforgive:

A former gymnast is offering forgiveness for the unspeakable crimes Larry Nassar has been convicted of – and she’s being recognized by the media for it.

“Should you ever reach the point of truly facing what you have done, the guilt will be crushing. And that is what makes the gospel of Christ so sweet. Because it extends grace and hope and mercy where none should be found. And it will be there for you. I pray you experience the soul-crushing weight of guilt so you may someday experience true repentance and true forgiveness from God, which you need far more than forgiveness from me — though I extend that to you as well.” (From lifenews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2018/01/26/pro-life-christian-gymnast-rachael-denhollander-powerfully-forgives-usa-gymnastics-doc-larry-nassar-for-sexual-abuse/)

Don’t misunderstand me. We need the dark side of our culture exposed. The evil in Hollywood and throughout the fabric of our nation is so vile that most of us would be shocked if we saw it in fullness. Everything from sex trafficking to the porn industry to immorality in movies that fill our theaters to drugs, addiction, murder, abortion and so much more is destroying millions of people. That darkness must be exposed and those who are perpetuating it must be held accountable.

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:11-14 (ESV)

Part of the response that the guilty must offer is legitimate repentance. If porn industry leaders, sex traffickers, Hollywood moguls who are abusing women (and men), drug traffickers and others would openly repent and surrender to Jesus, I think the earth would shift off its axis! This must be what drives our intercession, not retribution!

#iforgive

…bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. Colossians 3:13 (NKJV)

As we have been forgiven, we must forgive. We pay it forward. Our declaration must be #iforgive.

The heart of the #metoo movement is vengeance. It’s not driven by a heart of love and forgiveness, but on the contrary, one of anger and hatred. The question is simple: Will you forgive those who have abused you? Will you love them? Will you truly decree #iforgive just as you, as a child of God, have been forgiven?

Can you imagine the shockwaves that would have resulted if Harvey Weinstein’s victims looked him in the eyes and said, I forgive you. God loves you. I don’t want you to be tormented because of what you did to me. I don’t want you to experience shame. I want you to know the love of Jesus.

Wow! Imagine the Oscar speeches and news reports that would have followed! What if the #metoo movement truly was an #iforgive movement!

The spirit of vengeance and hatred that is rising up in our nation as a result of a very real darkness being uncovered is also deeply evil. Yes, we must stand firm for holiness. We absolutely must see corruption and crimes and assaults against innocent people exposed. Yes, for those who have committed crimes, there is a very real price to pay. Yes, those who are a danger to others must be apprehended. The darkness must be uncovered. There is no question about it.

What we must ask is, how will we respond to those who are exposed? Will we heap up hatred and vengeance upon them? Will we say, “I will never forgive you.” Will we shame them? Or, will we do as Rachael Denhollander did and extend forgiveness?

 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 (NKJV)

Isaiah 1

Isaiah reveals a powerful strategy:

When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:15-18 (NKJV)

God is ready to cleanse all who repent. For both those who abuse and those who refuse to forgive, God is revealing the blood on their hands. When we are clean, we most certainly can seek justice. We can trust God to expose the darkness and judge right versus wrong. We will rebuke oppressors and intercede for the weak, the fatherless, the widows—and I guarantee many of those who sexually abuse others are fatherless. The cry of our heart must be not only for our sins to be washed away, but for the sins of those who oppress us to be as white as snow. Our cry must not only be for justice but for mercy.

…In wrath remember mercy. Habakkuk 3:2 (NKJV)

Will we be #metoo accusers or #iforgive intercessors?

Our heart should follow the heart of God:

“Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:17 (NKJV)

For those who have been abused, my heart is broken for you. I am so sorry you had to endure that. My belief is your healing will rapidly come as you forgive. Forgiving doesn’t mean you minimize the pain or what has occurred. It simply means you make a decision to set the abuser free. You learn to love them and desire for them to know Jesus intimately. You let them know Heaven won’t be the same without them. You can’t fathom the thought of them being tormented forever in Hell. You become their greatest intercessor.

