THE FORGOTTEN POWER

No matter how thin you slice baloney, it’s still baloney.  And, almost everything pastors are told about church growth is baloney. Most of it leads to frustration and disillusionment. Think about it.  Most pastors have taken those trendy courses on church growth. If that is true, then why are so few churches growing?

Here’s the big lie: Fix your organization, your brand, and your staff, if you want your church to grow.  And, hasn’t this worked in many cases?  In many cases? No.  But has it worked in some cases?   Yes, but only because even a blind dog finds a bone once in a while.

How then can we explain the overnight success of some church-plants? If what you mean is more like a franchise then, yeah, that’ll work—because they pour millions into establishing a franchise copy of an existing mega church.   Hello?  Is anyone offering you millions of dollars and vast expertise to help you build your church?

Given enough marketing money, I could get a thousand people to come watch yogurt mature. But is it a crowd you want, or is it a Holy Spirit-built army of Christ-following converts?  To paraphrase Paul, “If I master all the tricks in the how-to-fill-a-church seminar, but do not have a congregation who deeply loves Jesus, I am just another mega-church. If I have a room full of a thousand spoiled spectators, it profits me nothing.”

Some of our good friends shake their heads at the advertising we use for our tent crusades. Our cards say, “Come and experience the love and power of Jesus Christ.” Our friends almost feel sorry for our lack of salesmanship and seem embarrassed that we are being so obvious about our intentions. What they don’t see is what kind of crowd we want. We want people who are hungry for a miracle.  We are not trying to hide anything, and people are weary of being tricked. But more importantly, our cards are soaked in prayer. The crowds come for the right reason—because they have been drawn by the Holy Spirit.

I have many things to say about how churches can grow, but I am going to focus on my favorite factor in growth—one that is greatly underrated: THE EXCITEMENT OF THE PASTOR. Here are the reasons an excited leader is both powerful and crucial.

 

1. Excitement is infectious. A sincerely excited leader has an amazing impact on people. The electricity of a leader who is genuinely excited will draw the crowds without any gimmicks or hype.

Here is an example: Transit authorities in the Northeast have spent a lot of money on advertising, begging people to use their services, and they still can’t get commuters to use public transportation. Meanwhile, millions pour into Disneyland to ride trains that don’t go anywhere. The difference is excitement.

Fresh vision chases away depression. Even eloquence is at the mercy of excitement.  We don’t need more teaching seminars. I fear we’ve been taught to death. We need to pour gasoline on our sermons, and light them on fire.

2. Excitement finds a way. The changes in culture are dizzying. The challenge to build great works for God today is daunting. However, if you leave the challenge in the hands of genuinely excited vessels of God, they will find a way. They have the relentless will to conquer by the simple use of prayer and obedience.

3. Excitement doesn’t care about things that don’t matter. The excited leader is not just living their dream, they are a walking miracle. Imagine Lazarus the day after he was raised from the dead. You couldn’t offend him. You couldn’t scare him and you couldn’t make him feel insecure.

Beloved brother and sister in the ministry, we are not far from being a Lazarus! The truly excited pastor doesn’t care about criticism—doesn’t need the approval of men—doesn’t dread a lack of funds. Paul wrote, “Yea, in all these things we are more than conquerors…”

If an excited pastor is a boon to a church, then there is nothing more devastating than a discouraged and broken hearted shepherd. The last thing that leader ever needs to do is go to a church growth seminar. Any pastor who is wounded and broken from the thankless task of ministering to a fickle generation takes a terrible risk by going to a church growth seminar. Even if they get some growth from the shallow advice being given, it will gravely disappoint them because a wounded heart won’t feel any joy in success.  And, if they don’t see any growth, it could be devastating since it reinforces hopelessness and can lead to despair.

Have you ever broken a pastor’s heart? If so, the damage went far beyond what you realize.

Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give an account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” Unprofitable to say the least!

If I could blend the fresh fire that is in the heart of a first year Bible college student with the wisdom of a pastor who has been forged in the crucible of battle, I would have a weapon that is guaranteed to shake the very timbers of hell!  Get your excitement back—by the power of the Holy Spirit—and church growth will happen!

Mario’s new book will awaken you to your assignment in God’s greatest work in the Earth. It’s $15 each or $12 for ten or more. Get a signed copy plus free shipping by clicking here.  https://mariomurillo.org/product/vessels-of-fire-glory/ 

 

THE SECRET TO WHY THEY HATE HIM? IT’S IN THE STORY OF LAZARUS

Gentle reader, Trump will not be impeached.  CNN is drooling, but it’s in vain because no campaign money was used illegally.  That said, let’s get to the heart of this blog.  Why do they hate him?  I don’t mean just leftists…I also mean Republicans.  The secret to this is found in—of all places—the story of Lazarus.

