LUKEWARM CHRISTIAN

 

The winter of 1777–1778 was bitterly cold, and the success of American independence looked impossible.  Washington’s men were so poorly dressed that some of them froze to death. When he moved the troops, you could see trails of blood left in the snow from those who marched without shoes.

Contrary to the picture most people have of the Revolutionary War, Americans were split right down the middle about whether or not they should be fighting for their freedom from Britain. Many locals would not aid General Washington when he asked for their help, and he had to constantly beg the Continental Congress for money and supplies.

In one instance, some of Washington’s soldiers braved a blizzard and walked for miles to beg a farmer to sell them some of his crops, in order to prevent the army from starving. The farmer refused. He told them the British were willing to pay double what the American soldiers could offer.

I see no difference between those farmers and today’s lukewarm Christians.  I see no difference between today’s compromised preachers and those who would turn away freedom fighters in a snowstorm.

Lukewarm Christian singers and ‘influencers’ refuse to take stands against immorality and perversion because the world rewards them with accolades. “My, what a ‘woke’ Christian you are! You are so intelligent, tolerant, and inclusive.”

Lukewarm Christian, you have no idea the harm you are doing to America.

To be sure, the world rewards you for your silence and for your tacit acceptance of homosexuality. They will flatter you. BUT IT’S A TRAP.  How true were the words of Spurgeon when he said, “It is a very ill omen to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout, “Well done” to the Christian man. He may begin to look to his character, and wonder whether he has not been doing wrong, when the unrighteous give him their approbation.” In plain words, Spurgeon is saying, “If the world likes you, there’s something wrong with you.”

Jesus said, “If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember that I told you, “A servant is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…” (John 15:19-20a)

If they hated Jesus, how will they not also hate you? And what on earth are you doing, thinking it is good to be liked by everyone?

It took guts, vision and foresight to oppose English tyranny. Many of the early colonists were simply willing to be dominated in exchange for the comforts of their oppressors.  In the same way, because the world rewards preachers with temporary success, they will abandon their brothers who are risking everything to expose the growing tide of evil in America.

Thomas Paine addressed the folly of those Americans who opened their homes to British soldiers in hopes of rewards after a British victory. He reminded them that those who easily surrendered their homes would be the most dominated if England won.

And what do you suppose you’ll gain, oh lukewarm Christian, by being a friend to leftists? Your reward will be to have the most controlled home in the neighborhood.

This is no time to be silent! It is a time to rage against the dying of the Light! Each day that you remain silent is one day closer to a hellish world for your children and grandchildren.

The Left has not held back a single item in their agenda to remake America. They mean it when they say that our freedoms must be removed in order for their brave new world to be born.

The pathetic heresy sweeping America known as the ‘Daddy-God’ myth that drives your lukewarmness is nowhere to be found in the Word of God. The sad truth is that the Laodicean rebuke is more fitting for America’s modern materialistic church:

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.”

It all comes down to this: Jesus is trying to get back inside His church in America.  The next verse confirms it:   20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

America is not yet irretrievably lost, but it will not be won by the tepid crop of make-believers that shuttle in and out of our churches. The knock on the door is Jesus.  He wants to talk about your training, over dinner—your golden transformation from tepid faith to fire and glory. He means to make you into Satan’s worst nightmare.

Those shivering freedom fighters at Valley Forge had no idea that a miracle was coming in the Spring that would transform rag tag troops into immortals. Neither can you imagine the mighty army that the Holy Spirit is training, equipping, and empowering to transform America.  Will you join us?

 

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Mario’s new book will awaken you to your assignment in God’s work to save America. It’s $15 each or $12 for ten or more. Get a signed copy plus free shipping by clicking here.  https://mariomurillo.org/product/vessels-of-fire-glory/ 

 

IT ISN’T STOPPING OUR NATIONAL DISASTER

Why does the American Church think she is successful?  Her outward success hasn’t even tapped the brakes of our impending national disaster.  I wish I could say we had stopped the flood of filth and addiction.  I’d even be happy if I could say we had slowed the flood.  But no, as the flood rises, we take pride in how well we can keep people safe and dry in artificial arks of glass and stainless steel.  We celebrate things that are utterly irrelevant in the disaster that is even now at the door.

