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)
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.
Addressing error without compromising our credibility
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The need for people who rightly divide the truth is only going to escalate as the end-times season we are in continues to unfold. These Bereans are valuable and it would do us all well to embrace the opportunity to analyze our belief systems and to grow.
Instead, all over social media especially, we see critical and arrogant spirits assaulting others they disagree with theologically. For Christians to be rude and to operate in a spirit of accusation makes one wonder if they are saved at all. In fact, the moment we utilize methods of communication that contradict the fruits of the Spirit, we lose our credibility. Fortunately, there are many people who confirm their credibility by debating and discussing with love and honor. Communicating with them is a pleasure. However, all too often, supposed guardians of theology are zeroed in on proving their point and on shaming all who disagree. On the contrary, the shame is on them as they attempt to demoralize and invalidate people’s ministry. The focus is on mistakes, errors, disagreements and weaknesses instead of building them up, honoring them and encouraging them in the Lord.
10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10 (ESV)
As one who absolutely affirms bold and provocative messages, I’m dismayed that so many who name the name of Jesus presume boldness equates to cruelty and divisiveness. Haters and debaters who are driven by a contentious agenda against those they disagree with are doing great damage to the church. Strangely, they presume to be the champions of truth, knights in shining armor who are to be celebrated for defending their absolutely “perfect” view of Scripture. They presume themselves to be Bereans when in reality they are aligning themselves with a dark spirit of accusation and assault. These are no Bereans. They are, in fact, Thessalonians.
THE SPIRIT OF THE BEREANS VS THE SPIRIT OF THE THESSALONIANS
2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,” he said. Acts 17:2-3 (NIV)
In Thessalonica, Paul was reasoning in the synagogue and revealing the glorious truth of Jesus. Some were persuaded, but many weren’t, and instead of exhibiting love in disagreement, they started a riot. This riotous spirit is driving the religious today, people who are not at all interested in life-giving truth. Their motive is selfish, protecting their own way of life and belief system.
5 But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. Acts 17:5 (NIV)
I think I’ve met some of the bad characters the verse mentions. They are all over Facebook. In the face of this, Paul and Silas moved on to Berea.
10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Acts 17:10 (NIV)
Many presume the Bereans heard the message and then, with a nasty, suspicious look on their face and thick theological walls built up, they put their noses into the Scriptures, looking to refute all that was being said. This is not what happened at all. Many modern “Bereans” are some of the meanest, most arrogant and unteachable people in the church. They are so tightly wound up, fearing even the slightest threat to their personal doctrines that they often slander and accuse people they oppose. This is not how the Bereans in the Book of Acts responded. Not at all.
11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11 (NIV)
Did you notice that the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians? Did you notice why? They received the message not with great suspicion, but with great eagerness! They were excited about this fresh, life-giving message that Paul was revealing to them! Their energy wasn’t spent discounting the message but rather in searching the Scriptures to see if it was true.
Because of this, many Jews and Greeks were transformed.
The story doesn’t end there, however.
13 When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, they went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. Acts 17:13 (NIV)
The Thessalonians actually went to Berea to hunt down Paul and agitate the people because of his message!
I propose many who assume themselves to be Bereans are actually Thessalonians—people who are more intent on hunting, agitating and stirring up instead of eagerly receiving revelation from the Word of God.
When engaging in conversation, especially online on social media or in the comments section of articles like this one, simply be nice. Discussions and healthy debates are supposed to be fun and edifying!
I try to make it a point to address false theologies while never assaulting the minister. I know, there are many who would argue that there are times in Scripture where false teachers were named and they were addressed quite bluntly. Yes, there absolutely does come a time to do that, but it is not as often as many might presume—and it’s always in a spirit of great love.
I do my very best to honor all, even if I believe their theology is way off. What benefit is there in being rude, arrogant or aggressive toward them as a person? When I engage in discussions on Facebook or other places online, a core value of mine is to be nice. I never want the person I’m engaging with to feel like I’m attacking them or that I presume to be superior. While I will boldly communicate my position, I don’t want anybody who might disagree to feel unsafe or devalued. They are precious people created in the image of God. Yes, if they pose a risk because of their doctrine, we must deal with that. But, it’s usually more beneficial to attack beliefs than to call out and defame people.
If I’m not exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit in my conversation, I should not be communicating at all. It’s time to shut off the computer and head into the prayer room. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control should dominate our discussions.
Quit calling everyone you disagree with a heretic. Quit commenting on articles like this one with the sole intent of exposing the author as deceived, false or in some sort of error. Share your perspective. Offer your point of view. Reveal your concerns. Be teachable. Communicate with honor and humility without abdicating your mandate to be a true Berean. Your eagerness to receive truth will open the door for many to believe in Jesus.
Please understand, I have thick skin. By the grace of God I’m nearly unoffendable. When people are aggressive toward me personally when I write or preach, I honestly don’t take offense. Reading mean tweets and comments can be entertaining and even enlightening. I understand the messages I’m called to deliver are provocative and I do know the arrows will fly.
But, I will say this. As someone who is deeply troubled when other preachers and prophetic people are attacked simply because of a disagreement over their theology or style of ministry, I want to simply ask you to be nice. Don’t aim your arrows in their direction. Understand the accusations and cruel things you say don’t only hurt them, but they hurt their spouses and children. Do you have any idea how many tears wives have cried because their husbands are mercilessly assaulted by others in the church through gossip and all over the internet? This is a very real and terribly sad problem, and it simply shouldn’t be.
Let love lead. Be kind. Be gentle. Be patient. Be bold. Stand for truth. Don’t hate. Be tender in your debate. Put the arrows down and simply love.
Do we trust God’s message enough to risk everything to share it?
Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time… Jonah 3:1 (ESV)
We never want to cause God to bring his word to us more than once. Jonah was resistant. We are all familiar with the story. The mission the Lord gave Jonah was a critical one, and he wasn’t about give up over the childish, selfish approach of his prophet. Nineveh needed to hear from God, fast, and Jonah was the man to bring the message. The longer I live the more dismayed I become at the state of preaching and prophetic ministry. While there is a small, raging, faithful remnant that is operating out of the fear of the Lord in these dire end times, the normal approach to preaching in our nation is cautious at best, outright rebellious at worst. Human wisdom has taken over numerous pulpits. Many are trading unchangeable truths in Scripture for a modified version that seems more godly, and less costly. For example, I asked a question on Facebook recently: If a professing Christian was caught in sin such as greed, pornography, gossip or other intentional failures, and they repeatedly refused to repent, what should happen? Many rejected Matthew 18 as too severe. They generally replied by saying we should pray for them, keep them in the church so they can hear the truth, be patient, etc. That sounds good, but it’s not biblical. They are attempting to extend a type of mercy that God never intended them to.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17 (ESV)
Cultural resistance to any hint of judgment has caused many American preachers to go soft and silent. Churches are crawling with immoral people who name the name of Christ, and we as leaders will have blood on our hands if we don’t deliver a sobering message of repentance to our nation. The Bible is extremely clear on this point. We must judge with a heart of love and sobriety for the sake of the church:
But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 (ESV)
The Bible reveals in the end-times, people will call evil good and good evil. While church leadership as a whole isn’t at the point of calling sexual sin good, the lack of action as demanded by Scripture reveals that some leaders are calling evil something less than evil. Weakness. Struggle. Human nature. They wish to extend mercy to those who willfully continue in their deliberate decision to defy God. There comes a time when we must trust God’s wisdom and understand the unrepentant are evil. Period. Boy, that sounds self-righteous, doesn’t it? No, it doesn’t, unless you’ve been conditioned by the politically correct, religiously correct culture we are living in today. In truth, it’s not self-righteous. It’s simply righteous. We can, and must, have a heart of compassion and eyes filled with tears as we witness people rejecting God and his standards. Those tears however can’t result in a failure to exercise biblical protocol. There does come a time when we must act, no matter how terrible the action might feel. God can be trusted.