Except for a few Republicans with convictions, there really is no difference between Democrats and Republicans in Congress.  You can see it in the ongoing reluctance of Republicans to defend Trump.

Washington looks like there are two distinct world views colliding.  But conservative and liberal are mostly labels for show.  There is something deeper going on here.

Why is Trump so hated?  They don’t hate him because of Stormy Daniels, Omarosa, or because they think he is a racist, or because of his tweets.  It is a much darker motivation.

God used my devotions and reading of John 11—the story of Lazarus—to fully open my eyes.  When this understanding came to me, my burden for our president intensified.  I knew I had to write this to you so that we could agree together for his safety and for this evil to be exposed.

See if you see anything illuminating in these verses:

John 11: 45 Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”  Do you see it?

Notice this phrase: “the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”  Their first concern was for their place, not the nation.  That is exactly what is happening in Washington.  They are more concerned about keeping their place than helping the nation.

That dear friend, is what both Democrats and Republicans are doing—they are fighting to keep their place.  Not just in Congress but at the FBI, IRS and many other power centers.  All of these groups wanted Hillary to win, because she was the queen of the swamp.

 

Right now you have the proof.  Jeff Sessions has the power to end the witch hunt against Trump but he won’t.  Mueller’s abuse of power should be called into account but it won’t be.  Hillary should be in jail.  Obama and his cohorts should be indicted.  None of it happens because the politicians must keep their place.

Trump wants to do what works and what is best for America regardless of what side it offends and threatens.  It’s called pragmatism.  What enrages them is that it’s working.  He is winning, and winning, and they are sick of his winning.

Once upon a time, a famous preacher and a famous atheist agreed to hold debates across the country.  They didn’t tell the audience it was just a money making scheme.  They publicly attacked each—took offerings for their causes—and at the end of the night they split the take.  That is also what is happening in Washington.

-Barack Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize for no reason.  Now Trump has brought North and South Korea together.  Do you think he will get the Nobel Prize for brokering the most amazing peace since Teddy Roosevelt?  Never.  Not even his own party will campaign for that.

Unemployment is at 3.9%.  It is the lowest among blacks and Latinos in recent memory.  His approval among likely voters is 51%.  Do you think Trump will be praised?  Never.

If you as a Christian can’t see the victories Trump is handing the church to have our voices heard, then you are blind.  The next miracle is to get our government back and and see true revival.  Trump is a bridge to all of that.  The hand of God is upon him.

It is time to bombard heaven for the deep state to be exposed.  We need to seek God like never before for special protection on Trump, Melania, the children, and the faithful few left in our government.  Ask big. Ask now

Ephesians 3: 20  “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

THE SECRET TO WHY THEY HATE HIM

Except for a few Republicans with convictions, there really is no difference between Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

You saw Republicans pass an obscene budget—fully funding Planned Parenthood.  They gave Democrats almost everything they wanted, punishing Trump in the process. There are Republicans in the deep state.  And the deep state is not so deep.

Washington looks like there are two distinct world views colliding.  But conservative and liberal are mostly labels for show.  There is something deeper going one here.

Why is Trump so hated by both parties?  They don’t hate him because of Stormy Daniels, or because they think he is a racist, or because of his tweets.  It is a much darker motivation.

God used my devotions and reading of John 11—the story of Lazarus—to fully open my eyes.  When this understanding came to me, my burden for our president intensified.  I knew I had to write this to you so that we could agree together for his safety and for this evil to be exposed.

See if you see anything illuminating in these verses:

John 11: 45 Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”  Do you see it?

Notice this phrase: “the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”  Their first concern was for their place, not the nation.  That is exactly what is happening in Washington.  They are more concerned about keeping their place than helping the nation.

That dear friend, is what both Democrats and Republicans are doing—they are fighting to keep their place.  Not just in Congress but at the FBI, IRS and many other power centers.  All of these groups wanted Hillary to win, because she was the queen of the swamp.

Right now you have the proof.  Jeff Sessions has the power to end the witch hunt against Trump but he won’t.  Mueller’s abuse of power could be called into account but he won’t be.  Hillary should be in jail.  Obama and his cohorts should be indicted.  None of it happens because the politicians must keep their place.

