Treading foolishly on social media will cost the church it's voice.
NEWSMAX reports, “Last month, the former president brought class-action lawsuits against the three big Tech giants requesting unspecified damages for alleged First Amendment violations.”
It's commonly believed that social media giants have censored, banned and caused all sorts of trouble for conservatives. This includes Christians who find themselves in so-called Facebook jail after expressing forbidden viewpoints.
This truly feels like David versus the giants who are determined to taunt, minimize and cast aside any who would threaten their narratives.
SHOULD WE NOT RUN TO THE BATTLE?
Yes, we absolutely should fearlessly fight against the spirits of the age. The real question, however, is exactly how should we fight?
God is known to give unusual, supernatural wisdom to those who are advancing toward wicked adversaries. Gideon was told to eliminate most of his army and to bang jars together. Joseph and Mary were instructed to avoid Egypt. Paul was warned against going to certain cities. Elijah brought the fire. Every situation is different, and might I suggest, brashly breaking the rules of Facebook, YouTube and other social media companies is foolish beyond measure.
Lawsuits like the one President Trump brought very well may be a wise, effective step toward protecting First Amendment rights of all US citizens. I agree that we are rushing quickly toward the reality of very real persecution of Christians who preach the truth of Scripture. We cannot shrink back. We must run to the battle, but with divine wisdom, not fleshly rebellion.
Everything starts with strategic intercession. The fight against principalities and powers is a deadly game to play if we aren't prepared. Our enemies aren't the CEO's and thought police. It's very smart, organized and vile evil spirits who are bent on destruction of the church. They are absolutely determined to muzzle all who preach the power of the Gospel.
WE MUST BE WISE AS SERPENTS AND GENTLE AS DOVES
““Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,” (Matthew 10:16–17, ESV)
I've always found it interesting that we are instructed to be as wise as serpents. Satan is both a snake and a brilliant and shrewd military strategist. He is not haphazard or careless in his schemes. We should not be either.
The Hill reports, “And despite the Taliban's brutality and dishonesty, two Taliban spokesmen have Twitter accounts, including Zabihullah Mujahid, who boasts nearly 320,000 followers. Mujahid has posted dozens of videos that have been viewed millions of times. Quite a platform for the Taliban to have, and it doesn't cost them a dime.”
Read this next segment analyzing Donald Trump's ban and the Taliban's get out of jail free card from the article on The Hill carefully:
“The answer, analysts said, may simply be that Trump’s posts for years challenged platform rules against hate speech and inciting violence,” the piece adds. “Today’s Taliban, by and large, does not.”
Of course, we know of the brutality the Taliban unashamedly promotes and it seems they should in no way be provided a platform on social media, especially when these companies are based in the United States. I agree with most by saying it's madness.
Additionally, it's beyond belief that the President of the United States could be banned. Like you, I'm flabbergasted. This isn't the America I've grown to love. We are living in very different, dangerous and wicked times.
With all of that being said, consider the wisdom of the Taliban. They are careful on social media. They don't post anything that would put them in Facebook jail or ban them from Twitter (at least that's what appears to be the case to date).
Here is the point of this article: be wise.
Flipping a bombastic, rebellious, spiritualized middle finger to the decision makers of the very platforms the church must have a voice on is utter foolishness. We receive no badge of honor by spouting off at the mouth in a way that breaks the rules (yes, unfair rules) and challenges the social media powers. It's childish at best, foolish and destructive to the church's mission at worst.
IF WE BREAK THE RULES WE LOSE OUR VOICE
I, for one, want to keep influencing people on social media with the life and power of Jesus. I can't afford for that message to be banned.
I've yet to be locked out of any social media account. I've not been shadow banned or jailed. I'm not saying it will never happen and I'm not patting myself on the back. I simply understand I must be extremely careful if I want to continue to be heard (even by my very small sphere of influence). There are things that are absolutely unnecessary to say, or that can be said in a way that doesn't poke the bear. We can be smart. We can be led of the Spirit of God. We can use divine wisdom.