Across America, countless gleaming Christian campuses churn out activity at a dizzying pace.  Millions of dollars change hands to fuel methods that have zero impact on the enemy. The machine is manmade and utterly useless before the demonic principalities that are tearing our nation apart, limb from limb.

What right does this multi-faceted machine have to say it is effective?  What result can it point to as an example of victory over evil?

The ‘outward-success-machine’ that men have built is not of the Holy Spirit.  It runs on toxic fuel.  Every day we witness the toxicity evidenced in the tragedies of celebrity leaders who are crashing and burning. Why, you ask?  Because this fuel can neither feed the soul of a preacher, nor can it replenish their spirit.

Too many ministers are conditioned to drawing life and self-worth from the adulation of the crowd, instead of receiving fulfillment, power and peace from a life of prayer.  As a result, instead of living in the presence of Jesus and beholding His face, they have grown an unnatural heart that is capable of celebrating hollow successes that they should be ashamed of.

They are thrilled when thousands come to hear them, when they should be crying out in agony.  It is a destructive talent indeed to be able to gather thousands and leave them untouched by conviction.  Few, if any, ever repent under the influence of their ‘seeker friendly’ sermons—a repentance that could have been the budding of the first leaf toward a national awakening.

The devil doesn’t respect personality, human initiative, or feel-good sermons. He only respects the anointing.  He does not stop advancing in the face of concocted-Christianity.  But Satan is absolutely paralyzed before a word that issues forth in power and anointing directly from Jesus, Who is the Head of the Church—the devil only flees before a rhema word that is launched by a pure and anointed member of Jesus’ body on Earth, the Church.

Nothing fits our current condition better than the picture I am about to portray:

Jesus is seated on a donkey, the traditional manner in which the kings of Israel announced their reign.  He is on His way from the Mount of Olives toward Jerusalem.  A roar of adulation not heard since King David returned from a victorious battle shakes the great city. The masses are saying all the right things, “Hosanna! Save us now!  Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!”  The roar is so great that the Jewish religious leaders implore Jesus to tone down the masses.  He tells them that if He did, the very rocks would cry out.

All of His disciples and core believers must have thought, “This is it.” They have been secretly hoping that Jesus is about to set up an earthly throne, conquer the Romans, and return Israel to its former glory. But strangely, even as the joy of the crowd is overwhelming, Jesus begins to weep.  He knows this is too little, too late.

Luke 19:41, “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

The roar of our concerts; the glitz of our technology; the grandeur of our meeting places, our modernization of prayer, and even our New Age-like fascination with the gifts of the Holy Spirit is all a shallow grave.  It has the trappings of being of God, without the engine of God driving it.

By what authority do we claim that ‘church-incorporated’ has the power to save America?  Please enlighten me.  I am all ears.  Moreover, if my words offend you, but they don’t even move you to check your heart, doesn’t that alone bespeak our tragedy?

America will not be saved by shallow thrill seekers. Satan laughs at the antics that distract us in this hour as we stagger toward disaster. But is it also too little too late for us?

But wait…what is that I hear?  I hear a rumble—so faint at first.  YES!  It is the sound of a mighty God Who will not share HIS GLORY WITH ANY MAN!  He would save America His way!  He is at this moment rolling up His sleeves to intervene, and in a most embarrassing way—a way that will bring people we don’t like, who are doing things we didn’t expect, in the places we had written off…

I am addressing those who are, or who desire to be, honest vessels of God: Take heart, you who have been forgotten—you who have been run over by the tractors of Church-incorporated.  Our heavenly Father has not forgotten you, far from it!  He is right now preparing to grant power, fire and miracles! Hallelujah!

