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!  –

STAND!

Evangelical leaders hailed Trump as a type of King Cyrus.  Now they are bailing on him because they can’t take the heat.   Just when he needs the church the most they abandon ship.

Fellow preachers, do we need to be reminded about the miracle we saw on election night?  For weeks, we were told he had no chance to win.  Have you forgotten how close we came to a nuclear winter called Hillary?

Do we need to be reintroduced to the obvious?  Look at who hates him, and you will find every reason to stand with him.  The same people that hate Israel, hate Trump.  The same people who want to kill Trump, want to kill the unborn.  The same people that want to silence Trump, want to silence the church.

Pastor, his enemies are your enemies.  Those who want to stop his policies, also want to stop your vision.

He tweets.  Get over it!  When virtually every news outlet lies about him…how else will he get the truth out?

He is rough and crude.  So, what?  Draining the swamp in Washington is not the job for your breathy voiced yoga instructor.   Trump is the strong medicine God chose.

He has enraged all the usual suspects:  Teacher’s unions, socialist hippies, gas bag college professors, and all the cuckoo caucuses infesting our halls of government.

I want to remind my esteemed yet timid colleagues our children are getting a nutty education.  Life doesn’t hand out participation trophies.  Life won’t let you retreat to your safe place.  Do you honestly believe that the drivel doled by leftists in the name of “education” will teach hard work, perseverance, and character?

Trump’s determination to make us strong in a hostile world is condemned as “nationalism.”  His campaign to make education rational is condemned as “out of date.”  Only drug addled moonbeams can find fault with common sense.

Our morally bankrupt leaders don’t know how to solve problems.  My generation put a man on the moon—this generation put a man in the girl’s bathroom.   I am not attacking transgender people. I am illustrating how—when it comes to priorities—liberalism rots the brain.  With the life-threatening problems we face they focus on this?

In the next 90 days we will see the most blatant attack—in our history—on everything we value as believers.

The last thing President Trump should feel right now is that he is alone.  He must feel the fervent prayers of the Body of Christ.  He must hear your voice supporting his valiant moves to unwind the snake Obama wrapped around the throat of our democracy.

Dear preacher did you support Trump because of a fad fever?  Are you silent because of the backlash?  If you believe Trump is a miracle, and a type of King Cyrus, then act like it!  Seize this divine opportunity to stand with policies that best reflect our values.  Don’t chicken out now that the heat is on.

I never voted for Trump because I heard some goose-bump prophecy.  I came to my decision in prayer.  I studied history.  I saw us sinking into the same quicksand that ended prior nations.  I looked at our choices and it was crystal clear that Trump was not just the best choice—he was the only choice.  He still is.

They are atheists

The young man of God who stood before me was in deep turmoil. He had heard a horror story of a minister who lived in obscene wealth, had several mistresses, and who told anyone who criticized him that God would kill them if they exposed him or left his church.

The young man wanted comfort, but I had none to give. I had to break it to him that this is sickeningly common. The vileness that is currently going on behind closed doors is worse than ever in the past. I get reports every day of people in pulpits living in depraved indifference.

The conditions today exceed what we saw in the evangelist scandals of the 1980s, and even the kind of cultic activity we saw with Jim Jones because it is starting to happen on a wide scale. We are watching the rise of many voices who blatantly believe they can do anything they want, and no one has the right to criticize them.

The young man turned to me and shouted “that man is demonic.”  I replied, “Son, he is worse than demonic—he is an atheist.”

It is true: that crooked preacher—that immoral church leader—is an atheist. Nothing else explains it.

The fact is, they do what they do because they believe there is no God. If there is no God, then they can go on with their evil lifestyles. Remember: an atheist cannot find God, for the same reason a burglar cannot find a policeman. This is the key to understanding this wickedness in the pulpit. Look at these verses:

Romans 3:13 “Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; 14 their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 and the way of peace they have not known. 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

The list of crimes is stated from the bad to the worst. It begins with deceit; then they are called snakes; then, in their mouths are nothing but curses and bitterness; then it escalates to violence and murder; then they are capable of nothing but destruction and despair; and finally, all they know is war, and none of their ways are ways of peace. But their ultimate crime is: they do not fear God. They are atheists. 