You simply do what Jesus did. Instead of focusing on himself by saying #metoo he focused on those who were killing him. He loved them in the midst of the assault. He said, #iforgive.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 (ESV)

A second chance for America’s prophets and preachers

Do we trust God’s message enough to risk everything to share it?

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time… Jonah 3:1 (ESV)

YOGA-000000001We never want to cause God to bring his word to us more than once. Jonah was resistant. We are all familiar with the story. The mission the Lord gave Jonah was a critical one, and he wasn’t about give up over the childish, selfish approach of his prophet. Nineveh needed to hear from God, fast, and Jonah was the man to bring the message. The longer I live the more dismayed I become at the state of preaching and prophetic ministry. While there is a small, raging, faithful remnant that is operating out of the fear of the Lord in these dire end times, the normal approach to preaching in our nation is cautious at best, outright rebellious at worst. Human wisdom has taken over numerous pulpits. Many are trading unchangeable truths in Scripture for a modified version that seems more godly, and less costly. For example, I asked a question on Facebook recently: If a professing Christian was caught in sin such as greed, pornography, gossip or other intentional failures, and they repeatedly refused to repent, what should happen? Many rejected Matthew 18 as too severe. They generally replied by saying we should pray for them, keep them in the church so they can hear the truth, be patient, etc. That sounds good, but it’s not biblical. They are attempting to extend a type of mercy that God never intended them to.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17 (ESV)

Cultural resistance to any hint of judgment has caused many American preachers to go soft and silent. Churches are crawling with immoral people who name the name of Christ, and we as leaders will have blood on our hands if we don’t deliver a sobering message of repentance to our nation. The Bible is extremely clear on this point. We must judge with a heart of love and sobriety for the sake of the church:

 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 (ESV)

The Bible reveals in the end-times, people will call evil good and good evil. While church leadership as a whole isn’t at the point of calling sexual sin good, the lack of action as demanded by Scripture reveals that some leaders are calling evil something less than evil. Weakness. Struggle. Human nature. They wish to extend mercy to those who willfully continue in their deliberate decision to defy God. There comes a time when we must trust God’s wisdom and understand the unrepentant are evil. Period. Boy, that sounds self-righteous, doesn’t it? No, it doesn’t, unless you’ve been conditioned by the politically correct, religiously correct culture we are living in today. In truth, it’s not self-righteous. It’s simply righteous. We can, and must, have a heart of compassion and eyes filled with tears as we witness people rejecting God and his standards. Those tears however can’t result in a failure to exercise biblical protocol. There does come a time when we must act, no matter how terrible the action might feel. God can be trusted.

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 (ESV)

It doesn’t get any more direct than that.

A SECOND CHANCE FOR AMERICA’S PREACHERS

The primary purpose of this article is not to discuss protocol for discipline in the church, though that is a necessary sub-point. The reason I led with that point was to reveal the deep dilemma we are currently in in America. We have gone soft on sin and few are speaking on the crisis. Judgment is not only probable, it’s most likely necessary to ensure more people aren’t contaminated by compromised, carnal, passive, quasi-Christianity. Judgment is God’s method of giving opportunity for those who still have hope to escape the prison they locked themselves into through their disobedience. We need judgment. It’s God moving in both love and severity at the same time, for good cause.

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” Jonah 3:1-2 (ESV)

This is a message for America. It’s time to call out against it. We have no option but to deliver the message that God gives us. We need great, humble and bold men and women of God to reject fear of man, to stop thinking about the impact on their ministry and reputation and call out! It’s time for a shaking to come to America, and it needs to be initiated by preachers behind pulpits and in front of cameras from coast to coast. We know that Nineveh famously repented, and God relented.

Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. Jonah 3:9-10 (ESV)

We need messengers of God to arise and open their mouths! We must call out against America and cry out for deliverance from destruction.

CALL OUT AND CRY OUT!

