Standing Against the Storm of Compromise.

 

Ours is not an obscure message that should be whispered in the secret places of society. 

We see things differently at Mario Murillo Ministries, mostly because of the way we were born. While still in high school I preached in the Haight-Ashbury, ground zero for the love and peace movement in San Francisco.  Moving to Berkeley sent us from the frying pan into the fire.  We were planted there for the next ten years.

For most of our early ministry, I rarely stood before an audience that actually wanted to hear what I had to say.  If this message had an iota of human origin, a speck of flaw in its nature or fantasy…the crucible of Berkeley would have blown it to smithereens.

Instead, unexplainable power appeared at each point where the ministry was threatened.  Something out of this world would always step in…providing words, resources, ideas and miracles exactly when we needed them.

Not once in that cauldron of revolution, did we feel the need to rebrand Christ or present a new and improved gospel.

For years there has been a rising tide calling for Christians to “keep your faith to yourself.”  Many modern pastors, including the Pope, have joined the chorus asking Christians, “to tone it down.”

Consequently, we have retreated into a cultural bubble where we do everything but preach the Gospel.  We have entertained, amused, inspired and distracted, but we have not converted America.  Because of this, the average Christian cannot defend their faith, marriage, or the Bible as the inspired word of God.

The original reason that the Church adopted this “indirect approach” was to get society to like us.  What we got was just the opposite.  Our compromised message has fueled greater contempt for the Church.

The media is now maligning the message of Jesus every day.  Francis Spufford said, “They think we believe in a load of Bronze Age absurdities. We promise the oppressed ‘pie-in-the-sky’ when they die; we are too stupid to understand why what we believe is irrational, and we are savagely judgmental.”

Atheists call us a threat to human progress.  Secular progressives condemn us as hating the poor, the homosexual and women.

How is it possible, that after all the work we put into removing the “offensive” parts of our message, that society is even more offended?  The answer is that there is a small but loud faction that hates Christ.  They are having their turn at the microphone because the hostility of the White House.

We violently, totally and utterly disagree with the notion that we should tone down the Gospel in America.  There are millions of innocent bystanders, who have not rejected Christ.  They are simply caught in the middle between haters telling lies, and the misfiring sermons of voices too timid to tell the truth.  We must take our message to these millions trapped in the middle. This is why the answer is not to “tone it down,” but to turn it up!

The same Holy Spirit that outfitted us to face the city of Berkeley will equip us to mount a fresh invasion of our nation.

Now let me get to the goal of this letter.  We have learned through every trial and breakthrough that God does not just give guidance, He also gives a plan.

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We have a plan for 2017.  I can say without apology, that this plan has come to us from the Holy Spirit.  Again and again, the spirit of God has used events in the Bible as a model for what we should do. The verses below reveal a three-point plan that was given by an Angel to the disciples when the church was gravely threatened.

Acts 5: 17- 20 says, “But the high priest rose up and all who were his supporters, that is, the party of the Sadducees, and being filled with jealousy and indignation and rage, 18 They seized and arrested the apostles (special messengers) and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and, leading them out, said, 20 “Go, take your stand in the temple courts and declare to the people the whole doctrine concerning this Life” (the eternal life which Christ revealed.)

Embedded in those simple words, are our instructions for 2017.  Follow me as I describe to you the plan for touching America this year.

1. Take a stand. We cannot judge other ministries.  We can only answer for what God asks us to do.  He has ordered us to 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 ground 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.

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2. Take your stand in the temple courts. 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 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.

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.

If only we would learn to brave the offense of the Cross in our preaching!  We would find that very soon the supernatural life of God would overtake our preaching and create miracles in people that infinitely surpassed the results of popular preaching.  Society would not care about the demands in our message because of the changes they would see in their souls, minds and bodies.

This is what we will do in 2017.  In city after city, we will take a stand in the heart of that city and tell all the words of this life.

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Shush up and be a good little Christian

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Shush…just be a Good Little Christian.

Proverbs 25: 26 “Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.”

