THE AMERICAN CHURCH STILL THINKS THIS IS A GAME

Soul-sucking disaster upon disaster, and yet America does not pray. But, I get why. The word of God says, “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God…”1 Corinthians 2: 14.   What I don’t get is how the American church can still think this is a game.

The world is on fire.   Because of man, and nature—Earth is ready to explode.   Meanwhile the church—like a party on the deck of the Titanic—pats herself on the back for her “big events.”

Nothing has stopped—or even slowed down—America’s depravity.   We have spent more money, time, and talent than ever—yet the church never asks, why we keep doing things that don’t work?

When the church

-Feeds a sick nation, a sick gospel, that does not deliver from evil, and worse, makes the already converted weaker, we must think it is a game.

-When the enemy is no longer the works of Satan, but the unsuccessful life—we are playing a game.   We must return to the Bible.  The Bible needs to set fire to our sermons.

Many of my Spirit-filled acquaintances are also playing games.  Facebook is like a Petri dish for Pentecostals.  In one compressed medium, you witness the banal bacteria that excites Charismatics today. Witness the games:

-Titles like Prophet and Apostle are flung around indiscriminately.  Every garish emotional experience is hawked as being from God.  One “prophet” says he went back in time and visited Moses.  Who of us has not scratched our heads at preachers, in ill-fitting jeans, live-streaming from a near-empty church, that they are the vessel of the hour?

– “conferences promise that you will get “a word from God” for a fee… as if the Holy Spirit was On Demand.  Or they offer formulas to “activate” blessings.  This is New Age philosophy.  God is not a force to manipulate—He is an awesome person to be adored and obeyed.  Gift arrive, as the Spirit wills, to hearts broken—emptied of self—for the lost, the poor, and the forsaken.

-Everything seems based on angelic visitations, dreams, visions and trips to heaven.  Most of our time is spent on these “experiences” and not on rock-solid instruction from the Word of God.

I believe in dreams, prophecy, healing, angels and visions.   But if they are from God they will drive us to the front line of the culture and not into emotional safe zones.   “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty to the tearing down of strongholds.” -2 Corinthians 10:4    We are nowhere near strongholds because we think it’s a game.

Beloved, this is not a game.  Christians toying with materialism, celebrity, alcohol, compromise and carnality spell doom for America.   Google, Facebook, Apple, YouTube and the rest of Silicon Valley threaten to pull the plug on churches.  Every day they inch closer to censorship.  Will your zany videos matter if no one can see them?

Our preaching ricochets off a culture careening into indescribable debauchery.  Soon it will illegal to preach the doctrines you are now ignoring.  What a horror!  Pastor you wake up one day with remorse over the truths you ignored—but now they’re banned.

Mario is there any hope?  My hope in God’s fierce love for America.  He will not let this nation go without a fierce fight.  My hope is in some of the last people you’d expect.

 

My hope is in the discouraged preacher.  Honest-to-God preachers who feel like fools when they see the runaway success of compromise.  Psalm 73:12 says, “Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease; They increase in riches. 13 Surely, I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning.”

My hope is in those who chose to fail honestly rather than succeed artificially.

Are you struggling with decreasing numbers and falling finances, even as you present a Christ-centered, Bible based pulpit?   God sees you! Hold on just a little longer.  Fire is coming that will cause a stampede and you won’t know where to put the crowds.

My hope is in the Christian nobodies.  Have you failed?  Did man take away your pulpit?  Get ready…your brokenness is a key to the fire of God in this hour.  A nationwide hunger for reality is about to make shallowness obsolete.

Are you a teacher, business person, police officer or stay at home mom?  Do you burn with a passion for your community?  Get ready for vision and anointing right where you live!

The hour is so dangerous that God must bring down religious empires and promote others to great power and influence.  Satan is also playing games.  I believe that God—through the last people we expect—is about to teach Satan what war really looks like.

Trump didn’t make the world more dangerous…Obama did. Here’s why it matters.

