GROUND ZERO CHURCHES

Right before our eyes, the church is changing. The great focus of the soul-searching taking place in our lifetime is happening right now, and it is happening in mega-churches. Many of these super-congregations are realizing that they have reached the limits of their relevance to Americans.

Many leaders are coming to this shocking conclusion: Satan has done a number on us. Many now say the devil used a counterfeit church-growth model to deceive the gullible and discourage the faithful.   When righteous pastors looked at the staggering growth of Seeker Churches, they felt overwhelmed and even wounded.  They wondered, “What am I doing wrong?  Am I a fool to hold on to my integrity?”  

Growth seminars have proliferated all over America and they have preyed on weak Pastors. David Wilkerson said, “Ministers from small churches are being told, in so many words, ‘Attend this mega-church pastor’s seminar, and you will find the keys to success. You‘ll eventually have a church as big as his.’”

Yet these ‘keys to success’ are only causing pastors to become more discouraged. They end up being convinced that they are failures if they do not see spectacular growth.  They tell me, “I am not doing anything significant for God. He just isn’t using me.”

Many mega church experts now admit that ‘making nice’ with secular America did not have any impact on the spread of violence, perversion, and atheism.  To their dismay, they now confess that these things have greatly accelerated on their watch.  After our complete makeover and compromise of the Gospel message, society ended up hating us even more.

We have been trashed, bashed, and left for dead.  Now it is time for the Body of Christ to push back on all of the lies, threats, and ominous predictions about our demise.  America is ripe for the church to make a massive comeback.  You heard me, a massive comeback!

I know that all the experts are saying that the Church has lost America and will never get it back.  These kinds of lies have made the rounds for centuries.  Usually, they pronounce that the church is dead—right before a major revival takes place.  The last time I saw it was when the “God is dead” movement swept America in the 1960’s—only to be swallowed up by the Jesus Movement.

To see this take place we will need a new Church model, one that looks nothing like what we see today.   We need ‘Ground Zero Churches.’

Christian leader: take heed. I am pleading with you to consider a dynamic option for your church.  I want you to consider becoming a Ground Zero Church. That consists of a strong and healthy church which grows without stress, compromise, endless striving, or vicious competition.

Let’s define a Ground Zero Church.  They are the epicenter for God’s dealing with a specific region. They are a body of believers that have made the supreme covenant with God.  Here are the features of a Ground Zero Church:

1. They believe that God can do it here.  I wonder what would happen if, let’s say, we got a jumbo jet packed full of fired up Bible College students on their way to the mission field. We take off out of New York’s Kennedy Airport, headed for a country somewhere overseas.  Instead, we order the pilot to make very wide circles over the Atlantic for hours, finally landing somewhere in New Jersey.  As soon as we get off, we are hustled into vans and dropped in New York City.

I am convinced that they will raise the dead, save thousands, and deliver many from demonic oppression, and signs and wonders will abound— just because they think they are overseas.

Many Christians have deluded themselves into thinking that the reason miracles are not happening in America today is because the poor in foreign nations have a more simple faith. They think Americans are just ‘too sophisticated’ to respond.  The Bible paints a much different picture.  In Acts, God knocked Saul of Tarsus, the zealot-intellectual-Pharisee, flat on the ground.  He became the Apostle Paul, the chief architect of the New Testament Church.  And when the Holy Spirit first fell upon the Gentiles, it was in the house of Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, a powerful man of wealth and influence.

 2. Ground Zero Churches allow the Holy Spirit to transform their congregation into a core zone of irresistible glory:  Paul described the overpowering effect a church gathering could have on the outside world: 24 “But if all of you prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.” (1 Corinthians 14:24-25)

Matthew Henry commented on these verses, “God can, when he pleases, strike awe upon the worst of men, by the tokens of his presence in the assemblies of the faithful, and force them to acknowledge that God is with them of a truth.”

There are many examples of places where the overwhelming presence of God dropped hardened sinners to their knees.

-A reporter from London came to Wales to investigate the Welsh revival.  The presence he felt when he entered Wales shocked him. He exclaimed, “This is a nation haunted by God!”

