THE UNDERGROUND AMERICAN CHURCH

Our most important task at this time, is first: to keep the church in America from being driven underground, and, second: to rebuke the lukewarm believers who are guilty of helping the left to drive it underground.

You can’t convince many Christians that freedom of speech and freedom of religion are about to vanish.  They refuse to believe it! They chalk it up to ‘fake news’ or ‘conspiracy theories.’

But they are wrong. And because of their naiveté, they will be blind-sided. We have entered a time of the greatest threat American Christians have ever faced.

Ignore the warning of the Holy Spirit at your own peril.

The Left has turned many believers into timid, guilt-mongers, who are more worried about global warming, the poor, and social justice than obeying God. They are unwitting traitors and fools who do the bidding of those who would—if they could—destroy the Church.

War has been declared on the American Church. The lukewarm are in denial.  But their denial will not exempt or protect them from the storm. Only the righteous who take heed can hope for protection.

Speaking of helping the left: I am so weary of Hillsong Church in Australia, after they tweeted that Trump was a bully in the debate. I thought, “What are they thinking? Why are they collaborating with the avowed enemies of the American church?”

Censorship is real and it is lethal. Hillsong is but one symptom of the disorder that keeps the church from waking up. Their brand of diluted Christianity will make them acceptable to the Liberals and may exempt them from persecution, but those who are truly following Christ will face very real persecution for remaining true to scripture.

Hillsong has a long list of controversial actions, and, sure, Pastor Brian Houston apologized, but seriously that is what they do so often…act outrageously, and then say they are sorry. But there is no excuse for these ungodly stunts: from the Naked Cowboy in the women’s conference, followed by Naked Santa, the scantily clad dancers belting out a sexy, Cabaret version of ‘Silent Night,’ and many others—they have no moral high ground, and have lost all right to criticize our President. And, furthermore, we don’t need this right now. It smacks of deception.

Before you reject me, consider the long list of Truths the church could speak just ten years ago that are totally banned now. The Cross, the Blood of Jesus, the reality of Hell, sexual purity, and marriage.  Preachers are already deleting these doctrines from their sermons.  They’ll lie to you and say they are doing it to reach a bigger audience. The truth is they are running from the persecution.

It pains me to say this but unless there is a miracle in November, your children and grandchildren will have to figure out how to survive in a future world where you either renounce Christ or you will be banished socially and economically. Want to know the scariest part? You will not be here to help them.

What can we do to stop the church from being driven underground?   No one who is truly a man or woman of God can seriously entertain the idea that we should stop preaching these truths.  That is not even an option.  What then can we do to reverse the assault on the American church?

Our first duty is to keep the American church above ground by directly and vehemently opposing the Left, by using our rights as Americans. Trying to seem ‘nice’ by watering down the Gospel, plays into Satan’s scheme.

The revelation I am about to relate struck me with paralyzing clarity. I am amazed I never saw it before. But there is one condition:

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

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

Here it comes:

When the leaders of Jerusalem arrested Peter, they didn’t know what to charge him with or how to punish him.  They knew they had to silence the church.  There was no doubt about their intention.  They were prepared to do anything to stop the spread of the Gospel—so what was stopping them?  Answer that, and you will know what will keep the American church from going underground.  

God stopped the intentions of the rulers of Jerusalem by healing the man at the Gate Beautiful. A spectacular miracle had occurred!  He had occupied the most visible and lucrative begging station in Jerusalem.  Everyone knew him.  Word of his miraculous healing filled Jerusalem, and a mad chorus of praise was rising over the Eternal City. That my friend, is what we need in America right now!

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

The Holy Spirit had revealed to him the divine secret to keeping the church above ground, and Peter had clearly settled on a course of action—the very action we need to take today. It is the action we are about to take in Fresno, in our tent. Peter left with a battle plan. He was armed with critical information.

He gathered the people of God, and ordered them to pray.  He was about to pray a prayer that is the precise model for our crisis. He faced the same threat we face.  Remember that word: “threat.”

You will recall I told you that nothing good can come to you from my message, unless you see how urgent the hour has become?  Peter began his prayer by calling the situation ‘a threat.’  We must do this, also.

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

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

Next, Peter is admitting that the vehicle for that boldness is signs and wonders.  God must stretch His hand over our angry culture, perform supernatural healings, and overrule the agenda of Democrat-Socialist-Marxists.  Such is the case today.  Now look at how God answered Peter’s prayer:

“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).

Not only were they filled with the Holy Spirit and boldness, but God answered their prayer for miracles.  In the next chapter, the very shadow of Peter was healing the masses (Acts 5:15-16).

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

If even a handful who are reading this will reach Critical Mass. If only a remnant is struck by the lightning of divine urgency and pursue the miracle-working God, then we will see in our day, the way they saw it in that day: that no law, no argument, and no politician will be able to drive the American Church underground!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear reader,
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THE BEST THING TO DO NOW

My soul surveyed the nation.  I took in the entire national crisis and prayed “What is the best thing to do now?” 

THE BEST THING TO DO NOW

By Mario Murillo

(Preached at Bethel Church Redding Sunday March 19th 6 PM service.)

I stand before you tonight on the heels of a great dealing of God—perhaps the greatest dealing of God besides my conversion.  God said, “Raise $1 Million—choose 10 cities—invest the money in those cities for a specific outreach and I will start a youth movement.”  The ten cities had to be places that are open wounds.

This mandate led to a personal revelation that I am sharing here for the first time.   My soul surveyed the nation.  I took in the entire national crisis and prayed “What is the best thing to do now?”

There are many candidates for the title of best thing to do.  

Unity is a great choice.  Healing the division in the Body of Christ is a great choice for best thing.  No matter where I go, people have an issue.  The Body is so entrenched in their own camps.

Wouldn’t it be a powerful thing if all of the camps in the Body of Christ would realize that their theology is incomplete and find common ground to pool strength and hit the nation with a tsunami of compassion?

Another great choice is anointed worship music.   Music gets in where sermons cannot.  Music is the only art form that bypasses the brain on its way to the heart.  We saw it with Andrae Crouch, Hosanna integrity, Hillsong, and the Bethel music that has gone global from this very room.

