Remnant-sensitive churches arise!

John Burton

A massive falling away from the faith will be a mark of churches devoid of supernatural power.

It's time for a dramatic shift from seeker-sensitive churches to remnant-sensitive churches in our nation. There is an army of supernaturally-minded followers of Jesus looking for their tribe, and there are few churches that pass the test.

All that is natual or done in human power isn't bad by default. Mankind whether Christian or not can do much good simply by, well, doing good. We can feed the hungry, serve sacrificially, give extravagantly, smile, hug, encourage, befriend and do much good for mankind.

In the church realm we can pray for the sick, visit shut-ins, teach the Bible, pass out Gospel tracts, attend small groups and much more that doesn't necessarily require the power of God to accomplish. Of course, when we add God's power to any of the above, the impact is dramatically different. 

NATURALLY DRIVEN CHURCHES ABOUND

When church-shopping, if people were honest, they would commonly admit they are looking for a variety of things. Topping the lists of many in search of a new church home are good children's and youth ministries, dynamic and skillful worship, excellent teaching, the ability to develop new relationships and a welcoming environment.

In fact, church growth strategies tend to be natural versus supernatural as they focus on how we can meet the demands of the customers (current and potential church members). An article on the Smart Church Management website titled 7 Keys to Church Growth zeroes in on what is humanly achievable. Again, all that is humanly possible isn't unbiblical or inappropriate. Natural methods, secular strategies and ideals found in the business world can, at times, be applied in the spiritual world.

Some of the keys to church growth mentioned in the article include creating an inviting atmosphere, creating a welcoming experience, care for church members and providing opportunities to serve. There's not a thing wrong with any of this, except that what matters most wasn't mentioned. Nurturing the supernatural manifestation of the presence of God didn't make the list.

Naturally driven churches abound from coast to coast in this nation. You'll hear a lot about great coffee, vibrant community and programs for the entire family. In fact, many err on the side of caution by downplaying the supernatural. The risk of alienating visitors or conservative members is too high to allow it. Tragically, the risk of alienating God isn't often considered.

CRISIS WILL OVERWHELM THE NATURALLY MINDED

You'll know a supernatural church when crisis hits. Supernaturally driven Believers will respond radically differently to crisis than those who aren't living, walking, praying and governing in the spirit. Without developing a history in God that's marked by fervent intercession, intense devotion, great faith and openness to the moving of the Holy Spirit, people will default to what makes sense in the natural realm. 

Without a supernatural mindset, it will be impossible to respond to crisis as God intends. Natural strategies won't work. Panic will set in. Fear will dominate. 

This will be followed up by lost faith and angry fists raised to heaven. A failure to live in the otherworldly, supernatural place of signs, wonders and miracles will result in a devastating lack of spiritual tools in people's toolbelts when they are most needed.

The church's failure to equip people in the Holy Spirit is more eternally costly than we can imagine. Satan is raging and there is no natural response that will slow him down. A powerless church births powerless Christians who are primed to be easily devoured by the hounds of hell.

THE DEMISE OF THE SEEKER-SENSITIVE CHURCH

If we put on our marketing hats, it makes sense to target the largest segment of society. Coke, Nike, Disney and other companies want their products or services enjoyed by as many people as possible. Pastors want people in the seats. The quickest way to make that happen, one would presume, is to target the largest segment of those who are most prone to visit. Seekers are everywhere and some will show up on Sunday morning if the services are welcoming, comfortable and definitely not weird. Eliminate the supernatural and they may come.

This strategy must end. The end-time church is a church on fire, not a comfortable living room where we can put up our feet, eat some snacks and watch the show. The Holy Spirit isn't drawing seekers into a tepid environment. He's not looking to ease people into a new life in Christ. God is calling all to the cross, to full surrender and right into the furnace of his presence. 

When seekers are introduced to God in a way that's naturally understandable, the dive into the often bizarre, intense, all-consuming activity of the Holy Spirit is nonsensical to them. Such an experience becomes unnecessary if they, after all, have alread “said yes” to Jesus in a costless, comfortable environment. 

Hearing God's voice, dreams, visions, encounters, being baptized in the Holy Spirit, spiritual warfare, casting out demons, moving in the gifts of the Spirit and so much more becomes unnecessary to those who “got saved” in a comfortable, non-threatening, naturally-driven church.

CHURCH ON FIRE ARISE!

The end-time church is a remnant church. It's time we stop appealing to the general population to build kingdoms of man and start calling in those who are ready to make a total surrender and advance the Kingdom of God. The remnant firebrands are desperately looking for their home base. They want to find their fellow soldiers who are ready to move ahead with precision against the wickedness in our nation.

They aren't looking for churches with trendy youth ministries, the best coffee shops or even great worship or teaching. The remnant is looking for the fire of the Holy Spirit. They want to know if intercession drives the ministry. A specific, world-changing, divine vision is crucial. The pursuit of the wonders of God is paramount. An extremely prophetic atmosphere is non-negotiable. Great faith and extreme devotion to the Word of God are critical. These end-time warriors refuse to play games and they won't stand for lesser things getting in the way of the greater mission. Coffee, friendships and programs become laughable as foundations to build on. 

The time is now for a massive reset to come to the church. We have Ichabod churches dotting our nation and many others that do have a heartbeat yet refuse to dive into the depths of the fire. We need an Acts 2 church that is volcanic, supernatural and radiating in immeasurable power.

How does this happen? Become remnant-sensitive. Gather in those who are ready to lay it all down and contend with tears for God to move. Pastors must shift dramatically and refuse, ever again, to make decisions based on how the people will respond. The idolatry of filled pews must be repented of. The fear of offending the tithers must cease. The focus on keeping everybody happy can't continue.

We need the supernatural church to arise in these dire end-times. Without a prophetic mantle and the ability to advance in extreme Holy Spirit power, we have no hope. However, if we start training people in the fire and advance as a burning end-time army, kingdoms of darkness will shatter. And finally, we won't have to function as time-share salespeople, giving gifts and promising all sorts of benefits to those mildly interested in God if they sign on the dotted line. The seekers will witness undeniable supernatural power and the Holy Spirit will overwhelm them as they hit their knees and cry, “Holy!”

Originally published by Charisma Media

 

Conspiracy Theories Won’t Save America

Christians lose credibility and influence when they promote conspiracy theories in these dire times.

The last year of human history has proven to be one of the most bizarre thanks to the strange political divide that has widened over masks, vaccinations, Donald Trump and cultural troubles.

Speaking in generalities, those on the right are pro-Trump, anti-mask and anti-vaccine. The left despises Donald Trump, wear masks as a badge and are dumbfounded that anybody could oppose a virus-ending medicine.

Certainly, there are others who analyze the sharp contrast and are stunned at where the arguments have landed. Can a conservative not don a mask without the fear of being called out? Are there any liberals who are admittedly nervous about the vaccine? Is it at all possible for the left to appreciate anything our former President did for our nation? Can those on the right do the same with the current administration? Or is it all black and white? Well, I personally haven't seen the gloriously mundane shade of gray much at all since the crisis has begun. 

