WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?

Whatever happened to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?  You don’t hear about it anymore.  Churches don’t pray with people to receive it anymore.  There’s a big reason why.
Preacher, if you stopped presenting the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to your people—Satan made you do it.  If there is no room in your service for people to receive this urgent gift—the enemy seized control of your agenda.  If your people don’t even know what it is—you will answer to God.
No matter how noble, persuasive, or convincing the argument, the decision to exclude the Baptism of the Holy Spirit from the life of the church, is a decision conceived in hell.

Omitting this Baptism was a masterstroke of Lucifer.

He knew this was the most destructive deception possible.  It created lukewarm Christians.  It single handedly wiped out a huge amount of our soul winning.  And, it opened the door to untold heresy.

Today we are swimming in more false teaching, false prophecy and false Christianity than ever before.  All across the internet ministries dabble in new age hybrids of Christian faith, exotic extremes, drunkenness and even perversion.   Turns out, the church is the other swamp that needs draining.

Noted Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias said, “I had dinner with the most popular preacher on television.  He told me that he did not see much difference between Islam and Christianity.”

How can we hang the blame for such foolishness on neglecting the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?   Let’s examine the evidence.
Jesus said, “John 16:13  “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
Jesus calls Him the Spirit of truth.  He imparts hunger for truth.  It is futile to layer truth on the unwilling soul.  False teaching abounds from the lack of hunger the Holy Spirit awakens.  Let’s go back to the root:

Don’t make a move without it!

Acts 1: 4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
The church has no witness without it.  Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The Apostles considered it an extreme urgency for all who believed to be filled with the Holy Spirit. 

Acts 8: 14 “Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.”
-Acts 19: 1 “And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”  4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”

We have two extremes in the church:  Those who believe in nothing and those who believe in everything.

  Or to put it another way: We have those know nothing of what the Bible says and those who believe anything, anyone says about the Bible. Both are products of a lack of discernment and power.  It is only after you experience the real presence and power of God that you know what is fake.

Look at the discipleship result of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost:

Acts 2: 41 “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”

One big reason that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not preached today is because it is the natural enemy of church marketing.

When God falls, church culture instantly changes.  Human promotion becomes obsolete.   An audience morphs into an army.  An insatiable hunger for the Word of God replaces sales pitches.
The preacher who withholds the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is guilty of treason—of withholding a priceless gift bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus—of holding back an edge of power that would keep the believer strong, alert, and able to win others.  It endows them with a prayer language that pierces all adversity.  How dare we hold this back!
The Pentecostal revival is the greatest Christian revival in history.  Beginning in the humble Azusa Street Mission, it has blazed for on for over 100 years, with over 650 million converts.  Only one thing explains it:  The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

WHY WE HAVE HOPE FOR AMERICA

Let us tell you why we have hope for America.  As ministers of the Gospel we must take stands that are not popular.  Often, we must warn, correct, and give out bad news.  There is no way around the fact that many things threaten our faith and our freedom.  But there is also hope—hope for America.

We see the mighty hand of God working in wondrous ways—even in this dark time.  When we pray, we feel the fierce love of God for America.  We can hear Him saying, “hold on, I have not yet begun to fight for America.”  We see signs that encourage our faith.  We refuse to let anything steal our joy as we travel this great nation for Christ.  Let us give you the reasons for our hope.

Something supernatural is in our soil.  Michael Medved has identified 16 times America should have been destroyed but was spared at the last moment.  However, it is the way America was saved that is mind-boggling.  Relief literally came out of nowhere.Our hope is that God finishes what He starts.  He established this nation with an impossible victory over Britain.  He has repeated His acts of sovereign mercy again, and again.  Even when things looked much worse than today—and we didn’t deserve it—God turned circumstances in our favor and turned our hearts back to Him.  That is our hope.