This is not a matter of having a backbone or proudly shouting with fervor at our oppressors. It would be extremely easy to state the obvious and call out every anti-Christ spirit we come across on a daily basis. We can shout loud in all caps and presume we are mighty champions of God by refusing to be silent on the matters of the day. Well, yes, you can do that and you can lose your voice. You will lose your platform. You will surrender your privilege to communicate on a private forum.
Chinese Christians know this all too well, except they aren't risking a Facebook account being closed. They are risking their lives. They are faced with beatings and prison. We can only imagine the divine wisdom necessary to survive such an ungodly regime. Yet, the underground church is thriving and China is on pace to host the largest number of Christians in the world in the next couple of decades.
Standing on a street corner in Beijing and preaching the Gospel isn't an option for Chinese Christians. They must be wise. They understand the rules of their particular forum. They are Spirit-led instead of naturally aggressive.
The voice of Chinese Christians has been preserved because they have adapted to their situation. The church is thriving in that restrictive and dangerous environment because of godly wisdom.
If we as American Christians can't figure out how to keep our voice on Facebook, how do we think we will survive when we are forced underground? Brash, bombastic fist-waving won't work then, even if we do it in the name of Jesus.
Those who don't know Jesus should not be expected to act like those who do.
(Looking for the article Dueling Puppet Masters: Controlling Pastors vs. Manipulative Congregations? Read it HERE.)
If you follow my ministry you'll know that I am an unapologetic preacher of holiness. You'll also know that most of my messages are directed to the church. Preaching holiness to the lost doesn't work well unless it's coupled with a powerful invitation to surrender all.
Those who haven't had a life-rocking encounter with Jesus are at a disadvantage and it's unfair for those who have been transformed to expect them to see things the way we do. In fact, to attempt to coerce them to adhere to our set of standards, in violation of their own free-will and their right to also have a say in morality is ineffective, and in most situations, unfair if not outright arrogant.
Who are we to say that pornography is wrong? What makes our version of truth regarding homosexuality more valid then theirs? To Christians, babies were created by God, given human spirits at the time of conception and they clearly, obviously deserve protection. Except, those who don't believe in God the way we do simply disagree that they are fully human at points of development prior to birth. They have a right to that belief, as horrifying as we think it is.
The result is a holy war between a group of people who have one set of standards and a group that has an entirely different set. Coercion in the political realm, in the high courts and in the battleground of public opinion becomes the only tool left in our tool belt. We vote or legislate our way to victory, further enraging those who oppose our paradigms.
Listen to the podcast here…
YES, WE SHOULD STILL GO TO BATTLE AGAINST THE SPIRIT OF THE AGE
Now, please understand, with humble hearts, we as people who are zealous about protecting the unborn and who have a responsibility to guard our children from being indoctrinated by the homosexual agenda, I absolutely believe we must use whatever tool we have in our tool belts. Yes, it's right to fight for laws that stand aggressively against human trafficking. We should work hard to overturn Roe v. Wade. Pornography, the legalization of narcotics and other destructive cultural vices that are being normalized in our society must be met with resistance.
However, it remains true that the unredeemed simply cannot understand things the way Believers in Christ can. This isn't because we are better. It's because we have surrendered to Jesus and our entire way of thinking was renewed. We were once compromised and unable to discern right versus wrong. Then, God touched us as wicked, confused, arrogant and very lost people and the light came on.
HOW ARE THE UNREDEEMED AT A DISADVANTAGE?
I pray you begin to mourn and weep over the lost as you grow in understanding as to how terribly the enemy is assaulting them. Yes, every person who has ever lived and who ever will live will be without excuse on Judgment Day. Yes, everybody has a choice, and the lost have made their choice. That shouldn't result in us marking them off as enemies while we puff ourselves up and sneer down our noses at them. We should be broken and our intercession should be taken to a much higher level.
BORN THIS WAY VERSUS BORN AGAIN
Those who argue that they were born gay, for example, may have something to their argument.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalm 51:5 (ESV)
We were all born in sin, in iniquity. It shouldn't take much for us to understand this. Sin comes very naturally to all and it takes the momentous event of being born again by the Spirit of God for that to shift.