I’ve met many pastors who admittedly have surrendered the fiery and unapologetically confrontational message that God had given them years prior for a more palatable message that ensures people keep showing up on Sundays. As an itinerant prophetic minister, I’m often called in to bring a sharp prophetic message, when in reality the leadership should have been bringing it themselves all along. I understand what bringing in catalytic people can do. That is a God designed strategy, and many amazing pastors do that to help bring some fresh revelation and instruction into their situation. But, much of what I and others do can be accomplished without any outside help whatsoever. Call out and cry out night and day! Gather the people to pray! Repent! Refuse to lead a typical American church! Go deep and burn with passion! Call every person to be branded by the searing heat of the Holy Spirit. It’s time! We don’t want to live a Jonah 3:1 life. The second time God is required to speak due to our delay and disobedience is one time too many. Let’s back up to Jonah 1:1:

Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD. Jonah 1:1-3 (ESV)

There we see the original directive. Instead of calling out against Nineveh, Jonah instead went away from the presence of the Lord. Listen closely: Many of today’s prophets and preachers are ministering on the run, outside of God’s presence, in a spirit of self-centeredness. They are evading the hard messages because of unresolved inner issues in their lives. The thought of offending people, losing them from their ministry, losing financial support, losing favor and their pedestal, have all resulted in preachers without an anointing delivering a message born of their own hearts.Judgment is coming—first to the preachers, and then, very possibly to our nation. Remember, it’s God’s love that demands this. It would be the least impactful way to awaken the greatest number of people. Judgment is necessary if repentance is absent.

PREACHERS PREACH!

Being open to God’s voice in our lives will result in a lifestyle of inconvenience, challenge and impossible mandates. It will cause huge, huge problems in our lives, and it will cause damage and bring calibration to our lifestyle. But, as we understand our roles to bring reformation and calibration to the church and to the world, we’ll see that our lives won’t collapse. We will function in power as we hear God and release decrees and declarations! As many of today’s preachers and prophets are running from God’s mandate and asleep outside of his presence, the world is crying out for you to awaken!

So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.” Jonah 1:6 (ESV)

There is no safe place outside of God’s call. Jonah’s disobedience was putting the lives of those around him at risk. They demanded that he wake up and call out to God! I want to encourage you to do the same. Call out to God and then call out against America. Then, cry out for her as intercessors. A great drama is before us, and we must ensure that drama includes the greatest move of repentance in history; a revival that cannot be measured. Preachers, America is waiting for you to arise from your slumber and release the burning messages of God. Like Jonah, this is the very reason you were born.

An unholy spirit of protest is overtaking our nation—with thanks in part to the church.

YOGA-000000121Today’s Christian generation in this nation at least is becoming quite the expert at right versus wrong. The fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil has been bit into, and not only does it taste great but it’s being shared among friends. Eve knew she needed Adam to taste and see that the tree was definitely good to make one wise—and the serpent was very pleased.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6)

My recent article posted to Charisma Media on the debacle with David Dao and United Airlines and various related Facebook posts resulted in some disturbing retorts.

Time and again professing Christians were speaking as supposed experts in right versus wrong, and many eagerly supported the rebellious behavior of David Dao. They were proud of him for standing up for his ‘rights’ and sticking it to United Airlines. The point that David may or may not be a Christian doesn’t matter. It’s not his behavior I’m addressing, it’s the response from Christians that is disturbing. The behavior of United Airlines or the airport police are non-factors as well, at least in regard to the appropriate reaction we should be supporting. No matter how badly we are treated, we must respond rightly, biblically.

I’m glad Jesus didn’t stand up for his rights when he was wrongly convicted and then slaughtered on a cross. He didn’t have to prove his innocence. He didn’t have to plot revenge. He didn’t have a “how dare they” attitude. He wasn’t analyzing right versus wrong.

His famous words would be well repeated by all of us: Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.

If we support violating Scripture in our attempt to right wrongs we are utilizing a demonic anointing of rebellion and witchcraft to do so. It’s that serious.

There’s an unholy spirit of protest that’s gaining strength in our nation in recent years, and much of the church is cheerleading that spirit from the pews and from the streets. Is there a way to deal with improprieties? Of course, but it involves the fruits of the Spirit. When we advance strategically against the enemy, we can never adopt his own strategies and anointing. The fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control must be evident.

