DEAR CELEBRITY PREACHER…IT’S TIME TO REPENT.

The goal of your preaching was supposed to be influence, not popularity.  Instead, your pursuit of celebrity cost you your influence.  You believed big crowds and popularity would impact the culture.  Instead, it reduced you to a voice that entertains but does not transform.

These verses describe your harmless popularity:  Ezekiel 33: 31 “My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.”

How else can thousands hear you preach—but you can’t even close the crack house across the street?

What a reverse miracle!  Vast numbers of believers, commute to your church through squalor and human tragedy.  And afterwards go home the same way without making a dent in the works of Satan.

You may have built the first army in history that would rather bask in the beauty and attendance of the barracks, than in actual victories over the enemy.

Its time to rethink addictions to big screens, skinny jeans, and fog machines. Why is it time?  Psalms 119: 126 says, “It is time for You to act, O Lord, for they have regarded Your law as void.”

There was a season that camouflaged your ineffectiveness.  You could distract away from the hollow results and celebrate peace time pursuits.  Not now.  The God-hating left is hell-bent on silencing the church and framing all believers—including you—as bigots, haters and racists who must be silenced and marginalized from mainstream society.  It is over for ineffective churches.  God-hating elites and their mobs are burning down America.  This is America’s final call to choose between certain destruction and the Cross of Christ.

It is time to dismantle church incorporated and restore our allegiance to the Holy Spirit.  It is time to fire your marketeers and surrender to the original purposes of our faith, and the Word of God.

America does not need supermen.  It needs supernatural men.  Men who will consistently say no to self and yes to the Holy Spirit.  In your quest for “relevance” remember the Holy Spirit has the real power to invade this culture with “a mouth and wisdom that no man can gainsay nor resist.”

Today, abandon your career as a celebrity attraction preacher and return to preaching the Cross—the Blood—the dreadful day of the Lord—with signs and wonders.  Do these things:

1. This morning, not depend upon your own wit and ingenuity. Do not enter your pulpit armed with something some else has said that impressed you.  Don’t be an echo, be a voice.  Do not distrust or despair of the immediate and extraordinary aids of the Holy Spirit.  When you ask God for a sermon be ready to see that He already has something in mind that may be the opposite of what you want to say.

2. Make room for the moving of the Holy Spirit. Time to slay the express service and the golden idol of time management! What if God wants to break out among the people?  What if God fell this morning and accomplished in one day what your plan says will take 5 years?

3. Prepare yourself more and your sermon less. Take a truth that God is burning in your heart.  Pray until that truth overcomes you completely.  Let the fire of the Holy Ghost build up in you until you cannot take it anymore and go out and explode on the people.  Burn your notes if you must!

2 Corinthians 10:4 says, ” The Weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty through God to the tearing down of strongholds.”   Holy Spirit driven preaching will would cut through our nation’s darkness with mind-boggling effectiveness.

E.M. Bounds said, “What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use—men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men—men of prayer.”

 

 

 

A WAVE OF PERSECUTION IS UPON US BUT IT WILL BACKFIRE

 

The mood—the one that pleases people when Christians are harassed and blamed, is upon us.  I am warning you it’s about to spike, and the mindless ferocity of it will surprise you.

I was led to a specific moment like this recorded in the Book of Acts: Acts 12:1-3, “Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. 2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also.”

As I prayed, I experienced colliding emotions of dread and excitement.  The Holy Spirit made it clear that persecution against Christians is going to spike in the United States in the next few months.  He also made it clear that this would touch off a towering flow of miracles of healing.

Satan wants America destroyed.   It is the grand prize.  With America gone, the devil can unleash worldwide devastation.   But the global tyranny that he craves cannot happen until the American firewall is removed.

He also knows that he can only destroy America from within.  Somehow, he must pit us against each other. 

The only deterrent to civil war at this point is Christianity.  Notice that I do not say the church, I say Christianity.  The church is sidelined by equal parts division and denial.  The Christianity seeping out despite religion is the only thing protecting us.

The devil’s weapon of choice is hate.  He must foment hate.  Today, that hate is coming from the very people claiming to be fighting hate: secular progressives, and social justice warriors.  You have seen how the things that were once loving, moral and trustworthy, including marriage, manhood, military service, freedom of speech, witnessing, the Bible and, yes, freedom itself, are now hateful.

