Posts Tagged ‘jealous’

Almost homosexual: A crisis in the church

Almost homosexual: A crisis in the church

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

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

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.

I'd strongly encourage you to listen to this powerful teaching & intercession for Ellen from a Revival Church service here:

 

As I begin this urgent and troubling prophetic message, I must do my best to make several points extremely clear.

  • God is passionately jealous and zealous for his beautiful bride, the church. His emotions are extreme and deep as he yearns for love fueled intimacy with those he laid down his life for. His affection cannot be described by capture-000000596even the most romantic or poetic language.
  • When I mention the church in this message, I am referring to the global body of Christ. The global bride of Christ. I'm fully aware and thankful that there are many local expressions of the church that are radically surrendered and given to the lover of their souls—Jesus Christ.
  • The primary points I will expound on have little to do with sexuality, or sexual sin. You will have to intentionally keep this in mind so as to ensure you understand the issues when I deal with the spirits behind homosexuality and how these spirits are being embraced in the church (again, the global church; or, the church in general).

Massive Repentance

Jer 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? 10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.

This is a powerful verse, and the more time we spend on our face in the presence of God, the more we realize how true it is.

Before we can go any further, we have to all agree on the above point that is found in Jeremiah 17: Our hearts are both deceitful and wicked. What does this mean? Very simply, it’s possible and common for impure motives to be rooted deeply in us even though we may be devoted followers of Christ.

The more time I spend in prayer the easier it is for the Lord to dig deep and bring to the surface issues that wouldn’t normally be evident. My heart has harbored pride at times though at the surface I felt meek. Other times I’ve verbally forgiven people, but then the Holy Spirit revealed to me a deeper reality—that I hadn’t truly done so.

This is why we must not only be OK with messages like this one, but we have to eagerly invite God to shine his burning light into every part of our lives.

Is 6:5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

When God is in our midst, a revelation of our own sin and issues are made known.  A key problem today is that God’s manifest presence isn’t with us as He should be!  Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.  He is the Revelation.  He is the Word.  Where God is, revelation is.  You can’t separate the two.

As God, in his burning love for us, reveals our hearts to us, we will find ourselves falling to our knees.

God is calling the church to massive repentance.

Almost Homosexual?

God has suddenly revisited me with a prophetic word that shocked me and those I shared it with a few years ago—and he’s added to the revelation.

Trust me, I’ve waited several days before deciding to write this (I usually write prophetic words the moment I receive them). I’ve considered the trouble it may bring. I’ve also considered God’s thoughts about the matter and I’ve chosen to trust his wisdom that this will free many more people than it will disturb. God’s word and his wisdom must return to the pulpits again.

image“If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.”Leonard Ravenhill

Deuteronomy 4:23-24 (ESV) 23 Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you. 24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

God is jealous of his church—and the spirits that have not only invaded the church, but that have been embraced by the church, have made him jealous indeed.

As I was on the airplane flying into Colorado a few years ago, the Lord surprised me with a strong and striking word for the church. I was shaking.

The church is almost homosexual.

This is a word that I’m confident is tearing at the heart of God… he’s watching his bride become bewitched.

Question—Is it possible that we in the church are close to embracing the same spirits that fuel the homosexual agenda?

As I was watching the mountains of Colorado draw closer during the final approach to the airport that day, the Lord revealed three drivers of the homosexual agenda:

  1. Pride
  2. Identity
  3. Lust

Understand—the driver of the homosexual agenda is not same-sex attraction, but rather there are strong deceiving spirits of pride, self-promotion and identity, and lust.

I was on a train where two homosexual girls were very visibly hanging on each other, making it very clear that they were together. Their actions were not a result of raging hormones, but rather, they were making a bold declaration, a prideful pronouncement of their chosen identity as lesbians.

They wanted to force affirmation, be noticed and demand acceptance and equality.

“All of the acceptable sins in church are keeping us sick.”-Steve Gray

“Be careful about what you think is innocent. It may come back and choke you.”- Steve Gray

The church has been bewitched by the same spirits that give fuel to the homosexual agenda—and this is a primary reason we have not had success in winning homosexuals to Jesus. We can’t cast out the same demonic spirits we embrace.

Pride

We’ve all heard of gay pride. Pride is a hallmark of the homosexual movement, and, all too often, it’s a driver of the church as well.

I hear continually that it’s rare to find a church where the tangible, manifest presence of God can be experienced. I believe, sadly, there are more Ichabod churches than we realize. An Ichabod church is simply a church that is devoid of God’s glory. The ark of God’s presence has been captured. It doesn’t mean God hates that church. Quite the opposite—He is grieved that he must be removed from his lover, his bride.

1 Samuel 4:21-22 (ESV) 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”

1 Peter 5:5 (ESV) 5…Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

You may not have thought about it this way, but God, though he loves so deeply, actually opposes, or resists, those who are proud. God’s glory departs.