-During the Great Awakening, hardened sailors on clipper ships reported being seized with conviction of sin when they entered certain zones off the American coast.

-When Jonathan “Praying” Hyde walked past the door to the bar at a hotel, sinners dropped off of their bar stools onto their knees and began weeping under the powerful conviction of the Holy Spirit.

-There are many true stories about revivals that took place in churches where the presence of God was so powerful that people who were just driving past the church would find their cars turning into the parking lot on their own. When the drivers got out, they were so overpowered by the Holy Spirit that they practically had to crawl to the door of the church. They would come, weeping, down to the altar to get saved.

3. Ground Zero Churches pull the trigger that God has hidden in their culture.

Throughout history, obedient missionaries who listened to God and observed the way God had prepared a culture through history, detonated revivals.  This gave them a supernatural relevance:

-700 B.C. a plague kills one third of the population of Athens.  Epimenides, a teacher who believed in the one true God, orders the city leaders to sacrifice prize rams and the plague stops.  They build an altar to the unknown God.  Paul pulls the trigger 744 years later, in Acts 17:23, “I even noticed that you have an altar to the unknown God.  He Whom you ignorantly worship, I openly proclaim!”

-Koreans had a name for God that did not come from any pagan religion.  White missionaries refused to call God by that Korean name, thinking it would be a compromise.  Finally, while in prayer, one of the missionaries realized that this name was the result of the dealing of God long ago in Korean history. The moment that He called God by that Korean name, revival exploded.

-The Lihue Indians wore knots of rope around their wrists.  A missionary from England, realizing that this was a symbol for their slavery to sin, preached that Christ cut these rope bands when He died on the cross.  Pandemonium struck, as tens of thousands of the Lihue started sobbing and begging to have their bands cut off.

We cannot fear what our culture looks like right now.  The Holy Spirit already has a message and a plan that is uniquely designed for this present darkness.  Seek the Lord and believe that He not only wants to, but that He will change your church into a Ground Zero Church, and save this lost nation of ours.

Mario’s powerful new book, Vessels of Fire and Glory is now available for $15, or $12 for 10 or more copies…and here’s a special offer: Use the link to get your copy right now, and we will send you an autographed copy, and not only that, the shipping is free!

Sometimes you find a book, and other times, a book finds you. Vessels of Fire and Glory is calling to the deep in you, and bidding you to come—to be forged, trained, and perfectly fitted for the next and greatest act of God which is coming in these last days.

Click here to get your copy now! https://mariomurillo.org/product/vessels-of-fire-glory/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STOLEN THUNDER

They are saying what we should be saying.  Millions have seen their videos.  They are credited for starting a revolution of thought in North America.  Here’s the rub: they are stealing our thunder.  They are putting preachers to shame.  They are Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro. 

You may be the last human in America who hasn’t seen their confrontations and then eliminations of post-modern secularists.  They tackle every hot button issue from transgender, abortion, gun rights, feminism…in short, everything your pastor may be afraid to preach on.

Here’s the thing—they do it with an aplomb that devastates their opponents.  They produce clear facts and irresistible common sense to show how ancient morality is the key to sanity.  In other words, they are doing our job.

There is one audience that especially resonates with Jordan Petersen: young men.  This is a key demographic that the church has almost entirely lost. 

Ben Shapiro destroys the case for abortion in take-no-prisoners style on the most liberal college campuses.

Jordan Petersen champions free speech in a way that you are not hearing in any pulpit today.

What they are, is what preaching used to be in America.  What they have done, is destroy our great excuse: the lie that young audiences do not want to hear classic morality. And they have destroyed the sister lie that if you take on the false arguments of the Left you will be shot down in flames.

The fact that they don’t preach the Gospel or refer to that many Bible verses only increases our embarrassment.  That’s because, they are still closer to the counsel of God than most celebrity pastors.

While most mega church pastors seek the non-offensive sermon, these two wade into the fallacies of sin and atheism.  They prove that there is a vast young audience for moral absolutes.