 

God has been lovingly warning the American Church.  He has repeatedly ordered the church to stand as one against immorality, but she has flatly refused.  God now reserves the right to use persecution to wake up the church and spare the nation.

Is there any good news in this?  There is much good news, but only for a certain group.  The core of Christians who refuse to side with the compromised church, and who are seeking Jesus, will be protected and used mightily.  Persecution will backfire!

The boomerang effect is seen in ancient Israel.  Exodus 1:12 says “But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites.”

After Herod arrested Peter, an angel appeared and brought him out.  This miracle ignited the church.  I am telling you what the Holy Spirit has told me.  Every vessel that seeks God right now will receive greater power and greater miracles.

Call it legend, call me crazy, but I know that this wave of persecution is here.  We can turn it all around.  We can regain lost ground.  Those who disobey God cannot escape this misery and those who obey God will granted special grace and increased supernatural power.

Paul wrote to a worried Philippian church to tell them about the shock outcome of his imprisonment.  It serves as a promise to us of what is about to happen as a result of persecution in America.

Philippians 1:12 “And I want you to know this, dear brothers: Everything that has happened to me here has been a great boost in getting out the Good News concerning Christ. 13 For everyone around here, including all the soldiers over at the barracks, knows that I am in chains simply because I am a Christian. 14 And because of my imprisonment, many of the Christians here seem to have lost their fear of chains! Somehow my patience has encouraged them, and they have become more and more bold in telling others about Christ.”

WHAT IS GOD TRULY SAYING ABOUT AMERICA’S DESTRUCTION?

AMERICA IS PAST HOPE AND WILL BE DESTROYED?  AMERICA IS FAVORED AND WILL NEVER BE DESTROYED?  Almost all prophetic words today shout one of those two headlines   Facebook oozes with voices claiming to be prophets or mouthpieces for God.   The internet teems with self-appointed prophets who scream to be heard, bombarding us with “prophetic words.”

So, is there a word of the Lord in this hour?  What is God truly saying about America’s destruction?  All I can tell you is I walk in the fear of the Lord and the constant remembrance that one day I will stand before God and give an account for every word I have spoken.  Yet, for all that reverential fear my bones burn with a word for this hour.    

My Spirit can’t hold it back:

That to autonomously pronounce judgement is to play God.  Doomsdayers are calling off the attack against evil when God has not.  They are sounding a false retreat.  They are making evangelism futile.  They are helping put souls in hell by discouraging soul-winners.

Don’t lie to yourself.  Don’t make up prophecies of judgement just because you are mad at the church.  Face it!  Your righteous indignation may be nothing more than a personal grudge that your ministry was rejected by the church.

However, the great danger is not an abundance of prophets of doom.  It is the false prophets of grace and entitlement who are most dangerous.

In a wonderful book entitled The American Miracle written by Michael Medved, we see astounding and undeniable examples of God stepping in when America seemed beyond hope.  However, these examples are not proof that judgement won’t come.  To assume this is sheer madness.

I want to use George Washington as an example of something that desperately needs to be said to the American church.  Washington died because of medical malpractice.  Back then doctors believed in bleeding sick patients.  Washington was already weak from his sickness—by taking blood out, the doctors made him weaker and finally killed him.  It was the worst thing they could have done.

Listen church!  Cheap grace is bleeding an already weakened church.   It helps set us up for national destruction.   For Satan, this the perfect theology.   Instead of a life-giving conviction and a robust will to fight—this perversion induces drowsiness and apathy.

Why do you think so any of our pastors are closet alcoholics and addicted to porn?  And what can you expect a poisoned vessel to preach on Sunday morning?

Past miracles don’t guarantee future mercy.  They should awaken urgency, overpowering gratitude, humility, and profound soul searching.  Throwing ourselves off the cliff of morality to prove the power of Grace tempts God and provokes wrath.

God is trying to show us the times and what to do: 1 Chronicles 12: 32 “of the sons of Issachar who understood the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” The entire chapter lists the military talent of each tribe of Israel.  This gift was Issachar’s weapon

Next, “prophets” who say America will be destroyed or who say America cannot be destroyed are dead wrong.  We are neither pardoned nor condemned.  Our fate has not yet been decided.