Critics falsely accuse Trump of making the world more dangerous.  The truth is, it was Obama—with his foreign policy of weakness and capitulation—that intensified international tensions.
Obama continually gave things away, getting nothing in return but contempt for America.
Trump on the other hand—by refusing to accept anything but victory—defused the danger level of the world.
He brought North Korea and South Korea together!  Yes, there is much to iron out with N.K. but there is no doubt that our president moved the situation further than all of his predecessors.   And, Trump offered nothing to North Korea.
Obama’s weak approach is the bane of liberal thinking.  Underneath, is the belief that victory is not possible. The best they can hope for is a tenuous treaty.  Nothing is settled.  The undercurrent of defeatism ran through all his policies…he found a half-cure for everything.
Tragically, the church learned Obama’s way of making things more dangerous.  The trend in church is to get people to like us better.   Ironically, it only made them hate us more.
Arthur Matthews was an amazing man.  Decades before American Pastors began imitating Obama apology tours, Matthew saw it coming:
“Old Testament examples of prayer at work portray most dramatically for us the believer’s authority over all the power of God’s enemies.  There is a finality that will not be gainsaid in the way the superior strength of alien armies is disposed of as God’s servants. This finality is not seen in the political bargaining that characterizes our day.  Compromises are made, peace treaties are signed, and the peacemakers move to other danger spots; but the fighting still goes on.  Are we allowing our disillusionment with the world’s acclaimed peacemakers to influence our thinking on spiritual warfare?  Are we really convinced our call is to spiritual welfare and peace through victory?”
It’s almost as if he is asking, “are you acting like Obama with the things of God?”

Christian leaders need to examine themselves for this hypocrisy.   Ask yourself, “have I condemned Obama’s defeatist approach while practicing my own version of it?”
Another examination should center around outcomes.  If the intended goal of the “user friendly church” was to reduce hostility, then why—under their watch—has hostility towards Christians, and laws banning religious freedoms increased dramatically?
They didn’t hate us like this when we preached boldly.  It is possible they instinctively felt contempt for our compromise?  They respectfully disagreed back then, but are repulsed by us now.
Nowhere is this defeatism more glaring, than in the attitude of the church at large, towards prayer and revival.
They don’t really believe prayer and revival can change our world.  They don’t pray as if prayer had power to change society.  They don’t preach revival because they can’t imagine it happening to their people. They see their congregations as coddled masses not willing to pay the price for revival.
Trump shows us that peace through victory means calling someone’s bluff.  Trump did that to Iran when they threatened us with end of the world if we walked away from that hideous agreement Obama made.  It was all talk.
Christians leaders must learn to do that with Satan.  Call his bluff.  Tell him he’s the defeated one!  Behave like Jesus won on the Cross.  Christian leaders must do that with culture.  Call the bluff of all those experts who insist we must alter our message to change society.
Listen again to Arthur Matthews: “In any situation where Satan dominates and threatens, God looks for a man through whom he may declare war on the enemy.  He purposes that through this man Satan be served notice to back up, pack up, and clear out.”

Peace through victory calls the devil’s bluff on the biggest level.  It declares that the Earth can still be enveloped by a massive act of God.
By holding to a policy of peace through victory, Trump has already seen results no one could have imagined.  It is time for Christian leaders to repent of their defeatism and embrace the power of prayer to make tangible changes in the hearts of men and women and to impact world events.
Arthur Matthew said, “It is the man who prays who exercises supremacy even over international situations.  Men are going to have to acknowledge the peace will not be brought through politicians, but through the intercessor who has learned to wage spiritual warfare and wins peace over the principalities and powers in high places.”
P.S  Pray for our president.

A strange thing has happened to Democrats

They suddenly discovered adultery is a sin.  Not only that, they now believe it is grounds for a president to be impeached.

Because he is a billboard for liberal hypocrisy, Bill Clinton is scurrying away hoping you won’t see him.  He remembers when Democrats defended him for current adultery (not something that happened 12 years previous.)  He remembers when the New York Times screamed that it was no one’s business when consenting adults have sex.

He remembers when (as recently as 2016) feminists thought even his rapes were okay.   Wonkette feminist writer Rebecca Schoenkopf thinks Bill Clinton probably raped Juanita Broaddrick back in 1978 — but that doesn’t make him a bad person.

In a post published in response to Broaddrick’s recent interview about the alleged attack, Schoenkopf explained Bill probably just didn’t know that forcing himself upon a woman was a no-no — because apparently no one told men not to rape 30 years ago.

“I can absolutely see Bill Clinton doing this (then, not now) and not even thinking of it as rape, but thinking of it as dominant, alpha sex,” Schoenkopf writes. “I can see a LOT of men doing that during that time period, before we started telling them in the ’80s, ‘hey, that is rape, do not do that.’ I can see YOUR NICE GRANDPA doing that, back then.”