They prove what I have long declared: it is time for sermons with content.  Paul said he did not come with enticing words of man’s wisdom but the demonstration of the power of God.  That does not mean he was not compelling.  We are not compelling because we are so afraid of telling people where they are wrong.

There was a day when a Jordan Petersen and a Ben Shapiro would not have been such a novelty.  We used to have preachers who were anointed with content that exposed the bankruptcy of secular culture.

Billy Graham was such a preacher.  He stood unapologetically before lost souls, of all races, and educational levels, and declared the Word of God.  He left nothing out. 

The notion that he was a simple preacher is misleading.  He once said, “the new morality is nothing but the old immorality.” A simple yet profound observation that is more at home in a meeting with Jordan and Ben than our present churches.

Billy seized headlines, current events and never shied away from explaining why sin destroyed and Jesus offered peace that passes understanding. 

Today the church is talking to itself because it does not know how to talk to modern minds.  We do not change hearts and minds.  We are not adding daily to the church such as should be saved. 

You know I believe in miracles.  However, those who continually offer the world emotional experiences are missing the great power of preaching like Jesus promised, “I will give you a mouth and wisdom that your adversaries will not be able to gainsay or resist.”

On the other hand, those who leave out the power of the gifts of the Spirit—that are a sign to the unbeliever—are equally crippling the Church’s power to transform lost souls.

This dynamic duo of gifts of power with piercing preaching was embodied by Paul the Apostle.  Until Paul, the church was led by Peter.  Peter had fire but not the trained mind of Paul the Apostle. 

When Paul took the initiative his dual gifting of heat and light caused the Gospel to spread to all the known world.  It can be that way again.

GROUND ZERO CHURCHES

Right before our eyes, the church is changing. The great focus of the soul-searching taking place in our lifetime is happening right now, and it is happening in mega-churches. Many of these super-congregations are realizing that they have reached the limits of their relevance to Americans.

Many leaders are coming to this shocking conclusion: Satan has done a number on us. Many now say the devil used a counterfeit church-growth model to deceive the gullible and discourage the faithful.   When righteous pastors looked at the staggering growth of Seeker Churches, they felt overwhelmed and even wounded.  They wondered, “What am I doing wrong?  Am I a fool to hold on to my integrity?”  

Growth seminars have proliferated all over America and they have preyed on weak Pastors. David Wilkerson said, “Ministers from small churches are being told, in so many words, ‘Attend this mega-church pastor’s seminar, and you will find the keys to success. You‘ll eventually have a church as big as his.’”

Yet these ‘keys to success’ are only causing pastors to become more discouraged. They end up being convinced that they are failures if they do not see spectacular growth.  They tell me, “I am not doing anything significant for God. He just isn’t using me.”

Many mega church experts now admit that ‘making nice’ with secular America did not have any impact on the spread of violence, perversion, and atheism.  To their dismay, they now confess that these things have greatly accelerated on their watch.  After our complete makeover and compromise of the Gospel message, society ended up hating us even more.

We have been trashed, bashed, and left for dead.  Now it is time for the Body of Christ to push back on all of the lies, threats, and ominous predictions about our demise.  America is ripe for the church to make a massive comeback.  You heard me, a massive comeback!

I know that all the experts are saying that the Church has lost America and will never get it back.  These kinds of lies have made the rounds for centuries.  Usually, they pronounce that the church is dead—right before a major revival takes place.  The last time I saw it was when the “God is dead” movement swept America in the 1960’s—only to be swallowed up by the Jesus Movement.

To see this take place we will need a new Church model, one that looks nothing like what we see today.   We need ‘Ground Zero Churches.’

Christian leader: take heed. I am pleading with you to consider a dynamic option for your church.  I want you to consider becoming a Ground Zero Church. That consists of a strong and healthy church which grows without stress, compromise, endless striving, or vicious competition.

Let’s define a Ground Zero Church.  They are the epicenter for God’s dealing with a specific region. They are a body of believers that have made the supreme covenant with God.  Here are the features of a Ground Zero Church:

1. They believe that God can do it here.  I wonder what would happen if, let’s say, we got a jumbo jet packed full of fired up Bible College students on their way to the mission field. We take off out of New York’s Kennedy Airport, headed for a country somewhere overseas.  Instead, we order the pilot to make very wide circles over the Atlantic for hours, finally landing somewhere in New Jersey.  As soon as we get off, we are hustled into vans and dropped in New York City.

