The Surprise in San Francisco

A stunning rebuke to watered down Christianity came from an unlikely place: San Francisco.

It was my honor to partner with Chris Burns and the amazing army that formed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love in Golden Gate Park.  THE SOUND was an outreach of many powerful worship artists, dynamic speakers, and a committed core linked hearts to bless the city.  But one thing that happened has wide implications to all believers. A scientific experiment will help you appreciate what I mean.

Biologists put a thick pane of glass in the middle of a large rectangular aquarium.  After filling it with water, they stocked it with small fish on one side of the glass barrier and their natural predator on the other.

Over and over, the larger fish slammed into the invisible barrier trying to feed on the smaller fish.  This went on for days until they gave up.  Then, the scientists removed the glass divider and saw something remarkable: The predators behaved as if the barrier was still there—they didn’t try to eat the small fish. They didn’t even try to go to the other side of the tank.

When we think of San Francisco—and rightly so—we think of smug, anti-God intellectual, lovers of pleasure.  We also think of youth—hard wired, by activist educators, to reject Christ. The church is conditioned not to fish here. There’s your glass pane.

In outreach after outreach, Mario Murillo Ministries has never acknowledged a glass barrier in San Francisco.  It was true again on July 6th and 7th when we joined forces with Chris Burns to win souls in the city.

Holy Ghost boldness overtook me.  I preached an unvarnished soul-winning message.  I refused to employ verbal gymnastics to appeal to a sophisticated culture.

Why—if this place is so hard—did so many respond, so immediately, to a direct gospel appeal?  Nothing was sugar-coated.  It was no credit to oratory.  It was a simple case of hungry and hurting souls reaching out to Jesus—because He was offered to them.

The pictures tell you how many came forward.  Even more astounding was the report Chris gave me about the invasion the next day: “We saw hundreds saved as we took over Golden Gate Park.”

Time and time again, I’ve warned the American church…there is a great harvest in our nation, even in San Francisco.  And…if there is a harvest in San Francisco, how much more in the rest of America?

Fish treading water refusing to eat is ridiculous; preachers refusing to harvest is beyond ridiculous—it is an embarrassment to our cause.  Watered-down, apologetic, murky preaching is a grandiose, inexcusable, waste of time.

Here is the giant question: why are so many Americans so hungry for Christ now?  The answer is simple: our culture made them miserable—a culture created by an elite core of power brokers.  It might be Hollywood; it might be our—hell-bent on telling Americans what to think—media.  They dictate what we should believe, what is good for us, what is right behavior and finally, what would make us happy. None of it works.

Social prophets bludgeon us with progressive platitudes and put a muzzle on any opposing voice.  Group think is the only way Americans can believe patently stupid contradictions: free speech is a threat to freedom—open marriage deepens commitment—suicide is victory—violence is love.

They can control almost everything, but one thing they cannot control: the damage on the soul—the vacuum that hi-tech selfishness creates—the misery of trying to endure on medicated self-pity.

The American church is bitterly failing a generation because we are still hoodwinked by an old model.  We still see the reluctant seeker—the spiritual looky-look.  We don’t see the desperate hearts that grope in darkest America.

We are failing a generation because we are not stronger than our excuses.  The empty calories served up on Sunday morning are a tribute to denial.  They deny the power of the Gospel, and they deny the hunger of the people.  Half-cures are now irrelevant.

The compromised church isn’t the only problem.  Some churches are just strange. There are pastors who pull their hair out trying to understand why new visitors don’t come to church.  They never consider that their shenanigans are weird to outsiders and their members are too embarrassed to invite friends.

When their bizarre and self-serving antics make visitors walk out, they smugly assume they are under conviction.  No…they just think we’re crazy.

The crushing heartbreak is that both these extremes—with their useless methods—continue to be celebrated.  Meanwhile, a nation dies, and lost souls go into eternity.

Every day, Satan sells a new drug that kills kids faster.  Every hour, a new perversion twists the minds of our children.

 

Mario Murillo Ministries walks the tightrope of the radical middle.  The tepid church rejects us because we preach fire and operate under Holy Spirit unction.  The hyper-emotional church rejects us because we use rigid discipline to keep it real for lost souls.

Right now, I should be rejoicing over the harvest in San Francisco, instead, it ignites fire in my bones.  Millions want the power the Gospel offers.  Leftists lie about it, and Christians misrepresent it.  Nevertheless, I am filled with hope.

