Sacrilege towards the Frankenchrist.

“I could not understand why men who knew all about good and evil could hate and kill each other”.

Mary Shelley

Frankenstein

“Je n’ai jamais été chrétien, je n’ai été réveillé que par Dieu.

I have never been a Christian, I have only been awakened by God.”

~Vérité, self.

There is only one way to understand a thing when the truth of what should be doesn’t line up with the monster they are presenting you with. The monster is a hodge-podge of scavenged bits in the shape or form of the true, but not the substance of it.

You and I have been lied to, friends. And the only way you are going to see it is move on from where you are.

Let me explain.

Imagine there is a large cave. The descent into this cave is down a long steep passage. The descent is such that no outside light or sound can reach the interior of the cave.

Now imagine there are people imprisoned within the cave. Each of these has been there since childhood, having their hands and feet shackled so that they are forced to look on the back wall of the cave and cannot turn to see behind them. This cave and specifically that wall are all they know. All of their knowledge of the world around them is based on their perception of their surroundings.

Behind these chained people, someone has built a fire that casts light upon the rear wall that they are facing. Now, projected all along this wall at all times of the day, someone performs a puppet show for those who are chained. The puppeteers duck down and perform the puppet show so that the shadows of the puppets are cast upon the wall that the prisoners are facing. At times, the shadow figures takes the silhouette of a statue moving along that wall, at others times the shadow appears as a bird or even a book.

Don’t you suppose that those who are chained, knowing only what they perceive, consider the shadows dancing upon the wall to be real?

And perhaps through long association they have become familiar with certain shadows, naming some and thinking they understand their patterns of behavior. All that they can know is what is displayed obviously before them. When they hear a voice, they recognize it as being from one of the puppets and make their associations.

Now every day, they are fed three times. And all prisoners who are chained know that to receive their food, they must lift their right hand at the appointed time. In many of the areas of their common existence, such as to purchase a treat or fall in love, they follow the same general pattern. And all physical benefits that they have been taught to receive agree that the law is; perform this action, get this result.

Consider the effect should one of them one day break free. They turn and see the fire for the first time. They would have no idea what it was, only know that it was the source of the light that shined on the wall. They wander past the fire and up the entrance to the surface. The light from the sun would be blinding to them at first.

Perhaps the new reality is so different from their established patterns of behavior that they immediately run back inside the cave to the security of what they have always known.

But maybe one dares venture out into the dazzling light unafraid of the implications.

Soon their eyes adjust and they see men like themselves walking freely. Perhaps they bend down and find an orange or another type of food lying on the ground. Amazed by everything they see, they venture back into the cave to explain to the prisoners left behind that what they see is not real. Would those who are still bound believe them while their chains held them fast?

Perhaps the one who escaped returns to the surface and looks for more food where they found the last. But none can be found for days on end. They wander back into the cave and explain to the others that they are hungry but can find no food.

Would the prisoners not explain how simple it is to receive food? Wouldn’t they say, “Simply sit back down with us, raise your right hand and you will get food!” And when the free man refused to do things that way any longer, don’t you think that those who are still bound would consider him a fool and fully deserving of his fate?

But having seen the sun outside and knowing the truth of the bound one’s true circumstances, could the man ever return to his former position no matter how hungry he became?

We sit, day after day within that cave.

We know from our experience and from the constantly repeated descriptions of others what those things are that are shown to us upon the wall. We hear the others who are chained beside us talk and debate as to what certain things are. And though we may disagree with some definitions we still hold fast to some common rules. Some things never change. Some laws are immutable. You cannot change the substance of the shadows, you must raise your hand ‘just so’ in order to get your provision, you cannot turn around.

We name and define and categorize what we see before us. Some who are chained have keen imaginations and so their descriptions are far deeper than some others. But it never changes the fact that you are bound inside of a cave. The shadows are just that, shadows.

I had a vision once.

I saw a large river where flotsam and jetsam of all different shapes and sizes floated down the current. Floating among them were Christians from every nationality. All of them were neck deep in the murky water and seemingly happy even though they were surrounded by trash and offscouring.

Occasionally, one would hit a high spot in that riverbed and push hard with their feet, jumping up to where the water was around their waist.

When this happened, others all around them would point and grow very excited at where they were. Then they would rush to where the person was and attempt to get just as high out of the water themselves.

This happened over and over again.

Then I looked up from the river and saw Jesus standing on the bank, motioning for me to come up where he was. And I saw that those people were Christians and the river was the World System they were all floating in.

Once in awhile, a teacher comes along who is not as deeply engrossed as the others or who has a “revelation”. Christians want this and will go to them and try to put what they are saying into practice. But like jumping in water, the level you can jump to is only temporary and you will soon find yourself in the same position again and again.

But the Christ is out of that river completely. And if we are to have what he desires for us, if we are to live in the environment we are meant to live in, we have to be where he is.

To go up where the devil can’t go.

No matter what our insights or efforts, if we remain within the cave or within that river, none of it matters. Because truth resides in the light of day outside the cave and it abides on the shoreline with the Savior. Certain facts about this life we live are seemingly inescapable. And they are in the sense that everyone, regardless of stature or education believes in them.

When we hear the stories of Jesus feeding the multitudes, turning water into wine or walking upon the water, they carry with them the feeling of being fantastic. We can imagine them taking place in some other time and some other place but never beside us in that cave. The scope of our perception is limited to our immediate surroundings.

Can’t you imagine the scene when someone comes in from outside that cave and explains to them what they are seeing on the wall before them? Most would not believe it. They have been in chains for their entire lives, facing that wall. And when they attempt to turn enough to verify what the escapee says, they are bound from doing so by the clasps around their neck.

Do you think they would be appreciative of what was being told to them? Or would they instead fall into a defensive position, writing off the escapee as a crackpot and liar. They would quickly become angry at the descriptions and rely on what they saw with their own eyes as proof for their convictions and descriptions.