In fact, the Bible calls those who are not his own, children of wrath. Are you seeing the extreme disadvantage the lost have when attempting to discern good versus evil? All they know are the inner urges that, in their minds, makes up the very core of their identity? If they have been attracted to the same sex for as long as they can remember, then, it seems clear that they were born this way. That should validate their homosexuality, or so they would argue.
Without a dramatic encounter with Jesus, without being born again, we can't expect people to understand biblical freedom or morality.
NO RELIEF FROM ANXIETY, FEAR AND DEPRESSION
The enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy, and based on the rampant addictions to opiates in our generation, it appears that he's winning.
Spirit-filled Christians can fill their days with praying in tongues, meditating on God's Word and by singing songs of praise to break off the debilitating, suffocating assaults of depression, fear and anxiety. We have a very present friend in Jesus ministering to us, interceding for us, talking to us and walking with us.
The lost are limited to positive thoughts, drugs, counseling and, sadly and all too often, suicide. Truly, the only hope in the battle of emotional trauma is Jesus, and they haven't met him yet.
Can Christians also be in need of counseling and medical care including the administration of appropriate medications to help deal with chemical imbalances and other physiological and emotional difficulties? Yes, absolutely. As long as it takes place on a foundation of faith, such care can be an important part of the healing process.
10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
THEY HAVE NO PEACE
Those who don't know Jesus simply cannot know peace. For Christians, peace rests on us and it is not dependent on circumstances or in understanding our situation. God is with us and his supernatural peace displaces the darkness.
It's not hard to understand why so many politicians, protesters and others who are advancing their various ungodly causes become enraged when they experience push back. They have no peace, and in their minds, the road to a life that is more centered and devoid of resistance is to hate, curse and attempt to slay anything and anyone that gets in their way.
33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (ESV)
THEY DON'T EXPERIENCE THE PRESENCE OF GOD
The thought of not having that constant burning of God's Holy Spirit within is enough to make me shudder. The glory of God and his anointing on our lives is irreplaceable and without it we would spiral out of control.
Our decisions, our mindsets, our emotional well-being, our belief systems, our desires and everything that make up who we are would radically shift. It would be a deeply disturbing way to live, yet the lost live in that reality every moment of every day of their lives.
11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 (ESV)
THEY HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED LOVE
No matter how determined society is at convincing us that they do what they do because of love, it's simply not true. They have fallen for a faux love that does not originate from the only one who can manifest love. Outside of God, we cannot know love. The reason is simple: God is love.
I want to encourage you to read my article The Great Love Deception. It's eye-opening.
Sure, the lost can experience infatuation, attraction, appreciation, strong desire, lust and many other emotions, but love is the one experience they can't have outside of Jesus.
The next time you hear about someone who is militantly promoting what we would call perversion, just remember they are yearning to love and to be loved. This isn't a defense of perversion, but rather it's a call to weep for our culture and to stand in the gap so people can finally discover the only true source of love.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD. Psalm 32:10 (ESV)
THEY HAVE NO ACCESS TO SUPERNATURAL WISDOM
The unredeemed are limited to their own logic and human ability to reason. That's it. They have no resource when their own abilities or the abilities of others to understand comes to an end.
The ceiling of understanding becomes their version of truth and they will fight to the end to support it.
For Christians, there is such a relief knowing that we won't ever understand it all, and that our own logic is often fallible. We simply read the Bible and believe it. God speaks and we respond. The lost cannot do that.
They will argue that getting drunk, for example, is just fine, as long as you don't get behind the wheel of a car. It makes sense to them. Christians, however, have no need to attempt to wrap their minds around the topic. God says don't get drunk, and he's much wiser than we are, so we buy in wholesale to what he says. As a result, life is much, much better.
Further, decision making becomes much easier as Christians. We may not know what job to take, what house to buy, where to go, who to marry or how to resolve life's problems. Thankfully we have a supernatural source of direction that goes well beyond humanity's resources.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5 (ESV)
HAPPINESS IS THEIR ONLY HOPE
We all have the right to pursue happiness in our nation. Sadly, that's the limit for people who don't love and serve Jesus.