The unhealthy spirit of protest actually plays out every day in churches around the world. People who don’t get what they want, and who are offended by pastors and leaders, do all they can to prove they were violated—while plotting revenge through gossip, complaining, accusation, slander or other devious means.

STOP USING LEADERS TO GAIN WHAT YOU WANT

It’s a spirit of religion that’s driving so much of the angst and anger that’s directed at those who stand in our way.

My definition of religion is: man’s attempt to use God to get what he wants.

Further, when we use other people to selfishly advance in our own lives, especially as it relates to spiritual matters, we can know it’s a demonic spirit of religion that’s driving us. In fact, it was Eve’s desire for spiritual advance that caused her to eat the fruit. It’s appropriate to desire to advance but it’s improper to walk it out by using people and disobeying the Word of God.

In my nearly three decades of ministry my heart is grieved at how often people live defeated and then blame leaders, pastors, parents and others for their misfortune.

I love this Tweet by @IHOPKC:

We can do the will of God in our life without relying on others to open doors or be our source of promotion.

We don’t have to fight with pastors, bosses, airlines, the police or other supposed oppressors. We don’t have to blame them for misfortune. There’s a better way.

I come alive when I see people growing and stepping into their ministries. When they take their callings seriously and give themselves to the process of promotion, God takes notice, and it’s God, not man who will ensure our ministries are fulfilled.

FROM MY BOOK SIX ENEMIES: ENEMY NUMBER SIX—RELIANCE ON MAN

Six-Enemies-PaperbackA foundational component of God’s government (His way of delegating and administering) on the Earth is the facilitation of ministry through mankind.  God uses people in a variety of very important manners in order for Kingdom life to function well.  In this divine and diverse system God has established a system of interdependence.  I need you and you need me. 

Added to this key truth is the very important principle of submission.  We must submit to one another, and we must most certainly submit to our authorities.  I address this topic more comprehensively in my book Covens in the Church.  We are not called to be anarchists who embrace a non-Biblical methodology of self-governance.  God’s government demands humble submission to others in our lives.

It’s from this position and attitude of service where God  can more effectively trust His children to become holy dreamers.  God can entrust divine missions to us when He knows that our heart is bent on loving others well and preferring them above ourselves. 

The problem comes when healthy interdependence gives way to burdensome co–dependence.  All sorts of issues arise when we find ourselves being frustrated and held back in ministry and attaching blame to other people.  If we align ourselves with this enemy, we’ll be fooled into thinking that the fulfillment of our ministry is fully dependent on our pastor or leader. 

Does God use others to help facilitate our ministry?  Yes.  Are we to take it upon ourselves to determine how others are to facilitate our ministry?  No.  God has called us to serve.  True ministry is actually service.  So, as servants, we humbly avail ourselves to others and do our best to help them in their ministry.

Luke 14:8-11 (NKJV)“When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” 

As we truly embrace the principle of preferring others above ourselves, it will actually feel unusual to expect others to make a place for us and our ministry.  Instead of becoming frustrated when a place isn’t made for us, we’ll be at peace knowing that God is fully in charge of our destiny.  We can serve well, expect nothing, be fearless of rejection and allow the process of biblical promotion to naturally take place.

When that issue is resolved, you can focus on the journey of personal development and preparation for the ministry that God has called you to.  If a call to preach has been burned in your heart, then in due time you will most certainly preach, but not before you are ready.  God may use others to create a divine delay in your ministry.  Don’t blame others for this speed bump.  You aren’t to be reliant on others, but you are to avail yourself to others.  Serve them well.

Luke 14:11 (NKJV) For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” 

Your promotion isn’t dependent on others noticing your greatness, but rather is on the revelation of your weakness!  When humility becomes the driving force in our lives, God gets very excited about the powerful ministry that will eventually flow through us.

John 13:2-5 (NKJV) And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 

Jesus was about to experience mankind enforcing their rule over him.  However, no matter how resistant other people were to the ministry of Jesus, God would not be denied!  Pontius Pilate couldn’t stop the earthshaking ministry of Jesus.  Judas couldn’t.  The guards couldn’t.  Jesus prevailed.