We are living in a moment of mercy: HOW SOON WE FORGET!  We were spared the horror of Hillary—the finishing touch of Obama’s death spiral—a permanently enslaving national debt—A Supreme Court chaining us to anti-God laws, freedom-killing environmentalism—open borders bringing perpetual Democratic control, crime and terrorism.

Trump’s election was a miracle meant to ignite the church.  His time is Washington will be short, ineffective and we will end up worse off than ever if the church fails to obey God. 

Trump has had missteps as president.  This does not mean he was the wrong choice.  Would we dare abandon him so soon?   He needs our prayers.  He needs our support.

Here are the precise verses for this hour:  Ezra 9:  8 “And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage. 9 For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.”

If, after all the mercy God has demonstrated—in a miraculous election—we fail to repent, rise and take our rightful place in America’s future…we can be destroyed. 

Listen again to Ezra:

Ezra 9:13 “And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, since You our God have punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us such deliverance as this, 14 should we again break Your commandments, and join in marriage with the people committing these abominations? Would You not be angry with us until You had consumed us, so that there would be no remnant or survivor?”

Wrath comes when you do not properly respond to mercy:  2 Chronicles 32: 25 “But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore, wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem.”

Look again at Ezra’s words: but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.”

Trump is a temporary reprieve.  Now we must do our part.  We must act on the mercy we have been shown.  He extended mercy so that we would do three things: Revive, Repair and Rebuild. 

Revive: God commands us to seek a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  We dare not have church without it!  We dare not utter another word in the pulpit that denies it!  The word of the Lord for this hour is: cry out to God with heart of gratitude for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Here is the key promise if we do: 1 Samuel 10: 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. 7 And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you.

Repair:  The pulpit and our moral compass is broken.  They must be repaired!  Our wiring, plumbing and foundations are damaged.  Abortion and marriage are issues we lost because our leadership was broken.  We abandoned the Bible and did not arm ourselves or the congregation with convictions.

America needs Lions who roar from a righteous heart.  Away with secret sin and lukewarm grace.  Prayer will repair.  The voice that shakes hell and frees men and women from bondage is forged only in fervent prayer.  Satan does not respect your stage presence, education or tactics.  He knows a prayerless poser.  He only retreats before men and women who have been to Gethsemane.

Rebuild: We must come home to the Glorious Gospel.  We must dismantle all the silly things we have tried to say to this generation.  Forget about rebranding!  We need to rebuild our sermons from the ground up.  Let them be replete with Bible Verses.  Let them talk of the mighty God.  Fill them with content the Holy Spirit can use on lost souls!  The Good News must once again roll off our tongue in the office, on campus and at the mall.

The consequences of cheapening God’s mercy are too terrible to imagine.  The opportunity this miracle has opened is too wonderful to ignore.  That is the word of the Lord for this hour.

 

WHY YOUR DEEP FRUSTRATIONS ARE A SIGN GOD WILL USE YOU MIGHTILY

We face a new kind of evil.  We have never faced a threat like this before.  That is why God is creating special kinds of people to be used in special kinds of ways.  What do these people look like?

We picture bold, assertive, natural born leaders taking the stage.  We assume the Holy Spirit would instill great confidence and audacity in those He has selected for special service.

In fact, the opposite is true.  He inflicts those He chooses with deep frustrations.  They are restless, they are weakened by confusing emotions.  Often, they don’t feel very spiritual at all.  The greatest gift He gives them is a desperate hunger.

In fact, your deep frustrations are a sign that God is going to use you mightily…because they create desperate hunger.

Yes, desperate hunger is a great gift.  Although, when you first get it, you will be convinced you are being punished not blessed.

Jesus said “blessed are those who hunger and thirst…”  It seems a contradictory statement but a closer look reveals eternal wisdom.  

God is carving out your soul to create a greater capacity for His power.  You are getting desperate for something—your appetite for that one thing is increasing.  It seems cruel but it makes perfect sense: God wants you to want something you can’t have.  It is in the not having it, that your desire intensifies.