We live in a culture where we fight for success, we jockey for position and we can’t imagine being hidden or failing. Compromise has consumed the church as it seeks success, a larger building, more people, more influence, more money and other demands. Pride has resulted in worship of images made of gold where humility demands the gold is given as worship to God. Pride has resulted in worshiping a packed house where humility calls for laying down our lives for even one.

We wonder why the church isn’t having more success in the culture. 

I believe a key reason is that we are attempting to attack worldly pride with religious pride.  We are actually retaining the services of the very same demons that we are attempting to battle!  A spirit of pride! God resists the proud! Is it possible that we are attempting to change culture from a position of religious pride all while God is not standing with us?

When humility reigns, the church will have the grace that God promises in 1 Peter 5.

Identity

This point is the most burning issue in my spirit right now.

I am fully given to seeing people step into their destinies, discover their true identity in Christ and finding freedom from lies and emotional scars that the enemy has given them. It’s a significant focus of my own ministry.

However, we have a growing problem.

  • Focus is on self more often that it is on God.
  • Focus is on living more than it is on dying daily.

1 Corinthians 4:10-13 (ESV) 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

Please understand, I believe we are seated in Heavenly places with Christ Jesus. We are kings and priests. We have great authority. We have overcome. We are the head and not the tail, above and not beneath.

But, our identities, when rightfully understood, don’t lead us to focusing mostly on personal benefit. When we embrace the cross of Christ, which is where our identities originate, we are now focused on going low, humbling ourselves, serving with passion and identifying with the scum of the world—so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.

A focus on our own benefits, our own healings, our own identities as it relates to personal gain has actually resulted in us aligning with a key spirit that drives the homosexual movement.

Just as with homosexuals, God loves them and us too deeply to affirm a false identity—no matter how desirable and convincing that identity may be! God’s wisdom is much higher than ours, and it takes humility to admit that.

This is a huge, huge point!

When we fight for a false identity that feels so overwhelmingly a part of us, and when our focus is on acceptance, affirmation and human rights, we give up the call to die to our own desires. Suddenly securing our own identity is more important than serving the masses.

The goal is not to be affirmed, accepted, liked or honored. We aren’t to look for equality. We don’t compare ourselves with others. We can’t make demands when life is unfair. The church is to die so that others may life. Our identity is to be fully and entirely in Christ.

An improper attention given to the pursuit of identity (acceptance, affirmation, etc.) causes us to forsake the call to focus on our mission for the sake of devotion to narcissism. This is where the temptation to disobey God and submit to the demands of man can happen.

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:16

Lust

Lust is oozing through the church today. Yes, it’s true that sexual lust is rampant as pornography has been viewed by as many as 50% of Christian men recently.

However, lust is not limited to the sexual variety.

Simply ask the question, “What causes you to get excited, to come alive?”

Many honest Christians would admit that everything from money to fame to popularity to sex could be the answers.

James 1:14-15 (ESV) 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Lust results in death. It really is that simple. The life is sucked right out of people. Suicide is on the rise. Eternal death is another threat as well.

This is a tragic reality in the church today—we’ve lost our first love! False intimacy in the form of lust has take the place of a deep, satisfying, truly intimate and never ending encounter with Jesus! He yearns for us while his beautiful bride is yearning for other lovers!

The church has lost its desire for intimacy with Jesus. Many Christians don’t even know what it is to be overwhelmed by his deep, burning love. Jesus is more of a principle or a foreign character in a book than he is a real, tangible, literal person you can feel.

This lack of revelation and encounter in a very intimate, life giving way with Jesus has resulted in one more comparison with the homosexual movement:

The bride is becoming intimate with the bride.

What does that mean?

We have become more interested in reproducing after our own kind than in receiving a fresh impartation directly from God himself. How does this play out? Several ways:

  • We become enthralled with a certain stream in the body (Word of Faith, house of prayer, etc.) and want to have a relationship with that stream hoping that it produces life.
  • We turn to other people in the church instead of to God through prayer and study of the Word in the hopes that the union can result in the outcome we are looking for.
  • We are move connected socially to people than we are spiritually to God.
  • We believe our church growth comes through people, so we comprise the mission, cancel prayer, water down the message and get intimate with the body!

An intimate union with God will result in a fresh stream birthing through your ministry!

A deep encounter with Jesus will bring the results that a million human counselors never could!

“You can have all of your doctrines right—yet still not have the presence of God.”Leonard Ravenhill

The Solution

Intimacy. Repentance. Falling in love with Jesus. Humility.

“A sinning man stops praying, a praying man stops sinning — Leonard Ravenhill

Yes, fervent, zealous prayer must return to our churches again!

