IF DEMOCRATS CAMPAIGN THAT TRUMP WRECKED THE ECONOMY

I am not writing this to be negative. I am writing this to provoke you because you have the power to make a difference. There is still time to prevent the destruction of America. There is still time for you to do the right thing.

But sometimes doing the right thing means you have to come to a conclusion that is disturbing, repugnant, and perhaps too horrible to admit. To do the right thing means that you have to face truth no matter how terrifying and enraging it may be. Then and only then, will we muster the right level of outrage and take the drastic action that is justified.

I thought I understood evil. Then one day I reread the following verses recorded in Mark 3:5-6: “And when (Jesus) had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.”

Consider this: the Pharisees are watching a withered hand transformed back to normal right in front of their eyes. Such a wonder will overwhelm the heart of even blatant sinners, but to the special evil that resides in the heart of men in a position of political power, it was cause for rage and murder.

I am not comparing Trump to Jesus, but I am comparing certain Democrat leaders to those Pharisees. Nothing is wonderful enough to change their mind about Trump, nor is anything too evil to use to destroy him. Destroying the hopes of millions of people and even causing unnecessary deaths is not off limits to them.

100,000 small businesses have been permanently destroyed. We will never know the number of lives that have been lost to despair and addiction. The Pharisees destroyed people in the name of serving God. In true pharisaic form, Democrat leaders claim they are doing “good” with their criminal use of panic and despotism.

Gavin Newsom showed us what Democrat evil looks like: “Grandstanding Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom reportedly wants to close a 200-resident veterans nursing home in a budget-cutting measure while at the same time enthusiastically handing out about $75 million in direct cash benefits to illegal aliens living in the state.” –Business and Politics Review.

If, as we approach November, we see Democrats campaigning with claims that Trump wrecked the economy—it just proves they are wrecking the economy to get Trump. That is a simple fact. And it is the modus operandi of Democrat leaders.

One of the high crimes Jesus levelled at the Pharisees was hypocrisy. Simply stated, they did the very thing they accused others of doing. Democrat leaders take hypocrisy to another level. Not only do they accuse others of their own sins—they do it to innocent people.

We are trying to wrap our minds around the fact that Obama ran a spy ring at the FBI, but rather than face their wicked lawlessness, they accuse others of spying. General Michael Flynn has been proven innocent, but his ordeal continues because a judge loyal to Obama is persecuting him illegally.

Hillary Clinton bought and paid for a dossier from the Russians and she and her cohorts used it first to try and stop Trump’s election. Having failed at that, they moved on to using it in the bogus Mueller investigation and finally in the hopelessly disgraceful impeachment attempt.

I wonder if Adam Schiff could watch Jesus miraculously heal a withered hand and still go after Him if it threatened his Party? Schiff knew Biden is guilty of withholding money from the Ukraine in order to pressure them into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company Joe’s son, Hunter, was making huge profits from. That was precisely the false charge they brought against Trump when they impeached him.

Now we come to the most hideous behavior of all. Are Democrats deliberately keeping the economy closed: destroying businesses, small churches, and people’s lives, just to create a campaign talking point to use against Trump in the upcoming election?

Georgia and Florida reopened amid a firestorm of criticism from Democrat leaders. They faked outrage. They were only concerned that their cover had been blown—that there would be no new outbreak, and it would expose their ‘monkey science.’

The clear evidence that we can open safely has not stopped Democrat governors from crushing people. The State of Oregon sent Child Protective Services to the home of a woman who opened her hair salon in order to survive. They forced her out of the room in order to interrogate her 6-year-old daughter.

If Democrats campaign on the lie that Trump wrecked the economy—it proves they are wrecking the economy to get Trump. That is a simple fact. But you can’t wait to act until they do this.

It is now beyond question what our duty is. The Democrat Party must be stopped. Their crimes against the Constitution, our way of life, our freedoms of religion and free speech are all being trampled. There was a time when ministers should not talk the way I am talking now. But now is the time when ministers should only be talking the way I am talking now.