And no matter how hard they tried to believe the stories, the reality of them would never be manifest because they remained bound. They could believe all they wanted that they could close their eyes and when they opened them, they would see the sun that the escapee described.

Maybe they would subscribe to his theories in their minds and talk about the possibility of being free. Those who did so would no doubt become alienated from the larger group. But it would still not change their position. Because the only way to see the sunlight is to become free, not just subscribe to it mentally.

Here lies the crux.

There is a qualitative difference between fact and truth. Fact is what you see displayed on the wall before you, spoon-fed to you since you were a child. Facts are generally agreed upon even when they are described in different ways. But truth must be experienced in order to qualify it as being truth. Mental assent says, “Yes such and such is true, I believe it.” Faith based on truth says, ” I know this to be true because I have experienced it as such.” This is what separates fiducia from noticia or assentia.

Even demons believe.

We quote the verse all the time that says “The truth shall set you free.” But that is not what the verse says. It says; “If you continue in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:31-32. So it is not the truth that sets you free, it is:

1. Knowing the truth.

2. Continuing in that truth.

The Pharisees had a knowledge of the truth. They could quote verses all day, in fact. Their great error is that while they knew the scriptures, they had no experience of the Word.

It is not in ‘knowing’ that there is an outside world beyond our cave that matters, it is being outside the cave ourselves. There are many promises in the Bible, none of which means any more than the paper it was printed on if we have not the subjective possession nor the practical experience of it.

Spiritual power takes place not when we read a passage of scripture but rather when the Word of God goes from being logos to rhema, that is, from the written objective word to the God-spoken subjective word. The truth must make the transition from being objective (expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations) to being wholly subjective (characteristic of or belonging to reality as perceived rather than as independent of mind).

We must possess the truth in experience before it has any power whatsoever.

All of us are stuck in that cave at one time or another. And can’t you see how true this is? How the actions and reactions of those around us and the viability of their advice to us is determined chiefly on whether or not they themselves are stuck in that cave as well?

God will not be stuck in a box. And just because something you hear is strange or does not jive with your metal capacity, it does not make it any less true. We are obliged as Christians to leave that cave, to climb on shore with Christ and see the world around us from a fresh perspective. And that is when light can truly break for us once and for all.

This requires great bravery, make no mistake. Because even all that you know of God is often just a shadow puppet on the wall, everyone being chained together agreeing with one another as to its truth.

I am known as being quite sacrilegious, it’s true. I also have a very big mouth filled with very strong opinions. I don’t care about your groupthink nor do I tiptoe around your personal golden calf god that you keep on your mantle, rubbing its belly for fortune.

I had heard stories of the God of my mother and father, the God that answered prayers miraculously without their help.

I had heard of the God of A.A. Allen that could still save and deliver and heal, just as he did in Christ’s day.

I had read of Mueller and his 30,000 recorded answers to prayer without ever telling a single person the needs. I had heard the stories first hand from Dr. Sumrall and Pastor Davey, men that knew God without question.

And those stories inspired me to find that God, the God of miracles.

In the last few years I’ve come to realize that the failures that I’ve seen in God are not the failures of the real God, it is the failure of a Frankenchrist monster, cast upon a wall as a freak mockery, unable to produce a needed result.

And the answer will not come through my praise of the Frankenchrist and subsequent denial of its limitations. It will come from acknowledging that it is not the true God, then, taking the book in hand, hearing direction clearly from the Spirit and leaving the cave once again to find Him.

The God of revival. The God of justice and truth and power. The God that promises to provide on His own, by faith. The God that can reach out and extend His Kingdom on this earth with common grace lavished on all and complacent live showered on his children.

He’s not to be found in your river. But He is able to be found if we leave the camp of the accord of the fake, deceived and deceiving religious panderers slinging snake-oil for a fake god.

If we have that bravery, he’s out there to be found afresh, out beyond the cave.

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Something Wicked This Way Comes

The darkest times in human history have all begun when someone decided “not to let a serious crisis go to waste”. In fact, it is in times of crisis that folks are most susceptible to the ideas of tyrants. We look for an answer, any port in a storm that will shield us from the unknown. And in our desire to be safe, we open ourselves up to things that we would never have dreamed of allowing in normal times.

Consider, my friends, that Germany in the 1930’s was suffering from massive unemployment and high inflation, mostly due to the effects of the Great Depression. Hitler appointed Hjalmar Schacht as Minister of Economics to combat the declension and bring Germany into fresh prosperity.

Schacht leaned on Keynesian Economics to this end, specifically in the areas of large public works programs supported by deficit spending. For those that don’t know, deficit spending is when the Government purposefully spends more money than they receive through tax revenues. The theory is that by spending into deficit, the government creates jobs which increases consumer spending. This in turn, creates more business by supplying for the new spending being done.

The natural reaction that rational people have to deficit spending is to talk about the “burden of the national debt”. The idea of course is that if we create debt now, future generations will have to pay that debt off and we therefore are saddling them with a burden that is unfair. Interestingly, this reaction has been in place since the 1930’s when Keynes first introduced his theory.

Now, is it any wonder that the government has been untouched by the people’s cries regarding the burden of the national debt? To them it is the expected and naïve cry of the bourgeoisie used to scare the ignorant proletariat.. To the Keynesians, the debt-income ratio would disappear over time anyway, provided the economy grew fast enough.

Forgive my descent into macroeconomic theory, friends, I do have a point here. However, I want you folks to understand what is happening all around you right as we speak. The powers that be have long ago embraced Keynesian economic theory. That was the reason for the massive spending bill, the Omnibus bill and the bailouts. They believe that by combating declension with massive governmental works, like the military and deficit spending, they can not only end declension but bolster new growth in the private sector.

Hjalmar Schacht and Adolf Hitler believed the exact same thing and Schacht applied the theory to Germany’s Depression economy. After jolting the economy with massive deficit spending, the next step was to implement the Reinhardt Program, combining tax reductions with public investment in roads, railways and waterways. Now while it cannot be argued that both practices worked in getting Germany well on the road to recovery, it also is evident that it was the death of the local free market in Germany and the perfect springboard for Hitler’s rise to dictatorship.

