Why the Hillsong ‘Dancing Naked Cowboy’ Story Matters

Why the Hillsong ‘Dancing Naked Cowboy’ Story Matters

 

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(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.

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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

Ground Zero Churches: The Church America Needs Right Now.

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Satan did a number on us.    First he used a counterfeit church growth model to deceive the gullible and discourage the faithful.   When righteous pastors looked at the staggering growth of Seeker Churches, they felt overwhelmed and even wounded.  They wonder, “What am I doing wrong, am I a fool to hold on to my integrity?”  

Growth seminars preyed on weak Pastors.  David Wilkerson said, “Ministers from small churches are being told, in so many words, ‘Attend this mega-church pastor’s seminar, and you will find the keys to success. You‘ll eventually have a church as big as his.’ Yet this only causes pastors to become more discouraged. They end up convinced; I am not doing anything significant for God. He just isn’t using me.”

After this came the reelection of Barrack Obama. The anti-God forces saw how directly Obama challenged and even maligned the church.  They saw blood in the water and are moving to run us off the map. 

The Seeker Church now knows that making nice with secular America did not stop violence, perversion and atheism.  All of these things accelerated on their watch.  After our complete makeover of the Gospel, society hated us even more.

We have been trashed, bashed and left for dead.  Now it is time for the Body of Christ to push back on all of the lies, threats and ominous predictions about our demise.  America is ripe for the church to make a massive comeback.  You heard me, a massive comeback.

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I know that all the experts say the Church has lost America and she will never get it back.  These lies have made the rounds in centuries past.  Usually, they pronounce death on the church right before a major revival.  The last time I saw it was when the “God is dead” movement swept America in the 1960’s only to be swallowed up by the Jesus Movement.

To see this we will need a new Church model one that looks nothing like what we see today.   We need Ground Zero Churches.

Christian leader take heed. I am pleading with you to consider a dynamic option for your church.  I want you to consider becoming a Ground Zero Church: a strong and healthy church that grows without stress, compromise, endless striving, or vicious competition.

Let’s define a Ground Zero Church.  It is the epicenter of God’s dealing for a region. They are a body of believers that have made the supreme covenant with God.  Here are the features of a Ground Zero Church:

1. They believe that God can do it here.  I wonder what would happen if we got a jumbo a jet loaded with fired up Bible College students going on a missionary trip. We take off out of Kennedy to go to Africa.  Instead, order the pilot to make very wide circles over the Atlantic for hours finally landing somewhere in New Jersey.  As soon as we get off, we are hustled into vans and dropped in Harlem.

I am convinced that they will raise the dead, save thousands and deliver many of demons and signs and wonders will abound just because they think they are overseas.

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Many delude themselves into thinking it is because the poor are simple in faith and Americans are too sophisticated.  The Bible paints a much different picture.  In Acts, God blasted Saul of Tarsus the zealot intellectual God off his horse.  He became the chief architect of the New Testament Church.  It was in the house of Cornelius, a man of means and influence that the Holy Spirit first fell upon Gentiles.

2.  They allow the Holy Spirit transform their church into a zone of irresistible glory:   Paul described the overpowering effect a church gathering could have on the outside world: 1 Corinthians 14:24 “But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.”

When Matthew Henry commented on these verses he said “God can, when he pleases, strike awe upon the worst of men, by the tokens of his presence in the assemblies of the faithful, and force them to acknowledge that God is with them of a truth.”

There are many examples of places that oozed God and dropped hardened sinners to their knees.

-A reporter from London came to Wales to investigate the Welsh revival.  The presence he felt when he entered Wales shocked him. He exclaimed, “This is a nation haunted by God!”

-During the Great Awakening, hardened sailors on clipper ships reported being seized with conviction of sin when they entered certain zones off the American coast.

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3. They pull the trigger that God has hidden in their culture.    Throughout history, obedient missionaries who listened to God and observed the way that God had prepared a culture through history detonated revivals.   This gave them a supernatural relevance.

-700 B.C. plague kills one third of Athens. Epimenides, a teacher who believed there was one God orders the city leaders to sacrifice prize rams the plague stops.  They build an altar to the unknown God.  Paul pulls the trigger 744 years later, in Acts 17:23 “I even noticed that you have an altar to the unknown God, He whom you ignorantly worship, I openly proclaim!”