Okay, that’s crazy.   So let’s get back to the question of how the Democrats totally flipped on the issue of adultery?

And how did they go from admitting Clinton’s rapes were okay, to falsely accusing Trump of rape?

Before we answer that, check this out: Just when you thought they could not get any richer here are other examples of hypocrisy:

Bill Clinton opposed illegal immigration.  Bill Clinton made citizenship a question on the census questionnaire.  Both things Democrats scream against now.  And now…

The all-time double standard bearers—the supreme practitioners of hypocrisy, call Christians hypocrites for backing Trump.

Let me assure you of something.  If Trump said, he was a Christ follower, and he was caught cheating on his wife as president, I would be first in line to rebuke the immorality.  That has not happened.  There’s as much evidence for that as there is for Russian collusion.

I don’t believe Christians who support Trump will give him a pass if he behaves like, say…Bill Clinton.   Let me prove it to you in a way that some will hate me for: look at what happened in Alabama. Even if you believe that Judge Roy Moore was railroaded—and there is evidence of that—many Christians could not vote for him because of the moral shadow cast on him.

Bottomline: The Democrats vehemently defended adultery because it could keep Clinton in office.  They only found morality to get Trump out of office.

 The real hypocrisy is even worse.  They believe Bill Clinton should not be impeached for adultery he committed while in office, but Trump should be impeached for adultery 12 years before he was in office.

Now that they’ve discovered the sin of adultery could they also discover the sin of hypocrisy? Sure, if it advances their narrative.

President Trump: Utilize don’t idolize.

Immediately, Trump fans may be put off by the title.  I am not saying don’t love Donald Trump.  I love my brother.  I pray for him.  I am outraged by the vileness of the left toward—not just our president—but his wife and children.   We need to extend love and respect to the man.

When I say utilize, I am not speaking of Donald Trump the man—I am speaking of the presidency of Donald Trump.  I am talking about seizing this moment when power is being used for the good of the nation, and gives the church new freedom to preach the Gospel.

Utilize means: use, make use of, put to use, employ, avail oneself of, bring/press into service, bring into play, deploy, draw on, exploit, harness.  My question to the American church is simple: Are we utilizing his presidency?

The enemies of the church utilized Obama’s time in power to greatly expand their operations…and most notably, create a widespread cultural shaming of Christians.  Under Obama there was outright hostility toward the church’s freedom of speech and religion.  Schools shut down Christians groups.  Prayer was wiped out in many public events.  An amazing amount was done that goes against our basic beliefs.

Some believers dislike Trump because they believe he limits the Gospel.  In fact, the opposite may be true.  Military chaplains can again talk about Christ, Christian clubs can again meet on campus, permits for Christian events are easier to obtain, and even social media has begun to remove the muzzle on Christians.

The newfound hatred for the Gospel blossomed under Obama not Trump.  The railing you hearing right now is because the open season on the church is over.

But what are we as Christians doing with the fact that jobs are coming back—are we investing in soul winning?  Now that we have more freedom to witness are we reaching out?  Now that the oppressive restraints are being successfully challenged in court, and the tide is turning toward more religious freedom, are we harnessing the moment?

On the other hand, we must not idolize Trump.  He is not our provider—God is.  We cannot devolve into a cult following where Trump can do no wrong.  We can’t be entertained by his gotcha tweets (a personal weakness of mine) and bravado.  We have to see the big picture.  Respect him, admire him but never forget the urgency of the time.  You have work to do.

True prophets speak truth to power.  If our president reverses course and becomes an enemy of the Gospel I will openly oppose him.  How can I not?

At best, Trump will be in office another 7 years.  That’s not a long time.  In fact, it could only be 3 more years.  In that time, we must discredit the virus the nation contracted from God-hating leftist elites. If we do not, then brace yourself for the most vicious leftist backlash we have ever known.

The Christians who detest Trump and those who idolize him share this danger—missing the hour of our visitation.  You can miss it by being so prideful you can’t accept the fact that God is working through Trump.   Or, you can miss it by sitting around being enamored by his every move instead of getting to work.

You can sum up the books of Ezra and Nehemiah very simply: God has opened an amazing door to restore Israel but too many Israelites couldn’t see it.  Jesus said,  “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”-John 9:4.