The right choice must be prayer.  How could anyone consider anything to be above the power of prayer and the urgency of prayer?

The fact that none of these is what I feel in my spirit is the best thing to do now.  So if none of these worthy candidates is the best…what is?

To find out we must first ask, “what does now look like?”  Now we have a divided and often lukewarm American church—a church that is long on experience and ignorant of scripture.

Now let’s look outside the church walls:  We have an entire generation raised without church.  Judges 2:10 says, “Judges 2:10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.”

That—thanks to our universities—is our current problem.  Our classrooms create easily offended, intolerant, fearful students.  They hate free speech if it disagrees with them.  They believe violence should be applied to silence an opposing viewpoint.  Their credo is now: With sticks and stones I’ll break your bones because your words have hurt me.”

They are the generation that can end America.  I call them generation fatal.

Liberalism run amok has unleashed a spirit of violence and lawlessness. I said in a recent blog:  “America is the only nation in history where those who control the money, the airwaves, the press, and the universities, fancy themselves an underground resistance.

We are supposed to believe ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Hollywood, every Ivy League school, plus the Democratic Party have been driven into underground revolutionary bunkers. We have come to a sad and inexplicable madness where the “Freedom Fighters” are fighting against, well, freedom.  The anti-fascists are the fascists.  In the name of liberation, they are taking dead aim at the Bill of Rights…not just some of it—but all of it.”

This is what now looks like.  Now is pandemic drug addiction.  Now is a crime wave that has reduced inner cities into killing fields.  Now is tyranny in the news media.  Now is duly elected president under siege.  I am not here to burst your blessing bubble but:

-If we refuse to see it because we think it betrays our view of the goodness of God, we can’t obey God for a solution.  We have lost our nation by default.

-If we let a cheapened view of grace weaken our holy resolve and fire.

-If we turn retreat into victory with spiritual self-entitlement…we are not only in sin but we will have to apologize the millions of oppressed Christians around the world.

So what is the best thing we can do now?  It is what I learned one night after having tried everything to reach a riot-torn intellectual bastion called Berkeley.

MARIO MURILLO PREACHING ON THE BERKELEY CAMPUS OCTOBER 4TH 2014

Having tried all of the aforementioned candidates for best thing to do I went on campus late one night.  God was trying to give me the answer but I wouldn’t listen.  I did not know that death awaited me.

It was a dark night on Sproul Plaza.  I approached a flower child, thinking this was easy pickings.  As I witnessed to him a 6 foot 5-inch behemoth grabbed me and proceeded to choke me.  Murder was in his eyes.  It was demonic.  Intellectual debate was useless against this monster.

Instantly I knew where I was wrong and what to do.  It was as I was having the life choked out of me that I discovered the truth that I am going to relate to you.  The power of God—out of mercy—gave me wisdom and boldness.

Somebody else took over my body—words, not of me tumbled from my lips.  I ordered him to take his hands off of me.  I ordered him to back off.  He did.  As he did, he stopped staring at me.  He gazed at something behind me.  It was way taller than him.  He looked startled.  I ran.

As I sprinted home a verse kept roaring in my soul: “not by might nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord.”  The best thing that could ever happen—the best thing for me to do—was to allow the power of God to collide with the power of Satan in a public place.

Thus began our Saturday Nights of Miracles.  Miracles blasted U.C. Berkeley open.  We even broke through to use the coveted Pauley Ballroom.

Miracles sustained for 10 years and now I must tell you—by the numbers—the best thing to do now:

-The best thing to do now is to break the lie that the miracles that happen in Asia, Africa, and Latin America cannot happen here.  Just as He raises the dead in plain view and multiplies food and water there—it can happen here.  The best thing is to break the glass ceiling we have created for miracles in America.

-Living Proof is the name of our crusades because it will take miracles to the mainstream of American culture.

From every angle our best move now is to be totally grateful for every miracle God has done and be totally starved to see more and greater miracles and to see them where they matter.

Now let me show you from different angles the absolute proof that this is our best move now.

The greatest Christian intellectual who ever lived had just seen—while arguing on Mars Hill in Athens—the futility of debating intellectual culture.  On his trek from there to Corinth a conviction was emblazoned in his soul.  Notice what he said:

1 Corinthians 2: And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Miracles put a deep foundation in new converts: What I hope will hit you is this: Our best move now is to but a supernatural foundation in new converts—a foundation that cannot be destroyed by a professor, gang leader or a politician.

Miracles force anti-God government to back off:  Acts 4: 14 “And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. “

When the greatest mind the church ever produced concluded that nothing was to be compared to the miracles of Jesus when combating a perverse culture, it should settle it for us.

These are the miracles that will ignite unity:  Acts 3:11 Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed.

New songs: Psalm 96: 1 Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. 3 Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.

Prayer: Now I want you to get ready to pray.  Not just any prayer—but the prayer that Peter prayed that let loose a gusher of signs and wonders:  Acts 4: 29 “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

Miracles are best for neutralizing persecution and the overreach of government.  When Peter left the council who ordered the church not to speak he knew what his best move was.  It is also our best move against the political correctness that has morphed into blatant tyranny.

Note that one thing he wanted was a special boldness.  His precise plea reads like this: Give me the special boldness that comes while you do signs and wonders.

This is the best thing we can do now.  It will crush the ramparts of Satanic power that are killing our country.

Finally, do you think I am being idealistic and naïve? Do you not see that the prime directive of Christ for those charged with spreading His Gospel was exactly what I say we need to do?  Jesus said, John 14: 12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

Let’s retrace our steps to a childlike hunger and desperation—only this time let it be with an irrefutable passion to let miracles–undeniable confirmed miracles flow in the mainstream of American culture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Success will not tame this blog

When I began this blog, I could not see how it could succeed.  Now readership is in the millions.  Success will not tame it.   We will provoke the church in the Trump era…

Success will not tame this blog

By Mario Murillo

My nerves were frazzled the first time I sat down to write something called a blog.  I argued with God.  I could not see how it would succeed. I knew there would be a firestorm over the things I was compelled to say.  I was right about the firestorm.

Now millions have read the blog in virtually every nation of the world.  Every day we are amazed at the impact of this little blog.

Check out this excerpt from the first time we spoke out:

“The America we once knew has been taken away.  It happened overnight.   Because America has changed ministries must change the way that they relate to this new nation.