THE RISE OF THE CONSPIRACY THEORISTS

We are living in a day when the world is in desperate need of balanced, biblically invested and prayerful Christians. The days are complex and confusing to most and fearful to many. This end-time season should have been a testing ground for the church, a time for us to grow in our faith, to learn how to love and to truly discern how to respond.

For many Believers, this in fact did happen, yet many others have instead adopted right-wing conspiracy theories as their go to reaction. This is deeply compromising the mission of the church and it is wounding our nation.

Sometimes I sit back and shake my head as I read the social media rants promoting ridiculous theories. Honestly, it's an embarrassment to the church, while also being an indictment on the church. Where are the biblically grounded pastors and leaders who are speaking into the lives of these rogue propagandists? 

As an example, many believe receiving the vaccine results in taking the Mark of the Beast. This is impossible. The level of biblical illiteracy is stunning. Others actually are saying the vaccine changes your DNA, deeming you an unhuman hybrid. I'm not making this up. You are now unredeemable. With altered genetics, it's impossible for you to ever become a child of God, or if you already were one, impossible to remain in God's family. A visit to the drugstore to get vaccinated apparently transforms you into a Nephilim of sorts, resulting in a sentence of eternal torment in Hell. Others are saying the virus is entirely a media-driven myth. Nonsense. Any intellectually honest person will admit that COVID kills.

TRIGGERED CHRISTIANS

I believe we all need to err on the side of civility and endorse people's right to make their own medical decisions for themselves and their families. No shaming is ever appropriate for Christians. 

Instead the mere suggestion of vaccinations triggers many who hold to an opposing scientific view. This is where the dividing line is drawn and the shaming begins. Again, I personally find it both suspicious and strange that a vaccination is where so many have chosen to divide. For those who believe the risk of the vaccine is greater than the reward, it's appropriate and good that they share their concern with others. But, good-hearted concern isn't mostly what we are seeing today. There's an underlying rage at play, anger that spikes when warnings about the vaccine go unheeded. There is an unholy spirit at work and we need to do a much better job discerning just what it is. Of course, you'll find rage on the other side too from those who are disgusted that some would defy national efforts to increase the vaccination rate. Everybody is triggered.

A RIGHT RESPONSE

It's important to admit that nobody has the full revelation on anything in this season. Both pro and anti-maskers and vaxers simply can't presume to be the resident experts on the topics. Too many are listening exclusively to their own echo chamber by finding supposed medical experts that are promoting their views. Statistics do suggest that vaccinations are extremely effective and are saving lives. Still, some are legitimately concerned about health risks. These concerns are valid, yet nobody can definitively say that all should be vaccinated or all should not. It is not black and white, which is why we must not respond with unfounded conspiracies or misguided fear-mongering. 

The right response includes operating in a spirit of honor towards those who disagree with us. If someone does or does not want to get the vaccine, their decision can't be expected to include us (unless they are in our immediate family). Honor their right to autonomy.

Responding correctly also means we must go deep in intercession, in the Word of God and listening intently to the Holy Spirit. As someone who endorses true prophetic ministry, I must say that we need clarity regarding God's heart in this time. We can't presume anyone who experiences a flickering of their spiritual antennas to possess valuable and accurate revelation. Too many are spiritually immature or undisciplined to hear God clearly. 

Does this mean we are to pull back and remain silent? No. We are free to communicate our beliefs on the subject if we admit we aren't privy to the full picture. If our concerns are severe originating from an authentic warning from God, shout it from the rooftops. However, that shouting must be from a tender, humble heart. Arrogance, presumption and know-it-all-ism isn't behavior becoming of a Believer in Jesus.

Lastly, abandon the conspiracy theories. Yes, even conspiracy theorists will be right every now and then, but the hour we are in demands sobriety and accuracy. We can't afford to provoke unnecessary scorn from the mockers. May God raise up true end-time people who are led by love, who reveal the heart of God and who refuse to be triggered by simple differences.

Photo credit: “Woman with tattoos receiving vaccine” by SELF Magazine is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

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

Controversial prophetic leader Jeff Jansen is under fire this week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

JEFF JANSEN HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM MINISTRY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Call To Reformation In The Broken Prophetic Movement

Extreme reform must come to the out of control prophetic movement.

I believe we must see a radical increase in authentic prophetic ministry. While there are issues and extremes in today’s prophetic movement, the truth is that most churches are woefully shallow or outright resistant when it comes to developing a prophetic culture.

An electric, supernatural and stunning spirit of prophecy should be energizing our church services. The Holy Spirit is moving powerfully and it’s critical that we tap into what he is doing and saying.

“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19–21, ESV)

A CALL TO REFORMATION

The famine of the Rhema voice of God in so many Christians and churches has been a burden of mine for decades. Unfortunately, it seems some have tried to fill that void with either unhealthy, unbalanced or outright unbiblical prophetic practices. Reform is needed.

NO MORE PROPHETIC GUARANTEES

Have you ever heard someone in church belting out a revelation that starts something like, “The Lord is saying to you…” or for some of our more traditional Pentecostals, “Thus sayeth the Lord…”

Yeah, this has to stop.

People are sharing prophetic words as if they are guarantees. They fail to consider the myriad of variables that come into play regarding a prophetic word. People are mortal. They can make mistakes.

Further, prophetic words are always conditional. People have a role to play. A failed response can result in a word that doesn’t come to pass.

Also, hearts can change. Someone can fail to measure up to the demands of the word. They can reject the word. They can fall into sin. On and on.

Prophetic guarantees can do great damage to people’s faith. I’ve known people who have made very costly life decisions because of a prophecy. They have quit their jobs, sold their homes, moved across the country, married the wrong person, and on and on simply because they received a prophetic guarantee. Like I said, this has to stop.

A better way to say it would be, “I sense the Lord is saying,” or “Be sure to pray over this and weigh it carefully. I feel God is saying…”

PROPHETIC WORD SHOULD BE SUBMITTED FOR ANALYSIS

“but test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21, ESV)

The Bible clearly requires all prophetic words to be tested, weighed and judged.

“Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.” (1 Corinthians 14:29, ESV)

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God…” (1 John 4:1, ESV)

It requires humility to invite a thorough critique when releasing a prophetic word. Instead of a prophetic guarantee, we should be submitting our divine revelation for consideration. We should invite people to analyze it, to pray over it and to judge it. If people did this with each word they communicated, it would remove much of the stigma surrounding the prophetic movement.

MINIMIZE FORETELLING, EMPHASIZE FORTHTELLING

Has anybody else grown tired of the circus-like, crystal ball-style fortune telling in so much of the prophetic today?

Understand, I absolutely do believe in foretelling, in revealing future events as the Holy Spirit gives the revelation. The Bible is filled with such prophetic information and authentic foretelling absolutely happens today.

That being said, there has become an unhealthy obsession with gazing into the future. It’s time for a fresh, anointed prophetic climate to emerge that is driven by forthtelling, by a Rhema revelation of timeless biblical truths. We need prophetic preachers who breathe fire as they release oracles from Heaven that erupt right out of the Bible. The Word of God must again be primary.