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 (ESV)
It doesn’t get any more direct than that.
A SECOND CHANCE FOR AMERICA’S PREACHERS
The primary purpose of this article is not to discuss protocol for discipline in the church, though that is a necessary sub-point. The reason I led with that point was to reveal the deep dilemma we are currently in in America. We have gone soft on sin and few are speaking on the crisis. Judgment is not only probable, it’s most likely necessary to ensure more people aren’t contaminated by compromised, carnal, passive, quasi-Christianity. Judgment is God’s method of giving opportunity for those who still have hope to escape the prison they locked themselves into through their disobedience. We need judgment. It’s God moving in both love and severity at the same time, for good cause.
Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” Jonah 3:1-2 (ESV)
This is a message for America. It’s time to call out against it. We have no option but to deliver the message that God gives us. We need great, humble and bold men and women of God to reject fear of man, to stop thinking about the impact on their ministry and reputation and call out! It’s time for a shaking to come to America, and it needs to be initiated by preachers behind pulpits and in front of cameras from coast to coast. We know that Nineveh famously repented, and God relented.
Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. Jonah 3:9-10 (ESV)
We need messengers of God to arise and open their mouths! We must call out against America and cry out for deliverance from destruction.
CALL OUT AND CRY OUT!
I’ve met many pastors who admittedly have surrendered the fiery and unapologetically confrontational message that God had given them years prior for a more palatable message that ensures people keep showing up on Sundays. As an itinerant prophetic minister, I’m often called in to bring a sharp prophetic message, when in reality the leadership should have been bringing it themselves all along. I understand what bringing in catalytic people can do. That is a God designed strategy, and many amazing pastors do that to help bring some fresh revelation and instruction into their situation. But, much of what I and others do can be accomplished without any outside help whatsoever. Call out and cry out night and day! Gather the people to pray! Repent! Refuse to lead a typical American church! Go deep and burn with passion! Call every person to be branded by the searing heat of the Holy Spirit. It’s time! We don’t want to live a Jonah 3:1 life. The second time God is required to speak due to our delay and disobedience is one time too many. Let’s back up to Jonah 1:1:
Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD. Jonah 1:1-3 (ESV)
There we see the original directive. Instead of calling out against Nineveh, Jonah instead went away from the presence of the Lord. Listen closely: Many of today’s prophets and preachers are ministering on the run, outside of God’s presence, in a spirit of self-centeredness. They are evading the hard messages because of unresolved inner issues in their lives. The thought of offending people, losing them from their ministry, losing financial support, losing favor and their pedestal, have all resulted in preachers without an anointing delivering a message born of their own hearts.Judgment is coming—first to the preachers, and then, very possibly to our nation. Remember, it’s God’s love that demands this. It would be the least impactful way to awaken the greatest number of people. Judgment is necessary if repentance is absent.
Being open to God’s voice in our lives will result in a lifestyle of inconvenience, challenge and impossible mandates. It will cause huge, huge problems in our lives, and it will cause damage and bring calibration to our lifestyle. But, as we understand our roles to bring reformation and calibration to the church and to the world, we’ll see that our lives won’t collapse. We will function in power as we hear God and release decrees and declarations! As many of today’s preachers and prophets are running from God’s mandate and asleep outside of his presence, the world is crying out for you to awaken!
So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.” Jonah 1:6 (ESV)
There is no safe place outside of God’s call. Jonah’s disobedience was putting the lives of those around him at risk. They demanded that he wake up and call out to God! I want to encourage you to do the same. Call out to God and then call out against America. Then, cry out for her as intercessors. A great drama is before us, and we must ensure that drama includes the greatest move of repentance in history; a revival that cannot be measured. Preachers, America is waiting for you to arise from your slumber and release the burning messages of God. Like Jonah, this is the very reason you were born.
Homosexuality & gender insanity: What happened to the bold, unapologetic declaration of truth in the church today?
Cool mom Adele let son wear ‘Frozen' Anna costume in Disneyland. ~Mashable http://mashable.com/2016/02/17/adele-son-frozen-costume/#VBnXeZDuIuq2
Nike cuts ties with Manny Pacquiao after derogatory comments. ~ ESPN http://espn.go.com/boxing/story/_/id/14793389/nike-ends-endorsement-contract-manny-pacquiao
Whoever told you that love equals tolerance was lying. I’m grateful that God is actually quite intolerant, that he doesn’t celebrate deviance and immorality as if it were an expression of mankind’s true nature that’s worthy of honor. I’m blessed to know that God refuses to budge on his righteous standards that, in his unmatchable wisdom, can do nothing but enhance the lives of all who respond.
1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! 2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, 3 who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! Psalm 119:1-3 (ESV)
The greater the revelation of the love of God, the more intense the separation between light and darkness becomes. True love warns and protects people from behaviors, belief systems and decisions that put them in harm’s way. What is harmful becomes vivid in the light of God’s perfect Word.
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 (ESV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Matthew 5:14-15 (ESV)
The fact that so many in the church today are shrinking back from being that light in favor of a position of tolerance for what is deadly in the lives of others is shocking. Well, it was shocking. I’m beyond that. Now, it’s inexcusable. Church leaders who are so confused about what love really looks like must allow God to bring a recalibration to them. Truth must be preached from the pulpits today more than ever, in the face of rapidly increasing evil.
Philippians 1:9-10 (MSG) 9 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings 10 so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of…
While taking your kid to Disney is awesome enough, passersbys also noticed that her son was sporting a costume from Frozen's of Princess Anna. Fans were quick to applaud Adele for bending gender norms and being the kind of mom who lets her kids wear whatever makes them feel best. ~Mashable http://mashable.com/2016/02/17/adele-son-frozen-costume/#VBnXeZDuIuq2
It’s certainly not shocking that Adele would allow her son to dress as a girl. Before he was born she confirmed her defiance to biblical truth in a statement in Time Magazine that sounds loving, but in fact is setting her son up for disaster—both on the earth and in eternity:
“He makes me so proud of myself, and he makes me like myself so much. I’ve never not liked myself. I don’t have hangups like that. But I’m so proud of myself that I made him in my belly … I can’t wait to know who his best friends are going to be, who his girlfriend or his boyfriend is going to be…” TIME http://time.com/4155795/adele-time-cover-story-interview-motherhood-25/?xid=time_socialflow_twitter
Hayden Wright, in response to that statement by Adele, wrote in an article for radio.com:
This subtle message of tolerance is just a nugget of wisdom Adele revealed in her TIME interview.
It’s not surprising that people who don’t know Jesus would choose human wisdom over biblical wisdom. What is surprising is how silent the church remains.
22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Romans 1:22-23 (ESV)
Are we so terrified of being called names like hater, bigot, homophobic or other derogatory terms that we shut up in hopes that our silence will lessen the assaults? We should be ashamed.
Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me, right? Wrong. When truth is preached great trouble comes. Persecution will hit and that’s why so few today will open their mouths.
The enemy has been so effective in confusing Christians about what love really is that truth has been reworded, minimized or discounted altogether.
Our silence, timidity and lack of Holy Spirit given words for this moment has resulted in a global advance of a Satanic campaign that has nearly unstoppable momentum.
11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Luke 12:11-12 (ESV)
12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13 This will be your opportunity to bear witness. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. Luke 21:12-16 (ESV)
How interesting that the above passage reveals that Christians who speak truth will be delivered to prisons and synagogues. Both the secular authorities and religious authorities will persecute Believers—some by putting them to death. Today, in America, persecution does not usually include penalties of death, but destroyed reputations and threats to financial ruin most definitely are upon us.
This is why heroes like Aaron and Melissa Klein should be honored. Instead of baking a cake supporting the sin of homosexuality they opted to allow the state to punish them with a fine of $135,000. They refused to bow down to a spirit of Mammon by surrendering to demands to embrace immorality.