Unless we obey God and rally every believer in America to the unquestioned cause of righteousness and freedom, a moral winter is coming to America that will make the coronavirus look like a mild cold.

Psalm 94:16: “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?”

 

 

 

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IF DEMOCRATS CAMPAIGN THAT TRUMP WRECKED THE ECONOMY

I am not writing this to be negative. I am writing this to provoke you because you have the power to make a difference. There is still time to prevent the destruction of America. There is still time for you to do the right thing.

But sometimes doing the right thing means you have to come to a conclusion that is disturbing, repugnant, and perhaps too horrible to admit. To do the right thing means that you have to face truth no matter how terrifying and enraging it may be. Then and only then, will we muster the right level of outrage and take the drastic action that is justified.

I thought I understood evil. Then one day I reread the following verses recorded in Mark 3:5-6: “And when (Jesus) had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.”

Consider this: the Pharisees are watching a withered hand transformed back to normal right in front of their eyes. Such a wonder will overwhelm the heart of even blatant sinners, but to the special evil that resides in the heart of men in a position of political power, it was cause for rage and murder.

I am not comparing Trump to Jesus, but I am comparing certain Democrat leaders to those Pharisees. Nothing is wonderful enough to change their mind about Trump, nor is anything too evil to use to destroy him. Destroying the hopes of millions of people and even causing unnecessary deaths is not off limits to them.

100,000 small businesses have been permanently destroyed. We will never know the number of lives that have been lost to despair and addiction. The Pharisees destroyed people in the name of serving God. In true pharisaic form, Democrat leaders claim they are doing “good” with their criminal use of panic and despotism.

Gavin Newsom showed us what Democrat evil looks like: “Grandstanding Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom reportedly wants to close a 200-resident veterans nursing home in a budget-cutting measure while at the same time enthusiastically handing out about $75 million in direct cash benefits to illegal aliens living in the state.” –Business and Politics Review.

If, as we approach November, we see Democrats campaigning with claims that Trump wrecked the economy—it just proves they are wrecking the economy to get Trump. That is a simple fact. And it is the modus operandi of Democrat leaders.

One of the high crimes Jesus levelled at the Pharisees was hypocrisy. Simply stated, they did the very thing they accused others of doing. Democrat leaders take hypocrisy to another level. Not only do they accuse others of their own sins—they do it to innocent people.

We are trying to wrap our minds around the fact that Obama ran a spy ring at the FBI, but rather than face their wicked lawlessness, they accuse others of spying. General Michael Flynn has been proven innocent, but his ordeal continues because a judge loyal to Obama is persecuting him illegally.

Hillary Clinton bought and paid for a dossier from the Russians and she and her cohorts used it first to try and stop Trump’s election. Having failed at that, they moved on to using it in the bogus Mueller investigation and finally in the hopelessly disgraceful impeachment attempt.

I wonder if Adam Schiff could watch Jesus miraculously heal a withered hand and still go after Him if it threatened his Party? Schiff knew Biden is guilty of withholding money from the Ukraine in order to pressure them into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company Joe’s son, Hunter, was making huge profits from. That was precisely the false charge they brought against Trump when they impeached him.

Now we come to the most hideous behavior of all. Are Democrats deliberately keeping the economy closed: destroying businesses, small churches, and people’s lives, just to create a campaign talking point to use against Trump in the upcoming election?

Georgia and Florida reopened amid a firestorm of criticism from Democrat leaders. They faked outrage. They were only concerned that their cover had been blown—that there would be no new outbreak, and it would expose their ‘monkey science.’

The clear evidence that we can open safely has not stopped Democrat governors from crushing people. The State of Oregon sent Child Protective Services to the home of a woman who opened her hair salon in order to survive. They forced her out of the room in order to interrogate her 6-year-old daughter.

If Democrats campaign on the lie that Trump wrecked the economy—it proves they are wrecking the economy to get Trump. That is a simple fact. But you can’t wait to act until they do this.