Trump wants to do what works and what is best for America regardless of what side it offends and threatens.  It’s called pragmatism.  What enrages them is that it’s working.  He is winning, and winning, and they are sick of his winning.

Once upon a time, a famous preacher and a famous atheist agreed to hold debates across the country.  They didn’t tell the audience it was just a money making scheme.  They publicly attacked each—took offerings for their causes—and at the end of the night they split the take.  That is also what is happening in Washington.

-Barack Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize for no reason.  Now Trump has brought North and South Korea together.  Do you think he will get the Nobel Prize for brokering the most amazing peace since Teddy Roosevelt?  Never.  Not even his own party will campaign for that.

Unemployment is at 3.9%.  It is the lowest among blacks and Latinos in recent memory.  His approval among likely voters is 51%.  Do you think Trump will be praised?  Never.

If you as a Christian can’t see the victories Trump is handing the church to have our voices heard, then you are blind.  The next miracle is to get our government back and and see true revival.  Trump is a bridge to all of that.  The hand of God is upon him.

It is time to bombard heaven for the deep state to be exposed.  We need to seek God like never before for special protection on Trump, Melania, the children, and the faithful few left in our government.  Ask big. Ask now

Ephesians 3: 20  “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

A GREAT MAN OF GOD HAS GONE TO HEAVEN

 

A GREAT MAN OF GOD HAS GONE TO HEAVEN

By Mario Murillo

I have just experienced a devastating personal loss.  I have been crying a lot and I am in mourning.  I am overcome with a towering sense of sadness.

Some have tried to tell me that I shouldn’t feel loss.  It has become politically incorrect to mourn the loss of loved ones.  Recently, a famous preacher said this at a funeral, “If you really have faith, you will not feel any sadness at all.”

However, Acts 8:2 says, “And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.”  That is what devout men do.  They grieve over loss.

Jesus mourned at Lazarus’ grave. “And He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept.  Then the Jews said, ‘See how He loved him!’”-John 11:34-36.

These verses overflow with meaning for those who lose loved ones.  Here was the creator of faith, weeping.  How can it be unbelief if Jesus mourned?

Moreover, He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, so why weep?   The Jews who were watching understood why.  He wept because He loved Lazarus.  That is why I am weeping. I loved my friend Dusty Kemp.

You never heard of Dusty Kemp?  Well then, I am about to enrich your life.  Dusty abruptly went to heaven on Sunday night, December 11th.  A week before that, I stood in his pulpit and called him the best kept secret in America.  It is high time for that secret to get out.

When he taught the Bible, it came alive.  He parked his soul in the Gospels and never ceased to amaze the seeker and satisfy the hungry.  You always got light and a fresh angle to the Word of God.

dusty-and-mary-shot-copy

Repeatedly, the question crashed in my soul, “How could such a mighty man die?”  The Holy Spirit took me to these verses: 2 Kings 13:14, “Elisha had become sick with the illness of which he would die.”  Verse 21: “So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.”

What can kill a man whose bones raise the dead?  The answer is a broken heart.  Elisha was banned from prophesying for almost 40 years.  The counsel of God that burned within him used him up because it was rejected.

Dusty preached against the grain in a religious culture that valued size and fame.  He did it to his own hurt.  It shortened his life.

Dusty was a contradiction that increased his pain.  He loved people and didn’t want to lose anyone.  He also loved truth. At great personal cost, he would do what was right. 

He would constantly analyze things to death to be sure he was doing the right thing. This also shortened his life.  It was a constant source of frustration to me. I begged him more times than I can count  to stop doing this.

He was not a professional pastor.  He winged it with a singular desperation to do what he believed was right.

He sacrificed himself in his humor.  He could laugh at himself better than anyone I ever knew.

He tried to seem tough, but he was the quintessential softie.  Here is the last text we shared: Me- “I am in your office barking orders so your staff feels at home.”  Dusty-“Awesome! Thank you. Fire someone.”  You see, there it is…he is talking big about something he could never do without great inner anguish.

He was hard on himself but forgiving to others.  If there was a question about who was right, he would find a way to take the blame.

Did Dusty Kemp accomplish a lot with his life?  He would say no.  But he accomplished more that we could ever imagine.  You may not see it at first because our mega-church values only reward those who build empires.

dusty-shotHere’s the thing: the goal is not to engrave your name on monuments, grand buildings or sprawling campuses.  You are supposed to engrave your name on the hearts of people.  A man of God’s legacy is in the souls who were transformed, the minds that reverberate with your teachings and the stories people share about you.  By this measure my friend Dusty was a spectacular success.