10 You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. 11 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Daniel 3:10-13 (ESV)
Wouldn’t it have been more loving to affirm the king and all of the people in their honor of the golden image? Couldn’t they have bowed out of respect but later on opened a respectful dialogue at a coffee shop somewhere? How ridiculous, right? Then why do we see supposed Christians refusing to take a stand today? It’s usually because they want to avoid conflict, keep their Facebook timeline happy and controversy free and exhibit false humility by declaring that other viewpoints are valid.
No, friend, other viewpoints are absolutely not valid if they contradict the timeless truth of God’s Word. They are wrong and we need to finally stand up with fire in our veins and let the world know!
It’s true that friends, family and many others will turn on us. The Bible predicts that.
16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17 You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. Luke 21:16-17 (ESV)
How can we allow sodomy and absolutely vile debauchery continue uncontested? Well known pastors have famously refused to take a clear stance on homosexuality and gender issues in the hopes of being “welcoming of all.” The argument too often is, “Well, you need to understand that homosexuality is no different than greed or lust or other sins.”
Really? That’s the defense? That makes it seem as if the other sins are somehow okay. We shouldn’t be sinning at all!
Pastors, get ready for some uncomfortable truth: our church services weren’t designed to be evangelistic meetings. They are to be Spirit-filled, prayer-driven meeting that would make anybody in a sinful lifestyle do one of two things—run to the altar or run out the door. Somehow welcoming them in and removing the conviction of God from meetings is an expression of love. Welcome them in, yes. Ask God to leave? No.
As I’ve said many times, I refuse to tone down the activity of the Holy Spirit out of respect of those less hungry—or those who are in full on rebellion to his standards.
Standing on truth will result in many people leaving our churches, taking their money with them and leaving their bad reviews all over social media. If this is the persecution that pastors are trying to avoid I can only shake my head.
Nike released a statement on Wednesday that read: “We find Manny Pacquiao’s comments abhorrent. Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community. We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao.” ~NIKE
“It’s common sense,” the eight-times world champion, who later apologised, said. “Do you see animals mating with the same sex? Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female. If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals.” ~www.theguardian.com
Manny Pacquiao later stated he was “telling the truth of what the Bible says”.
While some might argue that Manny could have used less combative language, the truth remains that he was fearless to voice timeless truth. His boldness and commitment to God has resulted in great financial loss.
A petition was launched on Change.org by Rutgers University graduate student Aries Dela Cruz on Tuesday urged Nike to drop Pacquiao.
“Pacquiao's expressions of homophobia and bigotry disqualifies him from being honored, endorsed and sponsored by one of the world's largest publicly-traded and owned athletic companies, particularly one that is celebrated and well-known for their promotion of sportsmanship and excellence,” ~USA Today
Here’s the point I think must be made: Christians, especially Christian leaders, have become so afraid of troubling the waters by speaking truth that they have bought into a faux love that muzzles the very power that can set the captives free. Manny might have said what he did differently, but at least he didn’t shut his mouth. He didn’t suppress the truth. This is a serious issue!
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18 (ESV)
Can someone behind a pulpit deliver the clear message that there are in fact enemies of God and that, unless they radially repent and renounce their partnership with darkness, they will be cast into unquenchable fire? That message has more love in it than any message of tolerance ever will.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32 (ESV)
This next statement sounds harsh, and many would not say it in today’s politically correct world, but it is nonetheless true:
Homosexuals are enemies of God. Adulterers are enemies of God. Lovers of money are enemies of God. Those who practice sin are enemies of God and they will not be in Heaven when they die. Many have been given over by God to a debased mind. A delusion has been sent and we are attempting to reach them with sweet smiles and passivity! We must begin to war in the Spirit and shout piercing truth from the rooftops!
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. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13 (ESV)
With that in mind, this is also true: Heaven won’t be the same without those who are not following Jesus today! A revelation truth will give them an unparalleled opportunity to renounce their alliance with evil and discover the wonders of knowing Jesus. Nice words, tolerance and political correctness will never do that. Only truth will set the captive free. But, that truth will cause problems.
We live in a day where our speech can bring great persecution to us—and, at the same time, bring eternity shaking liberty to many who are lost and hopeless.
It’s time to open our mouths, type on our keyboards and stand fearlessly against the spirit of the age. It’s okay to do so with unction. We don’t have to always sound nice. There should be urgency raging through us. It’s time to stopping offering biblical ideals for optional consideration and to declare with conviction that God’s Word is right and every argument against it is not only wrong but eternally deadly.
It’s time to go to war and absolutely destroy arguments against God! We do so not by worldly, fleshly means but via the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Such inspiration will cause Christians to say things that will result in extreme backlash, hatred, accusation and ultimately imprisonment and death.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (ESV)
And, it will draw a line in the sand, something clearly seen by everybody. A great revival in the land will come when enemies of God hear truth and finally cross over that glorious line.
Open your mouths, church. Draw the line. Be bold. Love deeply. Shock the culture. Trigger a great end time revival.
Discover four powerful keys to experiencing an explosion of truth in your life!
All too often I run into some amazing Christian people who are standing strong and pressing in, but also experiencing frustration at the lack of impact the Word of God has in their lives.
God’s Word is a burning, exploding, penetrating and living message that should cause us to collapse to the ground while trembling—yet that is rarely the experience for so many discouraged people of God.
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me… Revelation 1:12
…I fell at his feet as though dead… Revelation 1:17
I know it’s popular today to attempt to read the Bible through in a year. Kudos to all who accomplish this!
I’d like to offer an alternate option: read a portion of a verse for a month. If we can speed through verses, chapters and books without being overwhelmed by the searing revelation, we need to slow down. Read one verse and let it rock you to the core.
For example, you could take the next month and let the first half of Revelation 1:10 provoke you:
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day… Revelation 1:10
What does that portion of a single verse do to you? Oh, to be in the Spirit on the Lord’s day! We could spend hours crying out to God on that topic alone! Hours can turn to days as we break and repent for times we might have grieved the Holy Spirit. A holy hunger to never leave that supernatural realm would then begin to overtake us and our entire lives would shift for eternity! A fraction of a verse can, and should, do that!
Then, the next month can be devoted to the rest of the verse:
…and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet Revelation 1:10
My spirit jumps at the mere thought of such an experience!
A zealous determination to hear the voice of the Living God will consume us as we, after the previous month’s revelation, are trembling in the Spirit of the Almighty!
The Word of God, the Bible, is most certainly a living message that should take us to our knees in extreme passion! Sadly, for most, it rarely does.
Four Powerful Keys
1. REALLY BELIEVE IT.
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13
It’s at work in you who believe. Or, another way to say it: we must believe what we are reading for it to work.
Before I lose you, I know, of course, that we as Christians clearly affirm a belief in the Bible. The problem is that we are kidding ourselves. True belief is rare in today’s church.
Have you ever considered why so many messages on love, for example, have to be preached from the pulpit? So many don’t really believe that God loves them. They aren’t convinced.
There have been seasons where I have hit hard on the issues of holiness, repentance, the fear of the Lord and eternity. It never fails that someone submits a request for me to balance out the subject matter with teachings that focus mostly on God’s love. Of course, it’s true that the topic of love is inexhaustible, but that’s not the underlying argument. The reality they are communicating is that the discussion of God’s severity threatens their weak grasp on God’s love. They don’t believe God loves them—even though the Bible states it clearly, continually from cover to cover!
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love… 1 John 4:16
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
You see, if we really believed that God loved us, we would never be phased by other difficult truths.
It would behoove us to be settled on truths that God’s Word is settled on. We simply must believe the Bible!
When we believe the Bible, literally, everything changes. We will never be able to casually breeze through the pages of our Bible again!
Passages that previously bored us will ignite us! Just take a moment, grab your Bible, and open it up. Read. Believe. Let the hunger for a manifestation of what you just read electrify your spirit! Have some righteous anger over truths that have been dismissed or minimized in the past, and as a result have not manifested in your life!