I NEVER SAID THAT

The therapist walked to the blackboard and drew a horizontal straight line.  He asked the patient “what does that make you think of?”  “Sex,” he replied.  Then the therapist drew a vertical straight line and asked again, “what does this make you think of?” Again, the patient answers, “sex.”  Finally, the therapist draws a circle and asks, “okay what about now?”  Once again, the answer was sex.

“I don’t need to go any further” said the therapist, “you’re obsessed with sex.”  Incensed, the patient replies, “Me?”  “You’re the one drawing all the dirty pictures!”

It was interesting how many thought I was drawing dirty pictures—claiming I said any Christian who disagrees with Trump hates him.  I never said that. 

It was equally remarkable to see how angry they got—how they took it so personally.

Some of the comments were hilarious.  “I am a believer, I don’t hate him. Even though he is a pathological liar, and a wolf.”  Other Christians cited the audio of Trump from 12 years ago as proof that he is evil.  Not even considering he might have changed.  Again, they add the disclaimer, “but I don’t hate him.”

But my favorite criticisms came from those who said:

-This is why young people won’t listen to us.

-The article is divisive to the Body of Christ.

-Stay out of politics.  No politician or party can be used of God.

Thank God they’re wrong about young people.  I hold nothing back and it just makes more of them show up.  I give them direct appeals and they come to Jesus.  It’s a canard to say youth don’t want to hear this.

What is divisive to one looks like God separating the sheep and the goats to another.  A core of believers is rising that is finished with the lukewarm church.  Lukewarm-ness is a good thing to be divided from.

If you think God can’t work through a political leader think again.  If you think politics has no place in spiritual warfare think again.  When the hard left took possession of the Democratic Party, the first thing they did was throw the church out.

Who changed traditional marriage?  Who champions—not only abortion—late-term abortion?  Who puts Christian bakers out of business?  Who is ignores MS-13 because they are immigrants?  Who espouses bans on prayer, conservative speakers on campus, confiscation of guns, makes “F—Trump! a mantra” a statement, one Democratic columnist said, “was worthy of the Pulitzer Prize.”

We have never faced such a hate-filled mob of media elites, Hollywood hypocrites, and God-hating extremists—hell-bent on crushing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in America.

Stop living in the past.  The day of civil discourse from the left is long gone.  Journalism is dead.

I know saying this will make heads explode: but in all this madness of globalism, and George Soros-funded tyranny, Trump is a momentary reprieve from God—an imperfect vessel notwithstanding.  He is a stop-gap buying time for the church to act.  And it’s disastrous for the church to ignore it.  If nothing else, he defeated Hillary Clinton.

Never mind the dinky stuff.  Look at the policies and the laws he is undoing and the ones he prevents—laws and policies that would muzzle the church and will build a godless nation for your children and grandchildren.  Trump is a firewall.

When you say that God can’t use politicians you are saying only the devil can.   

God’s catalysts can come in strange packages…ranging from the bizarre, to the coarse.  Samson, Saul of Tarsus, and even General Patton come to mind.  Often, they offended sensibilities, barged in where others feared to go.

The devil has the American church groggy on the goodness of God without the needed balance of the holiness of God—holiness that leads to authority—authority to rise and tear down cultural strongholds of Satan through moral awakening.

Trumps is buying us time.  Seizing the time?  Well, that’s our job.

SOME FOR HONOR AND SOME FOR DISHONOR

Former president Obama’s defenders say his failure to salute the soldiers was an oversight—that it’s unfair to judge.  However, the dishonor he felt toward our men and women in uniform showed through many times during his presidency.  This isn’t a photo of a distracted president.  It’s a snapshot of his heart recorded for all time.

President Trump by contrast, goes out of his way to honor our soldiers.  Nothing can distract him from saluting our brave men and women.  President Trump understands honor.  Memorial Day is all about honor.

Look at the two pictures again: Obama strides past two men who earned the right to be honor guards through years of excellent service.  They are being ignored by a man who essentially leap-frogged from community organizer to president.  On the other hand, Trump—a captain of industry for decades—is humbled to be saluted by these men of valor.

It has been said that only two forces have ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American soldier.  Let that settle into your spirit.

Jesus Himself knew the kind of character and faith military service could create:

Luke 7:1 “Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. 2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. 3 So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, 5  ‘for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.’