Government has become our national God.   This new God is waging an incremental war on the Constitution.  The New York Times just called the U.S. Constitution an evil document that we should give up on.

Obamacare targets freedom of worship.  It forces Christian Institutions to violate their religious convictions.  Cardinal Dolan the spiritual leader of the Archdiocese of New York calls it “an unwarranted, unprecedented radical intrusion.”

The White House met with Cardinal Dolan and several Bishops met with the White House to talk.   He said he was told to “shut up and accept the mandate.”

charade

It is time for the people of God to speak out on the danger of gun control.

Mass shootings have become the excuse to take away our guns.    Obama wants absolute power.

Mahatma Gandhi the great pacifist said, “Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.”

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison believed that the greatest threat to liberty was not foreign invasion or domestic unrest but rather a standing army and a militarized police force that had no fear of inflicting tyranny upon the people.

If Government is our new God, Celebrities are our new pastors.

Ben Stein asked, “Where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God?  There are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.”

Hollywood is the most powerful propaganda machine in history and it has declared war on our faith. 

Ministries must change how they relate to America.  1 Samuel 10: 6 Says, “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.

Here is what I believe the occasion demands:

The Holy Spirit is saying we can publicly oppose government tyranny while still maintaining a loving witness.  Acts 16: 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.”  Paul had just led a jailor and several prisoners to Christ and now he turns around and exposes politicians who have broken the Roman Bill of Rights.

We must accept the fact that there is a new generation that has no Christian orientation. “And also all that generation was gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, who knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10

We must lay a new foundation of faith in America.  We must preach the central doctrines of our faith. The Bible needs to set fire to our sermons.”

bible fire

The big question now is what does the church do now that Trump is president?  In the next few blogs I will open my heart to you about the radical steps the church must take to seize this greatest soul winning opportunity in our lifetime.  Once again we must change the way we relate to government.

I know we need fresh fire.  Prayer, repentance and waiting for new orders are the keys for the American church this Christmas.

One thing is certain…success will not tame this blog.  It will continue to keep its edge.  It will continue to provoke, stretch and force minds to think and hearts to examine themselves.

PERMISSION TO TREAT THE WITNESS AS HOSTILE

cowboy blog

PERMISSION TO TREAT THE WITNESS AS HOSTILE

By Mario Murillo

I posted the article from TruNews entitled Why the Hillsong ‘Dancing Naked Cowboy’ Story Matters.  Now I want to speak for myself.

 

Permission to treat the witness as hostile

By Mario Murillo

I posted the article from TruNews entitled Why the Hillsong ‘Dancing Naked Cowboy’ Story Matters.  Now I want to speak for myself.

Someone says to a lawyer, “I have evidence that can convict the murderer.”  The attorney arranges it so that this witness can testify in court.  However, something happens when the witness actually takes the stand.  Suddenly they can’t remember, or they contradict earlier testimony.

Now instead of helping the case, they are damaging it.  To combat this damage the attorney can ask the judge for help.  The attorney asks the judge for permission to treat the witness as hostile.  This grants the lawyer power to ask leading questions.

Leading questions either suggest the answer (“You saw my client sign the contract, correct?”) or challenge (impeach) the witness’ testimony. As a rule, leading questions are generally only allowed during cross-examination, but a hostile witness is an exception to this rule.

I am treating the idea of doing a naked cowboy bit as a hostile witness.  I am saying it does more harm than good. How can I justify such a statement?!  It is a very good question.  I am doing it for the very same reason that any attorney would to save his client:

A church is a witness sent by God.  If in the process of calling themselves a church, they begin to damage the cause that they vowed to represent—if in their evolution they begin to be a witness for the other side—then they are indeed a hostile witness.

Rational ministers then have a right to ask leading questions.  Why is a church so long on art and so short on truth? What is the end game of a naked cowboy bit in a women’s conference?  I mean beyond getting attention?  Why are you having to do a press conference every few months to clear the air on some bizarre action by your staff?  So what if you get a big crowd…when do they become disciples and how do these antics turn a wicked culture to God?

To the thousands of pastors slugging it out—who have sacrificed to be a wall of fire against immorality this is a major slap in the face.  That is why I call them a hostile witness.  Furthermore, this emboldens the idea that shock-jock tactics are justified if you want a crowd.

I treat them as a hostile witness because this particular brand of compromise enforces a hideous lie. It is the lie that the Gospel is inherently unacceptable to the culture and therefore must be diluted, rebranded and packaged in a form that the world already likes. This lie has allowed us to win meaningless skirmishes while losing a generation.

And don’t try to tell me about your tolerance.  Just as liberals will drop the race card anytime someone says something valid against them so do these mega pastors drop the legalism card every time a decent question is raised, i.e. “you’re just being religious.”

If this blog only pointed out fault and offered no constructive alternative it would be as bad as the issue it raises.

There is plenty of fault on the other side of the church—the church that is content to spout trite condemnation to a sinning society.  God wants creative juices to flow in the church.  He wants a fresh approach that is compelling and anchored in Bible truth.  So what is the answer?

outreach

In the constant strain to find the right message preachers are mostly divided into two camps.

  1. Those who believe you should tell the people what they want to hear.
  2. Those who believe that you should tell the people what they need to hear.

Those in the “we tell people what they need to hear” often boast, “We are not into entertainment in our church.”   The dictionary defines entertainment as “holding an audience’s attention.”  Some pastors who claim not to “be into entertainment” do not know how right they are.

I believe that both of these positions lack something critical.  In fact, I believe that Jesus practiced something that transcended both of these positions: He told people what they needed to hear and made them want to hear it.

No one embodied this more than Dr. Billy Graham.  His messages were teeming with subjects that society did not want to hear and yet millions hung on his simple words and obeyed his clear appeal.

billy1

Preaching is easy if you do not need to do it right.   Even entertaining preaching is a snap if you are willing to offer up your integrity on the altar of trends.   But the preaching that pierces the lies of your time and makes disciples out of fallen men asks a far greater price than most modern ministers may be willing to pay.

Here are some simple points about reaching the lost in these dark times.