In the Germany of the 1930’s, the economic troubles served as a serious crisis in which the National Socialist Party could push through major reforms. When your job, your home, your livelihood seems to be in peril, people look for a voice, any voice, that seems to have the answer for their day-to-day problems. The more charismatic that leader is, the quicker his ascent to power during a crisis.

Not only that, the more charismatic the leader is, the further people will allow themselves to be led down a path that they would normally rebel against.

Hence, the Keynesian theories that Hitler introduced to a desperate population not only served to jolt Germany’s economy into recovery, it also served to make the Germans dependent on the government alone for their welfare and by extension then, on Hitler himself. He became their savior when in fact, he was their greatest doom.

There is no better time to introduce seismic shifts in a nation’s identity than during a crisis, if you are the right kind of despot.

In the years before the French Revolution, Necker borrowed and Calonne spent to combat the crisis caused by France’s financing of the American Revolution. This led to a deepening of the crisis and eventual overthrow of the government.

In 1917 in Tsarist Russia, the Bolsheviks used the economic crisis to overthrow the government and Lenin rose to power amidst the flames. Over and over throughout history we see the same pattern playing itself out; in the midst of crisis, the crazies take over the nuthouse.

We stand on a treacherous precipice here in America today. Had you been able to ask a German prior to Hitler’s rise to power if Germany was capable of the Final Solution, do you think that they would have laughed you to scorn? Do we see that it was not a monstrous sub-class of people who carried out the orders of the Reich but rather normal people who were living their normal lives and were carried away into madness in degrees by a man who understood that times of crisis were perfect opportunities for major reform?

The story of the Russian Revolution carries with it the exact same lessons that we fail to see. It was crisis that lent itself to the ascent of the Soviet Communist party and to the deaths of multiplied millions of Russians at the hands of that regime.

When good people relinquish power, the power that rests in the hands of the individual, and look to a charismatic figure for help, disaster is right around the corner.

It is nothing new that is happening in the world today, my friends. It is the same thing that has been happening since the dawn of time; it takes a crisis to enthrone a monster and I fear that something wicked this way comes.

They have taken away my Lord…

Joh 20:13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

The only thing worse than being lost is amnesia. If you don’t know who you are or where you came from, how can you possibly find your way out of the woods or move with any discernible purpose? This question has led us to throw ourselves into finding out the answer, at any cost and no matter who the answer offends. I want to speak to you about the beginnings of what we have seen.

The obvious beginnings for the Spirit-Filled Church would have to be John Wycliffe, John Hus and The Moravians.

The Moravian Church was once a lightning rod for the power of God here on earth. The path that started with John Wycliffe, was picked up by John Hus, was passed on to The Brethren and solidified at Herrnhut, was the boldest stand by true believers in 1500 years. This group of radicals lived in an intentional community, instituted 24/7 prayer, perfected missions and exemplified service to God in an age when the church had grown heretical, fat, lazy and insular. They exemplified love and unity and perfected cross denominational service, believing that the church was one body made up of many different parts.

They were the tools that God used in the salvation of the Wesleys and the subsequent move of God that shook England and America.

And this wonderful church, with all of its powerful traditions and its rich history has been co-opted.

Tragically, this has culminated just as we have come into a moment in history when the fire of the early Moravian church could have had an enormous impact on a new generation of leaders. As we turn from the religion of the boomers and seek truth in the ancient traditions of our Fathers, we look to an anchor in these times, something lasting and concrete and proven and their pulpits are silent, except for the compromised bleating of their unbelieving hirelings.

At the edges of the Kingdom, we are seeing the rise of leaders who are fed up with the half-truths of Christianity-Lite, leaders who would gladly stand on the bow of a boat heading to St. Thomas and yell to their families that they may very realistically never see again in this life, “May the lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!” And here, at this moment of history, at the literal turning of the tide, the Moravian church has grown so compromised and accommodating to the will of unbelieving theologians that they no longer have a voice, as the worm of Modernist Theology has eaten through the protections of tradition and history and those who should never have forgotten, have given place at their very head to the enemy of our souls and his campaign to destroy the church from within.

In the Moravian Church, they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him.

The obvious child of the Moravian movement would have to be the Methodist church. On a ship’s journey to America, John Wesley was powerfully affected by a Moravian missionary. This culminated in his conversion experience in a Moravian meeting back in England, after a failed ministry attempt in Georgia.

The early Methodists had nowhere to preach, being banned from the Anglican pulpits in England. And so the Wesley’s took the message of the cross to the open air outside of coal mines as the workers changed shifts. The era of open air evangelism was born. These radicals ordained lay people to take the Gospel to the isolated areas of Kingdom and called them circuit riders. Francis Asbury had to be tied to his horse as he got older and untied when he arrived at his destination as he could no longer physically hold on to it and being thus tied, this fearless man would cross mountains, deep snow and driving rains to preach the message that God had burned on his heart.

The campmeetings held at the Red River Meeting House in Kentucky saw the majority of that regions population get powerfully saved, in the open air. Thousands descended on the site and it is reported that up to six preachers would preach simultaneously as the crowds were too large for just one person to cover. People who were resistant to the message of the cross found themselves being shaken by the Spirit of God and they would fall on their face, knowing absolutely that God was real and the message that they were hearing was deadly serious.

The Methodists led the call to holiness and world missions and their zeal caught the world on fire.

Today, is there fire in their pulpit at all? Are the people shaken by the majesty of God? Or has third-generation religion replaced first-hand experience as the un-Gospel of the theological elite has eroded this towering monument to the power of God among normal people and lowered it to a man made exercise in religious bureaucracy and carnal religiosity?

They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him in the Methodist church.