It is now beyond question what our duty is. The Democrat Party must be stopped. Their crimes against the Constitution, our way of life, our freedoms of religion and free speech are all being trampled. There was a time when ministers should not talk the way I am talking now. But now is the time when ministers should only be talking the way I am talking now.

Unless we obey God and rally every believer in America to the unquestioned cause of righteousness and freedom, a moral winter is coming to America that will make the coronavirus look like a mild cold.

Psalm 94:16: “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?”

 

Kanye West

I find it quite ironic: Kanye West has turned his concerts into a mission while the church has turned its mission into a concert. He is winning souls, but getting criticized by believers who won’t win souls.

Is Kanye’s conversion real? Are his motives pure? Does he really know Christ? One honest look at the American church makes these questions seem bizarre. These are the very questions the American church should be asking itself, not Kanye.

It reminds me of the time the disciples got all territorial about anyone outside their group doing ministry:  “John answered Him, saying, ‘Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side.’” (Mark 9:38-40)

America is littered with religious centers that have permitted masses to worship without repenting—to believe they are saved without being converted.  Whole congregations are living in outright sin but they are hearing from the pulpit: “if you confess your sins, you offend God’s grace.” And we are worried about Mr. West?

Some are wondering if Kanye is building an empire in the name of Jesus for personal gain.  Whoa!  That question could be leveled at many celebrity preachers…maybe even your favorite.  We are surrounded by Carnal Christian Centers built entirely on marketing, smoke and mirrors, who want to question Kanye’s substance.

But the excuse for fearing Kanye West’s potential insincerity is dismissed by Paul the Apostle himself: 15, “Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.  18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.” (Phil. 1:15-18)

Any soul that sincerely reaches out to Christ in these rallies will be touched by salvation. Christ is being preached!  Woodrow Wilson said, “The proof that the Gospel is divine is the preaching it has survived.” And it will most certainly survive this.

Now I want to address one final danger: the danger of rejecting a modern Saul of Tarsus. The early church made that mistake, but thank God they recovered before it was too late. I am not so sure the American church knows what is good for it.  Just look at how many Christians refused to vote for Donald Trump even as he was fiercely battling on behalf of Christians and supporting Israel.

Jesus said, “You did not know the hour of your visitation.” Another translation said, “You did not know when God came to help you.” What if God is sending help, but we keep hypocritically sniffing at His help?  When Jerusalem rejected Paul, the result was a disaster.

God keeps on placing strange packages at our door. This is because when God saves America from self-destructing, no one else will get the glory.  I for one welcome God’s help, and that of everyone He sends.

Kanye West

I find it quite ironic: Kanye West has turned his concerts into a mission while the church has turned its mission into a concert. He is winning souls, but getting criticized by believers who won’t win souls.

Is Kanye’s conversion real? Are his motives pure? Does he really know Christ? One honest look at the American church makes these questions seem bizarre. These are the very questions the American church should be asking itself, not Kanye.

It reminds me of the time the disciples got all territorial about anyone outside their group doing ministry:  “John answered Him, saying, ‘Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side.’” (Mark 9:38-40)

America is littered with religious centers that have permitted masses to worship without repenting—to believe they are saved without being converted.  Whole congregations are living in outright sin but they are hearing from the pulpit: “if you confess your sins, you offend God’s grace.” And we are worried about Mr. West?

Some are wondering if Kanye is building an empire in the name of Jesus for personal gain.  Whoa!  That question could be leveled at many celebrity preachers…maybe even your favorite.  We are surrounded by Carnal Christian Centers built entirely on marketing, smoke and mirrors, who want to question Kanye’s substance.

But the excuse for fearing Kanye West’s potential insincerity is dismissed by Paul the Apostle himself: 15, “Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.  18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.” (Phil. 1:15-18)

Any soul that sincerely reaches out to Christ in these rallies will be touched by salvation. Christ is being preached!  Woodrow Wilson said, “The proof that the Gospel is divine is the preaching it has survived.” And it will most certainly survive this.