  1. You will never reach a city that you cannot weep over. Tears over the plight of a community are essential to doing a great work in that community. Even if you somehow get a crowd through hard work and technique it will not be a deep or lasting impact without God given compassion.
  2. You can tell the truth without love but you cannot love without telling the truth. The real reason you never get around to calling sin, sin is that you do not love the audience enough. I know men so caught up in church growth that people are nothing but numbers to them.  They would rather hold on to them than help them.  Paul said in Acts 20: 20 “how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house.”   The best preaching in the world has come from hearts that burned with love for their audience.
  3. There are no short cuts to becoming an effective communicator. God requires us to understand the laws of public speaking.

We would not give a second thought to a preacher wanting to know the laws of grammar.  Good grammar makes writing something you can read and retain.  Why wouldn’t we do the same thing for speaking an audience that we care about?

We can learn from Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and John Kennedy and yes Ronald Reagan. But having learned it we must—like Paul–subdue it to the fire of the Holy Ghost.

I am convinced that our overdependence on music is directly related to the minister’s lack of confidence in their preaching.

entertaining

  1. You must have a right relationship with the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit.

It is not our place to overrule God’s method to verify the Gospel.  He has chosen miracles, signs and wonders to do this.  For us to impede the gifts of the Spirit is to rob God of His chosen confirmation of truth.

Finding out how you will operate in miracle power is not as important as finding out that you must operate in miracle power.  Once you are convicted of its utter necessity, the means for you to express it will inevitably appear.

The supernatural power of God will deliver us from tricks and sad imitations of Broadway. We will never outdo Andrew Lloyd Webber but we can shine on a level the world cannot approach with the presence and glory of Jesus Himself.

The Pulpit commentary—not known for being Pentecostal says this—“And what we need, as the sustaining spirit of all work, is the conviction that Christ has given his Church power to heal and to cure diseases.”

Why the Hillsong ‘Dancing Naked Cowboy’ Story Matters

Why the Hillsong ‘Dancing Naked Cowboy’ Story Matters

 

hillsong naked cowboy

(TRUNEWS) It should be perfect material for the myriad of satire websites that abound online.  The story of New York’s Hillsong Church having a performance during a Christian women’s conference of the iconic Times Square Dancing Naked Cowboy draws reactions from “That has to be fake”, or “The rumor mill is running”.

Not only is the story itself absolutely true, but the entire story reveals even more about the state of the Babylonian church in America.

First, yes, it is true that a dancing naked cowboy performed on the platform during a Hillsong Women’s conference in New York.  As it turns out, however, it wasn’t THE Dancing Naked Cowboy that is famously spotted parading around in his underoos in the center of New York City.  It was actually a youth pastor in Hillsong Church New York.  Dr. Michael Brown of Charisma notes:

During an I Love New York celebration at a recent women’s conference hosted by Hillsong in New York City, a Hillsong youth pastor was onstage, dressed up as the Naked Cowboy, meaning that he too was wearing nothing but a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, briefs and a guitar.  But hey, after all, what’s wrong with that? We don’t want to get religious now, do we? What’s wrong with a youth pastor standing onstage in his underwear during a women’s conference? (Sarcasm fully intended.)

Yes, you read that right. A Hillsong pastor poses as the ‘Naked Cowboy’, complete with dancing girls, and bearded Lady Liberty.

hillsong naked cowboy

If what you have read up to this point is not surreal enough in it’s exposure of America’s brand of churchianity, then the following should wake you up to how far in the sewer those who claim to represent the Gospel are willing to crawl.

It appears that Hillsong has not only offended many believers with this outlandish stunt, they may have actually offended The Dancing Naked Cowboy himself, Robert John Burck

better known as the Naked Cowboy, is an American street performer whose pitch is on New York City’s Times Square. He wears only cowboy boots, a hat, and briefs, with a guitar strategically placed to give the illusion of nudity.

In a posting on Church Watch Central, Todd Rubenstein, speaking on behalf of ‘Naked Cowboy’ stated:

I represent Naked Cowboy and own Naked cowboy Enterprises, LLC. I am the sole administrator of the Naked Cowboy® registered trademarks. I am the only person who can provide license of use of anything associated with Naked Cowboy and Hillsong has never requested any right to use our registered trademarks or Naked Cowboy’s likeness.

In addition to it being a clear violation of Mr. Burck’s (AKA Naked Cowboy) right of publicity, it is a direct infringement upon Mr Burck’s registered trademarks.

Mr. Burck is an Ordained Minister & would NEVER attend church in the house of the Lord in his Trade Dress and is EXTREMELY offended by this activity due to his deep Christian beliefs and respect for the process of gathering in the name of Jesus Christ and in the presence of God to worship and praise the Holy Father.

Mr. Burck owns registered trademarks protecting his property rights in both the name “Naked Cowboy” as well as the character’s visual image. Mr. Burck strongly objects to any unauthorized use of his trade name and/or image without proper license and authorization—particularly those instances where, as here, such use is for a plainly commercial purpose and not for the purpose of spreading the Gospel. We are certain that Hillsong and its affiliates are aware of federal trademark law, but they must also be advised that New York’s statutory right of publicity affords Mr. Burck with additional legal protections against unauthorized use of his name and image. In view of these legal restrictions, and in an effort to avoid any further dilution of the value of Mr. Burck’s marks, we will be making a demand to Hillsong—together with any of its affiliates, representatives, agents, employees, and principals— to immediately cease and desist all such unauthorized uses of the Naked Cowboy’s trademarks in addition to taking Federal action in the State of New York to have these violations prosecuted.

So, let’s get this straight:

  1.  Hillsong had a dancing naked cowboy perform at a Christian women’s conference.
  2. The said cowboy was not the original ‘Naked Cowboy’, but actually a youth pastor from the church.
  3. The original ‘Naked Cowboy’ is greatly offended that his trademarked illusion of nudity would be used in a church setting.
  4. The source of the original ‘Naked Cowboy’s offense come from Burck being an ordained minister himself.

If there was ever any doubt that the church has descended into Babylon, those doubts should now be removed.