From the Methodists, the Pentecostals burst onto the scene in 1906 at Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California. Tired of the staleness of religion and sure that there was something more, this small group of nobodies huddled together and earnestly sought God to move fresh in their day. They were not disappointed. When the fire fell at Azusa, it spread like wildfire in the California hills and worldwide. Despite the racism that plagued the early church and forced the split that eventually created the Assemblies of God and Church of God in Christ, the movement flowed until Spirit-Filled believers comprised the second largest Christian group in the world, just behind the Roman Catholics.

It was made up primarily of the poor and the outcast, the exact same group that the Methodists abandoned as they sought acceptance among the cult of respectability. And these saints, who had nothing to lose, did as they have always done; they gave up everything for the God who knew their “nobody” name. As it was true in the Moravian Church, the spiritual mother that they came from, they easily and joyfully gave up their lives to spread the Gospel.

As it was true in the Methodist church, their direct relative in the flow of the Spirit of God, it was the uneducated, the lay leaders that provided the energy and the zeal to see the work accomplished. And like their ancestors, it was their desire to be accepted that caused the fire to flicker and die.

Today, the Pentecostal church is only a shell of its former self. In isolated area of America and the world there are still holiness Pentecostals but they have grown so isolated that their message affects no one any more. I attended one of these places recently and came away from the experience knowing that what I had witnessed was merely the smoke from a billows that has burned itself out attempting to refine silver that refuses to yield.

In other places, Pentecostal is now synonymous with Oneness Pentecostals only and the child of the Moravians is no longer there and only the shell remains.

In the Pentecostal church, they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him.

After the First Wave, which was Azusa and the subsequent Pentecostal explosion that occurred, we had what they call the Second wave. This was the era of Oral Roberts, A.A. Allen, William Branham and Jack Coe. The healing revival and Latter Rain Movement spread worldwide and they saw the greatest move of God focused on a sign-gift that the world had ever seen. Huge tents holding 20,000 believers criss-crossed the country and saved millions of souls.

The era ended in tragedy for most, the power has been lost, the fire gone. This was the day of my parents and in it, the power of God was not only real but expected.

Today, there is nothing left of any of it, except the old stories and the edifices of ORU and Rhema speaking volumes about what once was and no longer is. The Second wave transformed into hyper prosperity and hyper grace and their anchor of the past was left somewhere far behind as the individual, humanistic Gospel of ME came to be all that a people, left in their flesh and unconverted and worldly state could hear.

The Third Wave or Prophetic Movement has sought to distance itself from history from its inception. They embraced what they called Primitivism, which was to throw out everything but the Book of Acts. Sadly, Primitivism quickly became Make-stuff-up-ism as they even threw out the whole counsel of the Word, rejecting the Word of God and preferring subjective personal experience.

The modern church has taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him.

I have grown so tired of it all that I would rather quit than be a part of any of it any longer.

For us, we have been forced to ask why we do what we do. Where did we get the order of service? Who defined praise and worship? Why do we do any of the things that we do?

That question has resulted in us throwing out everything that we knew or thought that we knew and starting from scratch. We have gone back to Wycliffe, Hus and the Moravians and asked of them, “What moved you?” What caused you to be in unity, or to gladly burn at the stake for your convictions? What caused you to leave hearth and home and take the Gospel where no one had ever taken it before? To this end, we have gotten rid of our services and began to adopt their practices as the Spirit makes them clear to us. Prayer before service, putting people’s needs before our dog and pony show. The lovefeast and the command that to be a part of it you must love everyone present, forgive all trespasses against you and absolve anyone of any debt that is owed you inside the room.

We have begun to stress love and unity, corporate prayer and sacrifice, the rejection of individualism and the importance of the Social Gospel. We embrace structure, order and the heart religion of Count Zinzendorf. And the fruit has been immediate and gratifying. We have had people rocked at our services, calling me and asking why they can’t eat or sleep. We have watched strife and backbiting disappear and genuine love begin to flow. We have seen our Wednesday night study stretch for three hours as the people will not leave and beg for more Word.

And we have watched those studies culminate in the Wind of the Spirit blow in and leave the room on their face on the floor, some crying loudly and all praying.

God has begun to move again.

Where do we go from here? I am not sure but as we learn the lessons of the ancient Moravian church, we have found our anchor in these troubled times. And we are a generation of seekers, of questioners, be assured. A generation that is comfortable with Monasticism and white martyrdom. A generation that doesn’t care what the status quo does, we just want to know the truth. We are the spiritual descendants of Zinzendorf and the Brethren, of Wesley and his circuit riders, of Seymour and the wonder of Azusa. And what we are seeing may well be the beginnings of a genuine movement here as more and more of ur generation tune in, turn on and drop out, not to drugs and the counter-culture of Evangelicalism but to the clear and loud call of our Fathers in the faith, back to Christianity and the religion of Holy Spirit Revival Fire.

They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him but by our life or by our death, we will find out.

I am Bad for the Church.

So, here we are all…

Coffee is in the foyer and if you’ll fill out this visitor card, you’ll get a free gift for visiting us today!

Hi. I’m JC and I am bad for the church.

Now, some of you are not like me. You are Jonathans, raised in the house of your father, Saul, and fated to die alongside of him. You are the products of a Boomer age and the best that you have – or will ever – accomplish is a slightly more hip and relevant version of your daddy’s church.

Some of you are compulsory outsiders. Always feeling the call of God but never having the clarity, calling or focus to make a stand on your own.

After all, it is easier to hide and throw rocks and garbage at the system than to try and do anything about it yourself.

And then there are those of you that are perhaps like me. We are not the 99%, not by any stretch. We are also not the 1%, we have never had that much going for us. Perhaps we are the bottom .03%.

That kind of marginalization carries with it a certain hubris. But before we determine your membership in such an “elite” group as that however, we had maybe try to determine what it is that I am so you can see whether you feel the similarity or feel the repulsion.

Let me say that regardless of the final outcome and the ultimate revelation of your final designation, let me convey from the very start that I can’t speak for you, though I might want to. I have always had the conceit to believe that I could be the voice of the lonely lurker – the marginalized, outcast, whatever, give it a name.