Many Christian leaders are under the influence of a virus–the love of money. I call it affluenza. Affluenza is addiction to money and lifestyle. This materialism is not to be confused with true prosperity or the balanced teaching of the word of faith where you teach that you are blessed to be a blessing.  The Bible teaches that God will prosper His own.

I am talking about greed. This greed pushes a preacher to put out a message that makes them money. There are even preachers who preach stern messages, even gloom and doom just to make money. They are not yet atheists but they are moving in that direction.

I believe that most atheists are actually agnostics. They can boast all they want to that they don’t believe in God, but most of them realize—and, if pressed, they will reluctantly admit—they have no proof that God does not exist. It is impossible to prove that negative. 

Press them even further and you will find their rants are tied to a hurt they have experienced, either in church, or a tragedy that wounded them. Many atheists are simply agnostics who are mad at God. But if you are mad at someone, you are acknowledging that the object of your anger exists.

The true atheist is experiencing a mental lapse. Franklin Graham said, “The Bible tells us in several places that only the fool says that God does not exist. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). That Scripture is repeated verbatim in Psalm 53:1, and the same sentiment is expressed in numerous other biblical passages.”

Atheism removes the fear of the Lord. If there is even an iota of the suspicion that God does exist, it gives you pause before you do evil. But when that pause button is removed—and there is no longer any fear of God—you no longer fear what God will do about your evil.

That atheism is at the root of aggressive evil and arrogance is clearly seen in Psalm 73:8, “They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; they speak loftily. 9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walks arrogantly through the earth…11 and they say, “How does God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?””

Here is the contradiction: an atheist looks at the sky and curses the God they say does not even exist, with total contempt. It is their final statement that is the heart of true atheism.  “Is there knowledge in the most High?” In other words, they are mocking God, saying, “This so called God of yours, doesn’t have a mind, and is devoid of knowledge.” This is simply saying, “No one is watching me.”

When that preacher seduces women, when they steal money from the sheep, when they live with no remorse over the glaring contradiction and hypocrisy of their lifestyles, it is because they believe there is no God. There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Entertainers like Bill Maher, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, British professor Richard Dawkins, and others, have publicly promoted a brand of atheism that is openly hostile to Christians, but they are not they highest form of atheism.

True atheism has murdered millions in communist countries. True atheism is not a noble intellectual pragmatism. It is the ultimate foolishness. And, the ultimate version of this atheism is the false preacher.

The true atheist is evil enough to stand in a pulpit and claim they represent God—even as they live in total depravity. They steal money, saying, “No one is watching.”  They defile innocent people and say, “I have no Judge or Day of Reckoning.”

What is the end of the atheist pastor who has so shamed themselves as to be at risk of permanently losing the ability to feel conviction or to repent? Their end is an unutterable horror!

Psalm 73:18, Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. 19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one awakes, so, Lord, when You arise, You shall despise their outward appearance.”

Your destruction is like getting thrown out of a thirty story window. Special night terrors are reserved for you who pervert the ways of God. And to your utter horror, you will see the face of God. You will know the wrath of the Lamb.

“and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.” (Revelation 6:16)

NOW THAT

Truth is the new hate speech.  Light has become darkness, lies have become truth, villains have become heroes, and love is now hate.  What do we do, especially now that the teachings of Jesus Christ are being intricately and essentially banned in the United States?  This censorship is designed to weaken the nation, centralize control, and bring down America.  Many believe it is already too late.

What is even worse is that much modern preaching is setting believers up to crash and burn when they face persecution.  Instead of arming the church to push back on the onslaught of censorship, some sermons are actually weakening the resistance of Christians.

I do not often drop the God card.  I never claim to hear from the Holy Spirit unless I have heard from Him in a clear and undeniable way.  Today, I heard from Him!  My spirit jumped at what He revealed about the very hour we are living in.   To begin with, I felt deep hope and a high sense of urgency.