BAD PRESS AT A BAD TIME – NAKED COWBOY AND THE NEW HILLSONG CHANNEL

The timing of the story could not have been worse for Hillsong, as the organization launches a new 24-hour television channel in partnership with Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).  In a press release from PR Newswire:

Global faith-and-family broadcast leader Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and Hillsong Church, one of the most recognized global church and worship ministries, have announced the June 1st launch of the Hillsong Channel, a ground-breaking new 24-hour television network combining dynamic ministry, teaching, and conferences featuring renowned pastors and Christian leaders, with energetic, cutting-edge worship from award-winning singers, songwriters, and musicians.

In announcing the partnership of TBN and Hillsong in the innovative new network, TBN Chairman Matthew Crouch noted the phenomenal influence that Hillsong worship has had across the earth. “Every Sunday at least fifty million Christians sing Hillsong worship songs in churches across the earth,” he said, adding that every day TBN’s thirty-plus inspirational networks are carried around the world on over eighty satellite channels. “Beginning June 1st, nearly a dozen of those satellite channels will be devoted to the newest member of the TBN family — Hillsong Channel,” he said. “That’s how important we feel it is to get the life-changing ministry and worship of Hillsong to every corner of the earth.”

Viewers of Hillsong Channel will have 24-7 front-row access to all the best from Hillsong’s popular international conferences, along with dynamic worship from gifted groups, singers, and songwriters such as Hillsong Worship, Hillsong United, Young & Free, Reuben Morgan, Joel Houston, Taya Smith, and many others. There will also be plenty of life-changing teaching from Christian leaders like Hillsong Senior Pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston, including Bobbie’s “Sisterhood” outreach, which is inspiring and equipping a generation of women to walk in their God-ordained destiny.

Since its beginnings over thirty years ago as one small congregation in Sydney, Australia, Hillsong Church has added vibrant congregations in such key cities as London, Paris, Stockholm, Cape Town, Buenos Aires, New York, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and more — making the ministry of Hillsong truly international in flavor and perspective.

“We are excited about this dynamic new partnership with TBN that will take the message of God’s glory to the nations,” said Hillsong Pastor Brian Houston. “Whether through Hillsong worship and conferences or through other programs and teaching airing on Hillsong Chanel, the whole goal is to bring the Gospel in a real and relevant way to as many people as possible.”

Following its June 1st launch Hillsong Channel will be available to over 77 million U.S. households via:

– TBN’s full-power stations in 37 major markets, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Atlanta, and Miami — to name just a few.

– Major U.S. satellite and cable providers, including DirecTV, Dish Network, Glorystar, AT&T U-verse, Verizon Fios, Comcast, Charter Communications, and Time Warner, along with scores of regional and local cable systems.

Additionally, Hillsong Channel will reach over 100 million television households around the world through Sky and other satellites, as well as via countless in-country cable providers and broadcast channels.

“With its emphasis on award-winning contemporary worship, relevant teaching, and ministry, Hillsong Channel is set to impact millions more individuals and families with the message of hope and grace that has been TBN’s hallmark for the past forty-three years,” said Matthew Crouch. “In fact, we believe that this exciting new partnership between TBN and Hillsong is destined to broaden the scope and outreach of faith television worldwide.”

The Glory Has Departed: The Modern Church as Ichabod

The term Ichabod is found in two places in the Bible,1 Samuel 4:21 and 14:3. Ichabod was the son ofPhinehas and the grandson of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh. The sad story of Eli and his two wayward sons, Phinehas and Hophni, is found in 1 Samuel, chapters 2 and 4. Hophni and Phinehas died in battle with the Philistines who captured the Ark of the Covenant and took it away from Israel. Upon hearing this terrible news, Eli fell backward off his chair and broke his neck and died. Phinehas’s pregnant wife went into labor and bore a son.

“And she named the child Ichabod, saying, ‘The glory has departed from Israel!’ because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. And she said, ‘The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured’” (1 Samuel 4:21–22). The word Ichabod means literally “inglorious” or “there is no glory,” and in her pain and despair, the woman (who is unnamed in Scripture) lamented over the loss of the glory of God from Israel.

The glory of God is used to describe God’s favor and blessings toward His people. In the Old Testament, God’s glory is seen as a pillar of fire and cloud that followed the Israelites during the exodus from Egypt, guiding and guarding them (Exodus 13:21). Once the Ark of the Covenant was built and placed in the tabernacle in the wilderness, and later in the temple in Jerusalem, God’s glory resided there as a symbol of His presence among His people. When the Ark was captured by the Philistines, the glory departed from the Israelites—Ichabod became a reality.

Jesus later refers to the concept of the glory of God leaving Israel. In His last message to the populace of Israel, His final word to the religious leaders was “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:37–38). That was His final statement of judgment on Israel for the rejection of their Messiah. He has indicted their leaders and, by indicting the leaders, indicted all the people who followed the leaders. And now He says their house is left desolate—Ichabod, the glory is departing.

Notice that He says your house is desolate. Not My house, not My Father’s house, as He used to call it. Now it’s your house because God has left—Ichabod! God is no longer there, it’s not the Father’s house; it’s not My house; it’s your house. The Greek word translated “desolate,” means “abandoned to ruin.” This place is in abandonment. God has left. It’s cursed, devoted to ruination. And they won’t see Jesus again till He comes in full Messianic glory (Matthew 23:39).

It is a terrible thing to experience the loss of the glory of God. And while Israel’s ruin was temporary “until the fullness of the Gentiles” would be brought into the kingdom of God on earth (Romans 11:25), one wonders how many churches today have lost the glory of the Lord, whether willingly or unknowingly. The same things that caused Ichabod in Israel—sin, disobedience, idolatry—are present in many of today’s churches. Christians must never take the glory of God in our midst for granted, lest we wake up one day and find that Ichabod has become a reality among us.

Additional material provided by GotQuestions.org

Read more at http://www.trunews.com/why-hillsong-dancing-naked-cowboy-story-matters/#yAagAB0YuAG6GdWc.99

Bono Wants Christian Music To Get More Honest

Bono

Bono Wants Christian Music To Get More Honest

The U2 musician said that he sees a “lot of dishonesty” in modern Christian music.

When U2 musician Bono reads the Psalms, a book of the Bible filled with ancient hymns, he sees the full range of human emotions: anger, irritation, sadness, bliss. While the Psalms have been a source of spiritual inspiration for himthroughout his life, Bono has much harsher words for contemporary Christian music.