-Koreans had a name for God that did not come from any pagan religion.  White missionaries refused to call God by that name thinking it was compromise.  Finally, in prayer a man of God realized that this name was the result of a dealing of God in Korean history. The moment that He called God by this name revival exploded.

-The Lihue Indians wore knots of rope around their wrists.  Once, a missionary from England realized that this was a symbol for their slavery to sin. He preached that Christ cut these rope bands on the cross.  Pandemonium strikes as tens of thousands of the Lihue start sobbing and beg to have their bands cut off.

We cannot fear what our culture is like right now.  The Holy Spirit already has a message and a plan that is uniquely designed for this present darkness.

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In direct response to a threatening letter let me tell you who to vote for on Tuesday November 4th

 

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In direct response to a threatening letter let me tell you who to vote for on Tuesday November 4th

The midterm elections are a matter of life and death and the Church must not be cowed out of her power to vote by illegal covenants.

It was a dark day for the Church when the 501C3 clause was created.  It is anti-God, anti-American and anti-free speech.  In the 1950s, then Senator Lyndon Johnson did not like the way churches were talking about him, so he finagled a way to silence them by attaching this censorship of the church to a preexisting bill.  Henceforth any church that wanted Government recognition as a nonprofit Corporation had to agree not to say anything political from the pulpit.

The fact is that the Constitution already recognized the church.  No further recognition was necessary.  The church made a stupid deal with the devil.

I am prepared to confront it head on!   So let me tell you who to vote for.

I have only tepid feelings toward the Republican Party.  The established leadership abandoned its Reagan conservative roots for a wishy washy vision.  They do not have enough ideas on how to fix our nation.  That said, right now they are in my opinion our only choice.

The Democratic Party has declared open war on Christianity, American exceptionalism, marriage, the unborn and Israel.  Whatever doubt you may have about this should have been erased at the Democratic National Convention when the convention booed the idea of even inserting the word “God” into their platform.dictatorship blog inert

 

Obama has abused power again and again.  They abused the parliamentary tactic known as reconciliation to force Obamacare down our throats.  They did not even know what was in the bill or what it would do to the people.  As Nancy Pelosi said so well “We are going to pass it and then we are going to read it”   Never in history has a bill that was so sweeping (controlling one eighth of the entire economy) ever passed with all votes from one party.

Today we live in terror of Islamic extremists  because Democratic Senators lived in terror of Obama.   They will not openly oppose even the most insane behavior ever to come out of the White (Benghazi).  They presided over the dismantling of our economy, marriage and freedom of religion.  They never stood up to him and his rogue government.  As a matter of fact, they offered up the most exasperating excuses and explanations for what is undoubtedly the worse train wreck of presidency we have ever known.

Now they want your vote anyway.  Now they are implying they are not like him.   Yet, they will still enforce Obama’s policies long after he is gone.   For this reason alone they need to go or we will have no chance at all to undo the damage of Obama.

The 2014 midterms have all of the earmarks of a last chance for our nation.  The democrats have help make our world dangerous, atheistic, immoral and miserable.   This is true whether you are black, white Latino or Asian. 

How ironic that at this moment Obama may be the only Democrat who is telling the truth about November 4th.  Every democrat running for office says this is not about Obama and now twice Obama has said that this election is indeed about him!

Right now, you Democratic candidates are running from Obama more than you are running for office.   But you can’t run.  You own your voting record and you own the wreckage of Obama.

Who should you vote for?  Go to the polls armed with only one fact in mind…did the candidate vote for Obama?  If they did then they need to go!

What about the lukewarm Republicans?  Yeah, well I want to give them a chance to lead…not by acclamation but by default.

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That is one more reason we need to display outrage in these midterms:  Let the Republicans feel the power of national outrage and keep your outrage handy so that the republicans will know we can fire them just as easily as Democrats.

Thomas Jefferson said it best “When the people fear the government you have tyranny but when the government fears the people you have liberty.”

Mario aren’t you afraid that your ministry will be attacked?  If it is attacked it will be because I am standing on the Word of God and the Constitution of the United States.  I cannot think of a better place to stand.