Now I no longer believe that I can be a voice for the voiceless, I can just speak with my own voice and let the chips fall where they may.

I don’t make many friends in church, it has always been that way. Some stuff that seems to be a requirement for admission to the boy’s club, I just lack apparently. Like those signs at an amusement park that read “Must be this tall to ride”, except in church circles it would actually read “Must be of this stature spiritually to play”, I just lack that certain something that allows me to calm down and just go with the herd. I am, I have been told, bad for the church.

I feel self-conscious about that every once in awhile for about two seconds, I really do. But I have finally given up trying to understand the viewpoint of the average churchian, it is just of no use. It is a crazy bizarro world, this modern church.

Here in this wonderland, it is all plastic perma-smiles, like as if all of the mannequins in Old Navy suddenly sprang to life spouting christianese like some kind of sanctified Tourrette’s Syndrome.

And sort of like Hermie the elf that wanted to be a dentist that ended up on the Island of Misfit Toys, I am hopelessly out of touch with the rest of the elves here. I place a high value on being real, not being your posterboy for church assimilation.

The fact is that I just can’t make sense of your methods, standards or ideals and honestly, I just don’t care to try to at all.

A few years ago a well-known preacher took issue with me because of two things: I practiced MMA with my men’s group in the church I was Pastoring and because the church all got together and watched UFC events together and we prayed for Christians who fought. Now, we didn’t like intercede while the fight was going on, that would be sort of strange. But all of us remembered those guys in our prayers and asked God to help them to fight to the best of their ability in the fights.

Anyway, this guy took issue with this and decided to not attend an event that I was a part of in protest. That’s fine, whatever, right? Well later I heard an audio clip of him talking about it to his group and comparing my “error” with gays praying together and then telling others about Jesus.

Needless to say, I beg to differ.

I am responsible for my generation, much like he was responsible for saving flower children. And all that I know to do is to reach out and touch their heart with those things that touched mine. Sounds simple enough, right? Well it is not in this day and age, not at all.

Today, if God’s grace touches your heart, you can only tell that to someone in the grace crowd. If you were crushed with conviction, only tell someone sympathetic to that clique. If I see truth in something from the prosperity movement, I should never tell anyone. There is a very real pressure there, sometimes obvious, sometimes not, that forces us to hide who we really are and what we really feel to please the status quo.

The circles I have been around are constantly paranoid of error, so much so that they hide what they really feel for fear of being branded a heretic. Or they embrace this horrible Saducee cessationist Gospel for fear of being considered ignorant by the doctrine Nazis.

It is a sad state of affairs, boys and girls, and one that I am all too happy to bow out of.

I am a repentance – grace – prosperity – consecration based – Reformed – evangelistic – anti-kooky Full Gospel preacher with definite leanings towards the teachings of Nee, Calvin, Wesley, Luther, Whitefield, Allen, Bounds, Tozer and Lloyd-Jones and I can get something out of Copeland, Winston and Kenyon sometimes as well.

Color me too diverse if you will but I would rather grab what gleanings I can out of the field of Boaz than ever be considered someone who was potty trained at gunpoint and is taking it out on the world at large.

Yeah, bad for the church.

I guess I am just a bit world weary in the end. In the day, when I was young, every time you took up with some new group you were expected to conform to that group’s style, worldview, music and lingo. Punks dressed like punks, talked anarchy, listened to the Vandals and used the proper terms so that everyone would know that you were “in”. The same was true of the skaters, Goths, Skins, whatever.

And your garbage in the church is no different and I reject it with all of my being. I stopped reading Finney because the dude was an outright Pelagian addicted to false numbers, so sorry.

I don’t like other preachers for the same types of reasons and guess what? That is my prerogative.

But like being a punk and hating the Sex Pistols, some things are just anathema. If you didn’t like the Pistols you weren’t a real punk and if you don’t like the current flavor of the month preacher, you probably aren’t even really saved…

Well, I am saved- I just don’t dig them.

Besides, they didn’t save me, deliver me or justify me, Jesus did. And I don’t remember seeing liking certain preachers as being a requirement to make heaven. In fact, I don’t see very much of the things that we do in the Word at all. It is a terribly confusing time for all of us, I think.

In the end, truth can’t be found in anyone’s sermon or teaching series or memoirs or articles on revival. Because truth must be experienced in order to be truth. It is not some cold fact of proper theology that saves you, it is the experience of forgiveness that saves you. It is not having all of your “I’s” dotted and “T’s” crossed with some little internet or church faction that gives you righteousness, it is grace through faith in Christ Jesus alone that can do that.

As for me, I will happily be an iconoclast. Shoot, I will even brave the outer darkness and look for some gleaning to help me to get my bearings in one of the books from blacklisted authors just waiting for the ritual book burning.

I will gladly poke your religion in the eye and wear street clothes to preach or a full collar even if that’s what it takes. I will teach MMA, pray for fighters, allow hardcore bands to play or sing ancient hymns, whatever it takes. Because you can’t judge me, only God can do that, pal.

Besides, those who would take issue with this are like those that Jesus spoke about,

”But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market place and calling to their playmates, ‘We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn. For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!”

To some people, no one is right enough, holy enough, doctrinally correct enough unless it is them.

In the end, I guess I am in good company after all, Jesus was considered bad for the church too.

Saving the world, one creep at a time…

7C07E7D4-BFD5-4417-947E-11A979336986.jpegThings may not be so good out there. I am quite sure that many of you already knew that. And now you are left asking the important question of “what now”? Well, diagnosing a problem is only the first step. A skilled physician not only determines what’s wrong, he suggests a cure.

I believe that the church is about to get hit broadside with a revival that they did not see coming. It is my earnest prayer that the church will heed the current crop of prophets out there saying that there is a problem. Because my generation will be the ones involved with this revival. And I am not willing to see one of them fall away due to the church’s insistence on repeating its own mistakes time and again.