This act of humility, as Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, was a visible revelation of the condition of His heart and character.  Our call to humility is the same.  No man can stop what God desires to do through our lives as we surrender in complete humility.

Our destiny will be facilitated in many ways through God’s government on Earth; however no man can stand in the way of our fulfilled destiny.  Our reliance is on God, not man.

Often, people will leave churches because their ministry isn’t received.  It’s hindered or even rejected.  For example, someone may feel a calling to sing on the worship team.  The worship team leadership, however, may not feel that this particular person is a good fit for the team.  It can be very easy for the individual to allow offense to take root in their heart.  Their thought is that the worship leader is standing in the way of God and is stifling the Holy Spirit.  This person can easily embrace a divisive spirit, bitterness and anger.  So, in frustration they just leave in hopes of finding a more enlightened leader who will allow them to minister.

This scenario tragically occurs every day in churches around the world.  Rebellion to authority is embraced along with a heart of accusation as they take their immaturity to the next church on their unhealthy journey to personal affirmation.

Ministry is service.  If a church doesn’t need our particular gifting to be expressed, then that’s OK.  We serve another way.  If God needs us to sing, to preach or to work in a particular function He will make sure that no man can stand in our way.  Ministry, though personally fulfilling, isn’t about personal fulfillment.  It’s about service.   

Check out Paul’s description of ministry:

2 Corinthians 6:3-10 (NIV) We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 

Are you sure you want to minister?  Though the question is sobering and thought-provoking, the answer for all of us must remain “Yes.”  We are called to minister, however true ministry as defined in Scripture may be something quite different than many think.  It’s a call to wash feet and to die at the hands of others.  It’s a tragic yet precious calling.

1 Thessalonians 2:6 (NIV) We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you …

2 Corinthians 4:8-12 (NIV) We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

If our destiny is to minister (it is!), then we must grab hold of the amazing example of Paul and other biblical leaders.  In these two passages alone we discover:

  • We are not to seek praise (affirmation, promotion, etc.) from man.
  • We are not to be a burden.
  • Though hard pressed we are not to be crushed.

Truly, our destiny, as Paul emphasized, is to die.  The very people that we wanted our promotion to come through may actually be those that disappoint us and cause our flesh to die.  God values the process of killing pride, selfish ambition and other obstacles to pure ministry.  We must understand this if we are to come out of this healthy and invigorated!  God is calling us to minister with power, and this reality should take us well beyond our own personal fulfillment when we are able to minister according to our own giftings and desires.

Our destiny will not be held back by pastors, leaders, friends, parents or anybody else, but God will use these people to facilitate the process of brokenness that is so necessary in our lives. 

As we allow this process to happen, and refuse to indict others, a humble and burning man or woman of God will emerge as a powerful weapon in the hands of the living God!

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (NIV) Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”   

It’s from a humble, vulnerable place where we can allow God to flow through our weaknesses.  God receives the glory and we boast in Him alone.  It’s our reflection of the glory of God that will most quickly result in fulfilled destiny.  As we shine Jesus, the world will crave what we have to impart. 

Ephesians 4:1-3 (NIV) As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

So, the message of humility should be quite obvious at this point.  The very simple conclusion for us as we pursue a fulfilled destiny and ministry is this: Rely on God and trust His process.  God will use people to both encourage us and discipline us.  They will be used to refine us and promote us.  They are instruments in God’s hands.  Don’t get upset at the instruments if they don’t recognize you.  Serve them well and trust God to make you ready for the ministry that He has called you to. 

Chaos on United Airlines Flight 3411

The chaos that erupted on a United Airlines flight yesterday should never have happened.

I was in the vicinity of two unfortunate United Airline situations over the past week.

YOGA-000000113First, I was on my way to preach at the Strike The Match Conference in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada last Thursday. My flight from Chicago to Toronto was delayed most probably due to a fake bomb threat on a Toronto to Chicago flight earlier in the day.

Second, I was at O’Hare International Airport again, this time on my way back from the conference yesterday (which, by the way, was an electric and supernatural explosion of Holy Spirit power!) —the same day passenger David Dao was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight.