The Bible says, “But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb.” -1 Samuel 1:5,6

Look at that!  God is creating unbearable frustration.  But, by depriving her of children, it increased two things in her soul: Her willingness to sacrifice and her appreciation for the blessings when they come.  In other words, she will be an amazing example of willingness and appreciation.

God didn’t want Hannah to get over wanting Children.  He wanted her to yearn for them even more.  The end result is one of the most powerful women in history—the mother of Samuel the prophet.  In Jewish tradition, Samuel is second only to Moses as a prophet.

Hannah’s total reward often goes unnoticed.  True, she surrendered her first born to God but it says in 1 Samuel 2: 21 And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the Lord.”

It was Elisha’s insatiable hunger for the anointing that made him ask for a double portion from Elijah.   Many, of today’s leaders ask for just enough to get by.  They will never destroy the strongholds of Satan.  They fold at the first sign of resistance.  Not so, the vessel born of desperate hunger.  When they finally get their chance, they will never stop, and they will never corrupt their God-given stewardship.  Your frustration and desperate hunger is qualifying you for something astounding.

All of this is well and good but it is not a great comfort when you are in the depths of frustration.  Desperate hunger from God can test us to the maximum.  We look for signs that our hunger will be fulfilled.  We yearn for proof that we will not die from disappointment.  Well beloved, the proof is right under our nose.  In fact, the hunger itself is the proof of the fulfillment.

Jesus said, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.”-Matthew 5:5  In other words, if you hunger, you are blessed because that is the proof you shall be filled.

Alexander MacLaren the great Bible Commentator said this, “that hunger is the sure precursor and infallible prophet of the coming satisfaction.”

THE FINAL SHAKING

The Final Shaking

What will happen when God begins to shake everything that can be shaken? When all false values tumble and earthly dreams and plans lose their meaning?

Sadly, many of God’s children are going to end up bewildered and confused. As the world moves into the era of economic collapse – when persecution falls even upon civilized nations – when governments are convulsing and tottering on the brink of total collapse — how many Christians will survive the test?

A lot of God’s people are going to wonder where they are. Ministers who are caught up in the trap of human vision will leave the ministry confused, all their work to no avail. Multitudes will be asking, “What’s it all about? What’s happening? What does the future hold? Where are we? Who can tell us the mind of God?”

We are now moving swiftly into what we know as the end time. We had better be in possession of a heavenly vision of holiness and humility. The testing time is coming down upon us with lightning speed. It is going to take more than a doctrine or a particular teaching to see us through. We are going to have to really know the Lord in His fullness. We had better have our eyes on eternal values. Only spiritual things are going to remain. Only spiritual people will understand what is happening and not faint. We must be linked up with the mind of the Spirit so we will not be thrown by the radical changes that are coming. We must bring ourselves, to the place we have nothing to lose. We need to walk away from all the junk in our lives — we are going to lose it all anyhow.

How much of God do you possess in this final hour of disintegration and fear? How earthly are you? How transitory are your desires? Have your values been sifted and purged by the Spirit of almighty God? How much of the world interests you — how much time is consumed in chasing after things that don’t matter now?

End-Time Restlessness

You will know when the Spirit is calling you out of the shallow Christianity about you. You will know when the Lord is wanting to touch you in a supernatural way. You will know when He is calling you out of the ordinary. He will stir your nest. An unexplainable divine restlessness will come upon you. You will become disinterested in what you have been doing. All your successes will leave you feeling empty and unfulfilled. Nothing that you have or do will meet the need in you for reality. You will sense that a very deep need in you has not yet been met — questions that have never been answered. A shadow of dissatisfaction will be cast over your entire life.

That is a mark of God’s dealing with you in a supernatural way, trying to get you to turn loose of all that you hold dear. It is His way of showing you that your needs are really spiritual and not physical.

You will feel His magnetic pull back to prayer — back to spiritual hunger, to broken-ness and self-emptying. Soon, you will be touching those satisfying eternal values and your soul will cry out, “This is what I’ve been wanting all along. He has taken away the earthly and replaced it with the spiritual.”