Modern Christian worship music has often been critiqued for its mediocrity — the repetition of the same four chords, the same set of reliably inspirational words, and theological jargon that leaves outsiders bewildered.

Bono, who has become more outspoken about his Christian faith in recent years, is advocating for a return to the raw and honest emotion of the Psalms.

“The psalmist is brutally honest about the explosive joy that he’s feeling and the deep sorrow or confusion,” the singer said in Fuller Studio‘s newly released documentary“The Psalms.” “And I often think, ‘Gosh, well, why isn’t church music more like that?’”

The singer’s comments in the film were part of a wide-ranging conversation he had with Eugene Peterson, a pastor and scholar who is best known for “The Message,” a translation of the Bible into contemporary language. The film documents the friendship between the unlikely pair, who were drawn together by their common interest in this ancient book of the Bible.

Peterson talked about how his translation of the Psalms are as close as he could get to the original meaning of the text.

“It’s not smooth, it’s not nice, it’s not pretty, but it’s honest,” Peterson said. “I think we’re trying for honesty, which is very, very hard in our culture.”

Bono agreed that honesty was hard to find in modern Christian culture. In fact, he said that he found “a lot of dishonesty” in modern Christian art.

“I would love if this conversation would inspire people who are writing these beautiful… gospel songs, write a song about their bad marriage. Write a song about how they’re p—–d off at the government. Because that’s what God wants from you, the truth,” Bono said. “And that truthfulness …. will blow things apart.”

“Why I am suspicious of Christians is because of this lack of realism,” he continued. “And I’d love to see more of that — in art and in life and in music.”

Affluenza among Christian leaders

affluenza copy

 

Affluenza among Christian leaders

By Mario Murillo 

 Something crazy is happening to high profile Christian leaders.  They are saying and doing things that are bizarre and in some cases tragic. I will not name names because I am praying for them to repent.  There will be a time when I will name names .  The mission of this missive is not to embarrass any leader or to make myself look holier than them…and it is most certainly not an attack on God’s promises to prosper us.

Here is a list of things said and done recently that prove something has gone very bad.

-“God has told me…when our Carolina Panthers win the Super Bowl, a time of major revival, awakening, moves of God are going to break out in America,” – Famous Pastor.  Well…now that they lost 24-10 is national revival impossible?  My real issue here is connecting football to revival.  Whether is was done in 1980 or in 2016 makes no difference…they are totally unrelated.

-“I need to get my wife her own jet.  Sometimes she wants to leave meetings before I do.”- Another famous pastor.

-I walked into a restaurant where the entire worship team of a famous revival church was bellied up to the bar sucking down cocktails.  This church also is fine with their women leaders dressing scantily: “we were now reaching a global culture and this look helps us relate.”   The alcohol is part of their new found revelation of grace.

-A very famous Spirit-filled female pastor stands with her husband and tells their congregation that Christian couples should watch porn together to strengthen their marriage.

-The daily broadcast of one preacher and his guest explaining how they needed private jets since they can’t communicate to God in commercial jets and it protects the anointing of God on their life. And one says: “because in this doped filled world … and you get in a long tube with a bunch of demons…it”s deadly”. And the other one chimes in …”and it works on your heart, it really does”.

-Silent night was given a cringe-worthy (well, you just had to see it) makeover by a global Church.  When the video went viral…a mainstream Christian magazine gave an equally cringe-worthy defense “they were showing how King Herod would do silent night…they did it the right way later in the show.”

-The most popular gospel artist of today suddenly leaves the church after making millions off of Christians… The former “Jesus Freak” is advocating that Jesus is as fake as the tooth fairy… Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. What? Yes! It’s true, as he admits “The concept of religion as we know it is a lie”.

These are all cases of affluenza and they have all happened in the space of a few months. 

Affluenza came on the scene recently when Ethan Anthony Couch’s attorneys used it as a defense for murder.  Ethan–a teenager, was guilty of four counts of intoxication manslaughter, for recklessly driving drunk on June 15, 2013, in Burleson, Texas. He was illegally driving on a restricted license and speeding, lost control, plowed into a group of people. Four people were killed in the collision; two passengers in Couch’s truck suffered serious bodily injury and a total of nine people were injured.

The formal definition of affluenza is:  the unhealthy and unwelcome psychological and social effects of affluence regarded especially as a widespread societal problem: such as: feelings of guilt, lack of motivation, and social isolation experienced by wealthy people  Anastasia Toufexis Editor in Chief of Psychology Today coined the term “Affluenza” in 1988.

Affluenza strikes a Christian leader who has too much time, wealth, technology at their disposal. It warps common sense and herds them into foolishness and in its worst form…self-destruction.   Here is what it looks like

Affluenza makes them blurt out heresy:   The sheer volume of material they must produce along with the continual need to hold people’s attention is a breeding ground for heresy.

One affluenzed leader diminished the Bible:  “Why do we trust in a book that the early Christians did not have more than in the Spirit that they did have?”  I promise you he doesn’t really believe this—in the heat of the moment and in the need to dazzle his audience—he just blurted it out.  Problem is it made into a book that is widely circulated and influences young fertile minds.

Affluenza makes sustaining popularity a priority over telling the truth.  Just as the newly rich athlete is insecure about his money and behaves in an irrational manner so these leaders suddenly display unstable pulpit and mood swings.   They say and do the things they think will keep their business afloat.

Affluenza puts them in a bubble.  They are detached from reality and have no clue of how they look and sound.  They are often surrounded by people who will not confront their aberrant behavior.

Affluenza gives them strange priorities and urgencies.  Think about it…we are about to lose our country.  America has sunk into unprecedented debauchery.  Many Christians face financial crisis.  2015 saw more persecution of Christians worldwide that any year in the modern era.   Does any of this subject enter their pulpits?  Do they see who what they say may hurt and confuse?  Does it move them to break before God?

Both for Ethan Couch and preachers, affluenza is not an excuse—it is an onerous moral failure.  For vessels called of God it is both inexcusable and disastrous.

Listen carefully: The consequence of a sin is amplified by the time, place and circumstances in which it is committed.    Probably the most compelling example of this in the Bible is 2 Kings: 5.   After Naaman was healed of leprosy he offered riches to Elisha the prophet.  The prophet refused his gifts.  Verse 20 says, “Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”  He indeed went and got the riches and hid them.