Christians, on the other hand, live with overwhelming, immeasurable, supernatural joy! Happiness is dependent on circumstances. Joy is not.
Instead of pursuing wealth, sex, fame, materialism and other pleasures as sources of happiness, Believers are fully satisfied by knowing God. It's a supernatural reality that can only be understood when experienced. It's not mind over matter. I'm not talking about mental gymnastics that turn bad situations to good. I'm talking about an actual Spirit that fills us up and brings supernatural joy to our hearts. Those in the world can never understand this.
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 (ESV)
THEY LIVE OUTSIDE OF THE REALM OF MIRACLES
The lost have absolutely no hope of relief from life's woes unless mankind can come up with a solution. They are dependent and desperate and all too often, hopeless.
Believers in Christ live in the realm of miracles every day! Healings, wonders, signs, breakthroughs, prophetic revelation and much more are our portion!
The lost are feverishly doing all they can to avoid or avert dire circumstances in their own abilities. They turn to man, not God when they are in a time of need.
12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but sought help from physicians. 2 Chronicles 16:12 (ESV)
Seeking the Lord is necessary for us to survive and thrive on the earth, and those in the world simply can't enjoy the miracles that result from such a devotion.
THEY HAVE NO REASON NOT TO SIN
Above I revealed the mindset regarding drunkenness. In the minds of the lost there is absolutely no reason not to get drunk. This logic can be used in other scenarios too. Lust is pleasurable as is pornography. Getting high on drugs feels good. Foul language and other behaviors are morally benign. If it's legal, it's okay.
In the world the line is drawn when one person's sin negatively impacts another. That's what defines morality in a culture that's not surrendered to Jesus. What the world defines as lawless and what God defines as legal are very different.
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 1 John 3:4 (ESV)
Christians understand how destructive sin is and we embrace consecration and repentance eagerly. Sin kills even if we don't understand why. We don't define what is morally legal, God does.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (ESV)
THEY HAVE NO HOPE OF A WONDERFUL ETERNITY
Every ounce of life must be experienced in a window of approximately 80 years to those who don't know Christ. The thought of preparing for eternity is nonsensical to them. This over-magnifies the importance of fulfilling dreams and desires on the earth, as they do all they can to soak up all their short earthly journey can provide.
Of course, Believers know there are an unlimited number of years ahead of us. Every person, whether lost or saved, will live somewhere forever. This is what drives our lives. We do all we can to awaken the sleepers, to warn the apathetic and to rescue the perishing. This world means little in comparison to eternity.
Further, those who know Jesus are exhilarated knowing they will experience never-ending joy, abundant life, freedom, love and peace as we live day-by-day with God. This isn't some euphoric pipe dream. It's truth. It's going to happen. Those who don't know Jesus simply cannot understand this.
1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:1-6 (ESV)
CHANGE OUR DISPOSITION
I pray this will at least cause you to think differently the next time you get agitated at people who are promoting beliefs and behaviors that are repugnant to you. Pray hard for them. Battle for their souls.
Trust me, the moment one of these vile, wicked people truly find Jesus, they will turn on a dime and renounce everything unrighteous they previously supported. Meeting Jesus does that to a person.
Three simple yet powerful truths will help unlock your financial future.Listen to the podcast here: When my family of seven moved to Branson, Missouri, we were in uncharted territory after twenty years of local church ministry. We were excited to jump into this new season, yet we knew we'd have to get creative with our financial strategy. The Ozark Mountains have millions of beautiful trees, but money doesn't grow on any of them. Super long story very short, we decided to start a new business in this tourist destination. Specifically, a new escape room attraction was our plan, and we had a lot work ahead of us in the next six weeks (yes six!) before we opened the doors.