Millions are praying for revival.  If Abraham’s math is correct, God would have saved Sodom and Gomorrah if just 12 righteous were found.  Despite the widespread number of lukewarm believers and watered-down preaching—there is a vibrant core of Christians who are claiming our nation through fervent intercession.  In fact, Daniel stood alone in prayer and fasting and forced the heart of King Cyrus to release Israel.  Millions are praying.  That corporate cry is not being ignored.

Extremes in the media and other anti-God agencies are backfiring.  The bias against God has been in the media for decades. The difference now is the towering overreach—the blatant bias—the deranged hatred is so intense they can’t hide it.  Time was, they could shape public opinion and call it news.  In their current melt down, they report banalities and keep reporting them even after they are proven false.  The audience looks on with shock and pity and asks, “where is the truth?”

The young are turning to Christ. The great vacuum created by leftist ideology leaves young souls groping for new life.  We see young souls coming forward from all over the tent.  They come quickly, they come forcefully, they come for nothing less than Jesus.   They dispel the lies Satan is saying about this generation.  When it comes to young people, it doesn’t take long for a small fire to grow into a widespread movement.

Signs, wonders and miracles are appearing in convincing scriptural order.  Miracles are not new.  Healings have been with us all along.  The difference now is they are being demonstrated in greater measure and with stronger Bible based preaching.  This makes them more contagious to the lost and more devastating to the enemy.

There you have it…our great hope for America.  There is no denying it will be a hard battle.  But if God be for us who can be against us?  God bless you, Mario and Mechelle Murillo

MARIO MURILLO ANSWERS HIS CRITICS ON BEER, WINE, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT

So far, 120,000 people have read my blog about wine, beer and the Holy Spirit.  I was blessed by how overwhelmingly positive the comments were.  I had braced myself for an onslaught of condemnation.  Of course I was not without criticism, so I am adding this follow up to answer my critics.  Understand however, this is my last word on this subject.  No matter how crazy the criticism, and even if I am offered a massive book deal (lol) I am through with this subject.

I was accused of lifting a single passage from the Old Testament to invent a legalism against alcohol.  Nope, I was declaring that—in this hour, due to the dire condition of America—the Holy Spirit was signaling certain vessels to a higher calling.  One of the things that will fall by the wayside in this calling is booze.

The verses that I cited are not an example of a new doctrine, but an instance in history where Kings and Rulers were told that wine, and beer were not for them, lest they pervert justice—a time when justice was murky, like it is now.  A time when keen senses are required.

Here is what I said, “I am convinced God is calling those who would be excellent, and powerful in the Spirit, to stop drinking alcohol…including beer.   Not out of legalism—not out of condemnation but because of this one phrase: IT IS NOT FOR YOU.”  

Here are the passages I am accused of lifting out of context to build a legalism:  Proverbs 31: 4,5 , “It is not for kings, Lemuel—it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.”  To prove I am not lifting just one scriptural reference, I will show you another moment in the Bible where this specific abstinence was practiced.

I believe the Holy Spirit is raising that issue again for the very same reason.  God is leading certain vessels out of a highly addicted and stimulated culture—vessels who will hang straight and true like a plumb line as all the moral lines have been blurred.  If you believe I am lying about what the Holy Spirit has said to me fine, just don’t dance around the argument by saying I said things that I did not say.

I never thought I’d see the day when wine and beer would be a sacred cow to Christians.  The vehement rejection, by some, of even the possibility of abstaining, reveals the problem.  The fact that they use deflection—deliberately missing my point and accusing me of saying things I did not say—to protect drinking, is revealing.  I never talked about the Bible  banning responsible drinking.  I talked about a higher calling.

Others reminded me that Jesus drank wine.  I never said He didn’t.  However, we do know of an instance where Jesus refused wine and why.  House to House .com said, “Mark described the drink as wine mingled with myrrh (Mark 15:23). The drink offered to Jesus was a cheap Roman vinegar wine, which had a drug mixed in to dull the senses. It was the custom of the Romans to offer a man being crucified drugged wine so that he might more easily endure his cross. Jesus refused the wine, however, apparently so that He could go through his suffering with a clear mind.”   If you bring up the fact that Jesus drank wine.  I must bring up the time He refused it and why.  We are in such a time right now.