I believe that the Lord is telling me to say, “It is not too late—but there is work to do.” This was reinforced by the verse He gave me, “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)

Immediately after that, these next verses were branded into my soul:

Acts 14: 2 “But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. 3 Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands.”

I am going to offer four specific steps derived from these verses.  I believe that they hold a powerful key to understanding the moment we are in and the exact direction we must take.  Read it with great openness.  Let the lukewarm Christian take heed.  Let leaders and preachers give serious heed to these words of direction.  I do not believe they are my words.

1. Ask God to show you by the Holy Spirit what you are doing—and then abandon everything you are doing by your own power—no matter how ‘sacred’ it seems.  

Let us begin by repenting of our greatest mistake.  Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to run the Church and grow the Church.  He was sent to make us effective and relevant to the culture.

We are guilty of taking away His authority and running the church by our own wits, and by the methods of the world.  We have failed miserably.  Sadly, even failure has not stopped men from controlling the things of God.

In every generation hell belches out a new weapon of mass destruction.  But heaven is neither passive nor taken by surprise.  God creates a weapon of choice by the anointing.  Then He seeks for the person who will take up that weapon in the Name of Jesus and thrust it into the heart of darkness.

The American death-march does not surprise the Holy Spirit.  He already foresaw it, and He is driving us to our knees in prayer to seek His effective counter-attack.

It is all summed up in the words Samuel spoke to Saul: 1 Samuel 10: 6 “Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. 7 And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands, for God is with you.”

Waiting on God for power is the highest duty of a preacher.  Prayer must saturate us before we go forth. Those who believe that God must instantly honor our prayers are deluded by modern church entitlement.   We must seek—being utterly convinced that power is coming—but at the same time we must be fervently committed to wait as long as it takes.

This first step will cost you friends and church members, and it will impact your lifestyle.  But this is nothing compared to the disaster you will avoid.

2.Do not abuse prayer! In Numbers 22 it says, 18 “Then Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, ‘Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more. 19 Now therefore, please, you also stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.’”

Balaam sounded noble, yet greed was in his heart.  He totally contradicted himself.  First he says, “Keep your money. God said, No.”  Then he asks the money people to spend the night to see if God might change His mind.

The classic reaction to my blogs on America’s disaster is, “All we need to do is pray.”  Nobody believes in the power of prayer more than I do.  However, there is a widespread abuse of prayer.  Prayer is being used as an excuse for delaying, remaining silent and escaping responsibility.

The key to the Lord’s Prayer is, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Prayer is going to give you direction.  But, if you pray until you get the direction you like, you have the spirit of Balaam.

This abuse of prayer even hit Moses.  He knew that he was supposed to lead the people through the Red Sea.  Yet he hesitated, and God got angry!  Exodus 14:15 “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!’”

Disobedience is a prime reason we have lost this generation.   Many were told what to do about the nation and simply ignored it.  True intercession will never become a substitute for soul-winning.

God has been offering wisdom, direction, and power during the entire Obama regime.  We are at the point of destruction because few leaders have listened and obeyed.

If God sees that you want no part of the warfare, that you refuse to touch the unlovely, and you simply do not want to deal with your local human tragedy, then He will skip over you and find someone else.  Mordecai warned Esther about remaining silent:  14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

 3. Ignore the accusations of hate. When Christians address gay marriage, they often begin with a disclaimer: “I am not trying to be hateful.” Quit wasting time with misnomers. There is no widespread hatred of gays in the church. The hate is not coming from us; it is coming at us! The slander, smearing, obscene language, and death threats are spewing out of radical feminists, gay activists, and radical Islamists, not the Christians.

Simply speak the truth in love.  Do not apologize or condemn.  Offending people is unavoidable.  Save your energy, tell the truth, and leave the results in God’s hands.