That is why New Life Church will continue to thrive.  Mary Kemp will be graced with special power.  The church’s wonderful ministries will continue to excel.  I can’t wait to be a part of it.

Dusty Kemp was not just my friend.  He was a great man, a wonderful intellect, a great soul of matchless courage, one of the great men of the earth—and yet we have no right to bow down to his memory simply because he was great. Great orators, great soldiers and great lawyers often use their gifts for selfish reasons. We pay a tribute of love and respect to Dusty Kemp because he used his matchless power for the good of man and for the Glory of Christ.

I have just experienced a devastating personal loss

I have just experienced a devastating personal loss.  I have been crying a lot and I am in mourning.  I am overcome with a towering sense of sadness.

Some have tried to tell me that I shouldn’t feel loss.  It has become politically incorrect in the church to mourn the loss of loved ones.  Recently, a famous preacher said this at a funeral: “if you really have faith, you will not feel any sadness at all.”

However, Acts 8: 2 says, “And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.”  That is what devout men do…they grieve over loss.

Jesus mourned at Lazarus’ grave: “And He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept.  Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”-John 11:34-36.

These verses overflow with meaning for those who lose loved ones.  Here was the creator of faith weeping.  How can it be unbelief if Jesus mourned?

Moreover, He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead so why weep?   The Jews who were watching understood why.  He wept because He loved Lazarus.  That is why I am weeping…I loved my friend Dusty Kemp.

You never heard of Dusty Kemp?  Well then, I am about to enrich your life.  Dusty abruptly went to heaven on Sunday night December 11th. A week before that, I stood in his pulpit and called him the best kept secret in America.  It is high time for that secret to get out.

dusty-and-mary-shot-copy

When he taught the Bible, it came alive.  He parked his soul in the Gospels and never ceased to amaze the seeker and satisfy the hungry.  You always got light and a fresh angle to the Word of God.

Repeatedly, the question crashed in my soul: How could such a mighty man die?  The Holy Spirit took me to these verses: 2 Kings 13: 14 “Elisha had become sick with the illness of which he would die.”  Verse 21: “So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.”

What can kill a man whose bones raise the dead die?  The answer is a broken heart.  Elisha was banned from prophesying for almost 40 years.  The counsel of God that burned within him used him up because it was rejected.

Dusty preached against the grain in a religious culture that valued size and fame.  He did it to his own hurt.  It shortened his life.

Dusty was a contradiction that increased his pain.  He loved people and didn’t want to lose anyone.  He also loved truth. At great personal cost, he would do what was right.

He would constantly analyze things to death to be sure he was doing the right thing. This also shortened his life.  I was a constant source of frustration to me. I begged him more times than I can count  to stop doing this.

He was not a professional pastor.  He winged it with a singular desperation to do what he believed was right.

He sacrificed himself in his humor.  He could laugh at himself better than anyone I ever knew.

He tried to seem tough but he was the quintessential softie.  Here is the last text we shared: Me: “I am in your office barking orders so your staff feels at home.”  Dusty: “Awesome! Thank you. Fire someone.”  You see there it is…he is talking big about something he could never do without great inner anguish.

He was hard on himself but forgiving to others.  If there was a question about who was right he would find a way to take the blame.

Did Dusty Kemp accomplish a lot with his life?  He would say no.   But he accomplished more that we could ever imagine.  You may not see it at first because our mega church values only reward those who build empires.

dusty-shot

Here’s the thing…the goal is not to engrave your name on monuments, grand buildings or sprawling campuses.  You are supposed to engrave your name on the hearts of people.   A man of God’s legacy is in the souls who were transformed, the minds that reverberate with your teachings and the stories that people share about you.  By this measure my friend Dusty was a spectacular success.  Untold numbers of people all over creation carry his legacy.

That is why New Life Church will continue to thrive.  Mary Kemp will be graced with special power.  The church’s wonderful ministries will continue to excel.  I can’t wait to be a part of it.

Dusty Kemp was not just my friend he was a great man, a wonderful intellect, a great soul of matchless courage, one of the great men of the earth—and yet we have no right to bow down to his memory simply because he was great. Great orators, great soldiers, great lawyers, often use their gifts for selfish reasons. We should pay a tribute of love and respect to Dusty Kemp because he used his matchless power for the good of man and for the Glory of Christ.

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