The overwhelming numbers who read the blog convince me something glorious is happening.  Crawling out of the religious swamp—where grace is bent, and Christians clamor to see how much of the world they can keep and still know God—there is a remnant.  That remnant is marked for special use.  It is the high calling in Christ.  Filter out the noise and listen—perhaps you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.

CHRISTIAN LEADERS WHO DRINK

 

You can accuse me of writing this because of the widespread abuse of alcohol by ministers—but that is not the case.  You can call me judgmental and again you would be mistaken.   I am certain I will be attacked by those who believe I have gone too far and by those who believe I have not gone far enough.  Nevertheless, I must obey God.

I believe the Holy Spirit is raising this issue because America is teetering on the edge of disaster.  We can all see that the Bible, Christianity, Israel, and American values—the values that keep us alive—are under an all-out attack.  Time is running out for our nation.

Jesus is on the hunt for special vessels.  He is looking for someone to demonstrate power on a level we have not yet seen.  To have authority for miracles that are beyond what we have seen or heard.

I am convinced God is calling those who would be excellent, and powerful in the Spirit, to stop drinking alcohol…including beer.   Not out of legalism—not out of condemnation but because of this one phrase: IT IS NOT FOR YOU. 

Proverbs 31: 4,5 tells us, “It is not for kings, Lemuel—it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.”

Wait, what?  Does it really say If you would be a king, or a ruler, then wine and beer are not for you?  Yes, it does.

Can you drink?  Of course, you can.  You can live in the elementary level that says it’s okay so long as you don’t get drunk.  However, in this hour—if you want all that God has for you—it is not for you.

Fine, be a casual drinker, but if you yearn for a deeper level of power and true revival—it is not for you.

It may be okay for others, but if you want to see the notable miracles—the ones that quake cities and alter generations—then it is not for you.

The clue to this new call to a higher personal purity is seen in the next verses: Proverbs 31:6 “Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish! 7 Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.”

Is the Bible telling us that alcohol is for death and misery?  At the very least that should give us pause to ask, “why am I drinking?”  Or, “do I really need this.”  And finally, “what am I trying to prove by taking this liberty?”  If you find you are defending it beyond reason, then you must consider the specter of a drinking habit growing out of control.

Many who oppose ministers who drink do make this salient point: “If one of my congregation is a recovering alcoholic and sees me having a glass of wine in public, it could trigger them to start drinking again.  I may be able to handle it, but they can’t.”

While I totally agree with that, the real issue goes much deeper. That good argument does not address private drinking.   You must give it up for Christ not public appearance.

Of course, there are many other issues we need to cover including nutrition, wholesome conversation, financial integrity, sexual purity to name a few…but right now, the enemy is capitalizing on the subtly of alcohol to plateau and even destroy the power of vessels of God.

You know you want power.  You know you yearn for a greater presence of God on your life.  Don’t let a crude habit sabotage your destiny.  Remember, a real disciple gives up what they want now, for what they want most.

3 STEPS TO DEFEAT TODAY’S EVIL AND STRESS

Mass murder, debauchery, and the stress of nations, press us daily.  We can feel the crushing weight of inadequacy.  Can we stay sane?  Is the moral situation so far gone that we tuck our faith and just endure hoping we outlast the madness?

Ephesians 6:10 says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.’ But, how do we apply all that power and might to this flood of evil and stress that hitting us every day?

Not only can we apply it, we are expressly called—and uniquely equipped—to express this might.  The legacy of our faith demands it—the nature of the Holy Spirit—and the Word of God demand it.  There is no holding pattern for us.  God only leads forward.

With just a few simple words, Jesus revealed the vast superiority of our victory compared to all world religions.   He said, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.” –John 17:15.