4: We must make way for signs and wonders and supernatural acts of God like never before.   Jesus knows they are the only way we will get our message across in this toxic atmosphere. The miracles of Jesus not only continue today, they will accelerate more and more.  The phrase, “speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands” (Acts 14:3) speaks loud and clear to our time.

History teaches us something important: When the Word of God is summarily rejected and immorality has spiked, the Holy Spirit has more than met the challenge with increased power to preach, and towering miracles to confirm the message.

Finally, all four of these actions are summed up in the reality that we are at war.  We did not pick this fight but, with God, we are going to finish it!

 

 

 

MY CRY

When I warned about a new law in California that will force preachers to agree with the LGBTQ agenda, one lady commented, “The Church is awake and powerful in California.”  A brother responded, “Then why is California going to hell in a hand-basket?”  Ouch.

What I am about to say is a cry, a loving cry to the spiritual leaders of California: Wake up! Please consider what I am about to say, no matter how painful the facts may be.  I am speaking out of a deep love for California. I feel a heavy burden for my home State.

I survey the moral devastation, but then I hear someone boast that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church in California.  I have to ask, “If the gates of hell have not prevailed, then what on earth is going on?  If this isn’t prevailing, I’d hate to see what is!”  The answer, as is so often the case, is to read that verse again:

Matthew 16:18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

I am pleading with God for this message to get through to my fellow leaders.  The first clue to what God wants, lies in the phrase, “I will build MY church.”  The problem is that there are two construction projects going on simultaneously in the church: Men are in charge of one, and Christ is in charge of the other.

That these two branches coexist in the Body of Christ is clear in Jesus’ own words:  John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

Both branches are connected to Him, but only one abides in Him.  Both will grow side by side until the appointed time.  It is easy to tell the difference: The churches that men are building don’t stand a chance against Satan, and Satan doesn’t stand a chance against the Church Christ is building. 

Man-made churches avoid the front line, while the one true Church that Jesus is building draws its life from engaging and defeating the powers of darkness.

The church man builds refuses to offend.  The Church that Christ is building refuses to be ashamed.

It totally breaks my heart to say this, but, California is littered with Christian projects that were built by man, and for man.  This explains how immorality has spread like a cancer, even as churches got bigger. It explains why the government in California is working so hard to ban Christianity.

It makes me weep to have to say this, but I must. Paul leveled a stern warning to all who build “for God,” but do so by their own design.  1 Corinthians 3:10 “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Beloved, there is a terrifying outcome for those who have built mega-churches that God had no part in establishing.  They will all stand before God and be judged for their works.  1 Corinthians 3:12 “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Beloved, the autopsy on California leaves no room for another verdict!

Let everyone who reads this heed the warning!  There are disastrous things about building Christian projects by human power that aren’t readily apparent.

For starters, these man-made churches persecute the true Church in a way that is worse than the world does.  How? By you as the pastor of a church built on a foundation of wood, hay, and straw making Bible preaching offensive. By you who have given believers an appetite for fast food. By discouraging true pastors who feel foolish for holding fast to their convictions. You have left them feeling betrayed when you steal their people, and herd them into a faceless mega-crowd, where they no longer have any accountability.

I am praying right now that my cry will be understood by leaders. I am travailing for leaders to wake up while there is still time.

But, there is an even more hideous fact you need to face: Satan may actually be helping you build your artificial church!  He may even supply the money to build it.  A hundred million dollars is chump change to the enemy of God, if it gets him the prize he seeks: building a powerless center, where thousands can be disarmed and neutralized.

My precious brothers and sisters let me ask you: What could be a better trophy for hell than producing an artificial church?  It has all the right features, but no power.  It is the perfect distraction.  The devil can freely defile a culture in plain view of the church and she will be too powerless, self-satisfied, and oblivious to stop it.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ: If this describes your church, get out!  If you are the pastor of such a church, get back to preaching the pure word of God and making true disciples, before it is too late. Get right with God, and begin to turn California back from the abyss!

 

 

 

IS THERE A WORD?