THE SECRET SAUCE OF FINANCIAL FREEDOM
18 You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. Deuteronomy 8:18 (ESV)Today, the escape room industry is quite saturated and it's difficult to start one in most cities. Competition is fierce. In late 2015, however, that was not the case. Nobody had started an escape room in Branson, and we felt it made sense to move toward being the first as being first to market in this industry is critical. We believe this was a “God idea,” and we didn't hesitate in our planning for one minute. Time was of the essence. From that point on, we remained prayerful and diligent as we covered every base we could find, and then several we didn't even knew existed! We consulted with experts, researched (and visited) many other escape rooms in the nation and learned all we could about starting a business. We studied nonstop. Understand, God absolutely has given us the power, the ability, to create wealth. What does this mean? He paved the way, but he's not going to do it for us. He has set us up for success. He's ready to move miraculously as we move obediently. He is the one who will bring the increase, yet, it's you and I who must move out and build the systems, do our due diligence and work smartly in the creation of wealth. Of course, we must be very careful to understand that it's God, and not us, who enables this wealth creating ability. (Wealth is simply financial resource, money and material goods that we can use in our lives and to advance the Kingdom Wealth and wealthy are not one in the same.) For us, this step of applying wisdom also included hiring the best architect, consulting with the city's planning department, following every one of their rules perfectly, choosing the right colors and design for our logo and other branding, researching how to best market and how much to spend on ads and so much more. In fact, our diligence resulted in passing a state audit a few years later with flying colors. They were gladly surprised to see such honesty and attention to detail. Precise record keeping, among other disciplines is wisdom, and wisdom is one of the three keys to financial breakthrough. When we understand God gives us the power to create wealth, it's important that we believe it, that we respond to it and that we do it rightly.
19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (ESV)In the midst of learning how to relate to the fire department, the planning department and other city officials, it got a little scary. The little money we had was being devoured by the thousands, and if this didn't work, we were in trouble! Even though the Branson, Missouri city leaders and employees are absolutely amazing, we were in the dark regarding approval processes and how much there was to do when opening a business here. At one point Amy, my wife, was in tears and ready to stop everything. It was too much. Today she shares that it was my faith that kept her on board. She's so thankful that we stayed the course! As a side note, it's wonderful being in a relationship that exhibits such diverse giftings, strengths and weaknesses. Amy is absolutely brilliant in the wisdom department. Faith regarding finances specifically is a strength of mine. We both have to consistently monitor all of our various ventures in life to ensure both faith and wisdom are working together. Leaping out in faith without being wise is a recipe for disaster. Wisdom without faith will keep us hiding out in caves! Knowing that God has promised to supply our every need makes it easier to keep moving forward. Faith is a result of trusting truth found in Scripture. God has gone before us and he understands we are fully reliant on him.
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Psalm 37:23 (NKJV)This final ingredient in our secret sauce is one that may trigger financial breakthrough for many. Peace. Peace is a manifestation of faith, and the above verse has been a very important one for the Burton family. God knows faith requires risk, and he doesn't want us holding back due to overreaching “wisdom,” which is actually fear. He wants us jumping, moving, shifting and advancing! So, he makes it clear that, as we do this, he has our back. He's ordering our steps. As long as we are living rightly, moving ahead the best we can, trusting his voice and refusing to allow any measure of fear to keep us paralyzed, that he will keep us on the straight and narrow. Wisdom plus faith equals peace. If we aren't at peace, we need to evaluate why before moving forward. It may reveal a lack of wisdom or misguided faith. God is not waiting to crush us under the weight of his disapproval. He is cheering for us! Even if, after investing in the process that wisdom demands and after doing our best to respond to God's instructions in faith, we fail, he's got us! He will make things right. He will order our every step. We don't have to hesitate, delay or be afraid. God will take very good care of us, even if we stumble. Miraculously, we opened Escape Code in Branson, Missouri six weeks after having the first thought about starting a new business. The sign was up, the rooms designed, the website published, marketing launched and the open sign turned on—and people started coming! Wisdom, faith and peace were the secret sauce that caused this to happen. Since then we've received awards and recognition including being voted the fifth best escape room in the nation by USA Today in 2017! It's exciting to see God moving in a project from concept to implementation!