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. Psalm 18:30
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7
All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal. Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word. Psalm 119:160-161
God’s Word is true, no matter what our intellect or our situation may report.
A sure way to lose faith and fail to experience a life that is fueled by the power of the Word is to be led by our senses.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5
If you want the power, the burning and the trembling to cease (or to never be found), then reject anything in Scripture that isn’t verified via science, experience or common sense.
Yes, you must read the Bible and believe it, no matter what your circumstances or experiences or knowledge may be. God’s truth trumps all else—even supposed facts, proofs or testimonies.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
Throughout Scripture God defied common sense and brought man’s wisdom to nothing. We don’t have the capacity to grasp the mysteries of God in the natural, in our minds.
I dare you to read the Bible, be challenged by the impossible and refuse to doubt even for a moment. You will grow like a rocket!
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead–since he was about a hundred years old–and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:18-22
2. DON’T REJECT IT.
We cannot reject the unpopular, difficult truths in Scripture. We must receive everything God’s Word communicates to us.
Today we are witnessing a tragedy in the church that I call Buffet Jesus. Jesus is the Word, according to Scripture, but his words are received in part instead of in full. Unpopular truths are passed by in favor of the sugary, more satisfying messages.
It is not possible to be a Biblical Christian if we only receive the parts of the Bible that are affirming, encouraging or uplifting. We can’t shut out the rebuke, discipline, judgment or severity of God because they don’t match our faulty worldview. When we do so, the entire counsel of God’s Word becomes compromised and tainted. Even the parts that are received are incomplete and were not meant to stand on their own.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13
Truth doesn’t only edify us. It corrects us. It troubles us. It judges us.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Too many refuse to be teachable due to their own pride or their rejection of anything that contradicts their picture of a perfect God. They shut down wisdom that threatens their utopia to their own detriment.
The Israelites rejected the way God was functioning when Moses was on the mountain (receiving the law, ironically enough) so they rejected him in favor of a man-made image. They fashioned the perfect God that fit their fleshly demands.
When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD.” So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.' Exodus 32:5-8
If we fashion our own golden calf, made up of compromised, incomplete and twisted truth, we are far from enjoying the fruit of a truly Biblical life.
3. ACCURATELY UNDERSTAND IT.
If we want to have the truth of Scripture manifest powerfully in our lives, we have to understand it. We must study and rightly interpret what it is saying.
It’s shocking how many verses are taught, declared and stood on completely out of context. It doesn’t make us evil people if we do this (if done in ignorance), but it does make us frustrated people!
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
For example, most people who I would connect with on a day to day basis would agree that God is the Healer and that we can experience divine health as Christians.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits– who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, Psalm 103:2-3
So, it’s common to pray for the sick and to cry out to God for him to heal them. And, the result, most often, is that the person remains sick. This can cause the truth of Scripture to become discouraging. In fact, the enemy can even cause people to reject the truth about healing in favor of a substitute teaching that matches what they are experiencing. How deadly this is!
If we understand Scripture we will know that nobody in the New Covenant ever prayed for God to heal anybody! The Apostles simply did it! The command wasn’t to pray to God to heal the sick, it was for us to heal the sick!
He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. Matthew 10:1
He gave them authority! So, we are to heal the sick, according to Scripture. When we pray for God to do it, that is contrary to the biblical protocol given to us.
Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 10:6-8
Jesus had to correct the misunderstanding of his disciples in Acts chapter 1:
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:4-8
Imagine the scenario: Jesus had just been slaughtered on the cross before their very eyes. Graves then opened up as previously dead people started moving about, the sun turned to darkness, the earth quaked—and then, a few days later, the previously unrecognizable, bloodied man had miraculously defied death and was standing before them!
You can imagine their passion and excitement. They were ready for their Champion to set up his Kingdom. However, they misunderstood how it would all unfold. Instead of telling them how he’d set up his Kingdom, Jesus told them to wait for the Promise—and then revealed that they would be establishing the Kingdom on the earth, not him!
Then he disappeared as the disciples were gazing into the heavens.
Today so many Christians are doing the same thing. We are gazing into heaven waiting for Jesus to do what Jesus is not going to do! In Acts chapter 1, the disciples transitioned into being apostles—sent ones. Jesus said something important on the cross, “It is finished.” He’s done. What else do we want him to do? He has defeated death, hell and the grave! Now WE are to move out and do what he empowered and commanded us to do!
If we don’t correctly understand this truth, we will be greatly frustrated and will wonder why the Bible doesn’t seem to work powerfully in our lives.
Another example of misunderstanding Scripture to our own detriment can be found in Romans 8.
How often have we attempted to encourage a fellow Christian with verse 28? Maybe they have gone through a divorce or lost their job. The go to verse for so many is actually some of the worst counsel that you could give them!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
A correct understanding of Scripture would result in quite a different bit of counsel. Verse 28 begins with the word and. That should clue us off. That verse is contingent on the preceding truth. Something else must happen in order for all things to work together for good. Let’s back up and take a look:
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. Romans 8:26-27
When we are weak, we are instructed to groan in the Spirit! That is the counsel we should be giving to people who are going through difficulty! It’s in the place of groaning intercession where all things work together for good. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is praying through us perfectly in accordance with God’s will. When that happens, our love of God intensifies (just try it!) and God’s will becomes ours as we agree in prayer. We don’t know what we are agreeing with, but it doesn’t matter. Our trust in in God and he can do as he wishes. He then makes all things work!
One more example can be found in Matthew. Have you ever called a prayer meeting and only had two or three people show up? In order to encourage the few faithful who showed up, you probably pulled out Matthew 18:19-20:
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19-20
I’ve done that myself, though I’ve always been a bit troubled by the principle. If he’s there where two or three are gathered, is he distant when I’m alone?
So, I studied it out and found something quite interesting. Those verses aren’t about prayer or prayer meetings at all.
They are about church government!
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' Matthew 18:15-16
How interesting! Jesus is saying that he has our back when we go with two or three witnesses to deal with someone who is in sin and unrepentant! He’s giving us a protocol for church government!
I could go on and on with other examples, but I believe you understand the point. If we function with great intentions but contrary to Scriptural truth, we are bound to be disappointed with the results.
4. EXPERIENCE REVELATION OF IT.
It’s one thing to believe the Bible. It’s an entirely different thing to have a supernatural revelation of it.
We all must live and walk and pray in the Spirit, night and day, so we can have a never ending supply of revelation.
This is where so few Believers will go. If we aren’t living in the Spirit, we can’t presume to fully understand or believe the Word of God.
Check this out:
Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV) 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power (MIRACULOUS FORCE) through his Spirit (PNEUMA: BREATH, WIND, SPIRIT) in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend (SEIZE, POSSESS, APPREHEND) with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge (DOESN’T EXIST IN THE VISIBLE REALM, OR EVENIN THE DREAM REALM), that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (WOW! FILLED, FULLNESS OF GOD!) 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power (MIRACULOUS FORCE) at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen
This miraculous force isn’t there to enhance what we see in the visible realm, or to give us the ability to dream a little bit more deeply…it’s there as a burning, blowing Spirit to take us on a journey into the invisible, supernatural realm.
Did you notice one of the most powerful miracles known to man revealed in verses 18 and 19?
We can comprehend and know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge! Wow!
This means that we can have a revelation of God that goes well beyond our mental, logical limits. Verse 20 goes on to say that he’ll do more than we could ask or think according to the power within us.
There is an invisible, supernatural realm that we are called to live in continually. When we do, the Word of God will transform us over and over again.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
The word word (as in, word of Christ) is translated rhema. Rhema is the voice of God, the message of God that is delivered in real time. It’s God talking directly to us! Our faith isn’t increased as we simply read the Bible. It’s increased as we hear God’s voice, and that happens as we live in the Spirit!