2 Chronicles 7:14-16 (NKJV) 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.

We cannot anymore develop systems that enhance our own identities, stroke our pride or fuel our lust for power, recognition or anything else.

It’s time again to declare the cross, holiness, humility and passion from our pulpits and on our faces!

The core call is for a movement of humility and holiness.

It’s a call to become broken and undone, desperate and deeply intimate with Jesus.

It’s a call to a fasted lifestyle, to full surrender and complete saturation in the advance of the Kingdom.

It’s a call to the deeply humble, yet powerfully bold life of John the Baptist.

Are we ready to let the Lover of our souls invade the deepest parts of our inner man? He is wooing his glorious bride back to him…will we respond?

Song of Songs 1:4 (ESV) 4 Draw me after you; let us run. The king has brought me into his chambers.

Church competition and the sheep stealing/transfer growth myth

While potentially provocative, it’s important to discuss the issue of church competition as we progress toward revival.

imageIt hits me very deeply, and it saddens me so much when I encounter a spirit of competition within the landscape of the church.

This issue is rampant and it has resulted in a weakened, compromised city church structure, which is extremely problematic as we prepare for revival.

1 Timothy 3:14-15 (ESV) 14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.

This passage is written with leaders in mind. It’s important to know how to behave in the household of God… and how not to behave.

Keep in mind, scripturally the church is identified by the larger city, by geography. It’s the Church at Ephesus, not the First Church of Jesus Christ and the Second Church of Jesus Christ and such and such Baptist church in the city of Ephesus. We don’t see the local church in the Bible, though God has and will move powerfully through local, smaller groups within the larger city Church. However, we have to understand that local churches are simply departments of a single city Church. Senior pastors are departmental leaders under the apostolic leadership of the city.

The call of leaders is to raise up a company of burning ministers of God with the expectation of seeing them released into world shaking endeavors. Some will be released into ministry in other cities, some will be released into other expressions of the church in their own city, while others will remain directly involved where they were trained.

But, everybody must be trained and released. The message to Timothy continues:

1 Timothy 4:14-15 (ESV) 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.

Everybody must be progressing.

prog·ress n. 1. Movement, as toward a goal; advance.

Everybody under my care at Revival Church must be moving! If someone is not able to progress, to move, to advance in their ministry due to nervous pastors, it is a serious violation of God’s instructions to the Church. As I said, movement may take people out of a local ministry and into the place they are called to advance into, and we as leaders must celebrate when that happens.

A spirit of Pharaoh within spiritual leaders will do everything possible to keep their people from leaving into their wilderness of encounter, into their destiny.

That unhealthy spirit of Pharaoh will use people to fulfill leader’s personal endeavors, and any thought of those people leaving will strike them with fear and anger. A divisive, controlling spirit is embraced while people who are meant to fulfill their destinies are required to continue making the bricks of a man-made Egypt.

imageSHEEP STEALING

I didn’t realize how much a simple statement would set someone free.

A new friend had been through a troubling situation at a church and her transition out was filled with unfortunate and unnecessary struggle and guilt.

She cautiously started to investigate Revival Church from her place of fear and pain. We were discussing our pursuit as a church of freedom in Detroit one day, and I told her, “I don’t own you. I don’t own people here. As a pastor, my role is to serve you, not use you.”

That simple statement changed her life dramatically and caused her to breathe more easily.

I often tell the people who are pressing ahead with great commitment and focus at Revival Church that I, as their leader, have wide open hands. They aren’t my possession, they are my joy. Anybody from any church or ministry can, at any time, openly recruit any person at Revival Church. I have open hands. Sheep stealing cannot happen at Revival Church because it’s impossible to steal what someone freely gives.

Additionally, I know that my church is simply a department of the city church. I am not an island to myself. I’m not the supreme leader (yeah, doesn’t that sound ridiculous?). It would be silly for a local church’s single’s pastor to refuse to allow someone in his ministry to also commit to a weekly small group in the same local church. The same is true within the context of the city church. It makes no sense to presume people running with us at Revival Church wouldn’t also have opportunities to serve in other local ministries. My job, as 1 Tim 4:14-15 declares, is to lay hands on them and allow them to immerse themselves in their ministry, to practice, to progress, and I realize that much of that practice will take place in places other than Revival Church.

If a pastor in Detroit encourages one of my key leaders to serve on his leadership team, then I should celebrate! And I do! They aren’t stealing one of my sheep. We are on the same team, in the same church!

A youth pastor once confronted a friend of mine, who was a youth pastor at a thriving youth ministry in Texas. He very boldly, full of agitation, accused my friend of stealing his sheep because many of the youth from his church were also attending my buddy’s youth ministry.

My friend boldly replied, “How is it that you are accusing me of stealing sheep that simply wandered away from you? It doesn’t sound like you are feeding them what they need.”