Saints, the key word is hunger. He has promised to fill the hungry heart. I have never been so hungry for God. That hunger almost overwhelms me at times. Every waking hour my heart reaches out to Him. Because His thoughts are always on my mind, the things of the world have lost their value. I see things as Paul did — nothing but the dung of this world. I am becoming a nobody — it feels so good.

Do you also sense this call to a deeper walk with God? Is your soul hungry for more of the Spirit in your life? If so, end the civil war in you — by yielding everything you have to the Master. The misery goes the very moment you surrender all to Him. You can know true peace and happiness the moment you quit trying to be somebody. Want nothing but Jesus, and your life will take on a new meaning.

Don’t Waste Another Hour

My greatest grief is that it took so long for me to get out of God’s way. I wasted years doing things simply out of compassion. I was spiritually blind, not knowing that God must clearly direct every step I take. I had an international pulpit — preaching to thousands — with crowded altars. Thank God He showed me there was much more. The numbers and the crowds meant nothing. I wanted to see people get deeper into the Lord. I wanted nothing more to do with shallow decisions. God had to totally change my way of thinking, and now, like Gideon, I know that big is not always best.

Don’t let it happen to you. Take stock of your life and values. Shut yourself up with God alone in the secret closet. Pray diligently for spiritual hunger. Ask God to give you a spirit of sorrow for wasting so much time. Pray for a greater desire for His Word. Pray for a broken heart. Pray for a purging and a purifying work in your life. Then get ready to be cast into the fire of testing.

“…I will purge the sons of Levi…” (Mal. 3:3)

I can tell you it’s worth it! The purging will not seem joyous, but rather grievous. But you will soon glorify the Lord for the results in your life. All the anxiety will be gone. All worldly ambition will die. Your spiritual eyes will be opened to truth. The Spirit will give you revelation knowledge. You will exchange the riches of this world for the true riches of Christ Jesus. You will wake up each morning with an over-flowing joy. Your soul will cry out “I found what my soul has been longing for. Rest — beautiful rest in my Lord.”

You can then say with David, the Psalmist — “In his presence is there is fullness of joy; at his right hand there are pleasures forevermore…” (Ps.16:11).

Proof Scriptures

“…for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ So then everyone of us shall give an account of himself to God…”(Rom. 14:10-12).

“…The end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer…” (I Pet. 4:7).

“… The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light…” (Rom. 13:12).

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build, upon this foundation gold stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire…” (I Cor. 3: 11-15).

A GLORIOUS NEW WORK OF THE SPIRIT IS ABOUT TO BREAK FORTH

God is doing a secret work in our day. He is raising up a hungry people who are growing more and more dissatisfied with the fleshly, worldly system as it now exists — even in the church.

These God-hungry people are saying among themselves, “This is not it. There is something more. The bigness and the sensationalism of it all has left us empty and dry. We want more. More than entertainment. More than big, showy buildings. More than a shallow celebrity gospel. We want deeper values. We want to see Jesus. We want spotless robes of righteousness. We want to go back to doing things in total dependence on God.”

I see it all over the nation today — disillusioned Christians searching for reality. The people in the pew are beginning to fast and pray. They are the ones who now weep between the porch and the altar. And, they are crying out for more depth and more of eternal values from the pulpit. If the minister of their church goes on in some egocentric way, pursuing expensive dreams, they will go out looking for a place where their deepest spiritual needs will be met.

I know it to be a fact that numerous ministers share my own desperate hunger for a deeper work of God in the church and ministry today. There seems to be a secret underground network of men of God who are stripping themselves down, humbling themselves, and getting back into the secret closet of prayer. Recently I have met a number of ministers, of various denominations, who are praying up to 6 and 8 hours a day. They are fasting. Some of these dear men of God grieve over conditions in the church today.

God is revealing to all praying people that a glorious new work of the Spirit is about to break forth. God is going to shake everything that can be shaken. He will tear down the old political, backslidden, ecclesiastical system. He will disown the formal, super-church structure. He will chase out of His presence all who are engaging in self-promoting ministries.

 

Be honest, saints of God. Are you really satisfied with the religious system today, and especially in your church? Some are. But most are not getting their needs met. I believe we have gotten off the track of true spirituality. The spiritual leanness of so many Christians today is a direct result of getting into the flesh — trying to do kingdom work in our own power, with worldly methods. Our values are becoming perverted.