Verse 25 says, “When he went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?”  “Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered.  26 But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money or to accept clothes—or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves? 27 Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.”

If you get nothing else from this message get this:  Against the backdrop of America’s doom…is this the time for silly prophecies?  Is this the time for fictional doctrines, prescribing porn, drunkenness and flaunting obscene lifestyles?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mario Murillo responds to Hillsong firestorm

First view the infamous video:

Mario Murillo responds to Hillsong firestorm

By Mario Murillo

I republished a blog about Hillsong that was written by Andrew Walker.  Some have said that I was unfair because  Hillsong had clarified its position of Homosexuality–a complaint in the blog–and  this is old news.

The article was republished because the clarification settled nothing.  The wording of the clarification projects selective offense.  in other words, it appeases one group but casts another aside.

At first I thought the video of Silent Night  was a total prank…then I was dismayed to learn it was real.. I thought why bother any pretense of church… just hire the cast from Chicago to do  I know a girl.

While I will not call the video blasphemy–it certainly tells conservative Christians what they can do with their concerns.

In desperately caring for what secularists think, they do not care what sincere believers–or thinkers for that matter–think. They will still not call sin-sin from the pulpit.  The issue that is burning in my spirit is not about accepting all people—but helping all people.

But what sealed the deal is the fact that this “rendition” of Silent Night  met with widespread rejection last year  both within and without the Church…they are going to repeat it on the 20th in London.     

Now about that clarification on homosexuality:  It does not help gay people when you say you can attend, participate and be everything but a leader.   If your goal is to make them feel accepted…that doesn’t work.  Instead the acceptance/nonacceptance diminishes both the sinner and the Gospel.  The only thing it upgrades is homosexuality.  It upgrades from it from a sin that needs to be abandoned to a personality flaw to be eased out of.

Imagine Victory Outreach or Teen Challenge saying you can be a part of everything except leadership but it is okay to keep your drug addiction while you are here.  But you might say—those are rehabilitation centers not churches.  Listen to yourself…if the church is not for rehabilitation what is it for?

It is infinitely more honest—and loving—to say we believe it is sin but we want you to know you can be set free.

We must have the awkward conversation that identifies the need and the cure.   There is no Christian cooling off period for sin.   Would we counsel the adulterer “sit and consider your character flaw and–in the meantime– feel welcome to all aspects of our faith except leadership.”

For years I have been careful not to name names when it came to seeker churches.  That season is over because I believe that Hillsong is now doing more harm than good.   Take, for example, this travesty of Christmas that they are foisting on the public.

If you look at the video you will conclude as I have:  THEY ARE NOT MAKING CHRISTIANITY LOOK BETTER THEY ARE MAKING CABARET MUSIC LOOK WORSE.

 

Now read what others are publishing about Hillsong London

 ‘About Jesus’? Hillsong ‘Sells Out’ Advertised Xmas Services With Dancing Elves, Santa, Mini-Skirt Flappers

Hillsong Carols-compressed
Photo Credit: Twitter

LONDON — Hillsong London’s two advertised Xmas services that are said to be all “about Jesus,” but feature clips of Santa Claus, dancing elves, mini-skirt-wearing flappers and other concerning aspects, have both sold out.

“#HillsongCarols is now at capacity for both services at 3pm & 7:30pm,” the congregation posted on Dec. 9. “There will be no tickets on the door.”

 Hillsong London had advertised the upcoming services, to be held at the SSE Arena in Wembley on Sunday, with clips from last year’s event. The snippets capture a packed house of cheering attendees being showered in ticker tape and the various high-energy performances that include an appearance by a man dressed as Santa with his host of elves.

“Carols at The SSE Arena is a night that is focused on celebrating what Christmas is really about – JESUS!” reads a description under the promotional video.

 Video footage of various full performances at the 2014 show were also posted online by Hillsong London, which is arguably the largest congregation in the London area.

One performance features the carol “Silent Night” set to a nightclub-like setting with 1920’s-style flappers. The jazzy rendition features a woman in a short two-piece outfit that is cut low in the back and reveals her midsection when her arms are raised. A flapper is defined as “a young woman of the 1920’s who rebelled against conventional ideas of ladylike behavior and dress.”

Another video of the “Little Drummer Boy” featuring shirtless men pounding on drums while a woman in tight gold leather pants belts out the song as she stands in thick fog.

Other footage online shows a beatbox rap rendition of “Silent Night” and a woman dressed in a spaceman-type outfit.

Last year, Hillsong originally offered just one service, but because it sold out quickly, a second was scheduled. This year, both services sold out within days.

In an interview with the England Evangelical Alliance, Hillsong London leader Gary Clarke said that “[t]he aim for Hillsong Carols is to have a church event where people easily could bring their friends and family to, in the hope they encounter Jesus and His message of grace.”

“The main difference [between the event and a Sunday service] is that Hillsong Carols is more of a production, with focus on different items that tell the story of God sending His son Jesus to earth, rather than an actual service,” he explained. “There are still elements of a normal service though, such as praise, worship and a short message.”

But some have expressed concern over the nature of the event, with one man writing under the promotional video, “How do you justify the use of worldly music, erotic stage dancers which is nothing short of a Vegas act, and call it Christian? It’s a fair question.”

Geoffrey Grider of Now the End Begins likewise expressed dismay at the presentation.

“Because after all, it’s just not a proper celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ without roaring 20’s flappers, rock bands, hoochie coochie dancers, laser light shows and lots and lots of leg in a nightclub setting,” he wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “Happy Birthday, Jesus, hope you like it.

The Cake

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The Cake

By Mario Murillo

Here is the news: “The former owners of an Oregon bakery have been ordered to pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple who were refused a wedding cake, in the latest front in the battle between religious liberty and individual rights.

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian ordered Aaron and Melissa Klein, who owned the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery in Gresham, Ore., to compensate the couple for emotional and mental suffering that resulted from the denial of service.

The Kleins had cited their Christian beliefs against same-sex marriage in refusing to make the wedding cake for Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer.”