The religions of the world teach escape.  They deem the world too dangerous for their devotees.  Whether it is a Buddhist Monastery or a Muslim Caliphate the message is clear: They can’t coexist with secular culture.   They require physical separation, cleansing rituals, strict diets, or total subjugation of infidels.

For Jesus to pray for His flock to stay in the culture are not just fighting words—they are an in-your-face smack down of evil.

While cultural contact withers the faith of false religions, it enhances the Christian—it sharpens their faith, brightens their light, and deepens their authority.

You must get why you are here.  You must see the astounding picture of the army you belong to.  Our very presence on earth is God’s way of saying victory is available.  He keeps us here because we can win.

Think of soldiers in an army fighting in their little sector. They are being hard-pressed, and things are going against them. If, for one moment, they think it’s just their fight they will soon be defeated. But when they remember they are only a part of a great and mighty army, and directing it, is the Captain, their Leader, immediately the situation is transformed. In other words, we have got to realize God is involved in it with us. We are only here because of God.

The 3 steps I am about to declare bring victory of the present evil and stress.  They hit me when I saw two groups of people—hundreds of years apart, in totally different situations—take the identical 3 steps to victory.

One was a prophecy by Daniel in in 600 BC and the other happened in 31 AD.  The first is Daniel describing how the Maccabean revolt would win in 167 BC.  The second is the people in the land of Gennesaret welcoming Jesus.  The former liberated Israel, the latter wiped out sickness and disease.  Again, they both took the same 3 steps.  Here are the scriptures:

Daniel 11: 32 “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”

Mark 6: 53-56: “When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret and anchored there. And when they came out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, ran through that whole surrounding region, and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard He was. Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.”

Here are the 3 key words in both these victories: KNOW, STRONG, CARRY.  The first group knew God, were strong, and carried out exploits.  The second group did the same 3 things.    They recognized (knew Jesus).  They ran (showed strength).  They carried others who received miracles.  (Exploits)

Take these 3 steps to defeat today’s stress and evil:

  1. Obey God’s pull. He is pulling you to know Him in deep intimacy: Psalm 27:8 says “When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”  What is your reaction to God’s call to do a secret work in you?  Are you saying yes?

I believe Jesus is using this message from me to you to draw you into special closeness to Him.  If you say yes, special things will begin to happen.  You will instantly conquer fear and worry.  Isaiah 26: 3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. “

Your faith for mighty things will multiply.  Jesus said,” If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” -John 15:7

God not only knew the insanity of today was coming—He took steps to prepare a special relationship, that would produce special powers for His children.  We can blame no one but ourselves if we neglect this astonishing invitation.

  1. Become strong. What did Isaiah say would happen to those who heeded the call to wait on God? “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Your new-found and deep connection to God the Father, create strength.  Note once again the amazing parallel between the phrases, “they shall run and not be weary,” and “they recognized Him and ran.

Touchy feely faith is out.  This is the era of strong Christians.  Tomorrow belongs to Christians who are stronger than headlines—stronger than threats—stronger than anything unfolding on the earth.

  1. Accept your mission: You have a mission, you have an ordained exploit. It is ironic that the real cure for today’s fear and stress is to think big, and take on massive vision.  Fresh vision always chases away depression.

Opposition and persecution do not mean we hide, in fact we are to become bolder. Look at what the disciples did at Iconium:  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 in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.”   They were opposed, therefore they stayed and saw greater miracles.

An exploit that summons up all your talent and every drop of your courage is comfort food for the Spirit-empowered believer.

The bottom line:  We are so subjective, and we live in this unhealthy psychological generation that starts with man and ends with man. Most of our troubles are due to that. We are always looking inwards and pitying ourselves and being sorry for ourselves, and looking for something to help us. Get rid of that outlook, forget yourself for a moment; the battle is the Lord’s!   You can know Him. You can become strong.  You will do amazing things.