6 Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “

‘Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’

9 When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, ‘I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’ 10 And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.”

Let’s be haunted today by the images of moms separated from young children—of men serving in dark and foreboding forward positions with only dreams of home—of wounded warriors returning home to fight a lifelong battle with their injuries—and most of all, remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and never saw home again.

If there’s not a lump in your throat or a tear in your eye when you think about the sacrifices made for us, then God help you.  On the other hand, if today, God blesses you to thank a soldier or visit the grave of a fallen hero to give honor, be grateful.  Romans 13:7  “…and give honor and respect to all those to whom it is due.” Amen.

 

What does God do when a nation tries to silence His Church?

If I listed everything the church could say ten years ago that she can’t say today—you would be horrified.  Without a miracle, your children and grandchildren will have to survive in a world that will totally ban their faith—even scarier, they’ll do it without you.

It is hard to convince many Christians that they are losing their freedom of speech and religion.  They either don’t believe it is happening, or they chalk it off to politics.  But the erosion of liberty is not only real…it is the greatest threat American Christians have ever faced.

The doctrines of our faith that offend are the Cross, the Blood of Jesus, hell, sexual purity, and marriage.  They are already being omitted by preachers who feel the heat.  They’ll tell you it’s to reach a bigger audience—trust me, it’s the heat.

What can we do to stop the church from being driven underground?   No vessel of God can seriously entertain the idea that we should stop preaching these truths.  That can’t be the answer.  What then, can we do to reverse this pernicious loss of liberty?

The better question is what does God do when a nation tries to silence His church?  The answer came to me suddenly.   Hear me out, it is not what you think.  It is way beyond petitions, or elections.  The revelation I am about to relate to you, struck me with paralyzing clarity. I am amazed I never saw it before.

However, nothing I am about to say will help you—not one point I make will have its intended impact unless you have a heart for it.  If you are still in denial about what is happening, I can’t help you—this message can’t help you.  If you think I am dispensing alarmist extremism, then you are just another part of the threat.

But, if you want to hear God’s heart on this crisis—if you hunger for more than half-answers, then you have come to the right place.  You can ask the Holy Spirit the most important question you could ever ask: What do You do when a nation tries to silence your church? Here it comes.

When the leaders of Jerusalem arrested Peter, they didn’t know what to charge him with or how to punish him.  They knew they had to silence the church.  There was no doubt about their intention.  They were prepared to do anything to stop the Gospel.  So what was stopping them?  Answer that, and you get the exact marching orders we need today.

What was hindering them was the man who came with Peter and John.  This is the crippled beggar at the gate beautiful.  This was no ordinary miracle.  He occupied the most visible and lucrative begging station in Jerusalem.  Everyone knew him.  Word of his miracle filled the city.  A mad chorus of praise was rising over the eternal city.

Their deep consternation is vividly described in these verses: Acts 4: 14 “And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.”

Their profound dilemma is not lost of Peter.  He is seeing the divine solution to government censorship.  He has clearly settled on a course of action—the action we need to take today.  He leaves, armed with critical information.

He gathers the people of God and orders them to pray.  He is about to pray a prayer that is the precise model for our crisis—our threat.  Remember that word threat.

Remember I told you that nothing good can come to you from my message unless you see how urgent the hour has become.  Peter began his prayer by calling the situation a threat.  We must also do this.  He prayed:

Acts 4:29 “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.”

Peter is showing us that boldness is essential.  Only boldness will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Not only this, he is forever settling the question of preaching.  Preaching must not leave anything out.  It is by sharing it all, that the church is protected, and able to continue her work.

Next, he is admitting that the vehicle for that boldness is signs and wonders.  God must stretch His hand over an angry culture and perform supernatural healings and overrule the agenda of man.  Such is the case today.  But look at how God answered:

Acts 4: 31 “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”  Not only were they filled with the Holy Spirit and boldness, but God answered their prayer for miracles.  In the next chapter, the very shadow of Peter was healing the masses.

Ignore those who aren’t willing.  Set the time and place to go to homes, houses of worship, schools, offices—anywhere where true prayer can be raised to God.  Prove this promise and see…the Spirit will fall; you will gain a tongue of fire…miracles will come.  I am not talking about self-absorbed emotional light touches.  I am talking about undeniable, medically verified, city shaking, divine healings.

And you will see that now, as in that day, no law, no argument, and no politician will be able to silence the church.