First though, let’s try and set all of this up by a quick summation of what we consider to be the key issues we are dealing with:

1. There is a large segment of the Spirit-filled church today that has fallen asleep, counting things of no real spiritual impact as being primary and discarding the important issues as being marginal.
2. Generations X and Y, those born from 1968 through 1985, are earmarked by anti-social behavior and appearances and a hunger for the extreme.
3. These groups are widely misunderstood by the church and in immediate danger of facing alienation and separation from the Body of Christ.
4. There is a revival on the horizon for these groups with God raising up prophets and preachers from the ashes.

Mario Murillo gave a prophecy in his book entitled, “Fresh Fire” about a future generation that he called “The Lazarus Generation”. According to Mario, God had some specific plans for his end time’s army and these included a whole generation of individuals that were widely considered to be dead. Former Satanists, skinheads, witches, New Agers, Goths, skaters, punks, gang members, drug addicts and criminals were going to get saved and form a radical army that proved to be key in God’s plans for the last days.

Taking into consideration what they came out of, these young believers would be intolerant of superficial beliefs and church normalcy. They would hunger for God like no other generation who came before them. They would not be scared of the enemy or of taking the Gospel into the worst parts of the cities because they were from there too.

Mario had a strong warning for the church in all of this as well. He said that the church would be in danger of repeating its mistake with the Lazarus Generation that occurred with the Jesus People of the late sixties, early seventies. They came out of the Hippie movement in droves, looking for God. But the church was too concerned with maintaining the status quo and assimilating their young converts. And so as quickly as they were saved and coming to the churches, they fell away.

The major difference between the Jesus People and the Lazarus Generation is fairly easy to discern. The Jesus People were drug-taking peaceniks. They were all about free love and free choice, peace, love and understanding.

Not so with this generation. In direct contrast to the Hippies who were saved, this generation is about hatred, malice, violence, self-centeredness and anti-authoritarian stances. These are deep seeded issues that must be dealt with, lest we find that in bringing them in, we destroy what remains.

You simply cannot take a drug dealer who was just saved and expect the same conversion and subsequent behavior from them as you would a clean-cut kid from the suburbs of Happyville. They have lived in extreme reality for all of their lives. Not a nice and cute reality, either. But a grim reality filled with OD’s, AIDS, suicide, rape, murder and other things that the hippies would have wet themselves, thrown away their flowers and run like 12-year old girls, had they been exposed to them.

And when they come into the church after having been saved from certain death on the streets, they will not stand for the Emperor’s New Clothes. I would give them about 2 weeks total. Then they will call you out and demand to know why it is that you are propagating lies. They want reality. More than that, they want God in their reality every day.

The Bible says to lay hands on the sick and they shall recover? Great, let’s do this. How about in the Mall on Friday night? Why don’t we go to the hospital then? And when you fall back on your spiritual excuses and doubt-jargon, it’s over with between you and them. Above all else, this generation knows when it is being played and you can count on them not standing for it. If you say it is so, you better be able to prove it. If the Bible says that God can provide all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus, count on them jumping out of the boat then there and seeing if it’s true.

And herein lies the crux of the problem that the conversion of Lazarus brings with it.

Many in the church are used to the Christian lifestyle. Saying NO to strip joints and beer. Saying “no way!” to adultery and premarital sex. Attending a youth group with friends and praying around the pole together once a year. Talking about all the things that God could do, if you just believed enough and not talking about how you have never quite gotten to the point where He actually will.

And Lazarus will smell your game two miles away. To be perfectly honest, if they so much as consider the fact that the whole thing is a lie and that the church is faking it, they will walk away for good. And once they do, they will not sit by silently and let you carry on, friends. They will do their best to expose you as a fraud and bring about the ruination of the whole great game.

The dilemmas then that faces us is this: God has great plans to save an entire generation before Christ comes back and use them to shake the world; we just are nowhere near ready for them right now. And we really do not have the luxury of time being on our side anymore. Because the prophecy was right about the Lazarus Generation, I should know, I am one of them. And the time is not far off in the future when they will start getting saved out of the worst possible circumstances—it is right now.

We then in the church carry upon our sadly delicate shoulders the unenviable task of preparing for an imminent event that will decide the future population of Heaven on a shoestring budget. Our accounts are full of hype, but the truth deposits are way lower than what they need to be right now. The solution for this is for us to get as real as possible in the shortest amount of time.

We will need to trim the fat from our doctrine, letting go of our soft-serve doctrines and seeking the face of God for an outpouring of real power. Now.

This Lazarus Generation is very important to God’s plans in many different ways. Number one, they are the front lines that will be used in the middle of Hell itself in the upcoming days. I want you to imagine a poverty stricken ghetto in Chicago or LA. There are gang members on the stoops drinking beers and drug dealers standing on the corners. How do you reach people? Walk up and smile saying, “Jesus loves you” and handing them a cartoon tract of Willie the ex-drunk? Well, good luck with that approach, I hope you have lots of “faith” so that you can deny away them sticking a gun in your ear or beating you to a pulp.This generation will be unafraid of the world and have no desire to acquire the kingdoms of the world and the glory thereof. And that is why we need them, church.

Sure they are going to be hard to handle. Sure they will question what you do instead of kissing your feet as proper serfs. In exchange for this “gross rebellion”, they will go where the church does not dare to anymore. And what is that worth? Perhaps not much to you. But it is of inestimable worth to God. And that is why we must center our prayers now and brace ourselves up like men and women of God because Lazarus is coming and nobody told him that God was just a hobby.

Practical Prayer part 1

want you to consider something in regards to prayer. In the morning when you first wake up and after taking some stock in your immediate surroundings (making coffee), this is when the enemy and the flesh tend to take advantage of you.

I’ve found that it happens as either a sudden thought in regards to people or a person or an event or circumstance. Attendant to this thought is an emotion or feeling or impression inside of you, either for good or ill.

This sets the tone then of your day. I’ve struggled for years under this, thinking somehow that I could attribute these feelings or impressions to something spiritual. This is basing your faith on subjective emotions.