A NEW TEST(IMONY)Tests are simply an opportunity for a testimony. We believe it's important (and wise) to develop multiple streams of income. In addition to Escape Code I make a little (very little) selling my books and we enjoy producing travel videos on our YouTube channel that has recently become eligible for monetization (we can't wait for our first $100 check!). In addition to those endeavors, we decided to implement our wisdom/faith/peace strategy again by opening two additional businesses, both of then right next door to Escape Code in the same shopping mall. The Axe Game's build out was more expensive than we had expected and Sagas Mysteries would have to wait an additional twelve months before we opened it, even though we were pouring money into the lease for an empty storefront (which we had to secure so we didn't lose it). The investment and monthly expenses, even though we applied as much wisdom as we could have, and moved out in faith, with peace, resulted in a difficult season. It greatly impacted our overall financial situation. The solution? This might seem insignificant, but it's what God prescribed: In addition to our regular tithe and our already established additional monthly offerings and other giving, in the midst of financial crisis, we were to start giving an additional one percent. We did that, and last month the entire investment in our new businesses was paid off! New seasons will have new tests, but if we implement wisdom, faith and peace, God will always be there! It's wise to give. It takes faith to give. We should be at peace when we give. Add increased giving to the other strategies that also require wisdom, faith and peace and you'll start to see a new financial culture developed in your life and family. Oh, and by the way, this secret sauce isn't really secret at all. It's all right there in the pages of Scripture.
We can’t afford someone leading our nation who does not hear God’s voice, honor his principles or love his people.
Though I’ve heard the statement time and again, for the life of me I cannot stop shaking my head in the midst of the confusion it creates. What statement is that?
“We don’t need a Pastor in Chief to lead our nation.”
That crazy decree seems to be the rallying cry of people who are dead set on rejecting more godly candidates in favor of one who is continually bearing extremely bad fruit.
Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people mourn.”
The celebration surrounding Donald Trump zeros in on his secular problem solving abilities and his rejection of any measure of political correctness. The problem? The situation in America requires someone who applies biblical principles, not human principles; biblical wisdom, not human wisdom.
“The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.” ~ Calvin Coolidge
Again, I just sit back and shake my head when Christians so eagerly support someone who has owned casinos and strip clubs and whose wife appeared nude in a magazine. Am I actually typing that? Christians are campaigning for a man who has owned casinos and strip clubs and whose wife appeared nude in a magazine. Wow. Yes. I did just type that. Twice. I’m flabbergasted.
Please, fellow Christian, explain yourself! How can you ignore that and the many other violations of decency that Donald Trump has committed—and continues to commit?
If my own son or daughter was campaigning for the office of President of the United States and was living similarly in an ungodly way, they would never receive my vote. My love, yes. My vote, not a chance. I couldn’t allow the blood of our nation to be on my hands. No amount of charisma, leadership ability or education could convince me to vote for them—unless they embraced a repentant life and developed into a mature follower of Jesus.
The reality is that we are absolutely electing someone to lead our nation who must be first and foremost a servant of God. If they don’t intimately know Jesus Christ, what god will they be receiving their inspiration from? The principalities and powers are drooling at the chance to be that god—the one who gives leadership to the President of the United States of America. If we don’t have a God fearing person in office, one who exhibits the traits of a true pastor, the alternative should terrify us.
“We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!” ~ John Adams
“The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which heaven itself has ordained.” ~ George Washington
PASTOR IN CHIEF
For all of those who are adamantly arguing against electing a Pastor in Chief, please let me know which of the following attributes are improper for the leader of our nation.
1 Timothy 3 1-7 reveals the qualifications of overseers of the church. I propose that these must be minimum qualifications for one who would desire to lead our nation:
- Above reproach—This means to be blameless. No evil should be able to be proved against any candidate of public office. This doesn’t only mean any illegal activity, it means to be free of evil, of sinful practice. How can a President lead our nation via righteous means if he isn’t living righteously his self?
- The husband of one wife—This mandate has become so diluted in our modern society. It’s shocking that we would hold to a position that divorced people disqualify themselves from leadership (unless the divorce is supported by Scripture).