Okay, I disagree with the gay militants and the bakery in this situation.  In my opinion, the American church and gay community both need a lesson, a lesson that I hope this message will bring.

I began my ministry in San Francisco where I was born and raised.  That fact alone should tell you a lot about my development as a preacher.  In other words, I learned to coexist with the gay community.  Gay marriage has been tacitly legal here since the Gold rush.  I grew up with gay parades.

Unlike so many of my fellow preachers, I have always preached behind enemy lines.  There is one thing that I have heard for my entire ministry: “you cannot win souls here, the people are too hostile toward God.”  I heard that in San Francisco.  I heard it in Berkeley where I first witnessed the power of God change angry radicals into Christ followers.

We have conducted 5 major Christian crusades in San Francisco.  We are the only evangelistic ministry ever to be granted use of the sacred Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall in downtown San Francisco.  We drew a crowd of 14,000 to the Cow Palace Arena that included a mass of unchurched people.  ( Below is the picture of the Cow Palace crowd.)

Web site shot of Cow Palace

Now wrap your mind around this: we have never, not once, been picketed or harassed by gay militants and we have never compromised our Biblical stand on sin.

How were we able to do this?  We did it by weeding out the misguided radicals in the church and in the gay community.  We made the effort to explain our attitude to rational thinkers who disagreed with Christianity.  It did not always work but it help build respect, albeit respectful disagreement.

Our approach was to show them that we believe in preserving dignity and open dialogue and we sought out those in every movement that are of like mind.  We even gave them our phone numbers to call to complain about any of workers who stepped over the line.

As impossible as it is for some extreme gay radicals and Westboro Baptist types to imagine, there are rational people on both sides who want to engage in civil discourse.

One thing that I learned early: never insult anyone’s intelligence.  Ministries that want it both ways are silly.  It doesn’t work to hide what the Bible teaches in order to be liked.  The Gay community can read.

This is why I disagree with mega churches that are muting their beliefs in order to be accepted by the Gay community.  That works on some, at least until they find out what it you actually believe.  Thinking people will realize what you are doing, and will be insulted.

One of my heroes is David Wilkerson.  He stood against sin in America.  His church was not nestled securely in the Bible belt.  His Times Square Church in New York City proclaimed holiness in the epicenter of immorality.  Strippers, transvestites, and every so-called alternative lifestyle were right outside their door.

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No one protested them as hateful and David never compromised.   Untold numbers have walked in and found in Christ. Nothing works better than compassion with conviction.

Now let me put a bottom line on all of this:

1.Oregon is stupid to pursue this action against the bakery. You need to rethink your actions in this case. Your position is totally legal, but this is a new day.  By forcing Gay Marriage on America, the Supreme Court created a new discriminated group: Christians who oppose Gay marriage for religious reasons and practice civil disobedience.  Civil disobedience is a modern American tradition from Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez to Harvey Milk.

It is ironic Oregon; you are prosecuting civil disobedience by using a law of anti-discrimination that was created by civil disobedience.  It is understandable that you are amateurs at this since liberals have only recently become the oppressive majority.

Oregon, you need dismiss the fine and find an accommodation for Christian Businesses or you will start a new revolution. Your punishment seems harsh and bred out of the current frenzy of anti-Christian sentiment.  By squashing Sweet Cakes by Melissa you will galvanize the Church and probably win them sympathy from groups that have long dwelled in the liberal camp.

Besides you look silly. What a headline: HIPPIES FROM PORTANDIA SQUASH FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND RELIGION. And think about history Oregon.  Montgomery had Rosa Parks, Berkeley had the free speech movement and you had the cake deal.

2. Christians need to find better ways to express civil disobedience, but we do need to disobey.  The law of the land is clear and in this instance, a restaurant, bakery, etc., may do business with whom it chooses. Conversely, there are laws against discrimination in service based on gender, race, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, and age that trump any signs or private property arguments to the contrary.

The Bible agrees.  Look at these verses: “1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.”  Read this again a few times.

Paul would have likely said to Aaron and Melissa Klein…”look you can go ahead and bake the cake because it is not feasible to protest Gay Marriage through business dealings.  Are you going to stop using Apple, Microsoft, Firefox, Google and Facebook because they are advancing Gay Marriage?  In that case, you would have to leave the earth to find moral purity.”

However, you should not bake a cake or make any food for a false Christian.  If someone names the name of Christ and is sexually immoral, don’t feed them or associate with them.

3. Gay radicals and feminists only expose their true goal when they target Christian businesses. This cake thing went way too far. It should have gone down more like this:

-“We want you to bake a cake that says it supports gay marriage, will you?

-“You really don’t want to make me do this, do you? The law is on your side but you are making me violate my conscience.  If you insist, I’ll be forced to do it.”

“On second thought, we would rather have someone who is supportive bake it.”

It is not about marriage when you deliberately target Christian businesses for cakes, photographs and flowers; you are instead making a political statement.  You are taking what you say will be the most beautiful day of your life and stocking it full of people who disagree with what you are doing.  How romantic!

This only confirms that gay marriage is not the goal.  Extreme radical gays and feminists do not seek marriage equality; they are trying to abolish marriage.  Socialists and Secular Progressives know that removing the family gives the government much greater control.  They want to make it illegal to disagree with Gay Marriage and a free society cannot do that.

Neither the church nor gay marriage is going away anytime soon.   Agreeing to disagree is the only way a free society can survive.

You want to keep Portland weird not fascist.

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4.  The Church must get way beyond pastry.  The line drawn in the sand should begin by exposing those who want to make it a crime to disagree with gay marriage and those who spew hatred in the name of Christ.

Ministers should not be forced to do gay weddings.  The government must not deny or remove nonprofit status because of Christian convictions.

The Supreme Court made the same massive mistake with gay marriage that they made with abortion.  They abused power and ripped the debate out of the hands of the people before it was resolved.  This guarantees division. Remember, Roe V Wade birthed the pro-life movement.

There is no doubt that some took this unconstitutional action to mean open season on Christians.  Christians must now band together and resist the abuse of freedom of religion for the sake of future generations of Americans.

If that means disobeying laws that directly violate our freedom of religion so be it.  But it doesn’t mean we can’t start by  appealing to reason and promote civil discourse when and where it is still possible.