Take your cue from the Lord’s Prayer which is the pattern Christ himself gave us; the first order of business is, “Our Father”.

In the mornings after getting up, I remember to first of all just simply say ‘good morning’ to God. I make him the subject of my first sentence of the day. Then after taking stock of my surroundings (making coffee), I begin to meditate and confess the nature of our relationship, how he has placed himself in the position of being the one responsible for taking care of me. That he is my Father and has set his will to hear me. That he desires to be my sole source and the supplier of every good thing in my life. I confess and meditate on how he sees in secret and will reward openly, how he knows what I have need of before I ask him, how he wants my joy to be full and how he takes care of my life by looking at a much larger picture than I ever could with my petty perspective and subsequent anxiety.

Faith is not based on emotions or presumptions or impressions or checks in your “spirit”. Faith is based on the love, character, ability and word of God.

Satan’s Cure for Revival: The Sowing of Leaven

Revivals are one of the rarest occurrences in Christianity and for this reason they are also one of the most desired experiences in Christianity. Like the illusion of the rarity of diamonds that causes their prices to remain very high, those things that are rare are the things that we deem as the most valuable. I suspect that it has always been so.

We understand why we think that diamonds or precious stones are very rare but why is revival so rare? Does God simply not desire to show himself in our day? Is he content with all of the charlatans in the pulpits and the sins of society? Is he perhaps so repulsed by all of us that he just would rather keep His distance?

Find yourself in any given Churchian circle and you may find the commonly held belief that there is no revival because we don’t ______ enough. Now, I will leave the blank for you to fill in because it all depends on your little group. Some commonly held entries would be: pray, repent, give, care, travail, laugh, read, etc.

Now there may be some truth to all of these sentiments. Who can argue that not _____ing is a bad thing and certainly not conducive to having a revival? But let me break from the herd here a bit and share what I believe the real problem is. I believe that the reason that they are so rare is mainly due to two reasons: firstly, we are in large part almost totally ignorant of God’s ways and secondly, we are ignorant of the satanic attacks that come as a result of seeking revival. In short, many in the church exhibit on a regular basis the simple inability to understand their own moments of divine opportunity or the satanic resistance to them.

I have watched God move many times over the years and those are the times that I live for. It seems that it is only in that ‘pocket’ that everything lines up for me. I have watched God show up on a Sunday morning in a United Methodist church and the entire congregation got saved with many getting baptized in the Holy Ghost for the first time, demons were cast out there and the Spirit of God forever changed the course of the lives of the people in that small church.

I have watched revival hit a small town in Nebraska with the numbers present at the meetings growing every single night. Tattoo parlors closed down to attend the meetings and the altar was constantly full. All advertising was done by the young people that attended those meetings; they made their own flyers and held placards on the streets. At the end, it was told to me that an entire year of the local bible college was filled with the people that were saved during this revival.

But more often than the times that I have watched great success, I have watched the church’s miserable failure to accurately discern the days that they live in. The Jews were accused of not recognizing the time of their own visitation and I can count off scores of churches who fit into that category. I would tell those in authority that I felt strongly that God wanted to move there and they would smile at me the way that you smile at a 2nd grader telling you what he learned in school that day. And there never has been a move in those places, they are exactly the same or worse off than they have ever been. We have no greater obligation to those who follow us in ministry than to be able to sense when the cloud moves and to follow it no matter the cost and it is right there that I feel most of us miss God when it comes to revival.

Then there are those instances when the church bows to satanic pressure and the assault of the enemy. Now, I believe that these attacks that we have seen hit the church when it has set revival as its goal can be understood as the enemy’s modi operandi, his modes of operation. He does not change them up very often so far as I can tell but why would he when they work so very well for the most part? I have watched many churches and groups torn apart after they started seeking revival simply because they did not know how the enemy was going to attack or because they chose to ignore the fact that he really does attack and attributed the work of satan to the hand of God instead.

Most believers think that they understand what a satanic attack is. We proudly regale one another with tales of our warfare, how the enemy is “after” us or how he has been doing this thing or that to us. I have learned through experience though that most of us have no clue what a real attack looks like, especially one aimed at a church that is seeking revival.

Would it sound far-fetched to you if I were to suggest that there are a few words that the enemy simply loathes? That as soon as those words are uttered across a pulpit, demons scurry to their superiors to inform them? Like the NSA watching emails for certain “buzz words” so too the enemy’s servants are constantly listening for those words that could actually hurt their master’s kingdoms. I imagine that so long as your church does not utter these words in an offensive fashion, you would see no attacks whatsoever. Some call this happy state “favor”; I call it base compromise and a sure sign that you are fulfilling the requirement for being a false prophet and damning those that follow you in the bargain.

Wondering what these words could be? If you want to know, simply look at what has grown to be out of fashion in the American church system and you will quickly begin to deduce them. The Blood, The Cross, Pentecostal, missions, martyrdom, prayer and perhaps the most offensive word to satan and his angels: revival.

I believe that it is important to learn from the defeats of ourselves and others because in understanding how he stops a revival we can understand how to thwart his plans in theory. I say in theory because some people become so determined at these times to agree with satan that no one will ever talk them out of it.

But for the rest of us, there are lessons to be learned and applied as we enter this season in the church. This is the time preceding the greatest harvest the world has ever seen and we must not be unaware of the enemy’s schemes. Many will hear the warning and go on to commit the error laid out, I can not stress this enough. Even if you perfectly lay out the upcoming attack to those around you, the delusion that falls on people is so strong that they will continue in it, justifying themselves as they go.

When seeking God for a revival, the very first attack that comes in is offense that leads to leaven.

Now, that offense may come against any number of things; the church as a whole, the vision of the church, other members of the church, the doctrine of the preachers, all of these are valid targets for this offense. The number one target however is the preacher. Matthew 26:31 says “Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.”