There is a story of 4 brave lepers that mirrors the experiment about the fish:  God had scared the enemy away but the city under siege didn’t realize it.  2 Kings 7: 7 “Therefore they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact—their tents, their horses, and their donkeys—and they fled for their lives.  And when these lepers came to the outskirts of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank, and carried from it silver and gold and clothing, and went and hid them; then they came back and entered another tent, and carried some from there also, and went and hid it. 9 Then they said to one another, ‘We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent.’”

All the resources to save a starving city sat unused.  The army they feared was gone.  They simply didn’t bother to check the enemy’s camp.  The same is true now.  God keeps everything ready that we need to reach America.  If only we would see that and act on this great promise.

Mario Murillo Ministries is not going to sit and wait for squeamish theologians to figure out how hungry Americans are for Jesus; and how much provision stands ready for those who will rightly divide the Word of God.  The harvest in San Francisco is only the beginning of surprises that God has in store.  Come with us on this great adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHY I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST

pauley ballroom BLOG

Why I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

By Mario Murillo

“Here in Britain, it is more likely that people would deny they went to church even if they actually did, on the grounds of embarrassment. To say you’re religious in Britain is to risk excluding yourself.  When Tony Blair was Prime Minister, and a rare question arose about his religious views, his press secretary said firmly, “we don’t do God,” and refused to answer.”

This is an excerpt from the preface of Unapologetic, the ground breaking volume by Francis Spufford.

This paints a bleak picture of soul winning in England.  It also explains why Islam has made so many inroads in London.  Moslems are not ashamed to speak out, nor are they embarrassed by their faith.

This blog is not a rant against Islam, nor is it a call for Christians to seize the White House. It is a call to take a hard, honest, deep look at what is a snapshot of our immediate future.

Soul winning is now a hate crime in England and the trend is growing here.  There is a rising tide that calls for Christians to “keep it yourself.”  This argument is being put forth by a strange Confederation of voices.  Atheists want us to hold our peace because we are irrational and a threat to human progress.  Secular progressives condemn us as hating the poor, the homosexual and women.  Many modern pastors, including the Pope have asked Christians, “to tone it down.”

There are millions of innocent bystanders who hear the message of Jesus maligned every day.  They are caught in the middle between those who, out of hatred, tell lies about the gospel, and those that present an incomplete gospel out of embarrassment.Berkeley Campanille

The answer is not to tone down the Gospel, it is just the opposite: It is time to turn up the true Gospel. By being exposed to the real message of Jesus presented through Spirit-driven vessels, those millions who are stuck in the middle will experience history’s most pleasant surprise.

Everyone that knows me well knows this very singular fact about me: I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  But why am I not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

To answer that, you must see the different path this ministry has taken than most evangelists that you have ever heard of.  It seems that Christ went out of his way to plunge us in the deep end from the very beginning.

While others have been called to areas of America that are sympathetic to Christian values, we have always been cast into locations that are hostile, atheistic, immoral and highly intellectual.

While still in high school I preached in the Haight-Ashbury; ground zero for the love and peace movement in San Francisco.  The ministry went from the frying pan into the fire by moving to Berkeley California during the antiwar demonstrations. We were planted there for the next ten years.

For a great part of the early ministry I rarely stood before an audience that actually wanted to hear what I had to say.  You could say that God sent the worst equipped person to convert the best armed opponent.

We do need not to present any further evidence than this to show you the power of the gospel: If there was a flaw in the message, any fantasy whatsoever, the crucible of Berkeley would have blown it to smithereens.

Our first building copy

Instead, at each point of challenge something from out of this world would step in and move the ministry forward.  The least likely would be converted. A greater proof still is the fact that we had not a clue about what we were doing and yet our numbers kept growing.

We were one of those rare ministries in history where the new converts could explain what God was doing better than we could.

Paul said he was not ashamed because it was the power of God.  That is exactly what it was for me…the power of God doing the impossible.

When the words should not have been there they were.

When the money could not have been there it was.

When the method had no business being effective it was.

But finally and foremost, the Gospel proof was the power it put in people.  They who hated it were transformed; they who had no power to stave off addictions were resurrected.  In short, all who tasted the power of the Gospel had an engine installed that became an impetus to loving and positive choices.  That is why I am not ashamed nor will ever be ashamed of the most awesome message mankind has ever heard!

