THE NUMBER ONE CRISIS IN THE AMERICAN CHURCH

It threatens the church more than drugs, pornography, Islamic terror, fake news or any impending world calamity.  It is the number one crisis in the American Church.

Left unchecked, it can’t be overstated how much damage it will do.  Yet, as dangerous as it is—and this is the maddening part—it is utterly curable, and preventable.   Tragically, we may not have the heart or the stomach to solve this crisis.

So, who, or what is the culprit?  Let me ask you: Who is using up vital resources? Who is driving pastors into deadly compromise—or out of the ministry entirely?  Who is responsible for shutting down, derailing, and destroying the things that matter to the Christian faith?  The answer is painful…are you even sure you want to know?

The villain is a monster of our own making.  University professors may have invented the easily triggered, woefully self-righteous, self-centered, quivering in their safe place, snow flake.

We have concocted something much worse.  We created the Low Impact-High Maintenance Believer or LIHMB.  They are a monstrosity of the church growth—by any means necessary—movement.  They have created the perfect storm.

How do I explain them to you? Think of the intensive care unit.  There is a tube up the nose.  There is an I.V. in the arm pumping fluid, or painkillers.  There is a heart monitor, and a breathing machine.  They all serve the same purpose.  They keep the patient alive…artificially.  Many church programs today do that.

The difference between hospital and church care is machines in the hospital are for those who can’t do for themselves…in the church, they are for those who won’t do for themselves. 

They are why money for soul winning and giving to the poor is (pardon my pun) going down the tubes.  They consume all available staff and resources.

Because they are fickle, they started a price war between churches—discounted discipleship.  Pastors compete to have the shortest service, most convenient parking, best coffee, and the least offensive sermon.  Suddenly church is speed dating.

We now have an odd irony.  Church used to be about getting people to God. Now it seems to be about protecting them from God.

The Bible prophesied LIHMBs:  2 Timothy 4: 3 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

They can’t handle life.  They can’t fathom self-denial.  They hold preachers hostage to programs that consume—sermons they hate preaching, and shallow audiences.

LIHMBs are the reason many godly people have given up on Sunday mornings.  But LIHMBs do even more damage.  They create a special kind of discouragement.  Think of the man or woman of God who pastors by the Book.  They see a church use stunts and explode overnight.  An immature believer says, “I am leaving, you don’t have what I need.   A heartsick vessel of God wonders, “am I a fool for sticking to my convictions?  Is it true that the pure Gospel anointed by the Holy Spirit can’t grow a church today without gimmicks?”

Daniel 11:32 says, “the people who know their God will be strong and carry out great exploits.”  The LIHMB version should read, “the people who think they know God will be weak and carry out nothing.”  Actually the Bible does say, “Having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof.”  -2 Timothy 3:5

Like I said, the answer is so simple it is maddening.   Dear leader: 

1. REPENT!  Drain the swamp.  Clear your heart of toxic ambition and carnal goals.

2. Meet with your deacon possessed leaders and drop the gauntlet: “We are going to return the control of this Church to the Holy Spirit—center it on Christ, and let the chips fall where they may.”

3. Expect! Expect many to leave.  Expect the presence of God to return.  Expect a whole new crop of true disciples to arrive ready to serve.  Expect turn away crowds coming early for the right reasons.  Expect them to stay and grow.

Is it true that the pure Gospel anointed by the Holy Spirit can’t grow a church today without gimmicks?   To the tens of millions of Pentecostals in emerging nations who regularly see miracles, and multitudes saved, and filled with the Holy Spirit…that is a silly lie.

There are two massive reasons for us to have hope for real disciples, real revival and real impact on our culture:  The Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ.  

The Holy Spirit is tasked with giving us power, strategy and a mouth and wisdom that our adversaries cannot gainsay or resist.  He was sent to grow the Christian movement.  The most talented church marketer pales as a pathetic substitute for the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.

The Church offers the most irresistible attraction of the universe:  Jesus Himself!  Phillip Schaff said: “This Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed and Napoleon; without science and learning, He shed more light on things human and divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of schools, He spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, He set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times.”  Amen.

 

HE MAKES THE NATIONS PROVE

Evil men rage madly.  Tyrants and rogue nations taunt the civilized world.  Societies are unhinged by lust and addiction.  Because of villains, the candle of peace, joy, and hope flickers in the wind.