Shame on us! We are substituting temporal values for eternal ones. We have evangelists and teachers who specialize in telling believers how much God owes them. Material blessings are magnified, spiritual ones minimized. According to some, it is our right to be rich, successful, and immune to all pain.

These teachers point to themselves as examples of prosperity. “Look at me,” it is said, “I have proved the promises. I live well. I am never sick — I have no unpaid bills. I drive the best cars. I live in the finest home. It works for me, so believe as I do and you can have what I have.”

Beloved, how much of that teaching will stand up before the judgment seat of Christ? There is a growing inner knowledge in me that most of our modern, self-centered teaching is going to be consumed before the flaming eyes of the Son of God.

John, in his vision of the Son of God, saw an awesome sight.

“…his head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire…” (Rev. 1:14).

John goes on to say,

“…I fell at his feet as dead…” (v.17).

Will any of us, as teachers and evangelists, be able to stand before those piercing eyes of flaming fire? Can any Christian look Him in the eyes? No ego can withstand His gaze. No self-centered dreams can go unexposed. All secret sin will be exposed as a terrible abomination in His sight.

All the things we have accumulated will burn. All the great works we have done for Him, with such zeal and sweat, will they also burn?

How important is what you are doing to God’s kingdom? God can give you the desire of your heart, but send leanness to your soul. God assisted Israel in their desire to have a king. But He later disciplined them for their selfish motives.

Are you in some kind of competitive race? Are you doing things for God just to keep up with others? In eternity, looking back — how really necessary will it all be then?

Children of God, what is the good of what you and I are doing? Do we have motives based on eternal values? If we truly believe the end of all things is upon us, what should we be doing about purging our values? What is it going to take to wake us up and get us out of the drift toward ease and comfort?

I confess to you that it has taken years for me to live only for eternal values. I grieve when I think back of the time and money I wasted trying to build something tangible for God. I wanted something people could see. How important I thought those buildings were to God’s kingdom. I convinced myself, “God deserves the best.” He does-but not in bricks, mortar, and steel. He deserves the best of our time and yieldedness. Thank God for the day the Spirit revealed to me how shallow my values were!

I spent 20 years planning programs, building buildings, running all over the world trying to show God how important to His kingdom I was. All the while my reputation grew as a minister of faith and vision. Yet, after each new project, I felt a letdown. No sooner was one building finished, and I was already planning another. I was an idea-man for God. I had more ideas than any preacher in America. Ideas on how to evangelize. How to organize New Testament programs. The programs and ideas were successful enough to entrap me and keep me on the treadmill of busy-ness.

But all along my heart yearned for more. I knew the blessing was not in building. Not in some well-planned scheme to reach the lost. Not in bigness, and not in activity. I discovered the hard way, that the glory of God, the peace and joy of the Spirit, was in being stripped down, emptied, and made totally weak. God had to expose all my values. He turned His flaming eyes on my soul and showed me I had better reject my old way of doing things, or be lost in a maze of self-imposed activity.

Now, my greatest joy is waiting upon Him for direction. I have made time to be alone with Him, and have prepared my soul to abide in His quiet presence. He is letting me sense what the Spirit is saying to this generation. The more He empties me, the more He fills me with a desire to depend only on Him for everything. I see now that all along the Lord was waiting for me to lay down all my plans, all my ambitions, and be given over to Him as a bondslave. The sweat is now gone – the pressure is off. He is recreating all my values.

 

WE NEED A TERRIFYING COLLISION WITH THE GLORY OF GOD

We need a terrifying collision with the Glory of God.  But right now we are awash in advisory sermons. The titles are similar and predictable: “How to handle fear, uncertainty, finances, relationships, marriage, and children.”   We are drowning in whiteboards, blackboards, statistics, PowerPoint presentations, props, and illustrations.

The problem is, with all the anger, division, loud perversion and persecution, teachers find their instructive messages woefully inadequate.  What happened?  The answer is…life.   Life happened and it is gripping believers with fear.  This is a new kind of fear coming from the screaming villains, who now have an out-sized influence.