…and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, Ephesians 6:17-18
Again, the word word (which is the sword of the Spirit) is translated rhema. It’s no mistake that the next part of the armor is praying at all times in the Spirit. When we live and pray in the Spirit, the rhema word of God will come to us, our faith will increase and we will advance with a powerful sword.
When the logos (the living, written Word) collides with the rhema as it’s stirred by the Spirit of God, our live in the Word will be alive, vibrant and active!
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
I’ll leave you with the passage I started with. Read it. Believe it. Understand it. Don’t resist it. Pray for overwhelming revelation of it. Let God rock you as the Holy Spirit burns through you. I pray that you will find yourself in the Spirit on the Lord’s day—and that his Word will transform your life!
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. Revelation 1:10-19
I’m on a personal journey to discover God—as He truly is—and what I discover will certainly trouble me.
It will trouble me because I'm absolutely confident that his fear is going to hit me more than it ever has… and I will have to guard my heart from offense when the parts I so value are revealed as a distortion of who he truly is. But, in the end, it will be glorious!
We have to put on our big boy and big girl pants and have a tender heart covered by very thick skin as we eagerly welcome calibration to God’s Word.
We must read the Word as it is, in context! I’m shocked at how quickly very clear scriptural truths are dismissed without reason by those who are threatened by what it says.
For example, how can we not read Revelation 9:15 and not have it violate the common, modern definition of Godly love?
So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Revelation 9:15
That’s an offensive verse! How does that mess with your definition of a loving God? He killed mankind throughout biblical history, OT and NT, and that greatly impacts how we view God!
I so crave to read verses like this and devour it, let it get deep into my spirit so my understanding of God can be made more vivid. If I resist that process of study, I put my position in Christ at risk as I replace him with a misrepresented version of him.
The Bible tells us to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith. ~Paul Washer
I regularly talk to God about this. Am I truly in the faith, or have I bought into religious superstition and tradition that satisfies my desire for spirituality?
In this journey I’m quickly discovering that the Word of God will radically offend me if I don’t allow it to enlighten me. The God of the Bible is strikingly different than his representation in much of today’s church.
When you preach truth, it will cause people to either thank you or hate you. Pure truth is costly to handle and receive. It’s dangerous. It’s freeing.
The very traditions and perspectives that we have grown up with in the American church must be placed on the altar as we allow God to reeducate us. We must have the knowledge of God, and it’s time that we finally get deep into God’s Word again!
And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! Mark 7:9
thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13
This journey has ramped up for me over the last two years, and my message and mission have become so clearly defined that I have had to repent in tears over leading a church with a care-free culture that was devoid of the fear of the Lord. I was shocked to life and brokenness during a Bay of the Holy Spirit event in Detroit—and it was then, as a vision of millions of people hanging in the void between Heaven and Hell opened before me, that I knew everything was going to change for me and my ministry—drastically.
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Romans 10:1-3
Romans 10:1-2 sums up the short period of time when I was leading a vibrant church here in the Detroit region that was electric and experience driven. We launched Revival Church correctly, and experienced some phenomenal moves of God, but I distinctly remember thinking at one point well into the church planting process, “People are so locked in to the happy, care-free culture of celebration that we better just ride this wave for a while.” That is what I had to repent for. I was irresponsible for perpetuating a culture of positivity while ignoring God’s severity. What was resulting was no longer God moving as much as we’d like to think. I believe we became inward focused, looking for spiritual high after spiritual high.
What people call a great move of God is often just emotion. ~Paul Washer
Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. Romans 11:22
We have to embrace both God’s kindness and his severity. I was focusing on his kindness while forsaking his severity, for this short period of time, and I became so broken and convicted that I simply could not continue that way.
The shift resulted in a focus on the core DNA of my heart, and a fuller acknowledgment of scriptural truth.
That shift is continuing for me, and it has me in the grips of God’s empowering grace—I am yearning for revelation not based on experience first, but on the timeless, pure Word of the Living God. That’s the journey that will cause trouble as it already has and will certainly continue to threaten the sacred cows in the church today.
SOURCES OF FOOD AND LIFE?
In Hinduism, the cow is revered as the source of food and symbol of life and may never be killed.
The sacred cows in the church are going to be violated when truth in scripture is trumpeted, and that has already and will continue to cause problems. These sacred cows are relied on by many Christians as their source of food and life, of feelings of security, safety, love, etc.
Since I started this journey of biblical study, my eyes have been opened afresh, and my spirit awakened as God has revealed violations of clear, orthodox biblical truths that the church has embraced with much eagerness. As one who fell into the trap of perpetuating a culture of positivity at the expense of the highlighting the cost and God’s severity, I understand how seductive it can be.
It’s time, with a humble spirit, to tear down our father’s altars. When we do that, people’s source of food and life will be threatened, and the reaction will be extreme, no matter how humble our heart is.
When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. And they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And after they had searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” Judges 6:28-30
Most people will shrink back from such a bold approach due to the cost. It’s difficult when the accusations start flying. After all, such a seemingly arrogant move stinks of personal ambition and hatred—when in fact Gideon was acting in love, according to the instructions of God. I’ll talk more about the radical misunderstanding of what love is below.
Do you understand the cost I must pay to say that American Christianity is almost totally wrong. ~Paul Washer
Because our gospel message has been deficient,our disciples are now deficient & the American “born again” Church is deficient. ~Michael Brown
THE FALSE-GRACE REACTION
By far, the teaching that resulted from my journey in the Word that has elicited the greatest number of comments is on false-grace.
Many times a day, most every day, I’m receiving emails, Facebook messages and other comments on this message—and about 95% of them are positive. People are thanking me for sounding the alarm. I’ve received many testimonies from people who have been set free from this deception. That makes it worth it for sure!
It’s so important that we don’t hold back truth out of fear of accusation. People who are buying into false-grace are literally in extreme and immediate danger!
We care more about our friendships than we do about our friends. We hold back truth to save those friendships. ~Francis Chan
Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. Romans 11:22
The remaining 5% or so of those who respond to my articles, videos and comments on false-grace, sadly, are often extremely aggressive and even hateful in their communication. The reason? They have put their faith in an unscriptural sacred cow instead of the fearful truth of Jesus.
They have so identified with their sinful nature that they cannot imagine Truth actually setting them free. Their only hope seems to be a grace that covers up their failures. In fact, accusations are often hurled saying the rejection of the false-grace message reveals one’s hypocrisy since they are trying to call people to a standard that they have determined nobody can reach. Teachers of true grace are called legalists, though all they are doing is letting people know the standards Jesus himself established.
Grace enables us to obey. It really does. It’s empowering, not burdensome.
And, thanks to God’s mercy, when we do fail, we can respond to God’s love and get back up! We should never refuse to preach truth and affirm the biblical standards because we struggle living up to it! It’s in our weakness that he’s made strong! When we admit that we cannot do it in our own strength, God is glorified!
One of the most difficult parts of repentance is to repent of your good deeds – it is much harder than repenting of your bad deeds – to repent of your self-righteousness, which is far more offensive to God than your unrighteousness. ~David Pawson
It’s actually God’s mercy, not his grace, that covers our failures. It’s an expression of God’s deep love for us! It’s true grace that enables us to live a righteous life.
The false-grace issue is volatile enough to split churches right down the middle, and I believe that it will actually be the distinguishing factor that reveals clearly the authentic and the false church in the end times.
THE FALSE-LOVE CONFUSION
Love. We don’t understand it.
There's been an overemphasis on the love of God (in teaching). It was not the message of the apostles. Only 35 out of 35,000 scriptures in the Bible are about the love of God. ~David Pawson
I have been increasingly troubled in my spirit with the misunderstanding of what true, biblical love really is. I mean, my friend, it is so radically different than we understand it to be—in fact, God’s expression of love can very often look like hatred! This is biblical truth, and it’s hard to handle.