I am convinced that they will raise the dead, save thousands, and deliver many from demonic oppression, and signs and wonders will abound— just because they think they are overseas.

Many Christians have deluded themselves into thinking that the reason miracles are not happening in America today is because the poor in foreign nations have a more simple faith. They think Americans are just ‘too sophisticated’ to respond.  The Bible paints a much different picture.  In Acts, God knocked Saul of Tarsus, the zealot-intellectual-Pharisee, flat on the ground.  He became the Apostle Paul, the chief architect of the New Testament Church.  And when the Holy Spirit first fell upon the Gentiles, it was in the house of Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, a powerful man of wealth and influence.

 2. Ground Zero Churches allow the Holy Spirit to transform their congregation into a core zone of irresistible glory:  Paul described the overpowering effect a church gathering could have on the outside world: 24 “But if all of you prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.” (1 Corinthians 14:24-25)

Matthew Henry commented on these verses, “God can, when he pleases, strike awe upon the worst of men, by the tokens of his presence in the assemblies of the faithful, and force them to acknowledge that God is with them of a truth.”

There are many examples of places where the overwhelming presence of God dropped hardened sinners to their knees.

-A reporter from London came to Wales to investigate the Welsh revival.  The presence he felt when he entered Wales shocked him. He exclaimed, “This is a nation haunted by God!”

-During the Great Awakening, hardened sailors on clipper ships reported being seized with conviction of sin when they entered certain zones off the American coast.

-When Jonathan “Praying” Hyde walked past the door to the bar at a hotel, sinners dropped off of their bar stools onto their knees and began weeping under the powerful conviction of the Holy Spirit.

-There are many true stories about revivals that took place in churches where the presence of God was so powerful that people who were just driving past the church would find their cars turning into the parking lot on their own. When the drivers got out, they were so overpowered by the Holy Spirit that they practically had to crawl to the door of the church. They would come, weeping, down to the altar to get saved.

3. Ground Zero Churches pull the trigger that God has hidden in their culture.

Throughout history, obedient missionaries who listened to God and observed the way God had prepared a culture through history, detonated revivals.  This gave them a supernatural relevance:

-700 B.C. a plague kills one third of the population of Athens.  Epimenides, a teacher who believed in the one true God, orders the city leaders to sacrifice prize rams and the plague stops.  They build an altar to the unknown God.  Paul pulls the trigger 744 years later, in Acts 17:23, “I even noticed that you have an altar to the unknown God.  He Whom you ignorantly worship, I openly proclaim!”

-Koreans had a name for God that did not come from any pagan religion.  White missionaries refused to call God by that Korean name, thinking it would be a compromise.  Finally, while in prayer, one of the missionaries realized that this name was the result of the dealing of God long ago in Korean history. The moment that He called God by that Korean name, revival exploded.

-The Lihue Indians wore knots of rope around their wrists.  A missionary from England, realizing that this was a symbol for their slavery to sin, preached that Christ cut these rope bands when He died on the cross.  Pandemonium struck, as tens of thousands of the Lihue started sobbing and begging to have their bands cut off.

We cannot fear what our culture looks like right now.  The Holy Spirit already has a message and a plan that is uniquely designed for this present darkness.  Seek the Lord and believe that He not only wants to, but that He will change your church into a Ground Zero Church, and save this lost nation of ours.

Mario’s powerful new book, Vessels of Fire and Glory is now available for $15, or $12 for 10 or more copies…and here’s a special offer: Use the link to get your copy right now, and we will send you an autographed copy, and not only that, the shipping is free!

Sometimes you find a book, and other times, a book finds you. Vessels of Fire and Glory is calling to the deep in you, and bidding you to come—to be forged, trained, and perfectly fitted for the next and greatest act of God which is coming in these last days.