- Sober-minded—Adam Clarke translates this as “having the complete government of all his passions.” This is talking about a mature person who isn’t given to anger or emotional responses to the issues of life.
- Self-controlled—Sometimes candidates for office are referred to as appearing Presidential. They are self-controlled, steady and not swayed by the challenges in front of them. They are confident and solid in their position.
- Respectable—A candidate’s reputation will precede them, and it must be squeaky clean. At the least, they must humbly admit their previous failures and be believable going forward. They must be genuine.
- Hospitable—Will a candidate get into the trenches with common people, serve them with passion and connect with them as a friend? It’s something very special when this happens, and I believe we should expect it. It’s a part of the office.
- Able to teach—It might be easy to dismiss this as pertaining specifically to pastors. I would disagree. We must have a leader who can communicate clearly, understand his subject matter and connect with the people of America so well that he gains our trust and that we are properly informed.
- Not a drunkard—This should go without saying. No leader, spiritual or secular, will be able to fulfill his duties if he drinks to excess.
- Not violent—Violence in a pastor would be truly terrible. Violence in the leader of our nation would literally put our nation at risk of nuclear war.
- Gentle—A non-violent leader is mandatory, but we have to expect even more. They must be gentle. Do you perceive a gentle, tender heart in your candidate?
- Not quarrelsome—Do they play dirty? Do they call people names, act like a bully or threaten? If so, putting them in the land’s highest position would be a cataclysmic mistake.
- Not a lover of money—This should be absolutely non-negotiable for any leader, much less the President of the United States. A love of money is the root of all evil, and if that attribute is in our leader our nation is put at extreme risk of being overtaken by evil.
- Manage his household well—Does the candidate have a reputation of being a stable family leader? Do his children respect him? Are they submissive? This is more important than we may realize.
- Not a recent convert—This may be the most important attribute for the leader of our nation. Having anybody other than a seasoned Christian leading our nation should be unthinkable.
- Be well thought of by outsiders—Is the candidate an honorable person? Do people respect their character?
The question I’m presenting is simple: why would we not demand such a code of ethics for those who are running for office? What is unreasonable about it? Why would such a list of qualifications be rejected when seeking to elect someone for the most powerful and influential position in our great (or once great) nation?
The obvious defense would be that no candidate passes the test. That’s debatable, but regardless, we must elect the person who scores the highest. We can’t throw out the standards simply because of a lack of perfection. Look for the humble person, for the mature Believer, for the one who walks in the fear of the Lord.
Donald Trump is clearly not that person. I pray someday he could be.
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Psalm 2:10-11 (ESV)
Absalom is a church destroying spirit that is fueled by human wisdom, complaint and gossip.
I’ve written and taught on the Absalom spirit quite a bit, including in a provocative article I wrote yesterday. I’d strongly encourage you to read it here: https://burton.tv/2013/08/08/a-raw-revealing-direct-message-from-my-heart-troubler-of-israel/
Interestingly, I received two emails today that hit on the topics in that article yesterday. One was from David Wilkerson on “Troubler of Israel” and the other was from Lance Wallnau on the Absalom spirit. I will include that article below.
I share some key revelation on that spirit in my book Covens in the Church, and I’d encourage you to pick it up. It’s only $2.99 on Kindle here: http://www.amazon.com/Covens-in-the-Church-ebook/dp/B005F0I1FG/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1312782087&sr=1-1
The Absalom strategy of the enemy is brilliant.
This spirit is fueled by human wisdom, complaint, gossip and a desire to prove what is right and to use that information to force change in a church. The complaints are often accurate, yet they aren’t driven by the spirit of truth, they are empowered by a demonic spirit.
When I say the complaints are accurate, what I mean is that people have analyzed the situation and arrived at a conclusion that is factually correct. Scripture can usually be found to support the argument. For example, the Bible tells us to take care of the poor. Someone in union with an Absalom spirit might take up the offense of the poor and accuse the church leadership of failure to serve them. The offense can spread and people can rally together and attempt to find someone in the church with influence and authority who will agree with them.