WE NEED TO QUIT LEANING SO HEAVILY ON PROPHETIC WORDS

As someone who affirms the need for a radical increase of true prophetic ministry, you might be surprised that I rarely get excited or uptight about a prophetic word.

This is true when the word is for me personally and it's true if the word is a public word.

Why? It's simple. Prophetic words take time to unfold. Also, they are often flat out wrong. If they are true, I need to discover what my role is and how I should steward the word. There is process.

It's not like winning the lottery or finding a genie in a lamp.

Does this mean I don't prepare if a prophetic word is given to warn me? No way. I prepare as the Lord leads, but I don't get spun out about the word or overly obsessed with the word.

Does this mean my faith isn't encouraged if a positive prophetic word is given to me? Nope. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. The Rhema, prophetic word of God.

However, you'd be shocked at how many positive, encouraging words I've received that have never come to pass. Good people were attempting to bless me but wrongly labeled their encouragement as prophecy.

Prophecy can be wrong no matter how convinced we are that God said something. We can interpret incorrectly. We may miss the analysis. We may not rightly steward the word. We might wrongly discern the timing.

The prophetic is less like a fortune cookie then many realize.

WE NEED BOTH GRACE AND ACCOUNTABILITY

The Old Testament “stone them if they are wrong” mindset needs to finally come to an end. In the New Covenant prophecy is markedly different. While a prophetic word can certainly be extremely weighty, it’s never complete. In fact, prophetic data comes not in the form of a bellowing, clearly heard and perfectly understood voice erupting out of a burning bush, but rather as abstract, nebulous impressions and sensations.

Consider dreams. They require interpretation. So does every other type of prophetic impression. Today, it’s not difficult to be deeply intimate with Jesus, living a life of prayer, humbly surrendered, wholeheartedly given to God’s call on our lives and also mistaken about a prophetic word. We need to give people grace when they miss it.

Yes, as I have already said, grace will be more easily extended when the prophets stop slapping a “thus sayeth the Lord” on every word they deliver.

And, yes, we also need a more solid system of accountability. What happened to those who prophesied that COVID would be gone nine or ten months ago? What about other failed words that go unjudged and are long forgotten? There’s a healthy way to handle this. Ignoring it isn’t the answer.

QUIT SHAMING THOSE WHO WEIGH AND JUDGE PROPHETIC WORDS

If you hang on to prophetic words without weighing them, and shame those who are in fact weighing, you have no idea how biblical prophecy works.

There is no medal of honor given to those who are unmovable regarding prophetic words. Scripture, in fact, requires that we are flexible as the outcome of prophecies can change depending on many different variables.

There has been a spirit of mean unleashed this past year by those who have white-knuckled grips on prophetic words about the election and other key issues. Dare to weigh the words, as the Bible commands, and question them in the slightest, and you better duck. Some uber-spiritual people will launch assaults questioning your faith, your spirituality and even your salvation. It’s disgusting.

REJECT WORDS NOT BIRTHED FROM THE FURNACE OF PRAYER

If the person delivering the word isn’t burning hot in the furnace of intercession day after day, their word cannot be trusted. Throw it out. If it’s truly a word of God, it will jump right back into play and it will be undeniable. However, I’ve found it to be quite rare that a prophecy can be truly trusted if it’s not birthed from the place of intercession.

There are other measures we can take to see the prophetic become healthy and effective, but if we can start with the above, the prophetic culture this nation so desperately needs will become vibrant, anointed and accurate again.

Is Today’s Prophetic Movement Fake News?

No matter what ultimately happens with the election, we need reformation in today's prophetic streams.

I've hesitated writing this article for several weeks. The reason? I'm placing myself right in the crossfire of the prophetic zealots (of which, ironically, I am one) and those who are fed up with the mystical, self-serving foolishness that's rampant today. I'm in that group too.

Truly, it's a no-win situation. However, ministry isn't about winning. Ministry is about communicating truth so the Kingdom of God can most powerfully advance. So, onward.

It's important for you to understand that I have been embracing the prophetic for years. My entire life has been marked by strange and glorious supernatural occurrences. God's leading has been nothing short of remarkable and miraculous. I'm humbled and in awe.

I believe that God speaks, moves and interacts with every Christian who has an ear to hear. The wonders that so many experience on a consistent basis are not only dramatic, but they are required if we are to move in the direction the Spirit of God is leading us.

Without hesitation I admit to endorsing the often bizarre, sometimes confounding and always stunning biblically-based prophetic ministry. Honestly, it would be impossible for me not to. I've written about my personal, humanly impossible, logically indescribable prophetic happenings in several of my books. I can't doubt.

FALSE PROPHETS!

With that, I'm also disturbed by the butchering of prophetic ministry today.

Before you attempt to offer me a high-five in celebration of finding another who is bent on exposing today's false prophets, you need to hear me.

Let's deal with the elephant in this article. Several high profile prophetic leaders have boldly predicted another four years for President Trump. You need to understand that I personally know some of these people, and I've been following the ministry of several others. To call them false prophets based on the current state of our nation's affairs alone would be ridiculous.

These men and women of God are so pure, so passionate about Jesus and radically locked-in to God's heart. They are also imperfect.

Let's settle something right now. Missing a prophecy does not deem one a false prophet. As I stated above, that is ridiculous. There's a difference between false prophecy and poor prophecy. False prophecy is demonic while poor prophecy flows out of imperfect children of God at times (just as poor teaching, poor pastoring and poor evangelizing does).

Of course, at the writing of this article, the election isn't settled. President Trump could very well be re-elected, even at this late stage in early December, 2020. This would, I suppose, vindicate the prophets. But do they need vindication?

NEW TESTAMENT PROPHECY

Old Testament prophecy and New Testament prophecy are markedly different.

In the Old Covenant, a small handful of prophets received occasional, clear, precise messages from God.

In the New Covenant, every Believer in Christ, including those who hold the office of Prophet, can hear God's voice. However, while Old Testaments prophets received messages, today we perceive God's messages. Today, prophecy is intuitive, often abstract and, in most cases, it must be learned.

Quite often, prophetic signs, dreams, visions, impressions and other spiritual data must be interpreted. It also must be weighed, analyzed and prayed through. The Holy Spirit brings the understanding to the precise parts of the divine message entrusted to us.

That process can result in accidental errors.

Prophecy is tricky. We need to exhibit both faith and humility. Admitting there is a chance we might be wrong either partially or completely isn't exhibiting a lack of faith. I don't believe we should ever give a “thus sayeth the Lord” when prophesying. We should say, “I sense the Lord saying,” or “I have a strong impression that…” Why? We can miss it.

Prophecies in Scripture are absolute. Prophecies today are not. Further, prophecies not found in the Bible are conditional. We have a role to play in the outcome.

All of this is why I believe declaring a prophecy that is not found in Scripture to be one hundred percent certain to come to pass is inappropriate and irresponsible.

FAKE NEWS PROPHECY

This brings us to the necessary reformation.

Are there foolish, self-satisfying people growing a pseudo-prophetic ministry that's fueled by the enemy? Absolutely there are.