Click here to get your copy now! https://mariomurillo.org/product/vessels-of-fire-glory/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STOLEN THUNDER

They are saying what we should be saying.  Millions have seen their videos.  They are credited for starting a revolution of thought in North America.  Here’s the rub: they are stealing our thunder.  They are putting preachers to shame.  They are Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro. 

You may be the last human in America who hasn’t seen their confrontations and then eliminations of post-modern secularists.  They tackle every hot button issue from transgender, abortion, gun rights, feminism…in short, everything your pastor may be afraid to preach on.

Here’s the thing—they do it with an aplomb that devastates their opponents.  They produce clear facts and irresistible common sense to show how ancient morality is key to sanity.  In other words, they are doing our job.

There is one audience that is especially resonates with Jordan Petersen: young men.  This is a key demographic that the church has almost entirely lost. 

Ben Shapiro destroys the case for abortion in take-no-prisoners style on the most liberal college campuses.

Jordan Petersen champions free speech in a way that you are not hearing in any pulpit today.

What they are, is what preaching used to be in America.  What they have done, is destroy our great excuse: the lie that young audiences do not want to hear classic morality. And they have destroyed the sister lie that if you take on the false arguments of the left you will be shot down in flames.

The fact that they don’t preach the Gospel or refer to that many Bible verses only increases our embarrassment.  That’s because, they are still closer to the counsel of God than most celebrity pastors.

While most mega church pastors seek the non-offensive sermon, these two wade into the fallacies of sin and atheism.  They prove that there is a vast young audience for moral absolutes.

They prove what I have long declared: it is time for sermons with content.  Paul said he did not come with the excellency of man’s wisdom but the demonstration of the power of God.  That does not mean he was not compelling.  We are not compelling because we are so afraid of telling people where they are wrong.

There was a day when a Jordan Petersen and a Ben Shapiro would not have been such a novelty.  We used to have preachers who were anointed with content that exposed the bankruptcy of secular culture.

Billy Graham was such a preacher.  He stood unapologetically before lost souls, of all races, and educational levels, and declared the Word of God.  He left nothing out. 

The notion that he was a simple preacher is misleading.  He once said, “the new morality is nothing but the old immorality.” A simple yet profound observation that is more at home in a meeting with Jordan and Ben than our present churches.

Billy  seized headlines, current events and never shied away from explaining why sin destroyed and Jesus offered peace that passes understanding. 

Today the church is talking to itself because it does not know how to talk to modern minds.  We do not change hearts and minds.  We are not adding daily to the church such as should be saved. 

You know I believe in miracles.  However, those who continually offer the world emotional experiences are missing the great power of preaching like Jesus promised, “I will give you a mouth and wisdom that your adversaries will not be able to gainsay or resist.”

On the other hand, those who leave out the power of the gifts of the Spirit—that are a sign to the unbeliever—are equally crippling the Church’s power to transform lost souls.

This dynamic duo of gifts of power with piercing preaching was embodied by Paul the Apostle.  Until Paul, the church was led by Peter.  Peter had fire but not the trained mind of Paul the Apostle. 

When Paul told the initiative his dual gifting of heat and light caused the Gospel to spread to all the known world.  It can be that way again.

It is not enough to tell harmless stories to the already converted.  We need to penetrate those who never darken the door of a church.  It is not enough to dazzle them with logic as Jordan and Ben do.  They need both a convicting declaration and the confirming signs of the Holy Spirit.

Jordan and Ben have done the heavy lifting.  They proved our shallow sermons are unjustified.

Maybe we needed to be shamed into action by two men who have proven that millions—many who we thought wanted nothing to do with Christ—are hungry for truth.

Is God doing a secret work in you?

Mario Murillo says, “Many Christians are fed up with the world system—especially the way it operates in the church.  They leave church thinking, ‘this is not it, there’s something bad wrong here.’  They can’t stomach the glitzy entertainment centers anymore…”

IS GOD DOING A SECRET WORK IN YOU?

by Mario Murillo

Many Christians are fed up with the world system—especially the way it operates in the church.  They leave church thinking, “this is not it, there’s something bad wrong here.”  They can’t stomach the glitzy entertainment centers anymore.