Now, there is some merit (harsh but true) to that reply. However, another scenario might very well be more accurate. Is it possible that the other youth pastor was so successful at cultivating hunger for God that his disciples were making determined decisions to go after God with abandon—beyond the walls of their local church? Is it possible that their ‘wandering’ could be looked at as a sign of success on his part? I think that might be the case!

I have to tell you, I absolutely come alive when people under my care are moving about the city involving themselves in other churches and ministries. I love it! I want them to carry the fire of God into every place they can every single week!

TRANSFER GROWTH

We often hear that churches should not focus on transfer growth, on growing as people from other churches start connecting in the new church. Of course, I agree that we must see the church globally grow through evangelism, through conversion growth. The lost must be found. However, a common reason we hear some pastors renouncing transfer growth is because of insecurity and nervousness. They don’t want to lose anybody because that loss would equate to lost money, lost reputations, lost control, etc.

Again, we must expect people to participate in a variety of churches and ministries in the city Church. Since we are all in a single city Church, people moving from one local expression to another does not mean they are leaving one church for another. They are still in the city Church. If someone moves from the single’s ministry to a small group, there’s no transfer growth for the small group. The city Church has remained exactly the same size.

We must also admit that any single local church simply doesn’t have everything necessary to equip everybody. In fact, we’d be a much stronger city Church if we understood that. I am able to focus on the vision God has given me at Revival Church, and I don’t have the pressure to be an expert in everything. I can encourage people to connect in another church that’s strong where I am weak. And, if they feel they must spend the majority of their time there, under the leadership of a person who’s more able to give them what they need, then that is great! They can transfer from my local church to theirs, but the city Church has not lost…it has actually won. That person will now be more able to grow and progress, and the city church will be the better for it.

COMPETITION

This is where the gloves have to come off. It’s a serious violation of God to foster a spirit of competition.

I was with a well known apostle who has a huge heart for revival in Detroit. He has a lot of influence and a very successful church in another state. He felt led to make several trips to serve Detroit, and on this particular trip he was with a group of pastors. He said, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to move here and start a church.” Everybody laughed.

While funny, I was disturbed by that exchange.

Why would the thought of this man opening another department in the growing city church cause other pastors to worry?

Of course, I know the answer. Because a successful man starting a new church would threaten their own kingdoms.

I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but I have to say that actually sickens me. People are going to Hell and pastors are worried about another ministry being successful? Sick.

Dr. James Emery White said: If you think a new church opening up in your area is a threat to your “mission field”, you need mission lessons.

Mark 3:24-25 (ESV) 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

Is there any wonder why there is no revival at a city level anywhere in the nation? The city Church is divided tragically. There is gossip about pastors and churches. There is fear and nervousness when other churches succeed. Hands are closed tight, not opened wide. The sheep are being used not served. People are jealous and divisive. This must end. Jesus is the head of the church and we have to finally let him govern freely.

3 John 1:9-10 (ESV) 9 I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. 10 So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

This is a powerful verse. This is descriptive of situations that repeat every day in cities all over the world. Diotrephes gossiped and slandered and aggressively divided threatening people out of the church. Anybody that was a threat to his own preeminence was dealt with swiftly.

Contrary to this worldly, demonic approach to church leadership, look at how Jesus led:

Mark 9:35 (ESV) 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

That is leadership, and that is how we must approach other churches and ministries.

Every Friday night from 10pm-midnight our team travels to different church somewhere in the Detroit region. We pray in the Spirit and release blessing over that church, that pastor and their mission. I tell them that my prayer is for their church to grow much bigger than my own. I want them to receive greater offerings than we do. If they want some of my team to join their team, they are free to approach them about it.

Additionally, the call is for every pastor that we visit to join us every Friday night in another church and to pray the same things there. Can you imagine what would happen if every pastor in Detroit did that with us every Friday night? Revival would land nearly immediately.

One last point is critical: We cannot hold onto people so tightly that they are unable to respond to the greater, regional call. If something in the city church requires people from my team to move out of position in my local ministry and into position into the city ministry, I have to release them. A spirit of Pharaoh will keep people away from the greater calling. It will be common, as revival lands, for people in local ministries and churches to move out to serve regionally.

This will be a challenge for many. What do I do if my worship leader is tapped to serve the department that’s over my own? I let her go and trust God that he’ll ensure everything locally is covered. In fact, if it’s a city Church event, it would make more sense to shut down my ministry for the day or week and head out with everybody, in the spirit of Moses, into the greater, regional mission.

So, how about it church? It’s time to celebrate the growth of the city church, to release the people under our care, to burn with love and to lock arms with other Believers in the region—even if it means our own ministry shrinks. People with that type of heart will be exalted and rewarded as those with a heart after God’s own.

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