Are there others who are immature in their understanding of the prophetic, and as a result are out of step with true biblical prophecy? Yes.

Has the prophetic become way too dominant in some people's lives, to the exclusion of basic, orthodox, historical Bible truths? Most definitely. (Though I'd suggest there are way more who have excluded a true, biblical, prophetic lifestyle in favor of dry, dead religion.)

Simply, is much of today's prophetic ministry that's flourishing all over social media fake news? It is.

I'll introduce some sub-points that should at least get us thinking:

PURPOSE

Predictive prophecy (foretelling) often leaves me asking a question: why was it necessary to share that message? What is the purpose?

Understand, it's just a question. There may be a legitimate answer. Of course, Scripture is filled with predictive prophecies. Yet, there must be a reason God would reveal this information to us.

Why did we need to know that President Trump would supposedly win the election? What is that purpose? On one hand, it could be to bolster a prophets resume of successful predictions. Is there another hand? Maybe. But we really need to know what's in that hand. What is our role in response to the prophetic word?

STRATEGY

I personally believe all prophecy not found in Scripture is conditional. I believe it was designed this way by God as a catalyst to rally the troops.

For example, if the prophets are revealing that Trump was God's choice, what must the church do to advance that agenda? Prophecy that is devoid of a strategic call to action is at least suspicious.

Prophetic messages should provoke a response, whether it's a warning or revelation of God's heart or an uncovering of the enemy's plans, we as hearers of the word need to know how to proceed.

FORTHTELLING VS FORETELLING

Personally, I am significantly more impressed with prophetic preaching, forthtelling, than I am with foretelling, revealing future events.

Understand, I affirm and value both, when handled well. But, give me a Leonard Ravenhill any day over one of today's pop prophets. Forthtelling always has a fiery, urgent and unapologetic call to action. Unfortunately, too many of today's foretellers are more excited about their ability to craft the perfect fortune cookie message than they are revealing the depths of God.

THUS SAYETH THE LORD

I dealt with this above, but I wanted to put it in the list of thought provokers. When I hear someone declare that “God said” and that what they heard is perfect, complete and guaranteed to come to pass, I change the channel.

We prophecy in part. We see in part. We understand in part. And, guess what? We are fallible humans. We can miss it.

Again, New Testament prophecy is intuitive. I'm not saying it can't have a measure of clarity. It absolutely can. I'm not saying it can't be overwhelming, weighty and convincing. It can. In fact, we need to live in the realm of the weighty much more than we do today. The prayer rooms should be soaked with sweat and tears from the brows of the prophets.

However, we aren't privy to an unmistakable voice booming out of a burning bush. The Holy Spirit is the one brooding and impressing upon God's people mysterious and often illogical messages that require discernment, prayer and interpretation to grasp.

PROPHECY IS CONDITIONAL

I posted the following to Facebook recently:

What percent chance do you give Trump being reelected at this stage of the game? (If you say 100% or 0%, you are delusional. I'm sure you are nice, but still delusional.)

Needless to say, a bunch of delusional friends responded! (I say that with a friendly smile on my face.)

There are so many factors at play in the prophetic that we can rarely if ever proclaim that a prophetic word is certain to come to pass. Remember, prophecy not found in Scripture is conditional. It's an invitation, not a guarantee.

Several promoted the idea that thinking anything less would be a violation of faith. This is not true. We have a part to play.

This is what happens when “thus sayeth the Lord” style prophecies are accepted as the norm. They can seduce people into a false sense of comfort as they sit back and wait for it to come to pass.

THE ENEMY

Anybody who has adopted a prophetic lifestyle knows that prophetic words must be warred over. Simply receiving and believing is far from enough.

Satan is exceptionally skilled at disrupting the plans of God in our lives. When we simply receive and believe, we are playing right into the enemy's hands. We must go to battle! Presuming a prophecy will come to pass without a sword in our hands is akin to wishing upon a star.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There are many other factors at play including timing, sin in the lives of the prophets, fear, doubt, presumption, etc.

I feel some great first steps in reforming the prophetic would include:

  • Prophesying from a place of fervent, Spirit-driven intercession.
  • Considering the purpose of the word.
  • Majoring on forthtelling, minoring on foretelling.
  • Communicating prophetic strategies, not just a prophetic word.
  • Inviting the word to be weighed.
  • Admitting when you missed it.
  • Giving grace to those who missed it.
  • Avoiding presumptive prophetic guarantees.

Photo credit: “Fake News – Person Reading Fake News Article” by mikemacmarketing is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Originally published by The Stream.

Trump at Church in Las Vegas: Spirit-Filled, Prophetic Intercession Covers Our President

This is an unprecedented, historic and special season for Christians as we rally around an administration that is so zealously honoring of God.

I was deeply moved as I watched President Trump along with his team including White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany engaging with passion in a vibrant, Spirit-filled, prophetic church.

Deeply moved? No, that's woefully understated. The Spirit of God was burning and blowing through me as I watched. There was a tremble within that suddenly activated as I watched our President and those who surround him in the midst of a cyclone of Holy Spirit activity in Las Vegas. Tears filled my eyes.

“This is your third time here, that means you’re a church member. I don’t care what anybody says. I love my president,” Pastor Marc Goulet said.

President Trump, encouraging and exhorting the pastor and staff, declared that he'll be back to the International Church of Las Vegas many times.

NOT VOTING FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP?

I know many are already smirking and arguing that this was nothing more than an attention-grab. A photo-op.

First of all, I don't care, and I'll tell you why in a moment.

Secondly, if this was your reaction, and you consider yourself a true disciple of Jesus, you have no option but to repent.

As Believers we are to make judgment on others when done according to Scripture. What is inappropriate is a judgment of motive. Clearly, we are mandated to judge fruit. We are to carefully and lovingly analyze situations God brings before us.

“Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!” (1 Corinthians 6:2–3, ESV)

However, we don't have the license to judge motive. Such a judgment results in gossip, division and accusation. We align ourselves with the enemy. He is the accuser. In fact, Revelation 12:10 reveals he accuses Christians day and night before the Lord.

Others may say they have the gift of discernment and it's that gift that allows them to judge President Trump's motive. News flash: there is no such gift revealed in the Bible as the gift of discernment. It's not there. When people declare they have this gift it's usually an excuse to operate in some good old-fashioned charismatic witchcraft. Gossip. Manipulation.

“…to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:10, ESV)

The gift they are probably referring to is the discernment of spirits, or to “distinguish between spirits.” This is the gift that comes in handy when taking someone through deliverance. We know what spirit is manifesting (or hiding) and we are able to confront it with spiritual intelligence. This gift has nothing to do with judging the motives of someone else. This is God's job and his alone.

Now, the reason I said that I don't care whether President Trump's appearance was merely an opportunity to grab attention (which I don't believe it was) or not is simple: this man, in unprecedented fashion for a sitting President, has surrounded himself with authentic, fiery, devoted and uncompromising lovers of Jesus.

A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for Mike Pence, Kayleigh McEnany and the many reputable and anointed pastors and Christian leaders who have remarkable access to him.