Join us for our special Christmas Dinner in San Francisco.  Saturday December 9th at 7 PM at the Waterfront Marriott SFO

Click here to buy tickets at half price    https://mariomurillo.org/christmas-dinner/

C

 

 

 

 

HOLY SPIRIT YOU’RE NOT WELCOME HERE

We sing “Holy Spirit You are welcome here,” but the truth is He is not at all welcome.  He has no say in our activities.  He has been evicted from His rightful place.

We can and should have power.  We should be winning millions.   Medically confirmed healings should be a norm.  Hardened sinners should be collapse before the might of God’s presence in our meetings.

What makes our present defeat, so vexing, is that it is so unnecessary.   We have the best message in the world.  Everything hurting our nation can be healed by the Holy Spirit. There is no raging debate today that is not solved by the Gospel.  There is no injustice that cannot be cured by Christ.

Instead, we put our worst foot forward.  We teach light and airy, even silly things—things that not only bounce off the unchurched—they weaken the churched.

We sing “Holy Spirit You are welcome here,” but the truth is He is not at all welcome.  He has no say in our activities.  He has been evicted from His rightful place.

When you finally see who the Holy Spirit is, and what His active role should be…our current condition will horrify you.

OUTPOURING AT WARRIOR FEST WITH PERRY STONE

Jesus said in John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore, I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”

All church life must flow out of the Holy Spirit.  He is the leader of the worldwide conviction of sin and righteousness. He is our key to decode a culture.  Our relevance is from Him.  Our organizational structure is by Him.   He is the exclusive purveyor of everything Jesus must give earth.

GREAT HARVEST OF SOULS IN SAN BERNARDINO CA

Here are just two examples of how practical dependency on the Holy Spirit in the early church solved massive crisis:

“As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” -Acts 13:2

-“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things…-Acts 15:28

The power and blessing of those two Spirit-born strategies continues to this hour.  The first, created the New Testament Churches—hence the New Testament.  The second, is the reason we have one and not two New Testaments.  Without this guidance, the controversy would have led to a Jewish New Testament and a Gentile New Testament.

It is easy to point the finger at mega churches.  We can say they are muscle-bound with marketing and have little impact on America’s destruction.  However, many of my Spirit-filled brothers and sisters are also guilty of gross sins against the Holy Spirit.  (They may be even worse sins because they include jaw-dropping hypocrisy).  Here are some of their crimes:

They are guilty of dropping the God card.   When Charismatic leaders ban the gifts of the Spirit from operating and say God told them to do it—it is a sin against Jesus.  When leaders become territorial and refuse to work with other leaders to win souls in their city and blame God, they quench the Holy Spirit.

They drop the God card if they make intercessory prayer and the prophetic, open-ended excuses not to reach out.  How many spirit-filled gatherings make no appeal for souls to be saved?  Answer: Almost all of them.  How can this be God?

OUR FIRST LIVING PROOF TENT CRUSADE IN FRESNO, CA  OCTOBER 22, 2017

They turn weapons into toys:  2 Corinthians 10:3 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”

Have you ever seen anything more cringe-worthy than a convention of grownups dressed in medieval and gothic costumes playing Dungeons and Dragons with Styrofoam swords?  Sadly, yes.

The top cringe is reserved for spirit-filled meetings where weapons—meant for strongholds of Satan—are squandered on bored saints lusting for yet another emotional experience.  Their shenanigans are blamed on the Holy Spirit.  Most are just self-centered believers binging on fantasy blessings.

I can’t shake the image of an army removing all the bullets, to play bang-bang in the barracks.   But what a crime to do it with gifts designed to clean out crack houses.

If you are famished for the true work of the Holy Spirt—if you are desperate for a national miracle—if you can let God X-ray your heart…the Holy Spirit is waiting for you.  Here is what you need to know.

You had to learn not to trust the Holy Spirit.  That statement is saturated with conviction and hope.  Tragically, church life often leads away from the Holy Spirit.  However, the hopeful part is, you learned not to trust which means all you must do is go back to the simple days when you were truly led of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is seeking people to use on a massive scale.  At this moment, Mario Murillo Ministries is struggling to respond to all the open doors.  We are watching the promise of widespread harvest fulfilled right before our eyes.   There are many openings right now for effective ministry.