I wrote another article on the false-love movement, so I won’t rehash it here. But I do want to speak to it to a degree.
I was so appreciative of a short video I stumbled upon by David Pawson. I am including it here, and the seven minutes it will take to watch it just might change your understanding of just what love is. Please, by all means, watch it. Everything he’s saying is what has been jumping in my spirit for months. He just does a much more brilliant job of communicating it!
After watching the video, you are provoked I’m sure.
This is the type of scriptural revelation that I’m talking about! We misunderstand God which results in misrepresenting God!
Entire churches and movements are sitting on a compromised foundation that’s made up of misrepresentations of God and his Word!
We really don’t know God! We must humbly admit this!
We’ve grown up in churches that have taught about God’s love in massive portions, so any movement that doesn’t focus on it in that way seems unloving, and is dismissed. My God!
We must dive into the Word of God again, as if we’ve never read it before.
Just today, my wife was reading through John chapter 3, and was taking note of the severity of God. (Very interestingly, she read it just before she watched the above video!)
She then read the commentary in the sidebar that was written by an extremely popular author. The author was actually contradicting what the passage was revealing! This isn’t surprising since John 3:16 specifically is so often misapplied, but it does give us a sobering mandate to study to show ourselves approved.
My wife said, “Maybe I need to stop reading the commentary and just read the Word.”
Yes! Read it first, and then use commentary and various Bible helps to see if they either confirm and illuminate what the scriptures reveal OR contradict it.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
We must return to orthodox Christianity. It’s time we read the Word as it is. As I do this, it’s stunning how contrary we are to it. I’m wrecked and I’m being transformed.
As we are in the Word, we will discover often disturbing but always liberating insights on fear, eternity, Hell, grace, love, God’s nature, his feelings toward different types of people, salvation and much more.
We must break off the gods of personal satisfaction, selfish ambition and personal gain that so many of today’s theologies have empowered.
Any impatience, self-will, religious ambition, the compulsion to do for God, and the need to be recognized and acknowledged, will never be a glory unto God. -Art Katz
Our hearts must be continually inspected and pure, humble, broken…as we dive back into the Word and see just what God originally communicated.
I challenge you to read the Word, in context, without the lenses of pop-theologies of today, and see how different God ends up appearing to you!
When that happens, tell the world. It’s time to shine light on our hearts first, and then on the religious darkness in America.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Here are the notes for TONIGHT’S teaching on Prophetic Messengers
Listen LIVE TONIGHT at 7pm EDT here: www.detroitprayerfurnace.com/live
If you stumble across this after the fact, go to http://media.johnburton.net and search for the first teaching in the series Prophetic Messengers!
If you are within 100 miles of Detroit—LEAVE HOME NOW and join us! The fire of God is all over me! Tonight is going to be significant.
**After the notes, I will include info about joining our leadership team at the Detroit Prayer Furnace. We are seeking 40+ people who will give leadership to the prayer movement!
I. The voices must be heard! The power of life and death is in the tongue!
a. Now, more than ever, the remnant must get a clue! Rise up! Open your mouths!
i. This means you! You are a prophetic messenger! You declare truth!
ii. Wake up with the call to impact burning in you!
iii. The church is silent. Christians are posting sweet nothings on Facebook when we must be provoking and awakening a numb church that has no sense of spiritual violence and is little threat to the enemy.
iv. Most don’t post truth for two reasons:
1. They don’t want to offend friends and family.
2. They don’t hear from the Lord.
v. Joe Sazyc: Prophets are always victims of those who didn't like their message.
vi. Generally, prophetic churches don't get very big. The prophetic ain't popular. People like prophets from a distance. That doesn't mean they don't have impact. ~Joe Sazyc
1. The impact you have may not draw the people you want to you. It will probably repel people you care about from you. But you WILL have impact!
2. Some friends and family will probably cut off relationship with you!
vii. Luke 14:25-28 (ESV) 25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
1. ESV Study Bible : “Hating” is a Semitic expression for loving less.
2. Scofield: All terms which define the emotions or affections are comparative. Natural affection is to be, as compared with the believer's devotedness to Christ, as if it were hate.
3. We see the same expression when God said, “Jacob I have loved but Essau I have hated.”
a. We must proclaim truth knowing that it will absolutely enrage people you love! It is for their freedom!
4. Follow people like Isaiah Saldivar. His entire Twitter feed is one provoking prophetic decree after another! He’s on a mission! He’s 22!
5. Some of his posts:
a. “If you don't think being holy is important than you don't think seeing God is important.”
b. “No amount of false teaching will be able to widen the narrow road.”
c. “Not being on time is saying your time is more important than someone else's.”
d. “God cannot trust you with a stage if you struggle to show up to church on time.”
e. “Don't envy those who God promotes and expect a promotion.”
f. “We have lost the spirit of conviction due to fear of condemning people.”
g. “I know countless people who preach on revival and awakening. I know few who are willing to pay the price.”
h. “If your revelation of joy is laughter in church you have sold yourself short.”
i. “We should be more sensitive to how the Holy Spirit feels than how people feel.”
j. “If we were really sensitive to seekers our services would be longer not shorter.”
k. “Jesus is coming back for a church not a relevant movement.”
m. “It would be interesting to see people express their opinions in real life and not just behind a keyboard.”
viii. Messengers arise! Get the word of the Lord hour after hour! Burn! And shout those messages from the rooftops!
1. Every Christian on the planet should have a Twitter and Facebook and Youtube account…and should take media over with never-ending proclamations of truth!
ix. With the situation in Syria upon us, we have no option but to open our mouths!
1. Saw a vision of a sudden Revolutionary War…a shaking that provoked the people who were working in their fields to pick up their guns and fight.
2. Are you ready?
3. You have the authority to DEMAND COMPLIANCE and to decree order!
II. Break Down and Build Up
a. Jeremiah 1:4-10 (ESV) 4 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” 6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” 7 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.” 9 Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
i. Number One: The word of the Lord came to me.
1. This must happen now for the remnant!
2. The prophetic atmosphere must skyrocket!
3. Sheep must hear God’s voice!
4. The prayer movement is key!
ii. Number Two: We are known by God and appointed by God.
1. We are assigned!
2. Do you participate in church or ministry due to assignment or opportunity?
3. Your answer will determine your readiness.
iii. Number Three: We have no excuse!
1. Don’t say I’m only a youth, I’m only a housewife, I’m not educated, I can’t speak!
iv. Number Four: We will speak what the Lord commands us to
v. Number Five: Have no fear
vi. Number Six: God has touched our mouths and appointed us over nations!
III. Jeremiah Continued
a. Jeremiah 1:11-19 (ESV) 11 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.” 12 Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”
i. Dake: A staff for striking, made from an almond tree. Here it symbolizes a watchman, a vigilant officer looking for the invasion of Judah by Babylon.
ii. God is setting up watchmen!
iii. We can’t be an echo, we must be a voice. What is God saying?
iv. His Words are being delivered…are you receiving them?
1. He’s watching over his word, not ours! We can’t pray amiss!
v. ESV Study Bible : Jeremiah can expect that when he speaks God’s words, the words will come true.
vi. Do you have that confidence?
b. 13 The word of the LORD came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north.” 14 Then the LORD said to me, “Out of the north disaster shall be let loose upon all the inhabitants of the land. 15
i. Life Application Study Bible: The pot of boiling water tipping from the north and spilling over Judah pictured Babylon delivering God's scalding judgment against Jeremiah's people.
ii. Boiling pot: An Oriental symbol of a raging war.
iii. How can America oppose the chemical massacre of 426 Syrian children & support the chemical massacre of 4000 American children a day?
c. For behold, I am calling all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, declares the LORD, and they shall come, and every one shall set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls all around and against all the cities of Judah.
i. God so loved his people that their rebellion put his eternity with them at risk.
ii. If God’s methods of allowing enemies of his people to attack were valid then, certainly it’s valid now.
iii. It’s interesting that God sent enemies to the gates.