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When the Kingdom of God Overtakes Church.

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When the Kingdom of God Overtakes Church.

By Mario Murillo

Experts say that America has lost her way because the church has lost its way.    How can they blame the church for America’s problems?   Many say it is because they helped reelect Barrack Obama.   They say reelection because, as the saying goes “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.”

Do you, yes you Pastor, need to cry “shame on me for putting race over righteousness” since Obama told you what he was going to do to marriage before you voted?   Will history say that your vote helped open the floodgates for the greatest decline of morals, money, prestige and safety in American history?   You were supposed to protect the sheep.  Did you instead help the wolf by not only voting for him but influencing 6 million believers to violate their conscience?

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This is an extreme example of what happens when “church” overtakes the Kingdom of God.   You wake up committed an agenda that violates your convictions.  This disaster is not limited to politics.  We see it now on every level.  Pastors cannot call sin, sin.  They dare not challenge their people to prayer.  They are imprisoned in a system where they cannot hear from God at all because they are wholly tuned to the whims of fickle members and prevailing social trends.

 

By now you’ve guessed that when I say “church” I do not mean the Church of Jesus Christ.  I am talking about the machine that man built not God.  Some are built by traditions, others are built by control freaks, and still others are the spawn of charts, graphs and market research.   They have one thing in common…they are working for God but not with Him.

What is even worse is when “church” becomes “church incorporated.”  Now the Pastor must tenaciously protect a far flung empire…even protecting it from God!  They are forced to keep Christians in a childish condition.  You cannot build an army against evil in a Christian country club.

So, even when “church” is wildly successful, Satan laughs because he understands that it is no threat to his destructive plan.

Things look pretty grim don’t they?   No in fact the opposite is the case.  We are on the cusp of a long overdue revolution both inside and outside the church.  An explosive truth is right under your nose; a truth that could fundamentally turn the course of the United States back to God.   I have no doubt that this is the very answer that we are desperately seeking.

So if you are ready…I mean ready to stop chasing fantasies about church growth, soul winning, revival, the supernatural and  the anointing, then you can unlock a truth.  Not just any truth but a truth that terrifies Satan more than any other.  It is about that moment when the WHEN THE KINGDOM OF GOD OVERTAKES CHURCH. lights over america

  1. That moment that you hear the knock. I noticed something consistent in the churches that are not “churches” but power centers that are driving the forces of darkness back in their communities: They all describe the day that their church was “overtaken.”

This came after they heard the knock and opened the door.   Revelations 3:15-20 clearly describes the American church.  Revelation 3: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.   Imagine that!  Jesus is knocking at the door and trying to get back in His own church.

If you are weary from trying to hold something together that you put together it is time to hear His knock and His voice and open the door and let the Kingdom of God overtake you.

  1. The Kingdom of God has its own agenda. Joshua 3: 13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” 14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”  And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”

Joshua was intensely involved in leading until he was overtaken by the agenda of heaven.

Long before you got to your city, God was working there.  Long after you are gone God will still be working there.   He loves the city more than you do.  He has all the wisdom to reach it.  You do not.

Whenever I hear a leader say “we are studying the issue” I know they are operating from churchiness and not the Kingdom.   Our plans need to be consumed.  Kingdom plans must be embraced.

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The greatest lie is the one that says we cannot survive unless we become “relevant.”    The Kingdom of God is beyond relevant it is timeless.   No genius in a thousand years would have come up with the plan God had for taking Jericho.  Likewise the agenda of the Kingdom of God infinitely surpasses all that we rely upon.

Why I am so filled with hope?  Because I know that Jesus does not lie.  He promised that if you would hear the knock and open the door He Himself would enter and take over all aspects of church life.

 

  1. Sailing before the wind. Something else stuck out about those power centers that exchanged “church” for the Kingdom of God. They suddenly had unlimited resources for every project.  How does that work?!

Acts 16: 6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. 8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.

11 Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis.