The police never should have been called. David never should have been dragged off the airplane. He never should have been bloodied or knocked unconscious. This never should have become a trending story on social media.

David Dao should have obeyed the directive to walk off the plane.

I have to admit, I am disturbed at the number of Christians who are knee-jerk reacting against United Airlines and in favor of the unruly passenger. While the police may have possibly employed regrettable actions, the airline was acting within their rights, just as they do many times a day in similar situations. Submission to authority is an elementary level truth for Believers. David Dao, and every one of the nearly one billion air travelers in the United States agree to very clear, non-negotiable terms when they buy their ticket. The Contract of Carriage allows airlines to remove and rebook passengers.

Complaining, refusing to comply and rejecting the directives of our authorities is ungodly behavior. Period. David may or may not be a Believer, but Christians, you should know better.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world… (Phil 2:14-15)

And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. (Num 11:11)

MY UNITED AIRLINES EXPERIENCE YESTERDAY

Everybody who travels by air is well aware of the fact that there is a chance you won't make it on time. My trip to Canada and back was negatively impacted both directions. I was exhausted in both instances and easily could have been grumpy and unreasonable with the decision makers who were putting stress on my journey.

Two flights were delayed on the way to Canada and air traffic control issues forced the cancelation of my flight from Chicago to home last night. I missed my daughter's birthday because of it. Plus, the airline only paid half of my hotel. I'm out at least $160 for hotel, food, toiletries, etc. Guess what? That's life folks! I wasn't pounding my fist on the United Airlines customer service counter (after waiting in line for an hour) demanding better treatment. I didn't strong-arm them into finding my luggage, that was unnecessarily checked through to my final destination at the gate by the way, so I could have clean clothes to wear today. I was tired, probably a little smelly and ready to go home. Instead I emptied my wallet because of no fault of my own, checked into a hotel somewhere in Chicago, slept just a little, woke up early, wore the same smelly clothes today, and finally flew home.

How sad of a story that is, right? You have to be kidding. That’s simply called travel.

Come on people. It's not all about us. Sometimes life doesn't go as planned. Yes, the man in Chicago who refused to deplane was extremely in the wrong.

It’s our job as lights in a dark world to smile and reveal the life and love of Jesus in challenging and unfair situations and not grumble and demand our rights to be met!

Ironically, just as I emerged from the jet bridge in Springfield, Missouri, I saw the group of people waiting to board the plane for their own flight. The attendant said, “This flight is overbooked and we are looking for volunteers to surrender their seats.” I’m sure those who either volunteered or were forced to give up their seats acted a lot more maturely and appropriately than the gentleman did yesterday.

THE LOST ART OF SUBMISSION TO AUTHORITY

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. (Rom 13:3-5)

We aren’t only to submit to authority that is fair or right. We don’t turn our submission on and off based on our own analysis of the situation. We should have no fear of authority, of pastors, of leaders, of the police, if we are doing what is right.

Regardless of whether David Dao was treated properly or not, he disobeyed a clear and direct order. He was wrong, no matter how important he believed himself to be. Entitlement must go. Humility and submission to authority must find its way into our independent, narcissistic culture.

As I said above, I’m stunned at the Christians who are instant in their defense and outright celebration of David’s clear indiscretion. In today’s society it seems it’s the authority that’s always the villain. Corporations, pastors, police officers, parents and others are held in suspicion at best and rebelled against without apology at worst.

Airlines absolutely have the right to remove people for any reason. Refusal to comply is against the law. That simply cannot be argued. We are required, per Scripture, to obey. Our supposed ‘rights' are not more important than our responsibility to submit.

God will always support authority that is wrong before he supports one under authority who is right and in rebellion. Those who don't understand this set themselves up for great bitterness both against authority AND God.

We presume God is most interested in right vs. wrong. He is not. He’s interested in our response, our reaction.

It doesn’t matter if United Airlines was wrong (though I personally do not think they were), David’s reaction was unacceptable. The airline had the right to do what they did. They had no obligation to explain themselves. They along with the lawmakers write the rules.