Simply, this is the most Spirit-driven administration America has probably ever seen. More striking is the night and day (dark and light?) comparison between such an unashamed embrace of Jesus and the wickedness so many of the liberal left represent.

THE FOOLISHNESS OF REJECTING DONALD TRUMP

I want to encourage you to watch some of the videos from yesterday's church service. You'll witness powerful decrees, intercession and exhortation in an atmosphere marked by extreme Holy Spirit activity. I've wanted to visit this church for years, and I was thrilled to see our President placing himself and his team in the midst of that whirlwind.

We can all vote for anybody we desire. That's the American way.

That being said, I'm stunned that any person who names the name of Christ would even consider for a moment allowing the nefarious agenda that the left is aggressively promoting to become rule in our nation.

Like him or not, Donald Trump is be far the most pro-Christian, pro-church, pro-faith President America has ever had. Stop and think about that. The left? This year most probably represents the most immoral, anti-God political advance in our nation's history.

Have you witnessed the brilliance of Kayleigh McEnany as she runs her press conferences? As phenomenal as she is on her own merit, I'm sure she would agree with me that her poise, wisdom, boldness and effectiveness in her position is mostly the result of a weighty and unusual anointing of God on her life. She is in her position as a result of Donald Trump authorizing her, commissioning her and entrusting her as the spokesperson of the highest office in the land. If we remove Trump, our nation's next spokesperson will most certainly be anointed by a very different spirit indeed.

Consider Vice President Mike Pence. Again, like him or not you have to respect his fervent devotion to Jesus. I shudder to even ponder the comparison between this godly man and the current Democratic Vice Presidential candidate.

DONALD TRUMP IS A LEADER WHO HAS BEEN MARKED BY GOD

I didn't vote for Donald Trump four years ago. I wrote in Ted Cruz. I absolutely will be voting for him this time around.

I have watched this man transformed before our nation's eyes. He is a story of redemption, and at age 74, it's a story that is still being written. He's much different than he was in 2016. He'll be even better in the years ahead.

Is he perfect? No way.

Do I hope for the sanctification process to ramp up in his life? Sure.

Do I believe God has anointed him for this hour. Absolutely.

I'm disheartened by professing Christians who are wholesale rejecting President Trump simply because they believe him to be rude, arrogant or a jerk.

Listen closely: I'd rather have a flawed yet growing Christian who may be considered a jerk than someone who clearly exhibits rotting (and dangerous) fruit like many of those on the liberal left. There's no comparison.

In fact, many misunderstand the traits that mark many leaders, including those in the church. A mega-church pastor once said that he'd never hire a staff member with a strong spiritual gift of mercy. He explained that those people all too often refuse to make the tough and necessary daily decisions because they are too concerned about people's feelings. That may sound harsh and unloving to you, but the truth is that too many pastors refuse to lead with boldness today. So they compromise the mission to appease a few.

It takes an in-your-face fighter, anointed by God, to lead churches and nations today. Yes, we must be loving in our approach, but we can't be passive. I believe if more pastors followed Donald Trump's “You're fired” approach we'd have healthier churches and we'd be much closer to revival. Again, we can do so with love and tenderness while also being strong and decisive.

When is the last time you heard about a pastor following this mandate in Scripture?

“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you… And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:1,2 ESV)

Isn't it interesting that Scripture calls those who are dismissive of sin in the camp arrogant? Today we'd presume someone who expelled them from the church to be unloving, harsh, accusatory and arrogant. Yet, that's exactly what God demands.

Brash leadership isn't by default ungodly. Yes, it can be, of course. We simply cannot look at someone who is offensive and deem them to be unrighteous or unfit for leadership. Often times godly leadership demands an offensive, aggressive and unapologetic approach. Donald Trump, while quite imperfect, exemplifies this.

So, just to make my point vividly clear, no I don't care about his aggressive, brash and sometimes irritating demeanor when he is making the tough godly decisions for our nation.

Am I saying Donald Trump is ready to lead a church? No. He's not. Yet, with refining he would make a modern day apostle unlike the world has ever seen. For now, I do believe, as a man in progress, even with all of his rough edges, he is clearly the right choice for the next four years.

Originally published by The Stream.

Has the term “Spirit-filled church” lost its meaning?

I'm convinced many Christians have no understanding of the term “Spirit-filled.”

Stay with me. The topic of this article could easily trigger those who are easily offended at the suggestion that some churches are more Spirit-filled than others. I'd like to challenge you to remain engaged and to honestly consider what I'm about to communicate, even if you ultimately disagree.

Someone asked a question in a Facebook group I'm subscribed to about the types of churches in our area. They mentioned some particular churches, including Upperroom in Dallas, Texas, as the type of church they were looking for.

It seemed clear, at least to me, that they were looking for a church that many would label as Spirit-filled. This, however, was lost on most of the people who responded.

Some wonderful Christians started filling up the comments with suggestions. What struck me was that the majority of them were not Charismatic, Spirit-filled churches. Many of the people were emphasizing the upbeat, contemporary style of worship, the relevant teaching and the family atmosphere their suggested church offered. As I read through everybody's input, I couldn't help but to flashback several years ago to my first Sunday in town.

Our family visited a fairly large, well-established and vibrant church that was filled with friendly people. The worship was concert-style, professional and well polished. Several people were closing their eyes and lifting their hands as they sang along. The preacher was a young guy with the rough, raw yet skilled edge you'd imagine in an environment like this. He communicated well and the message was biblical.

I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

Again, stay with me. Please hear my heart. I'm convinced this place was filled with legitimate Christian brothers and sisters, people who were devoted to the Lord and who loved their church home. I applaud this. It wasn't for me, though. Why? I later discovered this was not a church that believed in the manifestations and gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that spiritual things must be discerned spiritually and, while what I discerned naturally was really appealing, spiritually I was discerning a lack of Holy Spirit activity.

This is the point of this article. Churches that do embrace Holy Spirit gifts and manifestations are radically different than those that do not, even if they may look similar to the human eye.

THERE IS A DIFFERENCE

Years ago when the worship movement really began to take off I often wondered how churches and movements that were “more Baptist” in theology and practice would respond. Would they move on from hymns or resist the new sound in the earth? To my surprise many of them adopted the songs, the vibrancy, some of the more mild expressions and the passion. What was missing in many of these scenarios however was the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. The invisible move of the Spirit of God was absent.

Yesterday's Facebook conversation confirmed yet again the idea that many Christians simply don't understand the difference between “Spirit-filled” and not “Spirit-filled.” They are limited to human emotion and intellectual understanding. They are looking for songs that move them, sermons that inspire them, teachings that inform them and a Christian experience that saves them. Supernatural discernment and spiritual revelation are foreign concepts.

Again, please hear my heart. I despise mean-spirited finger pointers who look down on others who “don't line up” with their definition of appropriate. I cringe to think I'd be one of them. At the same time I believe it's important to discuss some potentially irritating topics so we can all go deeper in Jesus. This is one of those topics.

There certainly is a difference between Charismatic and non-Charismatic churches. The theologies of cessationism and continuationism are definitely not the same. Those who endorse and practice spiritual gifts and those who don't are in different places.