One of my favorite hits from the past is Missionary Man by Annie Lennox. Here are some words from that song, There was a woman in the jungle and a monkey on a tree The missionary man he was followin’ me He said “Stop what you’re doing Get down upon your knees.  I’ve got a message for you that you better believe.”   There is a place for tender soothing ministry.  But we have no shortage of that.  In fact it is our obsession for making nice is what got in this moral mess.  What we need now is anointed preaching that says to America,  “Stop what you are doing!  Get on your knees!  I got a warning from God and you better believe it!”

Proverbs 25: 26 says, “Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.”   This verse refers to men of God who buckle under the intimidation of wicked men.  It is what we have seen on secular talk shows when men of God get asked hard questions and they do not want to offend.

The Bible says that they poison the well. A part of that poison is when Christian leader tell us to shush up and be good little Christians.  This is the case with a leader who and I quote is, “An influential political thought-leader who is both a committed evangelical and a principled conservative.

He attacked Franklin Graham for not giving a glowing testimony about Obama’s Christianity.  He attacked Dr. James Dobson as a “callous” man.  Here is what he said, “The problem here is Graham is judging President Obama’s faith commitment based on a political, not a theological, basis.  What Graham seems to be arguing is that Obama is a liberal, he’s wrong on “moral issues,” and so a question mark has to be put over the faith of the president, who has spoken in moving terms about his own journey to Christianity.”

Franklin Graham did not do any of the things that this man says.  Franklin has gone after  Obama for trying to have it both ways.  Obama plays the Christian card even as  he openly and arrogantly attacks the faith.  Obama has an endless rap sheet of attacks on Christianity.  Mr. Graham has only spoken out from a Biblical and Spiritual Authority.

Is this man saying that we must accept Obama’s testimony of his faith because he spoke movingly about his faith?   This man goes after a speck that is not in Franklin Graham’s eye even as he ignores the telephone pole that is in Obama’s eye!

Why isn’t he scolding Obama for believing there is no hell, or for writing that he would stand with Islam, or for saying that doctors should not try to save the life of a fetus that happens to survive an abortion?

He goes on to say, “This is dangerous territory for Graham to reside in. For one thing, it sounds as if the Reverend Graham is questioning whether one can be a political liberal and a Christian at the same time. Of course one can be and to suggest otherwise is offensive. (I’m tempted to say some of my closest friends are Christians who are politically liberal.)”

Here is the problem.  Franklin Graham never said that you could not be liberal and Christian.  He never even addressed the subject.  He is accused of believing this simply because he is queasy with Obama’s politics and theology.

He also said of Dr. James Dobson,” several years ago Dr. Dobson severed his ties with Focus on the Family. The organization is therefore quite different now — and I would argue a good deal more winsome and effective — than it was. “Winsome and effective,” is code for you don’t make liberals mad.

Then he says, “Graham is doing is what no minister of the Gospel should do, which is to interpret Christianity through a political lens.”  I had to get up off the floor after I read that!  Franklin avoided all politics in his remarks.

Shockingly, as his article continued he became very political, “For another, what exactly are the political issues that are closest to the heart of Jesus? The issue of war? Concern for the poor? The Global AIDS Initiative? World hunger? Creation care? Abortion? Or perhaps divorce? Does Graham believe he knows what Jesus’s political platform would look like?

Here is the new official rule: If you are not in favor of liberal politics you are being political. If you are a liberal you are not being political.  This is to be added to the old rule that if you disagreed you were being racist.

And by the way, what are you smoking when you lecture Franklin Graham, the man who leads Samaritan’s Purse- a world leader in helping the poor about “Concern for the poor?”

After Paul was rescued from the Philippian jail by an earthquake the local officials asked him to leave quietly.  Paul rebuked them and ordered them to accompany them out of town.   Raging against evil is what we do.  It is not the only thing we do but it must certainly is one thing we do.  It is disingenuous to lecture a man of God about politics if all you are after is the political approval of liberals

We will not shush up and be good little Christians.   We will raise our voices for a nation we love because we know that the way we are being led is against God and certain disaster.  We will be obedient to Christ.