They are angry at ego-centric pastors with grandiose, expense and carnal visions.  They accuse them of being distracted—even derailed from their first love.   Disciples are abandoning attraction churches—something revolutionary is happening inside them.  God has started a secret work in them.

Many honest Pastors are also in divine turmoil.  The enemy condemned them for having a smaller church.   After years of blood sweat and tears their churches were battered, broken and diminished because they can’t compete with mega-mania.

And why can’t they compete? It’s because they keep their integrity!   When they see large crowds and big money pour effortlessly into churches that either hide or pervert the Gospel…it’s easy to feel like a fool for staying true.  The Bible says, “Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, And washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning.” Psalm 73:13,14.

However, our friend in Psalm 73 came to a great conclusion. After being bull-dozed by the success of the wicked he took action “16 When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me—17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.”  Many pastor’s  hearts are crying out for more—for a miracle they can’t even describe.

When he entered the sanctuary exhausted and discouraged, the greatness of God began to overtake him.  He saw that there is no version of this battle where Satan wins.  This is a part of the secret work God is doing in pastors!

A growing number of hungry hearts agree—with all its money and crowds—the compromised church did nothing to rebuke America’s sin.  The seeker model was a house of cards against the onslaught on the unborn and marriage.  While men slept, we had millions of abortions and marriage was destroyed.  The last 10 years we have lost battle after battle in government, education and the media.  We are a hopelessly divided nation—to a large extent the pulpit is to blame.

Charles Finney said, “If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discernment, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.”

Deep, deep in my soul where the real knowing happens—I know God is doing something new.  Every atom of my being tells me that God is doing a secret work in His people.  God is finished with hirelings.  He is drawing a remnant out of corruption and into a special, supernatural nearness to Him.  They will empty themselves of everything, every ambition will be burned out but one…to love and please Christ.

Is God doing a secret work in you?  Has God closed you in and stripped you of all enjoyment of lesser things?  Are you in divine frustration because you are going to be a part of something only God can do?

What if millions of Americans get so miserable that they cry out to God in total desperation?  What if their cry is too deep and their hunger is too great to ever be happy in a lukewarm church?  This is why the Holy Spirit is recruiting a new breed…a breed that can be trusted in an awakening.

God is doing a secret work!  He is pulling a remnant to Himself.  He is taking the prophetic core and communing with them—training them—empowering them—preparing them for one last mighty blast of power.  The Holy Spirit sees that our nation hangs by a thread.  The death-rattle is in America’s throat.   Before God allows destruction—He is going to do one last massive miracle.  What will that look like?

-People no one’s ever heard of will come to the forefront.  They will arrive with awesome power and piercing messages.  Not all of them will be regular ministers.  In fact, the majority will not leave their secular careers as God is using them.  Some will be children!

-Strange locations will house massive outpourings.  Churches that have been small for years will become ground zero of God’s presence.   People will flock in from everywhere to these centers of fire and glory.  Stunning signs and wonders will rock entire communities.  These churches will be forced to stay open 24 hours a day.

God is doing a secret work in you.  He is making you miserable to make you into a miracle.  

A.C. Valdez was a child at Azusa Street who later became an evangelist.  God showed him the future and here is what he said:  “All the electrifying adjectives in the dictionary shaken together, pressed down and running over will not begin to describe the soon-to-come, greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit of all times-what the Bible calls “the latter rain.”  You are going to see lay members carry out an amazing ministry through gifts of the Holy Spirit.  There will be wholesale cures of “incurable” conditions, healings of the blind, deaf, dumb, and handicapped, and creative miracles that will strain the imagination.  For those born without eyes ears, fingers arms or legs-or those who have lost them through disease or accidents- God will make new ones. Many astonishing miracle swill happen to bring on an international Christian breakthrough.”  I believe A.C. Valdez is not talking about a time far off in the future.. he is talking about now because, my friend it is now or never.

Pastor, Why are you running your church like Hillary’s campaign

Eighty-one percent of evangelicals voted for Trump.  Presumably, the same percentage of evangelical leaders did the same.  This begs a question…why did you vote for Trump but run your church like the Hillary campaign?