This is the best example of an overtaking.   They tried and tried and finally stopped trying.   A vision appears.   And they sail from Samothrace to Neapolis in one Day?  This is a two day trip!   A sea wind filled their sails and cut their time in half.Berkeley blog two

 

Things are bad…no way around it.  However it is the sober realization of how bad that can fuel a divine desperation.   Some who read this need to let go of things that are your natural security.  Others need to return to a first love.    I do not know who has a more difficult challenge the pastor of a small church or the leader of a mega church.  One is struggling to survive and the other is diluted by false success.

When we drop all and open the door for the Kingdom of God to overtake our lives and our plans we immediately connect to unlimited power, wisdom, favor and resources.  We can answer anyone, we can implement plans with wisdom from beyond this world and we can connect to the others who have been overtaken by the Kingdom.    This is how national fires are set and the course of a culture is transformed.

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Compromise is wrong, dangerous and silly

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I am going to give you some very real hope for America!  I see an army rising up.  Something glorious is coming to our nation in the form of a fiery new breed of believer that will carry awesome power.  Here is the first installment of There’s an Army Rising Up. 

 

There’s an army rising up:  Part one: Compared to what God is sending compromise is wrong, dangerous and silly.

By Mario Murillo

I reposted an article about Hillsong by Andrew Walker.  Some were offended at me for posting. However, I stand by my decision to post it because it is high time that we confronted the horrendous damage that is being done by compromise.

In a week that brought us so much gloom doom and division one thing stands out to me.  The church does not know how to respond to persecution.

Let’s get this one thing straight.  The radical voices in the gay community would love America to believe that overnight Christianity morphed into a hate group that threatens civil rights.  Suddenly the Bible teaches hate and oppression of minorities?   So they came up with this hilarious solution in Houston:  In the name of civil rights they would erase the civil rights of Pastors.

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Only a simpleton will take the bait and think that we should tailor our message to this unambiguous form of black mail, or believe the lie that they want to liberate humanity from oppressive religious doctrine.

If that were the case they would also target Islam.  In Islamic nations like Iran homosexuality carries the death penalty!   So why is the gay mayor of Houston and other gay activists silent in their opposition to sharia law or be- headings?

 

hands raised copyThe reason is clear.  There is a coalition much wider than just Gay activists that is in play. This is all about control.  It is not about marriage or equal rights.  They know that the foundation of America is Christian.  They must get rid of that foundation in order to see their grand dream of a totally secular state.

Another reason for their double standard on Islam is that their lead man, Obama is sympathetic to Moslems.  The women’s movement did this with Bill Clinton.  Because they saw him as a force to help feminists, they overlooked his criminal treatment of women.

In the case of Obama they not only ignore Islam but also the fact that he is the most inept, malice driven president in history.

Now let’s get to something that really makes the argument for compromise fall apart: the idea that we can make the hatred go away.  We must know why we are hated! Jesus told us in Matthew 24:9 that we would be hated by all nations.   While we should never incite anger we should also be aware that no matter what we do, we will be hated.

Look at another way:  many of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world hate the compassion they see in the Christian message.  For them we are too tolerant in matters of marriage, sexuality and equal rights.   The same logic that says, “hey let’s soften our view of homosexuality to reach New York City could also say “hey let’s turn up the heat beyond Scripture’s demands to be relevant to those 1.6 billion people.

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David Wilkerson reached thousands in New York City with a message that never compromised. Times Square Church welcomes transvestites, prostitutes, addicts and everyone else.  Nobody ever felt condemned or unloved by the call to repent that came from the burning heart of this man of God and continues to come from this powerful church.

The idea of veiling the Gospel in order to stay relevant is subtly wicked.  It rips the fate of the church out of the hands of the Holy Spirit and places it at the mercy of marketing.  It implies that without rebranding the church will die.   Jesus said “On this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it!”

 

So why am I do I so vehemently reject this compromise?  I reject it because it plays into the hands of the enemy.  It facilitates the takeover of America.  It gives the Church the worst possible model. It tells us to be giddy and obsequious kitty cats when we need to be roaring from every pulpit, kitchen, classroom, street corner and roof top, “AMERICA REPENT BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!”

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Tomorrow:  How God can make us relevant and effective against evil in this critical moment.