Now I want to address one final danger: the danger of rejecting a modern Saul of Tarsus. The early church made that mistake, but thank God they recovered before it was too late. I am not so sure the American church knows what is good for it.  Just look at how many Christians refused to vote for Donald Trump even as he was fiercely battling on behalf of Christians and supporting Israel.

Jesus said, “You did not know the hour of your visitation.” Another translation said, “You did not know when God came to help you.” What if God is sending help, but we keep hypocritically sniffing at His help?  When Jerusalem rejected Paul, the result was a disaster.

God keeps on placing strange packages at our door. This is because when God saves America from self-destructing, no one else will get the glory.  I for one welcome God’s help, and that of everyone He sends.

NOT FOR WIMPS

We, the Christians who are prepared to do what it takes to see Trump reelected, have a loving and respectful message for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
To those who are squeamish and have sided with the agenda of immorality and socialism, we say—in the most loving way possible—God bless you, but please stay out of our way as we pursue God’s miracle in 2020.  The Trump miracle is not for wimps.
Now, let me also speak respectfully to those who are honestly undecided.
Satan has stoked the fires in an attempt to get the church to abandon Trump. The devil has intimidated believers to couch their fear in terms of false spirituality. These believers use high-sounding jargon to justify siding against their brothers and sisters in Christ.
But, in doing that, they also abandon their miracle.  Trump is only the start of a miracle. Trump is a foot in the door—a stay of execution.  He is an act of God to buy the church time to repent and return to her rightful role in American life.
Trump is not a pastor or a moral reformer. His role is specialized and only for a season. If we don’t seize the time and the door God has opened, I promise you, disaster will strike.

Consider how Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have handled the last two years: Endless investigations—ignoring the economy, what is best for American families, and indifferent to the invasion of our country. They have been in a frenzy to normalize immorality, and giving billions of dollars to people who are not Americans.
Trump annoys you? You want a saint in the Oval Office? His idiosyncrasies are nothing in comparison to the overt godlessness spewing from leftist candidates. Before you abandon Trump, take another look at the alternative.
We do not worship Trump. He is not supposed to usher in revival. We are. He is not the one who is supposed to pray without ceasing. We are.  He is not the moral leader of America…that is the responsibility of the church!
Now let me address those of you who believe Trump is a miracle, but are not willing to work for his reelection because you think this miracle doesn’t need your help.
You who claim Trump is a miracle, like King Cyrus, need to take another look at King Cyrus. Cyrus only helped Israel in a limited capacity, and for a short time. It was up to the people of God to seize the miracle. In fact it was the Jews who wanted to remain in Babylon that nearly destroyed the miracle.

If not for the astonishing endurance of a handful of priests, prophets, and one notable cup bearer, Israel would have remained in ruins.  (Read Ezra, Nehemiah and Haggai). They led the people who were willing to work to rebuild their nation.
It took nearly 80 years after the king’s decree before the Temple and the wall were finished. I will let you in on a secret: we don’t have 80 years.  If we do not learn from history, then America will never be restored.  If we blow this, disaster is inevitable.
It is silly to worry about what people will think if we stand with Trump. The Left is going hate you anyway—with or without Trump. At least, with Trump we have a chance. We have a temporary firewall that will allow us to preach the Gospel and hold on for another miracle.
We can’t be passive! We can’t fear supporting the President because things have gotten so heated.  Don’t waste the miracle we have received.
Saying that we should not get involved in politics, because politics has become so dirty, is like saying we should not try to save the lost because they are so sinful.
The American church must build on the opportunity. We must wake up to our task!  We must shake off the disastrous apathy and the sin of complacency.
2020 will be a year when the nation will be totally divided. It will be the year that will see the election of your lifetime.
I don’t believe you are reading this by accident. Listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit. His voice will give you confirmation that what I am saying is true.
Find your place in this struggle for freedom. Don’t worry about others−just do what you know is right. God will take care of the rest.
If God be for us, who can be against us? 