Villains come in all shapes in sizes.  They may hurl test missiles to taunt the nations.  They may hire terrorists to destabilize the world.  They may run factories to kill the unborn.  They may profit from drug addiction.  They may run a social media lie machine.  They may poison young minds in university lecture halls.  They may be the grasping, soulless politicians who will do anything to stay in power.

And they assume nothing can stop them.  They believe they shape the world.   Psalm 73: 6-9 says, “therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment.  Their eyes bulge with abundance; They have more than heart could wish. They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; They speak loftily.  They set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue walks through the earth.”

Arrogance is the hallmark of evil.  Believing you are in control is the quintessential delusion of oppressors.  How, oh man, can you believe you decide the outcome?

The boasts and actions of today’s evildoers are strangely familiar.  They remind me of that day the Wise Men arrived in Jerusalem.  The entire city was in an uproar—without invitation and warning—heads of state, kings, and potentates arrive, with a bustling entourage, and treasure.  What could this mean?

Satan had taken every precaution to prevent the Christ catastrophe.  This baby will not be born.  This light will never shine in darkness.  Yet, all the hordes of hell, and their earthly minions could not stop the arrival—the desire of ages had come.  A baby imposed its will on the whole disapproving world.

Herod oozes with hate.  He fakes homage to the new born king.  He asks the Magi to come back with the location of the child, “that I may come and worship him also.”

Angels intervene, and the Wise Men escape.  Still, Herod orders the massacre of all baby boys in Bethlehem.

What kind of insanity makes you believe you can kill God incarnate?  And how deep a hate is this, that the angel must tell Joseph “Herod will never recover from this—you must not return until he is dead.”  What madness!

It’s the madness of today.  It’s the madness of the United Nations—who do not even understand why they hate Israel.  It’s the insanity of those who want to erase the teachings and values of Christ—as if they were a disease.  It’s the petty, insufferable thinking that turned Merry Christmas into a hate crime.  It’s all the same witch’s brew that brought us the destruction of marriage, free speech, and faith.

How did Herod’s story end?  A fitting end: He died during a lunar eclipse.  God switched off Herod’s night light shortly after the birth of Christ.

The Psalmist who despaired that evil men would win saw the truth at last:  “When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me—Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.  Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction.   Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!  They are utterly consumed with terrors.”  Psalm 73:16-19

But, stars, and angels are not the only miracles of Christmas.  Classic Christmas Carols are also miracles.  How else can we explain such enduring, and beautiful songs?  Profound truth, and unequaled poetry lives in them.  We sing them so often their miraculous eloquence flies right past us.  Take for example these words from Joy to the World: “He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove, The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love.”

Let every evil doer who exalts themselves against God take heed.   He makes the nations prove!  He will make you, evil man, prove His Glory.  Not only when every knee will bow.  Long before then.  Every plan will backfire.  Every wicked plot will be confiscated, reworked, and morph into something that advances God’s plan.

Beware God hater.  The Lord of Lords is mounting a response to the madness of the world.  Your schemes will fail fantastically.

Rejoice beloved child of God.  Something big is coming.  Prepare for impossible breakthroughs.

If you battle despair take heart:  He makes the nations prove.  If darkness has weighed you down with care, let Christmas—the real Christmas—do its mighty work in your soul.

This is not just the birthday of Jesus, it is the yearly reminder that evil cannot win.

I leave you with the words of another Carol, I heard the bells of Christmas day:

And in despair I bowed my head There is no peace on earth I said

For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth goodwill to men

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep God is not dead, nor does He sleep

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail With peace on earth goodwill to men

 

Mechelle, our entire ministry family, and I, wish you all

of the glory, and love of Christmas   

No, Christmas didn’t replace a pagan holiday

8 PREDICTIONS SMITH WIGGLESWORTH MADE ABOUT THE DAYS WE ARE LIVING IN NOW

On August 11, 1927 Smith Wigglesworth stood in Angelus Temple to preach on preparing for the Second Coming of Christ.  He told the audience that liquid fire was consuming him.

Then Smith made this Opening statement:  But there will be things that will happen prior to his coming that we shall know. You can tell. I am like one this morning that is moving with a liquid, holy, indispensable, real fire in my bosom, and I know it is burning and the body is not consumed. It is real fire from heaven that is making my utterances come to you to know that He is coming. He is on the way God is going to help me tell you why you will know. You that have the breath of the Spirit, there is something now moving as I speak As I speak, this breath of mighty, quickening, moving, changing, desirable power is making you know and it is this alone that is making you know that you will be ready.