 

Mario has a new book! Listen to what Pastor John Kilpatrick, who led the Pensacola Revival, said about Mario’s  book:
“As I read the manuscript for Mario Murillo’s new book, Vessels of Fire and Glory, I said to myself, “Finally!” Mario has measured the church and the nation in this season and did not hold anything back. His honesty is like the sun rising inside a dark cave. This release is a paradox—it is sobering and refreshing; it is symptoms and the cure. I believe this revivalist has penned a treatise that should be in the hands of all who lead the work of God.”
Mario’s new book will awaken you to your assignment in God’s work to save America. It’s $15 each or $12 for ten or more. Get a signed copy plus free shipping by clicking here.  https://mariomurillo.org/product/vessels-of-fire-glory/ 

 

 

 

 

 

WHY WE DON’T COMPROMISE

At Mario Murillo Ministries we see things differently because we were born different.  From the very first we faced persecution.   While I was still in high school I preached in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco—ground zero for the ‘love and peace’ movement.  Moving across the Bay to Berkeley meant going from the frying pan into the fire. 

The instant we hit Berkeley we had to decide:  What we would preach?  How would we preach it?  Then, as now, people were trying to create a Godless utopia.

If our message was of human origin, or if there were even a speck or a flaw in its nature, the crucible of Berkeley would have blown it to smithereens.  Instead, unexplainable power appeared at each point where the ministry was threatened.  Something out of this world would always step in and provide words, resources, ideas and miracles, exactly when we needed them.

Not once in that cauldron of revolution, did we feel the need to rebrand Christ, or present a ‘new and improved’ Gospel.

For years, there has been a rising tide calling for Christians to “keep your faith to yourself.”  Many modern pastors—and even the Pope—have joined the chorus asking Christians to ‘tone it down.’ Yet our tent is packed with the very people who are supposed to be turned off by a direct approach.

Consequently, many churches have retreated into a cultural bubble where they do everything but preach the Gospel.  We have entertained, amused, inspired and distracted, but we have not converted America.  Because of this, the average Christian can defend neither their faith, nor marriage, and cannot even state why the Bible is the inspired word of God.

The original reason that the Church adopted this “indirect approach” was to get society to like us.  What we got was just the opposite.  Our compromised message has fueled greater contempt for the Church.

The media is now maligning the message of Jesus every day.  Francis Spufford said, “They think we believe in a load of Bronze Age absurdities. We promise the oppressed ‘pie-in-the-sky’ when they die; we are too stupid to understand why what we believe is irrational, and we are savagely judgmental.”

Atheists call us a threat to human progress.  Secular progressives condemn us as hating the poor, homosexuals, and women.

How is it possible, that after all the work we have put into removing the “offensive” parts of our message, that society is even more offended?  The answer is that there is a small but loud faction that hates Christ. 

We at Mario Murillo Ministries violently, totally, and utterly disagree with the notion that we should ‘tone down’ the Gospel in America.  There are millions of innocent bystanders who have not rejected Christ.  They are simply caught in the middle between haters telling lies and the misfiring sermons of voices that are too timid to tell the truth.  We must take our message to these millions who are trapped in the middle. This is why the answer is not to ‘tone it down’ but to turn it up!

The same Holy Spirit that outfitted our ministry to face the city of Berkeley will equip us to mount a fresh invasion of our nation.

Now let me get to the goal of this letter.  We have learned through every trial and breakthrough that God does not just give guidance, He also gives a plan.

We have a plan.  I can say without apology that this plan has come to us from the Holy Spirit.  Again and again, the Spirit of God has used events in the Bible as a model for what we should do. The verses below reveal a three-point plan that was given by an angel to the disciples when the church was gravely threatened.

17 “But the high priest rose up and all who were his supporters, that is, the party of the Sadducees, and being filled with jealousy and indignation and rage, 18 they seized and arrested the apostles (special messengers) and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and, leading them out, said, 20 “Go, take your stand in the temple courts and declare to the people all the words of this Life.” (Acts 5:17-20)

Embedded in those simple words, are our instructions for facing the onslaught of the current leftist revolution in America.

1.Take a stand. We cannot judge other ministries. We can only answer for what God asks us to do. He has ordered us to take a stand.  There is no confusion about what the angel was asking the men of God to do.  He was telling them to stand their ground in their nation.  This is not just a physical act, it is also moral and spiritual. We must take a stand against Satan’s agenda for America and we must take a stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We take a stand because we belong in the national conversation.  America has a drug, divorce, suicide, anger, and atheism problem.  Our voice needs to be heard because we carry the most immediate and effective cure for everything that is hurting America.  The angel was reinforcing to the apostles that their message was valid and urgent. And so is ours today.