 

Pastor, Why are you running your church like Hillary’s  campaign?

By Mario Murillo

Hillary brought in A-list entertainers to buttress her dull message.  Pastor, is your church heavy on perks, smoke and mirrors and jazzy presentations but light on truth, power and the presence of God?  Is it because you believe the message of Jesus is dull without those accouterments?

People came to Trump rallies to see Trump.  It was a wake-up call when Donald Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania was many times bigger than Hillary’s rally even though she advertised JayZ and Beyoncé.  People went to a Trump rally to see Trump!

Jesus should be the main attraction at your church.  Jesus said in Matthew 18:20, “For wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” We are the only movement in history where the founder attends every meeting.  The miracle-working, devil-defeating, glory-inducing Son of God is in your service.  If you realize this, it will bring a total transformation.

trump-rally

This transformation is not simple.  You must get an inner fire and a revelation.  You must reacquaint yourself with how astoundingly attractive Christ is to the human heart.  The Bible calls Him wonderful and The Desire of Ages.  When Christ taught the people, they not only hung on every word—they refused to take meals for fear of missing something He might say.   

Hillary constantly avoided clear positions on most issues in order not to offend her base.  She hid her true beliefs.  Seeker pastors everywhere have been instructed to do the same thing.  Joel Osteen told Larry King, “I know the Bible says homosexuality is a sin, but I am not going to preach against it.”  While I credit him for his honesty, he is dead wrong.

The whole point of addressing sin is so you can offer the cure.  You may look tolerant, but you are no more than a doctor guilty of malpractice.

People were constantly warning Trump, “You can’t say that!”  People were continually pronouncing him dead.  He declared things that were burning in the hearts of most Americans, but they couldn’t find the words.  He attacked elites and media tyrants and proved they were paper tigers.  And he did not die.

trump-will-lose

Imagine transforming your pulpit into a fire hose of truth.  Imagine preaching the whole counsel of God without regard to men.  Trump proves you can do that.  You must risk being labelled.  So what if you are called racist, homophobic, Islamophobic?  We have proof because of Trump that slander will not stand in the face of truth.

Hillary believed in massive programs.  The continual drumbeat of the media was that Hillary had a better ground game.  She had volunteers going door-to-door.  She had a vast Get Out the Vote campaign.  She would win because of the myriad of things her campaign machine was churning out.

She knew it wasn’t working.  She screamed, “Why am I not 50 points ahead!?”

Similarly, many megachurches overflow with programs.  Members are asked to be busy almost every night.  There is always something to sign up for.  Yes, a church should meet the needs of families, but we have gone too far.

Worshipping programs because we believe it makes attendance grow takes our eyes off the Holy Spirit.  We run the house of God like a corporation, relying solely on our business plan.  Staff gets burned out.  People are run ragged.  Church feels like the express lane at Walmart!  The unspoken message is, “Get in, get out ‘cause the next group is waiting.”

Trump focused on the experience his followers had at his rallies.  Make America Great Again was a unifying cry that released excitement at his events.  People felt like family, not customers. No one was in a hurry.  Trump took the time to help people make an emotional connection with his message. In the last days of the campaign, he focused more and more on this, even though experts screamed that it was a mistake.

She spent $1.2 billion and lost.  He spent one-fifth that amount and won.  Some churches waste a ton of money on things that are substitutes for how God grows a church.  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.”

Hillary did not realize that America had changed.  She felt entitled to win.  She was liberal. She had the money.  She had Obama rallying for her.  She said, “This has always worked in the past.” What she did not know was America had changed.

election-shock

Pastor, you need to know that America has changed.  Fair warning!  It is time to get out of the Christian Witness Protection Program.  America is screaming for a new breed of Christian.  They know—as well as, if not better than, we do—that watering down the Gospel was an epic mistake.  They were not fooled.

It was not just a terrible waste of time and money, it was something worse.  Omitting the “offensive” parts of the Gospel—to attract people—drained its power to set people free. The church became a co-conspirator in America’s decline.