 

Join believers from across our nation. Come be a part of a new American miracle. God is seeking people in this dark hour—to arm them with extraordinary power to work miracles and destroy strongholds of evil.
He yearns to express the power Jesus won on the Cross—the power we must return to. Come to something bigger than a convention. It’s an outpouring and marching orders. My special guest is Perry Stone.  Free but you must register!  Click below to register:

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

What we mean by Living Proof

Reno Expansion copy

The Reno Expansion

This is where the vision will have room to breathe.  This is where we will build the fresh approach to a timeless message. In this place, we will develop signs and wonders Crusades, send out evangelists and dig a well of uninterrupted intercessory prayer for an American Awakening.

We will not make a flashy entrance or present ourselves as some kind of cure to the city.  We are soldiers on assignment and we want to find our place in what Jesus is already doing here, and come alongside those who will receive us.

We are not here to replace but to replenish existing outreaches here.  We will not barge in or force ourselves on anyone but we will extend a humble hand of friendship, help and the opportunity to see revival.

We will grow deep roots in Reno; however our target is the United States.   This is our staging area to choose targets cities for LIVING PROOF.

There is no way that this will be easy!  Paul said, “A great and effectual door is open unto me but there are many adversaries.” There is no way that we think this will be easy or that the enemy will welcome us with open arms! We have only the promise of blood, sweat and tears.

God knows why we have come here and our adversary knows why we have come here.  The crusade to spare America from doom grows more urgent each day.  We are running out of time.  In many ways I feel that I got to Reno in the nick of time.

That is why I am reaching out to you in this blog for special prayer.  Your prayers mean more to me that anything else you can do right now.

P.S. I want to invite you to our World Convention in Reno where you can be ignited to take back American and you can witness the official launch of Living Proof.  You can call us a 775 432 1665.

final world convention facebook shot

The church in America has been struck by an iceberg.  Over one thousand preachers a month are leaving the ministry defeated by the open hostility of our culture and the draining effect of lukewarm believers.  We cannot go on this way.  There must be an answer.

What if we had a convention designed to confront the threat against the American Church?  What if we had a convention that brushed aside all of the frills and distractions and instead focused on receiving power and fresh direction?

The American Church will not be turned around by supermen but by supernatural men. We do not need better equipment, new organizations, novel methods, but vessels that the Holy Ghost can use—vessels who pray with prevailing might.  God does not flow through religious machinery but through human beings, he does not anoint plans, but people—people of prayer.

It is our conviction that there is a life available, set apart in prayer that only goes out to serve at the direct command of God.  That life can accomplish truly mighty things, things mighty enough to change the course of America.

Do not sit back and watch dark clouds gather.  Sweep away the cobwebs, underbrush and weeds of despair and take action!  It is high time for you to operate in gifts of power.

This prayer of Peter embodies this convention:  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.

As important as the day of Pentecost was to the Book of Acts Church, the outpouring that happened two chapters later was equally crucial.  Pentecost proved that God could pour out His Spirit on the Earth.  The miracle in Acts 4 proved God could do it again.

Join us in the mountains with the firm conviction that God can and will do it again.

 3917900.pdf

Please make your plans now to be at the Living Proof World Convention.  We are gathering in Reno in the Boomtown Hotel and Casino.  This site was carefully chosen because it is a much more peaceful setting than the downtown strip plus there is  plenty of easy free parking.

The convention is free but you must register to attend the Living Proof World Convention, 

Plus, we can get you hotel rooms for amazing prices.   For a regular room the convention price is…get this $25 a night.  In their new North Tower a larger room is only $40!   Let us give you the special code to reserve these amazing rates.

Click here to be a part of this historic event :   http://mariomurillo.net/contact-us/

boomtown-reno_54_990x660

HOW CELEBRITY, CONSUMERISM & COMPETITION ARE KILLING THE CHURCH

HOW CELEBRITY, CONSUMERISM & COMPETITION ARE KILLING THE CHURCH

CelebrityKillingChurchBreen660x440v2

Obituary for the American Church

by Mike Breen

From time to time I will have the people I’m discipling write out their own pastoral obituary. I ask them to write out how our enemy would take them out, rendering them unable to serve their family and communities. As you can imagine, the answers vary, but always serves as a really helpful exercise as they are forced to confront issues of character, etc.