Hey preacher… Stop entertaining, consoling and informing…and start converting Americans.

converting

Hey preacher! Stop entertaining, consoling and informing…and start converting Americans.

The first thing you are taught in public speaking is to know your audience.  If I were to tell you what secular Americans are really like (something that we work and pray hard at knowing) many ministers and Christians would vehemently disagree.  That is because they do not know their audience; let alone how to preach to that audience.

They assume (subconsciously) that Americans do not want Christ and the best we can do is draw from an ever decreasing pool of already converted people. This fact is clearly seen in our sermons and conversations.  We have taken to continually talking to ourselves because we believe that no one else wants to hear it.

Christianspeak: We speak a language all our own, a language that no one understands but our little group.  We talk about walking in favor, prophetic words, soul ties, generational curses, binding, loosing, soaking, carrying until we sound like beings from other worlds.

The biggest reason that we do not know how to reach our audience is that we do not understand who our audience is.  Your audience is the unchurched.

It is my great honor to reintroduce you to two things: your audience and your competition.

Our audience: Look in their eyes and you will see what they are actually like.  It is the same look that people had in the Soviet Union at the peak of communism in the 1960’s.  It is a catatonic, going through the motions, drinking, taking drugs, waiting on a check from the government kind of stare.

They are not nearly as mad at God as you suppose.  Outwardly, they repeat what they hear from party officials. Inside, they harbor a hope that what the Bible says is actually true.  The preaching they hear discourages them because pastors sound like they don’t believe in the Bible either.  They think we are fakes but they deeply wish that we were not.

wish

Our competition: As long as pastors believe that other churches are their competition we will get nowhere.  Here is our real competition:

-Government when it acts as if it is the American church.  When Government says “believe in us and we will take care of you” they have replaced the church.

-Hollywood and the music industry when they tell youth through film and lyric what their values should be what their opinions should be and what they should be mad about.

-Higher education when it blasts God and punishes faith.

So what should we do?  We should determine to convert America to Christ.  If it means less emotional binges, intellectual coffee klatches and soothing mass therapy services…so be it!

What it does not mean is compromise!  Believe it or not Americans do not wish us to stop being fervent. They are not really thrown off when we raise our hands or even when we speak in tongues or operate in the miraculous.  They tune us out when we seem like we are into ourselves and oblivious to their needs.

6

So what must we preach today?  The answer comes to us today from an angel that visited a jail cell.  Acts 5: 17- 20 says, Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.  But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

The Church is threatened by the mass arrest of all the apostles.  It becomes an occasion for God to recalibrate and refocus their preaching. Just what we need today!  the Angel gave them 3 mandates in a single phrase: “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

1.Take a stand. There is no confusion about what the Angel is asking the men of God to do.  He is telling them to stake their claim in their nation.  This is not just a physical act; it is also moral and spiritual. We must take a stand against Satan’s agenda for America and we must take a stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We take a stand because we belong in the national conversation.  America has a drug, divorce, suicide, anger, and atheism problem.  Our voice needs to be heard because we carry the most immediate and effective cure for everything that is hurting America.  The Angel is reinforcing to the disciples that their message is valid and urgent.

2. Take your stand in the temple courts in other words go to the center of the city.Ours is not an obscure message that should be whispered in the secret places of society.  The temple courts were the heart of Jerusalem.  The Angel is blatantly instructing them to raise their voice in the very center of their culture.

In that same way we must go where the people are and where the biggest lies are being told.  The angel gave them an exact location to take their stand and that location spoke volumes to the Apostles.  God is serious about making a difference in the culture.

3. Tell all of the words of this life.What a scathing rebuke that is to popular Christianity.  While Christian celebrities scurry to and fro to find buzzwords to replace the core doctrines of the Bible, here is an Angel telling the disciples that they must tell all the words of life.  They cannot leave out a single benefit or demand of the message of Jesus Christ.

simplicity copy

How right that Angel was.  There is life in those words.  There is life in the blood of Christ, the cross and the resurrection.  There is life in them so amazing that no mountain of eloquence or cunningly devised sermon can begin to match.

Brave the offense of the Cross in your preaching and watch the power of the resurrection released! Soon the supernatural life of God will overtake our preaching, create miracles in people that infinitely surpass the results of popular preaching.  Society would not care about the demands in our message because of the changes they would see in their own souls, minds and bodies.

That is how we convert America.

email blastJoin us tonight at 7PM

1020 Center Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

(707) 575-8218