Happy face sermons do not give power over a time like this.   What is happening now runs off the over-optimistic maps drawn in pulpits. Tragedies can uproot neat formulas like a palm tree in a hurricane.   Hip theories will collapse like a brick house in an earthquake.

Every honest Pastor can report causalities in their church.  Many who were once vibrant soldiers, today languish in a shadow existence.  They are out of church, disconnected from their former passion and sick in body and soul.  The ongoing political debate and demonstrations have only added to the crisis. The conflicting opinions of church leaders leave the army of God baffled and vulnerable.

Leaders have brought a lot of this on themselves.  The culture changed dramatically in the last few months.  The American pulpit has not.

Why are we surprised that modern believers suddenly need more?  The power that could answer a thousand questions and extinguish a myriad of personality ills has been ushered out of church.

Closing the altars, ordering people to tone it down, and focusing on recovery programs indeed brought in a crowd.  However, what is the end game if the crowd leaves as weak as they came—and in some cases weaker—without power to face our culture?

Paul’s cure was simple: an undeniable encounter with the fire of God…”that your faith should not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. -1 Corinthians 2: 5.

The answer to fear today is to burn it out!  Just for shock value, I’ll use this phrase…perfect love casts out fear but so does perfect fear.  No doubt many will think it is crazy to take a wonderful verse like 1 John 4:18 “perfect love casts out fear” and mess it up.  But I am not messing it up I am fulfilling it!

PERFECT FEAR DOES CAST OUT FEAR!  We have downplayed and even banned something that Christians desperately need…A TERRIFYING COLLISION WITH THE GLORY OF GOD.

Go back with me to 758 B.C.  Isaiah the prophet enters the Temple in fear for his life.  The tide of public opinion has turned against him.  The death of his friend and protector King Uzziah has put the finishing touch on 5 years of ministry that was just treading water.  His despair is now complete. He is enters the Temple looking for comfort from God.

He kneels in prayer, resting his elbows on the altar seeking solace from the storm. Instead, the building starts quaking, knocking his elbows so that he is now punching himself in the face.

He looks up and sees Seraphim:  Angels of fire, fire that burns hotter and brighter than any sun. They tower over him from each end of the altar.

Their voices roar, vibrate, boom and dislodge the mighty beams of the Temple!  “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, IS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.  THE WHOLE EARTH IS FILLED WITH HIS GLORY!”  Back and forth, again and again, they blast this mighty proclamation until Isaiah could not bear the fright!

The mighty God Himself stands before Isaiah unfurling the indescribable train of His Glory!  The prophet convulses beneath weight of glory.  From his bone marrow came an all-consuming cry… “WOE IS ME!”

 

The startling effect of the Glory of God—a wonder working fear—overrules human fear.   No threat matters now.   This demonstration of Glory conquered his suffering.   Isn’t this exactly what Paul meant?: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” -Romans 8:18.   Of course Paul is speaking of the final GLORY…but it is a part of our birthright to have earthly collisions of glory: “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.”-1 Corinthians 12: 7   An overarching, fear destroying encounter is the legacy of every child of God.  “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all

The twelve disciples were gripped by fear of the storm.  But when Jesus rebuked the storm their fear of drowning was replaced with an awestruck wonder.  They exclaimed: “what manner of man is this that even the wind and the sea obey Him!?”

We are told that General Patton won battles because his men were more afraid of him than the Germans.   Again, ours is not a negative fear but the  holy awe born from the manifestation of God’s glory.

This truth reinforces the fact that “Perfect love casts out Fear”  because love disciplines, love gives us what we need… and what we need today is not a subtle pat on the head.   We need a fear-killing encounter!  Solomon said in Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

raw bravery

Why are we blocking people from experiencing the fire of God?  Why would we keep this miracle from people?   I am talking about fire—fire that keeps them from the evil one—fire that forges a reverence, and turns them into your best soldiers

We should have made room and time for people to be filled to prevailing levels of the Holy Spirit and fire.  If we had, we would not be nursing hordes of Christians on life support. We would have an unstoppable army!

There is still time to reverse course.  If you have never been drenched by God then obey Him and seek to be overcome by His Glory.  If you have received in the past now is the time for FRESH FIRE!