2. Take your stand in the temple courts. Ours is not an obscure message that should be whispered in the secret places of society. The temple courts were the heart of Jerusalem. The angel was clearly instructing them to raise their voices in the very center of their culture.

In that same way we must go where the people are and where the biggest lies are being told.  The angel gave them an exact location to take their stand and that location spoke volumes to the apostles.  God is serious about making a difference in the culture.

This is why the tent is perfect. It is a movable miracle that can be pitched in the areas where pain and misery are unchallenged.

3.Tell all of the words of this Life. What a scathing rebuke to ‘popular’ Christianity. While Christian celebrities scurry to and fro to find buzzwords to replace the core doctrines of the Bible, here is an angel telling the apostles that they must tell all the words of this Life. They cannot leave out a single benefit or a single one of the demands of the message of Jesus Christ.

How right that angel was.  There is life in those words.  There is life in the blood of Christ, the cross and the resurrection.  There is such powerful and amazing life in them that no mountain of eloquence or cunningly devised sermon can begin to match.

If only we would learn to brave the offense of the cross in our preaching!  We would find that very soon the supernatural life of God would overtake our preaching and create miracles in people that infinitely surpassed the results of the current ‘seeker-friendly’ preaching.  Society would not care about the demands in our message because of the changes they would see in their souls, minds and bodies.

In city after city, we will take a stand in the heart of that city and tell all the words of this Life! NO COMPROMISE!

 

JOIN US ON SUNDAY NIGHT OCTOBER 20TH AT 6 PM AT CHUKCHANSI STADIUM. ALL SEATS ARE FREE FOR THIS HISTORIC NIGHT OF PRAYER.

 

AMERICA LOVED PREACHERS

By Mario Murillo. A funny thing happened when celebrity preachers tried to get America to like them: America ended up hating them.

I am writing this with deep love for, and loyalty to, the local church. There is no desire to take a cheap shot at anyone, or to cause division within the church.  I have to write this, because love does not lie or withhold needed correction.

America has abandoned God, Christian values, as well as Israel, and our nation is racing toward disaster.  Evil festers when good men do nothing.  Denying it will not change it or make it go away.  Its effect on you and those you love will not be stopped by delusional teachings of spiritual entitlement.

So how do we turn the American Church around?  That is the question I posed in a previous post.  Now I continue to answer that burning question by saying this:  in order to turn the church around we must face the fact that America liked us better, back when we told the truth.

Here is an illustration from the Bible.  Jonah ran from his calling. Then God sent a great storm.  The captain of the ship that Jonah boarded in his flight from God had a gut feeling that Someone was angry about something. When they found Jonah asleep, they asked him, “Who are you?”   When he admitted he was a runaway prophet, Jonah 1:10 tells us, “Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, ‘Why have you done this?’ For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.”

Americans feel a psychical resentment toward the church.  I say psychical, because it is intuitive and subconscious.  They really cannot explain why they are angry with us. They may claim it is our politics, or falsely accuse us of racism, or even rightly point out our flaws, yet this present dislike of the church stems from something much deeper.  They are asking us, as those men long ago asked Jonah, “Why have you done this?”

When the outside world observes our ‘illustrated-electronic-happy-talks’ they get a gut feeling that we are hiding something.   They also suspect that our nation’s storm, similar to that of Jonah’s time, is partly because preachers are not confronting sin anymore.  As one non-Christian pundit put it, “If there was more hell in the pulpit, there would be less hell in the ghetto.”

At this point in our national disaster, a mega-church is like having a great party going on on the deck of the Titanic—you may be having a great time, but you will not save America from the frigid angry ocean.

Here is the real rub…if numbers matter so much to our mega-churches, then why are we ignoring the most important statistic: overall church attendance in America has fallen dramatically?

They liked us better, when we were not trying to be liked.  There was a day when men of God stood in pulpits as free men.  They were free of any need to be liked or successful.  A. W. Tozer said, “These free men will serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary.  They will make no decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for financial considerations, perform no religious act out of mere custom; nor will they allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation.”

We are impressed by churches that can draw 15,000 people.  But that is nothing compared to back in the day when America liked us better…a whole lot better.