A SPIRITUALLY ELECTRIC ATMOSPHERE

It would only be fair to admit that even many of today's Spirit-filled churches have disengaged spiritually. They have stepped back from the movement of the Holy Spirit more and more in recent years. The glorious manifestations of an omnipotent, invisible God interacting with finite man are undeniably rare today.

My message is a call to all. Whether you affirm supernatural activity or not, I encourage you to dive deeper into the realm of the Spirit than you ever have in your life. It should be normal for everybody in today's church to have dreams and visions. Praying in tongues, prophecy and trembling in the fear of the Lord should be experienced by all. Supernatural boldness, signs, wonders and miracles and burning night and day with the fire of the Holy Spirit are our portion!

The church should be the place where Believers gather to collapse to the ground in groans of intercession. The place to boldly decree prophetic oracles, to prophesy and to get equipped in the Spirit.

Loud guitars, a perfectly orchestrated set, ripped jeans, fog, lights, friendly people, relevant talks about the Bible and programs for all is not what makes up a New Testament church. All of that can be there, but it's nothing more than paint on the walls. Decor. Instead of fog machines we need to contend for the mist of the Holy Spirit to descend into our churches. It should be difficult to stand at times as the cries of our heart explode out of us and as the weighty, tangible presence of God covers us.

Yes, a Spirit-filled church is something to behold. It's a place where God orchestrates everything and man gets out of the way. It's where God's presence is so thick that our human intellect cannot process what's happening. It's a revival atmosphere. It's a place of miracles. It's church.

The moment you experience it is the moment you understand that there's a stark difference between churches that promote Holy Spirit activity and those that don't. It's night and day, black and white. When you are swept over by the most powerful force in the world and filled with indescribable fire and love and freedom and joy, you'll never be able to go to a church that doesn't experience that.

I'm excited about the opportunity to introduce people who have never experienced this all-consuming fire, this invisible force, to something so wondrous that they are transformed for all eternity.

Exposing A Wicked Lockdown Spirit

There is a supernatural force behind the lockdowns and a prophetic people must expose it.

3  And Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly, 4  and when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water.) 1 Kings 18:3-4 (ESV)

While some may argue the merits of a lockdown as a natural, physical defense against the spread of a virus, I propose there is a very deliberate, strategic demonic strategy to shut down the churches and to shut up a prophetic generation. If the enemy can cause us to flee into our caves, and focus on natural survival, he wins.

This lockdown spirit (no, Lockdown isn't its name, it's simply descriptive of the spiritual assignment that very real, intelligent and wicked evil spirits are implementing) has convinced blood-bought Christians to cower, to willingly hide and to embrace restrictions as evidenced by the prophets in the caves living as prisoners on bread and water.

DISCERNING A SPIRITUAL ATTACK

The Bible tells us that spiritual things must be discerned spiritually (1 Corinthians 2:14) and that natural man cannot receive revelation at this level. It's not possible. Dealing with this or any crisis requires we elevate above the obvious. It doesn't require prophetic revelation to respond naturally. King Asa chose to seek after doctors instead of the Lord (2 Chronicles 16:12), and that natural response resulted in his death. Supernatural attacks require supernatural resolutions. Yes, wash your hands and listen to what the doctors say, but understand your solution will come from a much higher source.

There is a weighty, suffocating blanket that has rested upon this nation, and the resolve to keep advancing, working, producing and dreaming as visionaries of God is surrendering to this overwhelming spiritual pressure. Instead, people are shrinking back, laying down their assignments and “sheltering in place” as the enemy turns his slow prowl into a full-on, ravaging pounce on those who presumed themselves to be safe. They are not safe. A church that's not on the offensive has no defensive solution to what Satan brings. A shield alone is insufficient. We also need the sword. A prophetic voice is mandatory as we stand in great, unmoving, Elijah-level faith.

A hiding, relaxing, cowering church that is taking a wait-and-see approach clearly reveals an alliance with a soothing, seducing spirit that has offered a numbing sedative and a promise of protection. A refusal to struggle only makes the spider's mission to drain you of your sustenance that much easier as you rest in its web.

THE NATIONS SHOULD KNOW OUR NAMES

10  As the LORD your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my lord has not sent to seek you. And when they would say, ‘He is not here,’ he would take an oath of the kingdom or nation, that they had not found you. 1 Kings 18:10 (ESV)

The false prophetic systems of our day should be keenly aware of God's people, and we will know this is true when they resolve to seek and destroy not only our churches and our message, but our very lives. Elijah was a heavily sought after man, an enemy with a prize on his head. The kingdoms and nations all knew of Elijah's threat and they sought to neutralize him.

In fact, Elijah not only threatened nations and kingdoms, he threatened the people of God who were hiding in the caves. I find it interesting that the Bible reveals that they were limited to groups of fifty. We see this very strategy being implemented in today's crisis as church meetings, depending on the locality, are often limited to 10, 25 or 50 (or zero). I also find it interesting that most churches are absolutely okay with this spiritual lockdown, just as Obadiah and the prophets were in Elijah's day.

When anointed men and women of God raise their voice and refuse to be locked down, silenced or limited by the fearful taunts of governments, the religious, the media, plagues, demons and other false-prophetic voices, Christianity as a whole will be targeted.

Obadiah and the prophets of God were terrorized, terrified and in hiding. Obadiah himself was so timid that he resisted the instructions of God's messenger, Elijah. His fear of death was real and his strategy of hiding in caves seemed to be the safest and most obvious solution.

ALL EYES ON ELIJAH

30  Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been thrown down. 1 Kings 18:30 (ESV)

Instead of Obadiah's plan to hide away, Elijah came from the opposite direction. Instead of eyes not being able to see timid prophets cowering in caves, Elijah said, “Come near to me.”

He refused to allow Ahab and Jezebel to usurp the authority of God and to allow for one moment more the assaults against God's prophets. All eyes were on Elijah as he restored the altar and called down fire. The result was a declaration that the Lord is God, the destruction of the false prophetic system and the end of the drought. Refreshing rains came to all.

38  Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39  And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God.” 40  And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there. 1 Kings 18:38-40 (ESV)

COME OUT OF HIDING

We need every Believer in Jesus to come out of the caves, to renounce a slumbering and fearful spirit, to break off the lockdown spirit and to arise in the face of the prophetic wickedness that threatens God's people night and day.

It's time for Spirit-filled people to move in great authority and to command plagues, viruses, politicians and the spirit of the age to bow at the feet of Jesus! We will be silenced no longer! The spirit of Elijah will shame the spirit of lockdowns and timidity and restore the altar of the Lord in our nation!

When this happens, after ravings and violence, the enemy will finally shut up. The politicians and media will go silent. They will have nothing to say as their cries fall on deaf ears as their gods abandon them. Only people who operate in the spirit of Elijah can cause this to happen! Are you ready? Mighty voice of God, it's your time!

27  And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28  And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. 29  And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention. 1 Kings 18:27-29 (ESV)

Troublers of America, Arise!

Where are the firebrands who will fearlessly confront the wicked systems of the day?