There are many “unfair” rules the flight attendants must enforce on flights. They are irritating. I really don’t think my seat being two inches more upright is really going to save me in an air disaster. However, they are the boss! What they say goes, whether it’s when we can wear headphones, get up to use the restroom or whether we get to fly that day at all. They and ultimately the captain are our authorities in the air. It doesn’t matter if we like the rules or agree with the rules. We simply have to obey the rules. I think introducing “yes sir, yes ma'am, no sir, no ma'am” back into our culture would do us all a lot of good.

FALSE HUMAN RIGHTS

From my Charisma News article False Human Rights Destroying the Church and our Nation:

Today we are absolutely overwhelmed by the constant, self-centered shouts of those who demand that their country—or their church—gives them what they believe is rightfully theirs.

It's a false human rights movement.

The right to abortion. The right for same-sex marriage. The right to be equal. The right to be heard.

It's a sickening, selfish focus that is driven by human desire instead of a willingness to take up our cross and die. How often have people left churches because their supposed rights weren't addressed? How much dissension is in the workplace because people are looked over in favor of another?

I've said it before—today, when people's self-centered pursuits are rejected, they abandon relationships, leave churches and cause division, but when Jesus was rejected, He didn't abandon people. He didn't forsake the church.

An offended people will destroy a nation. A surrendered people will build a nation.

All over social media today I’m reading about who was right and who was wrong. Some are screaming that United Airlines was wrong and that David is the victim.

Friend, it’s not about right or wrong. It’s about our response.

Christians are being tortured, raped and murdered as martyrs all over the world, and we think someone being required to vacate a seat on an airplane is a violation of human rights? We’d have to be sick to think such a thing!

COVENS IN THE CHURCH

From my book on authority, Covens in the Church:

The enemy has caused many to believe that we can’t experience freedom while being submitted. This is simply not true.

Freedom from authority is rebellion.
Freedom in the absence of authority is anarchy.
Freedom under authority is liberty.

It must be made clear now that while God desires leaders to serve with great love, humility, passion and care, there are some in the body who simply do not do so. While God will hold those leaders deeply accountable for their leadership, God will hold the rest of us accountable for how we respond to them. Do we serve from a position of great love, humility, passion and care–or not?

Loving submission to authority is non-negotiable and more important now that it has ever been.

God loves you very much and is capable of protecting you even as He has placed you under the authority of imperfect men and women. Remember, we are not to be self-governing in an attempt to protect ourselves from flawed leaders. That is the wrong response to the problem. Using a spirit of Control to fight a spirit of Control doesn’t work. This is the core idea of the entire book. As we submit to those whom God placed over us, be they good or evil, God will ensure our protection.

We may have to go through difficult situations that seemingly limit us, put our dreams on hold or even violate our pet ideas and opinions. The situations may last years, but we must submit in love without failure! God is able to bring us through!

We never speak against or elevate our own opinions above God’s established authority. Pastors, prophets, apostles, politicians, policemen, bosses, etc. We humbly support them, unless, and only unless, they were to cause us to violate a CLEAR Scriptural truth. That’s it.

It’s important to understand that to submit to God’s appointed leaders in our lives only to the point where we agree with the order is NOT submission at all.

Submission is actually spotlighted when someone honors his or her authority when the order is contrary to their own opinions, experience or position. We can agree with our authority while not agreeing with the order or instruction or position. It is never appropriate to remove ourselves from a position of submission if the order given is inconvenient, bothersome or irritating.

HONOR OF AUTHORITY MUST RETURN—TO THE NATION AND TO THE CHURCH

It’s time to crucify our narcissistic, independent flesh and love and honor—and obey—the authorities God has put in our lives. We don’t have to be afraid. We can be free.

Today there seems to be a new uprising against the establishment, against leadership almost continually.

We can contend for cultural change. In fact, as Kingdom Christians, we have a mandate to do that! But, we do it with intercession, love and honor for our leaders.

God will not affirm those who use control, manipulation, unrighteous anger and an independent spirit to affect change.

Entire movements of zealous intercessors and godly social activists can do wonders in society—as long as their heart is right.

Come on friends, let’s change the world the right way. Let’s go the way of honor. God will have our backs.

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