Look at the picture of Billy Graham in the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1963.  120,000 are inside, and another 30,000, could not get in.  On the scoreboard it says “I am the Way the Truth and the Life.  No man comes unto the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6).   Not one person was offered a visitors gift bag filled with CDs.  No one was in the dark about the purpose of the meeting.  Billy stood there and simply told them that they had to come to Christ or be lost for all eternity.

Look at this picture below of Billy preaching in Times Square in New York City.  We cannot even imagine any of this happening today.

When Billy prayed for sermons he focused on hearing what the Holy Spirit wanted him to say.  He wanted a message that God could use, and not words that would dazzle the audience.  When Billy was in the pulpit, he completely died to his private opinions.  He got out of the way, so that the Holy Spirit could work on the audience.

We bought into the lie that if we ‘made nice,’ and took out the scary parts of our message, we would be liked, but we ended up more despised than ever.

“He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue.” (Proverbs 28:23)

Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas said, “Jesus did confront his culture with truth—and He ended up being crucified because of it.  I believe it’s time for pastors to say, you know, I don’t care about controversy, I don’t care whether I’m going to lose church members, I don’t care about building a big church. I’m going to stand for Truth regardless of what happens.”

They may not like us for telling them the truth, but they will at least hear the Truth!

Welcome Back To The War

The Holy Spirit has burned a message into my soul that I cannot contain. I want this message to get into the hands of as many people as possible—people who are on the verge of spiritual shipwreck.  I have never felt as great an urgency to open my heart to you.

Millions have left the church.  Many who were on fire for God, even those who were effective vessels, have fallen and have abandoned their faith in Jesus.  A famous Christian singer announced that he is now an atheist.  Is that shocking? The real shock is that the church is not shocked, because this kind of recanting of faith has now become common.

Millions have left the church.  This is the reality that Christian leaders do not want to talk about.  However, facts do not go away.  And the facts are these: an entire generation has virtually discarded the faith of their parents.

Perhaps you also were among those who were wounded on the battlefield, but did not get up again.  The reasons are as varied as are the people themselves.  It may have been an abusive church.  It may have been an old habit that raged its way back into control.  It may have been a divorce, a false teaching that weakened you, or the gravitational weight of the unbelief and skepticism of this age.

The most common cause is sudden tragedy.  Something horrendous happened that ran you off of your theological map.  You felt that you had no choice but to abandon your faith.  You may be angry with God.  You are not alone.  There are millions in this condition.

Let me be frank, I believe that God is turning your heart back to Him.  And He is also doing this on a massive scale with others.

He has done it before.  Just prior to the fire falling on Mount Carmel, Elijah prayed these words, “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” (1 Kings 18:37)

The Lord is doing this not only because He loves you, but because He wants to spare America.

“And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6)

You are likely a casualty of the lukewarm American church.  Widespread compromise has left her unprotected.  The active ingredient has been left out of preaching—and that ingredient is surrender.  And that is the reason that the power of God to stand against tragedy and evil has never kicked in.

The voice of the Holy Spirit is intensifying as He calls to those who are the fallen, the wounded, and the forgotten.  His wooing is loving and hopeful, but it never disguises the truth.

And the truth is that, in America, entire churches are backslidden!  And it is not unprecedented.  Look at these verses: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:15-20)

Okay. So you may have been caught in the cultural crossfire of the compromised church, or the toxic churcheven the false churchbut why should you lose your soul just to get back at false ministers and sick churches?

This is about you and Jesus.  This is about a destiny that God still keeps for you.  There is one thing that Satan does not want you to remember—it is the one thing that can break the chains of lies and heartbreak.

What Satan does not want you to think about is this: if you brush away the cobwebs of church politics, hypocrites, and unexpected tragedy, you will have to admit that the best days of your life were when you walked with God in fervent commitment.  Those were the days of peace and joy. 

The best days were the days before anybody and anything came between you and Jesus.  You prayed and sensed that no matter what, everything would come out all right.  Even those things that you still had questions about became unimportant, because of your total trust in the character and faithfulness of God!

You have never, before or since, felt anything like His sweet presence.  Those were the best days, and those days can come again.  Jesus is knocking and wants to have dinner with you alone.  “I will sup with him,” Jesus promised.