Handcuffs, ankle monitors and locked church buildings are the new normal for many Christians in America today. The state has threatened worshipers of Jesus at the same time they are opening the “essential” doors of Planned Parenthood wide. Somehow it's safe to congregate at Walmart, Home Depot, liquor stores and on golf courses but gathering in worship, prayer and repentance are a threat to national safety.

A closed church isn't the most disturbing reality, however.

PROPHETIC TROUBLERS

17  When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” 1 Kings 18:17 (ESV)

The pathetic extent of many Christian's response to the lock-downs and governmental threats is to remind people to wash their hands as they shelter in place and fearfully wait it out as they hope for the best. It's shameful. Washing hands is a great common sense idea, but how can that be the best insight and advice a blood-bought, Spirit-filled, fire-breathing Christian can offer?

The most disturbing reality in the midst of this crisis is a muzzled, cowering church. Where are those who have a reputation as troublers? The church shouldn't be afraid of the United States government. The church should cause politicians to tremble!

The time is now for humble yet bold prophetic people to use every medium available to them to strike cultures and unholy systems with ferocity! Cast down arguments, assault wickedness and become defenders of our rights as Americans to assemble, to worship and to be free from tyranny. The Constitution wasn't written to protect us from a virus at the cost of our liberty. It is in place to protect our rights, and those rights aren't suspended in the midst of a pandemic or any other crisis.

After being accused of troubling Israel, Elijah, in the anointing of the Lord, struck back with the sword of truth:

18  And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals. 1 Kings 18:18 (ESV)

Holy indignation must erupt from within as we clearly stand against the threats, taunts and attempts to shut down the only governmental authority that outranks that of the United States of America: the church.

The secular leadership of our nation, our states and our localities need to hear loud and clear, whether they might identify as Believers in Jesus or not: America has abandoned the commandments of the Lord!

Troublers of America Arise! from John Burton on Vimeo.

POLITICS IN THE PULPIT

I would suggest pastors who refuse to consistently and without apology confront the spirit of the age, including vile cultural and political positions that are embraced, celebrated and promoted by our nation's leaders and influencers, have disqualified themselves from ministry. Ichabod may soon be stamped above the doorposts of their church if it hasn't been done already.

When pastors understand their prime call is to equip a prophetic people to expose and assault the kingdom of darkness, it will become clear that it's not possible to go silent on the politics and immoralities in the land.

Sadly, there is but a small number of fervent, devoted, highly trained and radically surrendered people who are prepared to respond to the taunts and assaults that the enemy is bringing through this testing season. Instead of equipping the people diligently over the last few decades, many pastors have instead played around in the shallows in the hopes that they keep everybody comfortable and happy. Instead of trained warriors they have produced sloths who have little interest in the things of the Spirit.

PROPHETIC SYSTEMS

21  And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 1 Kings 18:21 (ESV)

Elijah demanded a decision. He fearlessly confronted leaders, false prophets and all of the people and called them out. He didn't stop there. He went to war in the power of God and ultimately killed all 450 of the prophets.

There are extremely powerful prophetic systems in America today that must be not only confronted but taken out via the power of the Holy Spirit. The media is prophesying lies twenty-four hours a day. Many politicians are releasing oracles that originate from wicked hearts that are in radical rebellion to God. Lawmakers are enforcing demonically influenced restrictions on the church. Satan is gaining ground while Christians sleep.

We need troublers of America to arise! This prophetic army will be deeply humble, surrendered and functioning from a place of sobriety. They won't sound mere opinions but will rather trumpet prophetic truths. They won't stand still when liberties that so many gave their lives to protect are ripped away from us. They will aggressively and with fire in their eyes stare down the enemy and remove him from his place.

It's time the unrighteous leaders of America hear loud and clear that they have been disobedient to the Lord God and that God has an awakened, equipped and determined people who will confront their unholy advances in this hour.

A REPAIRED ALTAR

31  Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,” 1 Kings 18:31 (ESV)

Holy confrontation isn't the ultimate goal. A restored altar is. America must be taken back and we can't get there without you and I standing up boldly to the spirit of the age. Jezebel must go. False prophetic systems must go. The rains of refreshing must return but that will only happen as the nation repents as a result of God's people taking a stand.

A restored altar to the one true God in America is the goal. This is a season of divine reset and every one of us must shift dramatically. Repentance must hit us deeply as we renounce a casual, shallow life. Today is the day for you and everyone of us to respond to the call of the Lord to fight against deeply wicked systems in our nation. The altar will be built, the false prophets will die and the fire will fall. Only then can we call America a Christian nation again.

38  Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39  And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God.” 40  And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there. 41  And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” 1 Kings 18:38-41 (ESV)

Originally published on The Stream.

How Covid-19 Will Dramatically Change The Church Forever

This should be the shock to the system that pastors need, or the next pandemic just may take the church out.

You'd expect the church to respond very differently than the world in the midst of crisis. Sadly, this hasn't always been the case. Social media is filled with freaked-out Christians who are absolutely terrified, spending their energies seeking out natural solutions to a supernatural situation. The fact that they can't disinfect their hands or wipe their, well, you know, has sent many into a frenzy. Something is terribly wrong and church as usual is no longer an option.

If ignoring, minimizing or seeking a natural solution to a demonic threat brings relief, don't presume you have won the battle. The entity is merely resting alongside you, thankful his foe has refused to fight.

The response is a glaring indictment on the church, and without question, the church must not ever allowed to go on as usual. This pandemic may be the catalyst to reformation the remnant has been crying out for.

THE CHURCH ISN'T READY

7  Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; Revelation 19:7 (ESV)

In an age when so many Believers are merely concerned with their personal eternal security and so many others are sitting back waiting to be raptured before the trouble comes, it's clear that the church is far from ready for the end-time waves of crisis that are crashing down.

Global traumas like the coronavirus very well may play a part in determining the wheat and the tares. Who will rise up in great, unmovable faith and who will shrink back in fear? Those who know God will respond very differently than those who are mere pretenders.

32  …the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. Daniel 11:32 (NKJV)

So, the question for pastors and every Believer in the midst of trial is, how can we prepare? Yes, there are natural precautions we should take. There are spiritual reactions that are necessary too. Many are suggesting adopting house church/small group models. That very well may come into play, but that's a functional shift. There are spiritual shifts that are much more important.

TEN WAYS EVERY CHURCH MUST RESPOND

INSTITUTE STRATEGIC PRAYER

The days of simply attending a Sunday morning service where we worship a little, pray a little and listen to a sermon before heading back into the world for a week must come to an end immediately.

The primary focus of every legitimate Christian church must be fervent, passionate, powerful and strategic intercession. The days of simple prayer lists and prayer chains are over as the call to groans and cries of spiritual prayer explode out of the saints.

For years I've been campaigning for services that are marked by people laid out at the altars from start to finish as the Holy Spirit broods over them. Deep, guttural groans of intercession will be heard throughout the sanctuary every Sunday (and ultimately, every day of the week).

I am absolutely convinced that a church filled with tongues of fire will do more than any other single activity to make everybody ready for the coming storms.