Facebook oozes with the voices of those claiming to be “prophets” or “mouthpieces for God.”   The internet teems with self-appointed prophets who scream to be heard, bombarding us with “prophetic words.”  Almost all of these “prophecies” can be categorized into one of two headlines:

AMERICA IS PAST HOPE AND WILL BE DESTROYED!

AMERICA IS FAVORED AND WILL NEVER BE DESTROYED!

So, are either of these the word of the Lord for this hour?  This is what I hear the Lord saying.

Hear the word of the Lord!

To autonomously pronounce judgment, is to play God.  Doomsday “prophets” are calling off the attack against evil, when God is not.  They are sounding a false retreat.  They are making evangelism futile.  They are helping put souls in hell by discouraging soul-winners.

I would say this to those “prophets”: Don’t lie to yourself.  Don’t make up “prophecies” of judgment just because you are mad at the church.  Face it!  Your righteous indignation may be nothing more than a personal grudge you hold because your ministry was rejected by the church.

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

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

I want to use George Washington as an example of something that desperately needs to be said to the American church.  Washington died at the age of 67 because of medical malpractice.  Back then, doctors believed in bleeding as a way to remove the “bad blood” from sick patients.  Washington was already weak from his illness, and by draining five pints of blood from him, the doctors made him too weak to fight the infection, and it finally killed him.  Today we know it was the worst thing they could have done.

Listen church!  Cheap grace is bleeding an already weakened church.   It helps set us up for national destruction.   For Satan, this is the perfect theology.   Instead of a life-giving conviction and a robust will to proclaim the Gospel, make disciples of all the nations, and fight against those who would destroy America—this perversion induces drowsiness and apathy.

Because they have adopted this doctrine of devils, many American pastors are closet alcoholics and addicted to porn.  And can you expect a poisoned vessel to preach a pure message on Sunday morning?

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

God is trying to show us the times we are living in and what to do about it.

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

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

We are living in a moment of mercy: HOW SOON WE FORGET!  We were spared the horror of a Hillary presidency which would have been the finishing touch on Obama’s death spiral for America: a permanently enslaving national debt, a Supreme Court that would have chained us to anti-God laws, freedom-killing environmentalism, and open borders. All of these would have ushered in permanent control by the Democrat-Socialist Party, crime, and terrorism.

Trump’s election was a miracle that was intended by God to ignite the church.  But, his time in Washington will be short and ineffective, and in the end, we will be worse off than ever−if the church fails to obey God.

Trump has had missteps as president, but this does not by any means disqualify him from being the right choice.  We dare not abandon him so soon!  He needs our prayers.  He needs our support. As I wrote before, at least with Trump, we have a firewall to let us preach the Gospel and hold on for another miracle.

Here are the precise verses for this hour:

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

If, after all the mercy God showed us in the miraculous election of 2016, we fail to repent, fail to rise, and to take our rightful place in America’s future, then, yes, we can indeed be destroyed.

Listen again to Ezra:

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

Wrath comes when you do not properly respond to mercy:

“But Hezekiah made no return for the benefit he received, for his heart was proud; therefore, wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 32:25  (NASB)

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

 

Trump is a temporary reprieve.  Now is the time when we must do our part.  We must act on the mercy we have been shown.  God has extended mercy so that we would do three things:

Revive, Repair and Rebuild. 

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

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

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

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

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

The consequences of cheapening God’s mercy are too terrible to imagine.

The opportunity this miracle has opened for us is too wonderful to ignore.

That is the word of the Lord for this hour!

DO YOU WANT TO BE A PART OF A NEW AMERICAN MIRACLE? JOIN PERRY STONE AND ME JULY 5-7 FOR OUR LIVING PROOF WORLD CONVENTION. IT IS FREE BUT YOU MUST REGISTER CLICK HERE TO REGISTER:  

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/living-proof-world-convention-reno-tickets-55681078605?fbclid=IwAR0eI2BhQioYgJbwp5nKFIZVMRO6REOxkco30NIX2RZFs1gvAbsoZ_QxCuQ