You see, taking the same exercise I’ve used with pastors, for the past year I’ve been thinking how the enemy would/might be trying to take down the American church. Now what I’ve noticed is that the original temptations Jesus faced (which can best be boiled down to Appetite, Affirmation and Ambition) are somehow warped and insinuated into the culture.

As each culture is distinct and different, a smart enemy would come at each culture in subtle ways, tempting them in ways they don’t see or expect, and with things that would look different from culture to culture.

For instance, the issues the European church deal with are actually quite different than the ones the American church is dealing with – even though often times they are put under the same broad umbrella of “Western Church.” Sure, there are some similarities, but the attack is different. More nuanced.

But those original temptations of Appetite, Affirmation and Ambition are slowly insinuating themselves into everything we call CHURCH. We just often don’t recognize it or see it.

And so this is how, if our enemy gets his way, the American church could be taken out:

A culture of CELEBRITY (affirmation)

A culture of CONSUMERISM (appetite)

A culture of COMPETITION (ambition)

The original temptations of Appetite, Affirmation and Ambition are creeping into everything we call CHURCH.

CELEBRITY

The idea of celebrity is deeply woven into American culture and values. All you have to do is look at the ridiculous nature of Reality TV and you see how Americans are constantly craving celebrity (either to be a celebrity or to find the next celebrity and stalk their every move).

Now there is nothing dark or sinister about “celebrity” in and of itself. You can’t find an argument that says Jesus wasn’t a huge celebrity in his day.

(continued…)

However, there is a difference between being famous and being significant. If Jesus was famous, it’s because he was doing something significant. The problem with many pastors is they make decisions, develop personas and define success from the lens of what will make them a celebrity/famous (even if they don’t know it or see that they are doing this).

So in American church culture, it’s pretty easy to become a celebrity: Grow a HUGE church. Now all in all, it’s not terribly difficult to grow to be a giant church if you have the right tools at your disposal – but that doesn’t mean the ends justify the means of getting there.

For instance, though Jesus was a celebrity in his day, he was willing to say things that ran people off in droves. In fact, the book of Mark chronicles the way (from about the mid-point of the book on) how people left Jesus to where, at the end, virtually no one was left. NO ONE wants to be associated with him for fear of the consequences.

That’s a Charlie Sheen-esque flameout (obviously without the character issues!). That’s not something you see too often in American churches.

I suspect it’s because riven deeply into the American psyche is the desire to be a celebrity. And American pastors are very susceptible to this. Many subtle things happen in people who desire to this kind of celebrity status:

* They can disengage community and isolate themselves, setting themselves up for moral failure.

* They can make decisions that are numbers driven and not always Kingdom driven.

* They can skew to a shallow understanding of the Gospel as opposed to a holistic one that leads people to discipleship.

* They can put the good of their church (their personal Kingdom) over the good of God’s Kingdom.

Question: In what ways are your decisions made by a subtle undercurrent of ambition and a hope for celebrity?

CONSUMERISM

We live in a culture that revolves around consuming. Every TV commercial, every store, every credit card company, every bank, every TV show or movie, every piece of clothing, car or product, every website, every restaurant every everything is tailored to fit your desires, needs or personal preference.

We are easily infuriated when things don’t happen exactly as we want them. We exist in a place that implicitly says this: “We are here to serve you and meet your every whim and desire. Let us take care of you.” What’s more, it’s never enough.

We live in a culture that revolves around consuming.(continued…)

Eventually the house or the car get older and we want new ones. The clothes aren’t as fashionable and we want something more in style. That restaurant is getting boring, we must find another. Our favorite TV show is wearing thin, so the search begins for the next favorite. And on and on and on.

This is how we are wired to think in the United States. And it is all backed up by this rationale: You’re worth it. You deserve to have what you want, how you want it, when you want it. And for the most part, the church plays the exact same game.