1  When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2  And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3  And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1-4 (ESV)

DEAL DIRECTLY WITH SPIRITS OF FEAR

It's astonishing how a very dark spirit of fear has blanketed the church. Fear results in unsettled, nervous reactions while faith results in a confident, peaceful, calculated response.

Pastors must introduce deliverance into their churches as a primary ministry. The spirits that are tormenting Christians have been exposed all over the world during the pandemic. I believe nearly all Christians need or have at one time needed deliverance. The enemy is especially attracted to children of God as he seeks to find open doors to latch on and destroy.

We cannot afford a scared, timid people who shrink back at the sight of their own shadow. This end-time season requires mighty warriors, an army who has annihilated fear and who will stare right through the darkness and expose the enemy and send him fleeing!

In fact, it very well may be time to allow those who are afraid to step back so the church can finally do what God has ordained it to do—fight and possess the land!

3  Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.' ” And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained. Judges 7:3 (NKJV)

DEVELOP A PROPHETIC CULTURE

Possibly a primary source of fear in the camp is the lack of foresight, the absence of prophetic revelation. Imagine how different everything would be if God's people were made ready in their spirits as God prepared them with all sorts of prophetic communication.

Dreams, visions, God's still small voice, words of wisdom, words of knowledge and other divine impressions are extremely powerful and necessary if everybody in the church is to weather the storm.

Every Christian must be both equipped and activated prophetically. The church needs to hear God's ever-present voice now more than ever. To have some people who are not tuned in compromises the camp and gives the enemy a very powerful and secure foothold.

19  Do not quench the Spirit. 20  Do not despise prophecies. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 (NKJV)

GROW IN POWERFUL FAITH

There is an angry crowd of “Believers” who are demanding we “USE WISDOM!” regarding this crisis. I wish they'd shout “USE FAITH!” It's much more effective.

It's disappointing to see very little difference between the world and the redeemed in time of trouble. For so many, the initial and most powerful reaction is natural protection instead of supernatural advance. On social media I've run into an angry Christian crowd that snipes anyone who suggests peace, faith and authority over the schemes of the enemy are the answer. They see such counsel as a minimization of their human efforts and a threat to that strategy. I wonder just what counselor they are listening to.

They love to promote “wisdom” but tend to see faith as haphazard and even some sort of nonsensical supernatural voodoo. A life of true biblical faith is so foreign to them that the extent of their belief system is a cop-out by simply “trusting that God will do as he pleases.”

True faith looks nothing like that. It's confident, authoritative and declarative.

Pastors have no option but to repent of their silly anti-faith positions and to actually embrace some of the teachings they previously dismissed. Whether you appreciate the whole of who Kenneth Copeland (or similar ministers) is or not, you cannot deny the powerful truth on the subject of faith that he carries.

38  Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:38 (NKJV)

GO DEEP IN THE WORD

The world needs pastors who have the smell of fire on them as they emerge from the prayer rooms and stand with great anointing and authority behind the pulpit. The low-level milk of Bible teaching must cease as the Spirit of God reveals the deep mysteries of Scripture.

The people of God must be students of the inerrant Word, allowing the truth to radically transform them. Times like this require a spiritual response, and the foundation of God's wisdom is found in his timeless Word.

The tired Sunday School style sermons must cease as earth-shaking revelation from God's Word shakes us to our core, and equips us as mighty end-time soldiers.

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)

DEAL DIRECTLY WITH SIN

The greatest debilitating factor in the church by far is unaddressed sin. A church that isn't pure, holy and consecrated is a liability, a breeding ground for demonic manifestation and a magnet for God's judgment.

Hellfire preaching must return to the church and a call to intense consecration is simply mandatory if we hope to endure to the end.

The Bible clearly instructs certain people to be removed from fellowship, but it's rare to find a leadership team that is willing to follow those orders. I propose it's either an attempt to extend more mercy than God himself is, or the leadership are steeped in the same sins themselves.

11  But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner–not even to eat with such a person. 12  For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13  But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 (NKJV)

5  deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 1 Corinthians 5:5 (NKJV)

TEACH ON THE END-TIMES

I believe the church's greatest hour will be during the Great Tribulation. I understand that many others don't believe that at all. Eschatology is a volatile topic, but we can't afford to ignore it any longer.

It's laughable to think the church is ready to endure such a terrible Tribulation period, even though God's wrath won't be expressed on his true church in that season. The measure of protection we'll have will be enough for us to have an opportunity to stay true to God and to proclaim his truth.

Yet, today, with a comparatively very minor crisis in the world, the church is failing miserably. The church isn't ready. We need leaders who will emphasize the trials that are coming, whether they occur during the Tribulation period or not. We are in the end-times, and the end itself draws nearer every moment.

I believe a casual approach and the thought that we'll be raptured away is detrimental and will cost potentially millions of Christians their very salvation. The falling away will be very great as countless Believers fail the test and don't endure to the end. Their blood will be on the hands of the pastors for failing to prepare them.

EQUIP IN SIGNS, WONDERS, HEALINGS AND MIRACLES

I've been sadly stunned at the number of professing Christians who have little to no confidence in God's supernatural ability, and have even less confidence in their authority to move in wonders themselves.

Training in signs, wonders, healings and miracles can't be delayed for another moment. We need a supernaturally charged people who are fiercely opposed to the illegal activity of the enemy. This includes fear, sickness, poverty and other assaults of the devil.

The church needs to learn the difference between God-ordained pestilence and devil-initiated attacks. From that place, the church can rise up and function in absolutely remarkable signs and wonders as a traumatized world looks on and witnesses God in action. Hope will flood in and countless desperate lost people will be saved.

29  Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30  by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31  And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:29-31 (NKJV)

KEEP ETERNITY IN FOCUS

The fact that Christians pay little attention to eternity and that their gaze is on the here and now has never been more evident in this generation than it is today. Instead of having peace and confidence about spending an eternity with Jesus, and being excited about that, so many are fearful and anxious about a virus that, in their minds, has the power to kill.

It's time for our preaching to be zeroed in on eternity and to prepare people for the place they will be living forever. I am personally gripped by forever, by the expectation of the glories of the age to come. Do I want to die before my time? Of course not. But, I place myself in God's hands, and I battle the enemy's attempts to bring destruction to me and I trust that I will go not a second before or after my designated time.

55  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1 Corinthians 15:55 (KJV)

PREPARE TO GO UNDERGROUND

As easy as it was for our government to force everybody indoors, and to cancel everything from sporting events to church services, and to threaten imprisonment for those who defy the orders, we better be preparing the people to go underground.

We can't presume the internet will be available. We can't expect to be able to freely gather. There will come a time when we will have to choose to obey God rather then men and gather, illegally, to worship, pray and unite as Believers.

Read this passage and be ready to expect a very similar scenario as the end draws near:

27  And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28  saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29  But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30  The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31  God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32  And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” 33  When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. Acts 5:27-33 (ESV)

FINAL THOUGHTS

The call is for pastors to embrace a mighty shift in the church. Church as usual is no longer an option. We must see the people equipped as mighty men and women of great faith, fervent intercession, workers of miracles and prophetic instruments in the hands of God.