1. There must be special preparation for the return of Christ and at least half of all believers will be totally unprepared.

We have to see that these days have to come before the Lord can come. There has to be ,a falling away.

I want to speak to you very exactly. All the people which are pressing into and getting ready for this glorious attained place where they shall not be found naked, where they shall be blameless, where they shall be immovable, where they shall be purified by the power of the Word of God, have within them a consciousness of the very presence of God within, changing their very nature and preparing them for a greater thing, and causing them to be ready for translation.

This is the day of purifying. This is the day of holiness. This is the day of separation. This is the day of waking. O God, let us wake today! Let the inner spirit wake into consciousness that God is calling us.

There are in the world two classes of believers. There are believers which are disobedient, or I ought to say there are children which are saved by the power of God which are disobedient children. And there are children which are just the same saved by the power of God who all the time are longing to be more obedient.

And we heard the word come rushing, through all over, “new theology” that damnable, devilish, evil power that lived in some of these disobedient children, which in these last days opened the door to the next thing.

2.  There will be many Christians who believe that they can do whatever they want and God will look the other way.

People are tremendously afraid of this position because they have heard so much on this line: “Oh, you know you are the elect of God! You are sure to be all right.” There have been in England great churches which were laid out upon these things. I thank God that they are all withered. You will find if you go to England those strong people that used to hold all these things are almost withered out. Why? Because they went on to say whatever you did, if you were elect, you were right. That is wrong.

The elect of God are those that are pressing forward.

3. It will be common for preachers to deny the existence of hell. Denying hell prepares the way for antichrist.

What? No hell The devil has always said that What does Christian Science say? No hell, no devil They are ready for him. The devil has always said no hell, no evil. And these people are preparing, and they do not know it, for the Man of Sin.

4.  It is offensive to talk about the Blood of Christ

When I spoke about the blood and when I spoke about this infernal thing, the whole place was upset. You be careful when anybody comes to you with a sugar-coated pill or with a slimy tongue. They are always of the devil. The Spirit of the Lord will always deal with truth. These people never deal with truth. They always cover up the truth.

Do you believe it? Who can do it? THE BLOOD CAN DO IT! The blood, the blood, oh the blood! The blood of the Lamb! The blood of Jesus can do it. Spotless, clean, preserved for God.

Give the devil the biggest chase of his life and say these words, “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all unrighteousness.

5. The world will look to worship a man and will overlook his faults to get him into power. These people are determined to have a man. They know someone has to come. We know Who He is that is coming. They begin to make a man. So they find a man in India, they polish him up as much as they can, and they make him as — well, in appearance, but you know we are told by the Lord that there is soft clothing goes onto wolves’ backs.

6. That people believe that certain preachers are of God simply because of their crowds and their buildings.

A person said to me, “You see, the Christian Scientists must be right — look at the beautiful buildings. Look at all the people following them.”

Yes, everybody can belong to it. You can go to any brother you like, you can go to any theater you like, you can go to any race course you like, you can be mixed up with the rest of the people in your life and still be a Christian Scientist. You can have the devil right and left and anywhere, and still belong to Christian Science.

7. As Churches turn away from the Holy Spirit many believers to go to false teachers.

The secret of many people going into Christian Science is a barren church that had not the Holy Ghost. Christian Science exists because the churches have a barren place because they haven’t the Holy Ghost. There would be no room for Christian Science if the churches were filled with the Holy Ghost.

8, The last days are a time for the true people of God to engage in extravagant asking.

Up to this present time the Lord’s word is for us, “Hitherto ye have asked nothing.” Surely you people that have been asking great things from God for a long time would be amazed if you entered into it with clear knowledge that it is the Master, it is Jesus, who has such knowledge .of the mightiness of the power of the Father, of the joint union with Him,, that nothing is impossible for you to ask. Surely it is He only Who could say “Hitherto you have asked nothing.”

So God means me to press you another step forward. Begin to’ believe on extravagant asking, believing that God is pleased when you ask large things.

 

 

Are You a Wounded Healer?  

They have messed up and then gotten back up.  Trampled and left for dead, God restored them! They have no image to protect or ego to wound.  They are the most dangerous people that Satan will ever face!

It is clear that a new breed of weapon is about to emerge.  They are the wounded healers.  Who are these people?  Well, they do not have every hair in place or a clean record.  They are not the sanitized, prissy version of the Body of Christ.