The earthquake that put Trump in office will now rock the church.  Yes, those growth models worked in the past, but not anymore.  Can I put it bluntly?  The American culture will be pierced by vessels who speak words their generation cannot resist—warriors who carry addiction-breaking, disease-killing, miracle power.

 

 

 

 

 

A GREAT MAN OF GOD HAS GONE TO HEAVEN

 

A GREAT MAN OF GOD HAS GONE TO HEAVEN

By Mario Murillo

I have just experienced a devastating personal loss.  I have been crying a lot and I am in mourning.  I am overcome with a towering sense of sadness.

Some have tried to tell me that I shouldn’t feel loss.  It has become politically incorrect to mourn the loss of loved ones.  Recently, a famous preacher said this at a funeral, “If you really have faith, you will not feel any sadness at all.”

However, Acts 8:2 says, “And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.”  That is what devout men do.  They grieve over loss.

Jesus mourned at Lazarus’ grave. “And He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept.  Then the Jews said, ‘See how He loved him!’”-John 11:34-36.

These verses overflow with meaning for those who lose loved ones.  Here was the creator of faith, weeping.  How can it be unbelief if Jesus mourned?

Moreover, He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, so why weep?   The Jews who were watching understood why.  He wept because He loved Lazarus.  That is why I am weeping. I loved my friend Dusty Kemp.

You never heard of Dusty Kemp?  Well then, I am about to enrich your life.  Dusty abruptly went to heaven on Sunday night, December 11th.  A week before that, I stood in his pulpit and called him the best kept secret in America.  It is high time for that secret to get out.

When he taught the Bible, it came alive.  He parked his soul in the Gospels and never ceased to amaze the seeker and satisfy the hungry.  You always got light and a fresh angle to the Word of God.

dusty-and-mary-shot-copy

Repeatedly, the question crashed in my soul, “How could such a mighty man die?”  The Holy Spirit took me to these verses: 2 Kings 13:14, “Elisha had become sick with the illness of which he would die.”  Verse 21: “So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.”

What can kill a man whose bones raise the dead?  The answer is a broken heart.  Elisha was banned from prophesying for almost 40 years.  The counsel of God that burned within him used him up because it was rejected.

Dusty preached against the grain in a religious culture that valued size and fame.  He did it to his own hurt.  It shortened his life.

Dusty was a contradiction that increased his pain.  He loved people and didn’t want to lose anyone.  He also loved truth. At great personal cost, he would do what was right. 

He would constantly analyze things to death to be sure he was doing the right thing. This also shortened his life.  It was a constant source of frustration to me. I begged him more times than I can count  to stop doing this.

He was not a professional pastor.  He winged it with a singular desperation to do what he believed was right.

He sacrificed himself in his humor.  He could laugh at himself better than anyone I ever knew.

He tried to seem tough, but he was the quintessential softie.  Here is the last text we shared: Me- “I am in your office barking orders so your staff feels at home.”  Dusty-“Awesome! Thank you. Fire someone.”  You see, there it is…he is talking big about something he could never do without great inner anguish.

He was hard on himself but forgiving to others.  If there was a question about who was right, he would find a way to take the blame.

Did Dusty Kemp accomplish a lot with his life?  He would say no.  But he accomplished more that we could ever imagine.  You may not see it at first because our mega-church values only reward those who build empires.

dusty-shotHere’s the thing: the goal is not to engrave your name on monuments, grand buildings or sprawling campuses.  You are supposed to engrave your name on the hearts of people.  A man of God’s legacy is in the souls who were transformed, the minds that reverberate with your teachings and the stories people share about you.  By this measure my friend Dusty was a spectacular success.

That is why New Life Church will continue to thrive.  Mary Kemp will be graced with special power.  The church’s wonderful ministries will continue to excel.  I can’t wait to be a part of it.

Dusty Kemp was not just my friend.  He was a great man, a wonderful intellect, a great soul of matchless courage, one of the great men of the earth—and yet we have no right to bow down to his memory simply because he was great. Great orators, great soldiers and great lawyers often use their gifts for selfish reasons. We pay a tribute of love and respect to Dusty Kemp because he used his matchless power for the good of man and for the Glory of Christ.