1. Cindy Williams: The Lord said; “an unholy triad of deception is forming, watch Russia, Iran and North Korea.”
2. Prov. 8:34 “Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts.
3. Rick Warzywak: The Lord is supernaturally rousing intercessors and watchmen from their sleep and giving them the charge to fulfill their calling to stand alert and serve as “early warning systems” in the spirit.
4. James Goll: We urged our state leaders to call their states to focused prayer over ports and naval bases, including Annapolis, and the eastern gate of the US.
5. Cindy Jacobs: It is clear that we are in need of better “intelligence,” greater clarity, and the need for those who stand guard over our nation to be awake and alert. This is not a time to be asleep, confused or distracted!
6. Cindy Jacobs: Please agree with us in prayer and continue to decree a supernatural watchman anointing over our intelligence community, border agents, customs, the coast guard, the military, and police, in particular for those who stand guard over our ports along the eastern seaboard. In addition to this, please pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and that war would be averted in the Arab world.
7. Cindy Williams: I'm looking at the earthquake world map. I studied this area for a year, so am a little familiar with what it normally looks like and it's trends so what caught my eye today was that ALL the major plates have been shaking and are 6.0 or 6.6 (number of man).
d. 16 And I will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil in forsaking me. They have made offerings to other gods and worshiped the works of their own hands.
i. Dake: God always makes the reasons for His judgments clear, in time for men to avoid them if they will listen. Four reasons for judgment here:
2. Forsaking God
a. Leonard Ravenhill: We have forsaken God, we have forsaken the prayer rooms.
3. Burning incense to other gods
a. Burning Man: Aug 26-Sept 2
b. 50,000 people
4. Worshiping the works of their own hands
ii. Ephesians 5:3-17 (ESV) 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. [THIS IS HUGE! WE MUST EXPOSE DARKNESS!] 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
1. This is huge!
e. Jer 1:17 But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them.
i. It’s time to work!
ii. It’s about the assignment not the opportunity!
1. ESV: He must not be dismayed by them (his foes) as he works, or God will give him over to their terrors.
f. 18 And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the LORD, to deliver you.”
i. God is purging, purifying, and he will prevail if we aren’t dismayed!
JOIN THE CORE AT THE DETROIT PRAYER FURNACE
You might be surprised at the danger in the worship movement and how we connect to it.
Ezekiel 13:1-3 (ESV) 1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the LORD!’ 3 Thus says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
Ezekiel 13:6-9 (ESV) 6 They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the LORD,’ when the LORD has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. 7 Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares the LORD,’ although I have not spoken?” 8 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares the Lord GOD. 9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
There is a rapidly increasing movement of people who are shutting their ears to any prophetic words that have any measure of alarm to them. The warnings are not wanted as they threaten the current structures of comfort and ease.
These people are at risk of a catastrophe that will mercilessly hit them and those who have been influenced by their messages of peace and safety.
There are true voices that must emerge and declare the word of the Lord in its pure form.
If we EVER temper a message in the pulpit, online or one-on-one in the hopes of maintaining an audience, we've become a 2 Tim 4:3-4 false-teacher.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 (ESV) 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Revival always includes the conviction of sin on the part of the Church. What a spell the devil seems to cast over the Church today! ~Billy Sunday
I was the guest speaker at a church, and I was burning with an extreme prophetic message that I knew every single person must hear. Not only must they hear it, but they had to allow God to break and wreck them so they could become carriers of that burning message. God needed them to proclaim the word with boldness and brokenness.
It was time to begin the service, and I was on the platform feeling troubled and confused. I had about eight friends with me, people who were absolutely given to the message and who were standing very close to me.
Other than my friends, literally nobody was listening. Even the leadership was absent. People were dressed in shorts and flip flops and casual clothing and were just slowly walking around taking to friends.
My disturbance kept intensifying.
To my right there were a couple large garage doors and they were both open. People were moving out of the building and out onto the grass. It was a beautiful, sunny day.
As people kept leaving the building, someone walked close to the stage as I was preaching with unction and urgency, and he attempted to drown out the message by singing a worship song. It was a brilliant tactic. After all, it’s good to sing songs of worship in the church, right?
When he finished singing, the building was nearly empty. In my desperation to get the message relayed, I too went outside.
My friends and I left the building and stood on a small slab of concrete outside. I continued to preach, but it was as if I was nearly invisible and inaudible. From time to time people would wave and wink to me as an indicator that they are “with me” and to thank me for my ministry. I didn’t want their thanks. I wanted their hearts.
My friends pressed very close to me…so close that we were all squished together as a single unit as I kept preaching truth.
The people kept playing while we kept trembling.
I then noticed that some chose to climb a tree. When they decided to come back down, one of them fell just a couple of feet and those around them were alarmed and looked right me. They demanded that I leave my place and come over to help. I was grieved.
I did leave the concrete and tended to the person who had an extremely minor injury.
Distraction and a casual, playful, self-centered spirit overpowered the prophetic word of the Lord.
I then woke up.
We live in a day where churches promote comfort and self-satisfaction. Coffee, personal ministry, blessing, programs and other lesser things are overshadowing the call to the cross. The alarm of the hour is not a welcome sound.
Casual spirits are driving the culture. The problem? The message of the cross is not a casual message.
The bottom line is this: A casual spirit will always reject a prophetic warning if it threatens their comfort. A prophetic spirit will always threaten something.
A.W. Tozer: I want the prophetic spirit upon me or I want to die.
In the dream it was significant that even the leaders were absent.
The pastors of that church should have been on their faces in deep repentance as they led their people into brokenness!
Nobody in that church had any concern about their own salvation (they should have), the condition of their city or the message of God. All was well. Peace and safety were the cries of their hearts.
My friends who were very close to me represented the remnant—those who are broken and surrendered and devoted to the call. They counted the cost and said yes.
Please keep this in mind—the remnant is an extremely small percentage of people in the church. Don’t presume that you have signed up as an end-time remnant Christian just because you go to church, love God and want revival. True remnant people aren’t only interested in revival, they are invested in it. To find a remnant Christian is actually quite rare, though every Christian has been extended that invitation.
Possibly the most interesting part of the dream had to do with the person who walked up to me and started singing a worship song.
I believe we are in a place of both great hope and great danger in regard to worship in the church.
True worship is going to return to the church. That’s the hope. There is a great movement of groan and intercession driven worship and adoration to Jesus that’s coming. It’s not here yet, but soon can be.
The present danger is great, however.
The worship service can easily become the lazy man’s intercession. Please consider this point carefully! The church is to be a house of prayer for all nations!
I’ve been in ministry for over 22 years and it has grieved me time and again when people would come and go based on the skill, style and feel of the worship team, but are indifferent regarding the prayer focus. In fact, when the call to worship is sounded, people flock, but when the call to prayer is sounded people flee.
This is disturbing and it’s an indictment on the church!
We don’t attend a church based on it’s ability to appeal to our desires! My God! How far have we fallen?
At Revival Church we recently made a bold decision for our current season—when our worship leader moved on, I decided it was time to bring intercession back to first place.
Instead of sitting back or lightly engaging as someone else leads in worship, we are calling the entire body to pray with us boldly for an hour prior to the teaching. Fervent prayer has replaced musical worship! The experience of worship or any other thing can no longer trump the call to pray and to deliver the prophetic messages of God.
In fact, I’m confident that biblical worship will emerge from this platform of prayer and no longer will we casually connect to God when the music plays. Musical worship has taken a back seat to the word of the Lord and it will again be calibrated to God’s heart.
If you want to gauge the spiritual maturity of your team, call a prayer meeting. Develop a prayer culture. Bring prayer front and center where nobody can hide. It may be offensive, but it’s simply true that only the broken, hungry and maturing will remain. It shocks me that people can lead worship, pastor a church or function in ministry without a vibrant, all-consuming life of prayer! It is actually rare to find praying church leadership in America!