They gained all new appetites in the furnace of affliction. They do not need the glory and they eschew titles and awards.  Their unswerving passion is to show compassion and take prisoners of love.  You cannot get them to fight over doctrine because they have been to the Cross.  They know the Blood that bought and then brought them back to life.

They are like Peter at Pentecost.  Only a soul handed another chance after denying the Lord three times will understand the inner fire of a wounded healer.  Who could write such a dangerous song as Amazing Grace but John Newton whose plaque says “Once an infidel and libertine A servant of slaves in Africa, Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the Gospel which he had long laboured to destroy.

 You cannot find such zeal in religious do-gooders who never brave beyond ivied halls of respectability.  You will not find this flame in the bleachers where the cold souls sit and keep score but will never take the field.

Wounded healers do not boast of clean uniforms and of battles evaded, but of scars and gates of hell invaded.  They have no preaching pedigree but a song that sets the captive free.

We all know of the verse in Daniel 11:32 that says,” Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. “    What we tend to overlook is the verse that comes later that speaks of the wounded healers.  Daniel 11:35 says,” And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.

 This is a word for you my friend!  Your attack is not to destroy you but to refine you!  Your rejection and your abandonment are not meant for shame but for purity.   It does not matter how your garments appear to Pharisees when they are white before God.

The most incredible news is this… though religious voices have disqualified you; your destiny is yet for an appointed time!   The door that God holds open stays open!

Now let us look at another aspect of the Wounded Healer.  They are able to reach the masses that the regular church cannot.  Therefore, they are the perfect weapon for this moment in the end of all things. If only these special ops believers could see who they are and lose their need for the approval of cookie cutter Christians then they will become God’s tractor beam for lost souls.

Getting rid of the fear of man was the principal prize that so many of you gained in adversity.   So many of you wrote to me about the horrific events of your life and in the face of everything else, it became so real, how much God meant everything and the approval of your judges meant nothing.  Truly, you shouted, “If God is for us, who can be against us!”

Many wrote of the life of power that rose out of the ashes of despair. They felt equipped to do more than ever. They felt useful and lethal!! AMEN!!    This has to be the purest meaning of  2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

 Look around you and you will see how a new generation of leader is coming to the fore.  They do not wait for committee approval.  They rent a school auditorium in a bad area and just start preaching.  They preach raw sermons with an open heart and crowds come from everywhere.

 

Their frontline ministry is unlisted in the who’s who of the council of Churches but Jesus feels just fine showing up every time they meet! Look again and see others who carry “unlicensed weapons”.  They open their homes to youth.  They send out food, clothes and love in the most unconventional ways imaginable all with the smile of God.

Wounded healers may not wear denominational labels.  They do not schmooze in the right rooms but they carry the fight to where it matters the most.  They operate under direct orders of the King of Kings!

When you see one you will know them.  They will not judge you and no matter how far gone you feel they will see you through the lens of the Holy Spirit.  They will see you as you will look after your miracle has come.  You will feel welcome in their presence and you will look priceless in their eyes.  They do not view the sinner as a commodity but as kidnapped royalty.

Someone told me that a certain section of the church would never listen to me again.  I did the math, subtracted that group, and found that there were still another 240 million souls in the United States alone.  I fully intend to go after every one.  I also call them the Lazarus Generation.

 

What about you?  What will you do with your adversity, pain and shame?  All I can do is tell you what I did.  At the lowest point of my life, God was waiting for me to make a choice.  My choice is to minister wherever the door opens and preach from now time on as if each message is my last.

Deciding to go on when you feel nothing but agony is the greatest victory that you will ever win.   Not caring who gets the credit will rip the lid off your limits.

What are you and I waiting for?  We have loved ones to snatch back!  We have miracles to unleash on lost souls.   There is a whole world out there that has never even heard of church fights or legalistic regulations.

When Elijah told the widow to go and get as many containers as she could and God would fill them with oil, she realized that the condition of the cans, bottle, pails, or pots was not important.  God put oil in all of them.   Wounded healers are not perfect containers, they are simply full of oil and that is all that truly matters.

 

 

God knows what he is doing.  Saul of Tarsus was the wounded healer of all of the twelve disciples.  He felt unworthy to be a disciple and said so in no uncertain terms.  Yet, he attributed his surpassing labor for Christ to a sense that he was a broken vessel.

Jesus showed another power of the wounded healer in Luke 7:44- 47 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.  You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.

Therefore, to all you wounded healers I say you will not get credit from the religious peanut gallery so you will have to be content with accomplishing more than any of them will for Christ and loving the Lord more than they can ever imagine.

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