The Holy Spirit seeks workers.   Matthew 9: 37 “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

The Holy Spirit is looking for workers—not self-promoted apostles, prophets, and ozone warriors.  Every leader wants this but doesn’t realize it:  you want workers—people who will do work and not posture about their spiritual rank.  We are teeming with people who want recognition but won’t lift a finger for the real work.

Jesus’ prayer revealed the harvest, targeted the harvest and prayed for workers to go to the harvest.   When you do not welcome the Holy Spirit’s passion for the lost—you do not welcome Him.

ARE MEGA CHURCHES NOW A DISTRACTION TO REVIVAL?

Do you believe current church trends  will rescue our nation?  My guess is you don’t.  If you don’t, you are not alone.  A growing number of believers—many of whom will not say it out loud—question the value of attraction churches.

One day, I sat with some “hot names” in church growth in southern California.  We had talked a lot about styles of worship, preaching and marketing.  Being older than most of them, I felt a little bold.  I asked them: “Can any of you give me the name of a mega church in Los Angeles in 1906? “

Not one of them could come up with a name.  Then I said, “but you all remember the Azusa Street Revival, right?  Why is that?”  Because history remembers revivals and forgets mega churches.”  The reason is simple; revivals make history by reforming society.

Those who praise the glories of mega churches never mention how they have no impact on cultural sin.  In this golden age of mega churches, society is experiencing its greatest moral landslide.   On their watch, the number of people who claim to be atheists has doubled.  More anti-God legislation has been enacted than any other time in our history.

But do churches bear any responsibility for the moral landslide of a nation?  Charles G. Finney sure thought so!   He said, “If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are about to fall away, the pulpit is responsible.”

Some will say it is not fair to ask mega churches to reverse national destruction.   But you also can’t have it both ways.  You can’t go around extolling the wonders of these mammoth ministry centers and then say they can’t fix the nation.  If they can’t fix the only thing that needs fixing, what is the point?

But people point out, “They produce musicals as good as Broadway” Or, “They give the average person hope” These achievements ring hollow.  In a simpler time, they would be impressive.  Not today.

This is no time for entertainment.  This is no time for mild cures. Society’s condition has forced rule changes.  A demon possessed culture needs a church with power to cast out devils.  A culture reeling with unimaginable addictions needs a church were the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the fire of God is plainly presented.

Are these churches a distraction to revival?  Let me offer this parable about distraction.  A college football team is losing their homecoming game. Badly.  Halftime is a welcome break.  The people are relieved when the marching band takes the field.

The band leader sees how much the people are enjoying the distraction.  He decides “we don’t need a second half; it is a good thing to just keep the show going.”

The lyrics of American Pie put it this way, “Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While sergeants played a marching tune We all got up to dance Oh, but we never got the chance ‘Cause the players tried to take the field, the marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed The day the music died?”

You, dear leader of a mega church, must ask yourself, is my church the band that refuses to yield.  Is my mega ministry a distracting substitute for revival?  Am I keeping the church from starting the second half?

The Bible asks painful questions about times.  Elisha’s servant Gehazi secretly took money and clothes from General Naaman after Naaman was healed of leprosy.  Elisha asked Gehazi, “Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants?”-2 Kings 5:26,26

In a time of mass murder, mass suicide, of hurricanes floods, and fire, is it time for pastors to parade wealth, and grant mild cures?

Haggai asked another painful question: “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” -Haggai 1:4  The modern application for this is simple:  Pastor, are you building a personal empire, or the Kingdom of God?  Will you allow a nation to go down in flames while you live in a bubble of false victory? 

If we can truly confess that babble has replaced the Bible—that self-enhancement has replaced self-denial –that marketing has replaced miracles—and unconditionally surrender to the Holy Spirit, God will turn our churches into fire-breathing, nation-changing powerhouses.