There are individuals who have never done anything for Jesus Christ, and I have no doubt there are preachers as well, who have never done anything for the God Almighty. ~Billy Sunday
“If we do not praise we shall grow sad in our conflict; and if we do not fight we shall become presumptuous in our song.” –Spurgeon
Worship leaders who don’t burn night and day in intercession need to take a critical break to rediscover the God of their songs. A fearful tremble and awe must return to worship.
In the dream I moved to a concrete slab outside of the building as the people were scattering and playing. I have been crying out for the last several months for the pavement people to emerge! These are people in the remnant who are not looking for personal comfort, affirmation or anything other than hitting the pavement in true worship.
2 Chronicles 7:3 (ESV) 3 When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
I was on the pavement with my friends who were staying very close to me. I continued to preach in desperation as people were in the vicinity, but who were not at all provoked by the message. They were certainly not responsive, and, of course, they were in no place to become carriers of that fiery word for the nations.
Again, my grief escalated.
The types of distractions that the enemy will attempt to force on us are extremely hard to counteract.
First, it can seem strange and wrong to label worship as a disturbance or distraction. The enemy is often using worship, as I shared above, to provide people with a false sense of intimacy with Jesus, or at least a radically minimized encounter with him. If the music is good and even slightly anointed, and it feels peaceful or invigorating, then our job of honoring God seems to be done. We don’t have to go any deeper in Jesus. We are satisfied. It’s time to move to other things.
Additionally, the person that fell out of the tree was wounded, ever so slightly, and all eyes were on me to help. So, the corporate prophetic alarm ceased.
The problem? The person should never have been in the tree. They were called to the pavement. Their improper positioning negatively impacted the masses.
When we are close together, there is safety. Risk is minimized. Even when there is an issue, we can all stay together, in position as we serve one another.
Those in the Upper Room in Acts 2 certainly tended to each other as they were all on that holy pavement, that place of coming encounter and intercession for the nations.
Those who are scattering and playing instead of gathering and praying are loosely connected until crisis comes.
It’s time that we are “all together in one accord in one place” as they were in Acts 2.
A RESISTANT CHURCH
As it was in the days of Noah, so it is today. The alarms are resisted.
Matthew 24:37-39 (ESV) 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Do we not know that God is raising up prophetic voices to help us? Why would we reject the warnings?
It’s time we gather and pray. It’s time.
I asked a question on Facebook recently:
If your church cancelled everything for a year…cancelled children’s ministry, teaching, programs, pot lucks, small groups…and replaced those activities with prayer meetings, would you stay in your church?
One response rocked me. It encouraged me that the remnant is out there:
That’s when I’ll return to the church.
Friends, it’s time that we embrace a God that loves us enough to keep us from slumber, to shake us with warnings and to prepare us for the tragic and glorious end-time shocks that are coming to the Earth.
Core, historic biblical truths must be embraced in the church again—and we should expect an unusual supernatural reality to result.
It seems that the weirder the Charismatic camp gets, the more the cross and other key Christian doctrines are minimized. The new wine and fresh revelation often trumps a radical adherence to the very foundational, scriptural truths.
The cross must become central again. Repentance has to well up and cry out of us again. As we return to these core doctrines, we will be surprised to experience the shock and awe of a realm that is so supernatural, so other-worldly, that the most demonstrative Charismatics will pale in comparison.
When the cross is preached in power, miracles, signs and wonders are an expected result.
Matthew 27:51-54 (ESV) 51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
When we preach the cross, we’re not just encouraging people to ask Jesus into their heart. True ministry of this earth-shaking (literally) event will result in a drama that we couldn’t invent if we tried.
Did you see what happened when Jesus died? Note, this was before the power of the resurrection! It’s before the keys to death, Hell and the grave were taken! It was at a time of seeming defeat! The power of surrender in this story is phenomenal!
- The curtain was torn—Preaching of the cross will result in eyes being opened and supernatural encounters becoming standard. So many are blind and numb to the volatile invisible realm that’s all around us. The cross grants us access not simply to a hope to enter Heaven when we die, but access into the very presence of a fearful God right now!
- The Earth shook—Get ready! A great shaking will come, a trembling from deep within, as we all grab hold of the bloody cross of Christ. As we embrace our own crosses, and surrender our lives fully, the Earth will shake! I prophesied that this coming revival will result in a literal trembling in us that won’t stop until we leave the planet. Many have been shaking deeply already, and the more the cross is preached, the more it will build.
- Rocks were split—The cross is so powerful that unbreakable, immovable boulders will be shattered in our lives. Deliverance and dramatic freedom comes, and Jesus is the one who receives all of the glory! If you crave freedom, don’t simply plead the blood of Jesus, declare the power of the cross!
- Tombs were opened—What power! A sleeping church is about to be awakened! The offense of the cross will cause some to mock and flee, but the true church will immediately break free from the power of death and slumber and rise up with messages of life on their lips!
- Those who crucified Jesus were filled with awe—God will be praised by even the most vicious attackers! The proof of God’s greatness isn’t in the wisdom of words, but people will be convinced as they watch God’s power explode right before them!
1 Corinthians 1:17 (ESV) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV) 18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
FIRST: Let’s spread the word about the vision of Revival Church! Point your friends to our new welcome magazine! Send Facebook status updates, tweets, emails and whatever else you can to get the word out! I did the hard part (designed it!) 🙂 and now I need your help! Point people to www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/welcome.
SECOND: In lieu of our Wednesday prayer meeting, join me online for a LIVE video broadcast! We’ll gather a larger group together for prayer, discussion and teaching at 7pm every Wednesday. Just head to www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/live!
I’ll be at a special prayer meeting tonight (Friday) from 11pm-1am, and would like to invite you to join me!
I’ll be at IHOPE as usual at 7pm, and will then head on over to the prayer meeting.
Here’s all the info that I received:
Dear Praying Friends,
Bishop James Williams has asked me to lead a prayer time called Midnight Cry at Spirit and Truth Ministries this Friday at 11:00 pm til about 1 am. You can read the details below. This is an important opportunity to seek God for the metro region.
I would love for you to come and join in this united calling out to God. This "city" church is enlarging its vision for the whole region. I SOO appreciate Bishop Williams larger than normal desire to see God affect the region and build bridges to the suburbs! Will you encourage him by standing with him and the sweet people of Spirit and Truth?
The details are below. Let me know if you can go. Feel free to extend this invitation to others.
Greetings Eric and thank you for consenting to share with us this coming Friday in our Midnight Cry prayer service. The month of January is our Month of Outpouring. It is a time of consecration when we come together to worship and pray and to hear prophetic direction from the Lord for the course of the new year.
This year we are having special services every Sunday afternoon and the Midnight Cry services every Friday at 11:00 p.m. Scriptures tell us that Paul and Silas prayed at midnight from the Roman prison and God responded by opening the prison doors and loosing their bonds. We expect God to open doors and loose bondage over His people in this new season.
We really have no set agenda. Last week for example, each of our Intercessors, who have been given specific assignments to cover individual ministries of the church, were given opportunity to lead prayer in their specific areas of responsibility. Then, we heard from a visiting evangelist and a visiting Bishop. I gave some closing words of prophecy and prayer and we were done.
I'm looking for you to help us expand our prayer beyond our ministry and our people and help us pray strategically over this region. You and your guests are free to move as the Spirit leads you. I'll begin and we'll just move from there. We're usually done about 1:00 a.m. but that's not set in stone – a little before or a little after is fine.
Hope this helps. See you Friday.
Blessed to Prosper in the Year of Harvest (Lev.25:22; Ps.126:1, 5)
Bishop James A. Williams, II.
SPIRIT & TRUTH CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES
KINGDOM BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF FULL GOSPEL CHURCHES & MINISTRIES
1335 Oakman Boulevard, Det. MI 48238