In standing for a revival, the enemy’s number one target is the preacher. Anything is good cause for this offense; his past mistakes, wrongs that he committed, something he said from the pulpit, anything. This is the single best tactic for the enemy to use and the one that he uses more often than any other. He begins to “reveal” problems with the preacher in question, showing you how he is in the wrong. After you see the problem, he begins to show you additional proof until you are totally convinced that there is a serious problem with the man or his message.

In no time you will begin to get “led” to start sharing this information with other members of the congregation, all in order to protect them of course. Soon, you are talking bad about the preacher every single day to as wide of a range of people as you can within the ministry. This culminates until one day you decide that you have had enough and leave the ministry but not without making sure that as many others go with you as possible.

Now this church may have been a place that only a few days or weeks ago you loved. You saw the power of God show up regularly, you loved the preaching or teaching. You were deeply involved in the ministry there and saw the hand of God moving all around you. That is until they started talking about revival. Strangely, that was when you began to see all of these “wrong things” that were being done to you and others. Soon you find yourself getting hit with negative thoughts about the ministry or the preacher day and night until finally you begin to listen. And in no time the very place where you saw God move and felt his hand at work is no longer a part of your life and you and those that you poisoned are left scattered.

This principle is one that the enemy uses constantly and it is called leaven. Leaven as you know is yeast. It is odorless, colorless and tasteless. On its own it can not affect anything but the second that it is introduced into dough, the leaven begins its work. It sets off spreading through that dough, changing it at a molecular level until the last state of the dough is not even recognizable from what it was at the start.

In the church, leaven is introduced into only one person initially. They begin to meditate on a perceived wrong or a fault until their entire disposition towards the person who is the true object of the leaven has changed. After they are fully convinced of the person’s alleged faults, the real purpose of the leaven is revealed as it begins to spread. Because they then begin to confide in others about their struggles and infecting them with the leaven that is killing them. Except of course they manage to leave out key aspects of the true circumstances and communicate their leaven only in such a way as to put their perception under the very best light to back up their claims. This is manipulation and witchcraft that has the sole purpose of destroying a work of God.

The leaven, if unchecked, spreads from one person to another until the whole is leavened and changed. This was the point of satan’s sowing into you the initial offense. It was never about whether or not you were wronged, it was about destroying the work. Most who spread leaven could have had their grievances answered easily but instead opt to sow rebellion and division rather than make amends.

In fact, many people who get leavened live to see their actions as being the biggest mistakes of their life. This is because shortly after the leaven has run its course they begin to see how out of character they were while they were under its influence. They were used by satan under the banner of self-righteousness to destroy something that they had very recently loved. The truly sad thing for these people is that the delusion is never lifted until the damage is done.

What is the solution for leaven? When yeast is introduced into a batch of dough there is only one remedy to stop its spread, common table salt. You must take your stand, hold the line and refuse to make yourself accessible to the enemy. The word says, “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. Proverbs 26:20”.Leaven is stopped by refusing to be a talebearer. If you are so convinced of the wrong that you must leave a work, then leave with peace. Bring it up to the leadership and communicate what you are struggling with and give them the opportunity to either answer the question or release you. It is never your job to destroy a ministry or to pull people out from a church.

However since most of those who get leavened also manage to contract a lethal dose of self-righteousness; you will never be able to convince them to leave peacefully. They will fulfill the lusts of their father, sowing division, strife, tale bearing and slander until they have destroyed everything that they once loved and cut themselves off from the body.

You can tell when someone is under the effects of leaven because they seek to keep it hidden from the one that the leaven is meant to destroy. They will talk to others but not the leader about what is troubling them. This is because they know in their spirit that they are acting under a satanic delusion and yet they can not break free from it on their own. They have opened themselves up to seducing spirits and the lies of satan and those spirits are afraid of bringing it into the light for fear of exposure.

The effects of leaven in the body of Christ can be seen acting much like the spread of cancer in the human body. Normally the cells in the human body work together, dividing and reproducing in a strictly controlled and coordinated fashion. This collaboration keeps each tissue at the size, shape and architecture appropriate to the needs of the body.

Cancer cells violate this collaborative ethos, becoming ‘rogue traders’ that pursue their own agendas for proliferation. Such uncontrolled reproduction leads to the formation of a tumor, which is not necessarily dangerous to the body. But if the tumor becomes more advanced, acquiring nutrients by plumbing into the body’s blood supply and then developing the ability to invade other tissues or colonize other parts of the body, the cancer becomes very hard to stop. These events – the transition from a normal cell to a malignant cancer – are driven by changes to the cell’s DNA.

The lesson is easily seen here: when those who are leavened begin to seek their own agenda in the body, they begin reproducing (leavening) themselves into nearby cells. This leads to the formation of a tumor, a group sharing the exact same leavened DNA and this tumor of people ultimately become cancerous, destroying the local body. Be warned, those who destroy the body can count on one thing- being destroyed themselves. Titus 3:10 says “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.”

The sad fact of the matter is that this is a favorite tactic of the enemy simply because it works so well. We have warned the church before that the attack was coming, urged them to not partake and to stand their ground and yet stood by helpless as the leaven ran its course through the church. It is due to this fact alone that most churches do not see revival. We know of churches that were close to revival and when the leaven began and they started losing people, they immediately crawfished and withdrew from seeking it altogether, going so far as to tell their people to stop praying for revival.

Sadly the enemy never forgets you once you threaten him with revival. He knows that you may utter those words once again and he will not stop until you are destroyed or until he perverts you so thoroughly that you destroy those that God has in your care.

And so once we put our hand to the plow, we simply must not look back. For a church this means to push through the loss of people, the loss of revenue and the loss of friends until you see the revival happen as God had shown you. For revivalists and evangelists we must be ready to stand with churches in seeking revival for as long as they want us. When we are rejected, shake the dust off your feet and move on. The work hasn’t ended, only a chapter of it.

And finally for some of us, we will see the revival occur. And to them that see that, nothing outside of the day that you stand before your Lord will compare with the glory that you behold. You will have paid an awful price for it but the souls that are won to kingdom in the first day alone is more than a bargain, no matter how hard it was getting there.