I admit I am calling forth a divine desperation to come over you.  I want you to break, I want you to yearn to come back home—to return to your best life, your only life.

There is an army rising up, composed of people that Satan thought he had, but is about to lose on a grand scale.

Won’t you turn back to Jesus, and reclaim your first love? Do your first works over again. Then, He will say to you, “Welcome back to the war!”

NUMBER ONE REASON

It threatens the church more than drugs, pornography, Islamic terror, fake news or any impending world calamity.  Left unchecked, it can’t be overstated how much damage it will do.  Yet, as dangerous as it is—and this is the maddening part—it is utterly curable and preventable.  But, tragically, we may not have the heart or the stomach to solve this crisis.

So, who or what is the culprit?  It’s not a situation it is a person. A person we cater to in all our programs.  Let me ask you: Who is using up vital resources? Who is driving pastors into deadly compromise—or out of the ministry entirely?  Who is responsible for shutting down, derailing, and destroying the things that matter to the Christian faith?  The answer is painful…are you even sure you want to know?

The villain is a monster of our own making.  University professors may have invented the easily triggered, woefully self-righteous, self-centered snow flake, quivering in their safe place, but we have concocted something much worse.  We have created the Low Impact-High Maintenance Believer, or the LIHMB.  They are a monstrosity that has been created by the church-growth-by-any-means-necessary-movement.

They have created the perfect storm.

How do I explain them to you? Think of the Intensive Care Unit.  There is a tube up the nose.  There is an I.V. in the arm pumping fluids, or painkillers.  There is a heart monitor, and a breathing machine.  They all serve the same purpose.  They keep the patient alive…artificially.  Many church programs today are doing the same thing.

The difference between hospital care and church care is that machines in the hospital are for those who can’t do anything for themselves…in the church, they are for those who won’t do anything for themselves.  They are why money for soul winning and giving to the poor is (pardon my pun) going down the tubes.  They consume all the time and resources of the church staff.

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

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

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

They can’t handle life.  They can’t fathom the concept of self-denial.  They hold preachers hostage to all-consuming programs and sermons they hate preaching. Where there used to be a room full of disciples eager to participate, now there is merely an audience.

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

Daniel 11:32 says, “The people who know their God will be strong and carry out great exploits.”  The LIHMB Version should read, “The people who think they know God will be weak and carry out nothing.”

The solution is simple, dear leader:

-REPENT! 

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

-Expect many to leave.  Expect the presence of God to return.  Expect a whole new crop of true disciples to arrive, ready to serve.  Expect turn-away crowds that arrive early, for the right reasons.

Is it true that the “pure Gospel, anointed by the Holy Spirit, can’t grow a church today without gimmicks?”  Tens of millions of Pentecostals in emerging nations, who regularly see miracles and multitudes filled with the Holy Spirit, prove that to be a silly lie.

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

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

The Church offers the most irresistible attraction of the universe:  Jesus Himself!

Charles Spurgeon wrote: “King of kings, and Lord of lords, the “Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father. The Prince of Peace.” “Yea, he is altogether lovely.” There are no flaws in Him. Jesus is lovely in the highest degree. Jesus is as lovely to my heart as to my head, as dear as He is good. He is lovely to my hopes: are they not all in Him? Is not this my expectation—to see Him as He is? But He is lovely to my memory too: did He not pluck me out of the net? As David puts it, “My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God”—the whole of the man seeking after the whole of the Savior; the whole Savior sweet and inexpressibly precious to the man’s entire being. May it be so with you and with me. Oh, to love Him wholly, and to love Him only, so that we have no eyes for other beauty, no heart for other loveliness since He fills our souls, and is to us “altogether lovely.”

Amen!

BREAK THE HEAVINESS

The constant barrage of terrifying headlines and mainstreaming of perversion vexes the child of God.  These verses from Second Peter have never been more relevant than now: “and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment…” 2 Peter 2:7-9

Angry debates, violent rioting, filth paraded in the streets, Christian leaders renouncing their faith, persecution, and constant bad news can drain the sanity from our souls.