Whenever people attempt to satisfy legitimate needs via manipulation, that is witchcraft. Absalom is drunk on the spirit of witchcraft.
8 SIGNS YOU MAY BE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ABSALOM
How can you know if you are under the influence of the Absalom demon? Here are some indicators:
- Gossip: This should be the easiest indicator, yet even the most seasoned Christians fall victim to the spirit of gossip all the time. I’d discovered that very few really understand what gossip really is.
Here’s my favorite definition: Gossip is any discussion about a person or an entity (such as a church, group or business) that the person or leader of the entity would disapprove of.
Would your pastor approve of your discussion about the church? If not, you are under the influence of Absalom.
- Right vs. Wrong: Are you living in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil by attempting to prove yourself right and your leaders wrong? Or, are you living in the Tree of Life that results in honoring and serving them?
- Contrary Visions: You and others in the church may see the need for something, such as a soup kitchen, small group ministry or evangelism emphasis. While this may be a valid need, you have to ask the question, “Does it agree with the specific vision of my church?” All churches aren’t assigned to have soup kitchens, for example. It’s important to come under the vision of the house and leave other focuses on your shelf until God enables you to run with it.
- Gathering Others: Are you seeking support for your viewpoint? If you are gathering other people around you who have the same concerns as you, you can know that the same thing happened in the story of Absalom.
- Stealing Hearts: As you gather others, are you stealing their hearts, or are you affirming the pastor or leader they have been assigned by God to? Absalom stole the hearts of people who were under the care of David by listening to their complaints. Always call people to be loyal to their leaders and to approach them, not you, with their complaints.
- Disengaging: Are you running strong with the leader or are you shrinking back into a smaller group of disgruntled people?
- Matthew 18: Are you applying Matthew 18 protocol to situations you are concerned about? Do you approach leadership alone with your concerns, or do you violate Matthew 18 by involving other people and seeking their counsel?
- Division: Have you considered aborting your assignment in the church God planted you in by dividing off into another church? A lot of churches are born out of rebellion in the spirit of Absalom. Is this a desire of your heart? Or, are you willing to grow through the challenge in your current church?
I’ve watched the Absalom spirit absolutely destroy people and churches. The human wisdom that fuels it feels extremely spiritual! The arguments seem scriptural! However, the spirit is deadly.
One possible indicator that you have been impacted by Absalom is how you move from one church to another. If your influence to move on came through arguments of others, and you didn’t involve your leader in the decision, you’ve been hit by Absalom! You should be looking for counsel from the leader God gave you before you talk to others, and certainly before you actually make a decision to leave. Key partnerships of God have been dismantled through the Absalom strategy, and it has left the mission of Kingdom advance at risk.
Here’s the article by Lance Wallnau:
Beware of This Spirit … Absalom!
By Lance Wallnau
Remember my earlier posts on WITCHCRAFT? Here is an update —-Beware the SPIRIT OF ABSALOM who whispers in the ear to the discontented -against YOU!
Tonight I talked with the owner of a growing tech company who was perplexed by the behavior of a key employee. As we talked I kept seeing in my mind the face of an architect friend of mine. The architect had a key employee who one day announced he was leaving the company. He walked off with most of the employee's and all my friends key clients. It was devastating. He did so with out warning. So tonight I heard the word “Absalom” strong in my spirit. This was Absalom.
With this warning in mind I advised my friend tonight accordingly. There may be time to fix this…cause to be honest, this spirit can be active in anyone till you discern how it maneuvers and decide to have no part in it. In my early years, till this was exposed, i was challenged by this spirit. But once it bites you – you never forget it.
Absalom was the third son of David. His sister, Tamar, had been sexually abused and cast aside by David's eldest son, Amnon. (You see just one of the problem's that come's with multiple wives?) David loved his family, but he was a weak and flawed father. He didn't deal with the family problem and Absalom stewed in bitterness until he came up with his own solution – killing his brother. His bitterness, still not satisfied led him to a strategy that would produce the greatest threat to David he ever experienced.
Here is how this Absalom spirit operates. (2 Sam 15:1-31)