We do as best we can to provide as comfortable an experience as humanly possible, using every means at our disposal to attract them in (and then keep them in). So we tailor what we do around their wants and desires. That’s Marketing 101, right? The problem is at the end of the day, the only thing that Jesus is counting is disciples.

That’s it.

He doesn’t seem to care too much about converts, attendance, budgets or buildings. It’s about disciples. And, by nature, disciples are producers, not consumers.

Yet most of our churches are built around feeding consumers. I’d argue 90% of the church’s time, energy and resources are linked to this. But the issue is this: The means you use to attract people to you are usually the means you must use to keep them. In other words, if you use consumerism to attract them to your church, it often means you must continue using it to keep them or else they will find another church who will meet their “needs.” And yet, that consumer mentality is antithetical to the Gospel and to the call of Discipleship.

Disciples aren’t consumers, they are producers. Jesus cared about disciples more than anything else.

The means you use to attract people to you are usually the means you must use to keep them.

Question: In what ways is your church community using consumerism as the means to draw people to a Gospel that is, in and of itself, anti-consumerism?

COMPETITION

You will never find a more hyper-competitive culture than you do in the United States. As a foreigner living in this land, I can attest to that with the utmost respect. Americans love to win, they love the struggle of the journey and love holding up the gold medal of victory. Now don’t hear me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being competitive, it’s just how competition has become warped and twisted within our culture. And it’s that, at least in the church, we are competitive about the wrong things.

Much of the American church finds itself competing with the church down the road. “Are we bigger than them? Do we have more influence than them? Do we have the best/biggest youth group in town? Do people like to get married in our church building? Do people like our church better than theirs? ”

The fact of the matter is that there is a battle, we do have an enemy and we should be competitive – but against our enemy! What we haven’t seen is how crafty he is. This seems to be the alliance he has struck with the American church: “I’ll let a good chunk of your churches grow, just not at the expense of my territory.”

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And so what happens? 96% of church growth is due to transfer growth and not churches striking into the heart of our enemy’s territory. We’ll consider it a win because we have the new service or program that is growing – but that growth is mainly from people coming from other churches. That’s not a win! That’s a staggering loss.

Furthermore, for many pastors, we don’t think we’ve won until we’ve won AND someone else has lost. Seriously?! For sure, we have an enemy and we should be competitive, but we should be competing against our enemy, knowing that the final battle has already been won, and not competing against our own team members.

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So gifted and skilled is our enemy, so conniving is he, that he has convinced us that beating the people on our own team is victory while he stands back and laughs, rarely having to ever engage in conflict, protecting his territory. He is beating us with a slight of hand, with a clever distraction, turning us against ourselves. Question: In what ways are you competing (both in actuality or simply in your mind) against people who are on your own team?

In all honesty, it isn’t that the American church will ever truly die or cease to exist. It will always be there. But it is entirely possible that if these three critical issues aren’t addressed and dealt with, it will be a hallow shell that is spiritually listless.

If we think through Celebrity, Consumerism and Competition, the anti-body against all of these is sacrifice. Learning to lay down what builds us up and giving to others instead. Learning to serve, rather than to be served. Looking for anonymity rather than celebrity. To build a culture of producers rather than a consumers.

To live in a vibrant, sacrificial community fighting a real enemy rather than competing against the same community God has given us to fight WITH rather than AGAINST. It’s about sacrificing what we want for the glory of God and the advancement of his Kingdom, regardless of our advancement or desires.

Clearly this is what Paul was getting after in Philippians 2:6-11 when describing the attitude of Jesus as taking on the attitude of a servant, willing to sacrifice all acclaim and equality with God. It was a willingness to set aside and sacrifice celebrity, consumerism and competition at the altar of the incarnation.

Fifty years ago, as these three subtle threads were being woven into the American church, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., serving as a prophetic voice, said this:

If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century.

We are now into the second decade of the 21st century and we find ourselves still, for the most part, refusing to sacrifice what we want for what God is asking of us and his Church. Will we have the courage to sacrifice as Christ sacrificed? Will we do the things that cost us so that his Kingdom may advance?