Not only this, but we are forced to keep all our enormous frustrations inside of us. While stupidity and wickedness get a megaphone—wisdom and righteousness get duct tape over their mouths.

These are the times that rob inner peace—that bring intense restlessness—that drain all the color and enjoyment from our life.

These are the times Jesus warned us of—and that He gave us direction for.

First He said, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls.” – Luke 21:17-19

Talk about mindless hate! Both the liberals and the feminists have incredible bias for Islam and sheer hatred for Christ and Christianity. It is mind-bending.  It makes zero sense.  Yet that is exactly the kind of irrational hatred our Lord predicted. It is weariness to believers who share their faith openly.

Then Jesus said, “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.” (Luke 21:34)

The dumbest thing anyone ever said to me was, “When you come to Jesus, your problems are over.”  I never had problems until I met Jesus!  I kept wondering, “Why am I being attacked?  Why am I being shot at from all directions?  Why do I meet stiff resistance every time I try to do something meaningful for Jesus?”

Does this sound familiar? You walk through life, minding your own business and wham!  A co-worker rages at you for no reason. Money evaporates.  Your health fails.  Loved ones abandon God.  Someone makes an irrational defense for wickedness. A confluence of demonic attacks falls on you.  Life has never felt so cruel and unfair.

At the apex of one of these attacks, something happened to me.  A terrifying thought became a glorious thought, “SOMEBODY IS MAD AT JESUS, AND THEY ARE TAKING IT OUT ON ME!”  Suddenly, I felt qualified to fight back. And I felt profoundly honored.

Think about it!  A soldier does not go to war because he has a personal grudge against the enemy.  He didn’t declare war—his nation did.  He is not responsible for the battle plan—the military is.  He is not paying his own way to the war—his government is.

Let’s take a look at the things that are not the soldier’s responsibility:  The training he needs; the weapons he uses; the food and shelter he requires; the assignments he receives—these, and a host of other things, are not his responsibility.

“What soldier ever serves at his own expense?” (1 Cor. 9:7) “…No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” (2 Tim. 2:4)

The soldier does not create the organized army.  He does not carry the weight of how the war will be won. If he sits in the foxhole feeling alone and unfairly attacked, it is because he has forgotten who he is and why he is being attacked.  He has taken the battle into his own hands!

But when he remembers that he was recruited—when he recalls that he is not alone, but part of a victorious army, and all he is called to do is obey orders, it changes everything!

When we take the attack personally, we lose hope.  But, when we say, “The battle is not mine, it’s God’s,” we cannot be defeated.  Let’s stay out of things that do not concern us.  Let’s keep our conflict in the hands of God.  We must discern when we are operating in our own strength and by our own wits.

Remembering your attacks are not personal is plainly seen in these verses where Jesus speaks about conditions in the last days:  Luke 21:12 “But before all this occurs, there will be a time of special persecution, and you will be dragged into synagogues and prisons and before kings and governors for My name’s sake. 13 But as a result, the Messiah will be widely known and honored.  14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.

newspaper headlines

When they were arrested, it felt personal. When they were dragged to court, it felt personal.  But when they were asked to speak, it became God’s battle and Christ was glorified!  He gave them the words and the courage to speak.  He even told them not to prepare words beforehand.  That means that we are not to devise ways of fighting back.  It means we will get what we need, when we need it.

Paul experienced the same thing: Philippians 1:12 “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel…”

Right now we have a presidential election that embodies everything that is wrong with our nation.  It is a hair-pulling, maddening, terrifying, and draining moment for believers. We must put the battle back in God’s hands and let Him replenish our peace and our joy.

Never forget! We have the best message humanity has ever heard, and the best Book ever written.   We have the best Captain in the universe!  We have the all-powerful Holy Spirit, Who has been sent to aid us.   We have access to power, strategy, and wisdom.  All of this, and more, will direct our fighting.

Is someone mad at Jesus, and are they taking it out on you?  What an honor!  What an opportunity!  Whenever Satan comes at you, let Jesus come at him!

The first time an angel stares at you in heaven with wonder and admiration for your service to Christ, you will know why your trials were worth it all.  The first time you hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” you won’t remember the suffering, the trials, or the battles.

No wonder Paul said, “For I reckon 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

Hallelujah!  –