 

 

Hillsong: A Church in Exile

Religion, and maybe Ebola, owned the news this week. From the confusion and public relations nightmare at the Vatican over the Synod’s Relatio, to the Caesarism of Annise Parker and the City of Houston subpoenaing sermons from pastors, it has been a busy week for the religion beat.

Then yesterday, coverage about a Hillsong press conference came out, indicating that the global evangelical enterprise is triangulating on homosexuality, particularly about whether it should publicly hold what the Bible teaches in light of culture’s rapid change on the subject. According to Jonathan Merritt,

At a press conference for the Hillsong Conference in New York City today, Michael Paulson of The New York Times asked Houston to clarify their church’s position on same sex marriage. But Houston would not offer a definitive answer, instead saying that it was “an ongoing conversation” among church leaders and they were “on the journey with it.”

Houston says that he considers three things when evaluating the topic: “There’s the world we live in, there’s the weight we live with, and there’s the word we live by.”

He notes that the Western world is shifting its thinking on this issue, and churches are struggling to stay relevant. The weight we live in (sic), he added, refers to a context where LGBT young people may feel rejected or shunned by churches, often leading to depression and suicide. But when Houston began speaking about the word we live by or “what the Bible says,” he refused to offer a concrete position.

Merritt’s reporting also quotes this gem: “Lentz’s wife, Laura, chimed in: “It’s not our place to tell anyone how they should live. That’s their journey.”

What do we say about this?

First, if I were writing the Art of Cultural War, this is the strategy I’d use to bring the opposing side to heel. The steps look something like this: Relativize the issue with other issues. Be uncertain about the issue. Refuse to speak publicly on the issue. Be indifferent toward the issue. Accept the issue. Affirm the issue. Require the issue. Hillsong is currently on step three. I don’t think they’ll stay there.

Second, a non-answer is an answer. Let’s be very clear on that. It’s also a very vapid answer. What we’re seeing in many corners of evangelicalism is a pliability that makes Christianity an obsequious servant to whatever the reigning zeitgeist is. With non-answers like this, it isn’t Jesus who is sitting at the right hand of the Father. Culture is. Perhaps Hillsong would rather abide by a “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell” policy on matters of orthodoxy. That’s their prerogative. But let’s be clear that this is not the route of faithfulness.

Third, this isn’t an issue over whether gays and lesbians should or should not be welcomed in church. This also isn’t an issue over whether young individuals within the LGBT community have faced bullying. Bullying of all sorts is deplorable and should be condemned, and not because the Human Rights Campaign says so, but because Jesus says so (Matthew 7:12). What this issue is about is whether the church models faithful obedience to Christ in a way that both honors Scripture and loves its neighbor. Hillsong thinks it’s doing both; but is actually doing neither.

Fourth, Hillsong thinks itself a contemporary and culturally relevant church. Perhaps it is. But as Christians, we don’t get to define what “relevant” means in terms that are unquestioning of what our culture means by “relevant.” I submit that Hillsong is a church in retreat. A church in retreat doesn’t give answers. It doesn’t storm the gates of Hell. It settles and makes peace where there is no peace (Ezekiel 13:10). A church in exile (and that’s how I’d describe the current placement of confessional evangelicalism) is one that is faithful amidst the culture, regardless of whether that culture looks more like America or more like Babylon. It knows that it may lose the culture, but that it cannot lose the Gospel. So be it.

This is, as I’ve written elsewhere, a gentrified fundamentalist withdrawal rooted in the belief that the foreignness of Christianity can’t overcome the tired intellectual patterns of cultural decay. At the end of the day, I think Hillsong’s non-answer answer is rooted in an embarrassment about what the Bible teaches and the church has held since the time of Jesus. The good news is that the truth of Christianity outlasts the untruths of man’s applause.

When I read stuff like this, my reaction isn’t anger. It’s an eye-roll. Churches should know better than to believe the myth that accommodation will swell their ranks. The opposite happens. 

Following the Apostle Peter, this all means that judgment begins within the household of God, so I’m not writing for outsiders. I’m writing for the church, to the church. I’m writing about Hillsong, a church or enterprise with enormous global influence. What I see, tragically, isn’t a church grappling with a complex issue. What I see is a church exchanging compassion for cowardliness before culture’s consistory.