Illegitimi Non Carborundum.

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Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn?
Remember how she said that
We would meet again
Some sunny day?
Vera, Vera?
What has become of you?
Does anybody else in here
Feel the way I do?

Vera, Pink Floyd

The church gets uncomfortable with real. So let me be as real as I can for you.

You know, I wish I could convey how devastated I am at what the enemy was able to do through my wife. How shocked I was at the events. I wish I could communicate the misery that consumes me because I’ve not spent time with my kids since April 29th. I wish I could let you feel what I feel when she explains I won’t be seeing them and knowing I will have to fight it legally when I don’t want to.
I wish you could plug into my heart so that you could look back over the years and feel that all of it counted for nothing. That my life benefited some with our prayers and teaching but as a minister, you are easily forgotten. I wish you could feel a vision die that you have given everything to or watch people that you love fade into the distance as they seek better things for themselves. You stand holding an empty bag of promises and hope and try to imagine how you can ever hope again.
I wish you knew the gnawing fear in the back of your mind when no one gives and no one prays. The awful realization that despite all of the encouraging one liners, all that you loved is gone and you are embarking on a new journey, sight unseen.

I wish you could feel betrayal by the church. Those that counsel a spouse deeper into sin based on humanism and modernism but never by the Word of God.
I wish many times I would never have been called by God. I wish I would never have met my wife or had those children. Not because they did not give me joy in the past and not because I don’t love them but because the loss of them has hurt me beyond human endurance, I love them too much.

What hurts even more is the seeming silence of God. I saw a missionary online today asking for funds so that he could eat. Not to buy a jet, not to add a new wing onto the church- just eat. But the conservative corporate business model Spirit has so infiltrated the church that we freely equate prosperity and success with the blessing of God. And to those that have, we send more because God is with them. To those that don’t, we ignore because there is obviously something wrong. By those standards, you would have rejected every prophet and preacher in the Bible including Christ himself. I’ve gotten messages telling me to quit begging and go get a job. These people whose only sacrifice for Christ has been to get dressed and go to church once a week sitting back in judgment of someone that has given their life. That’s just par for the course, forgive them Lord.

Funny how it happens after the worst attack in my life as I sit back in awe at the damage, unable to even address the situation and having to move forward into a future when I am honestly worried whether I can trust God or not. There are good days and bad days. There are days that I hurt so bad, I can’t hardly function. There are days when I am locked in place by anxiety because no one wants to give and I am past the point of need. There are days when there is hope and when I can see the good things that are still in my life.

The problem is, I am still limping. I’m better by far but like the old wound that knows rain is coming, I still feel the effects of the worst betrayal and trauma I’ve ever experienced in my life. And I have needed help as I battled illness, I have needed help as I came to terms with PTSD. My life has always been about helping others and I needed some of that.

I still do.

Some of you have communicated that if my needs or goals for the immediate future in ministry are God’s will, he will provide. Then you feel safe in not giving and not praying. Friend, God could plant a perfect field of corn if he desired but he chooses to use farmers. And all the enemy needs to do to shut down a man or woman of God is to convince the church to do nothing.

I have been through a living hell this last year and a half. For a few years before that, I had a breakdown and fell off the map and no one bothered to check on me. I was alone, flustered by the seeming abandonment of God and wrestling with a mental condition that I knew nothing about- ptsd. And no one cared. Those that I did reach out to grew uncomfortable and broke off communication. I needed help, real help, due to the excessive traumas that I have experienced in my life. None came, God was silent, life fell apart, I died.

Yet here I am. Not for your benefit or amusement but because I have nowhere to go but to him. I have lost all in my pursuit of the answers to the salvation of Gen-X. I have made many mistakes along the path as well, believe me. I believe that the need for the answer must be greater than the price paid to attain it.

So here I go into the breach in the enemy’s wall once again. I go to start something that will speak as the oracles of God to a generation with a 3% occasional church attendance rate.  And once again I look for you to hear from God and be his hands of support.

The price has been too dear. The change too complete. The wounds too deep to ignore. I don’t feel ready but I do feel compelled.

Pray about your involvement this time.

JC.

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Eulogy for the American Preacher

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I am sorry. I am sad to report that preparations are underway for the funeral of someone who has been, up to this point, an American mainstay: the Preacher.

I regret to inform you all that in the event of his death, there will be no open casket or even a time of visitation, as most who would have mourned his passing in the past, today would no longer much care.

For those who are unfamiliar with the preacher, his story can be found in virtually every chapter of our American history. He is seen in the first colony that landed on Plymouth Rock and you could find him shaking the windows of Philadelphia and the rest of the 13 colonies during and after the American Revolution. It was the Preacher in those days that rallied the troops and caused the swelling of national pride as he rode far and wide in the Black Regiment.

The preacher was active on both sides of the War Between the States. D.L. Moody served as a missionary on the front, finding out if dying men were saved before they perished. And in the South, the preachers would hold impromptu baptism services whenever they could, sometimes even in the midst of battle and in full view of the enemy.

America has heard the voices of A.W. Tozer and Paris Reidhead preaching a true Prophetic call. We heard the voice of Edwards, Whitefield and Ironside, Roberts and Ravenhill tell us that God was terrifying, loving and infinitely just. They would level a room with their voices expressing the holiness of God and the depravity of man. And in their voice the depraved heard the soft and tender call of the grace of God.

And yet today in America the voice of the preacher has nearly fallen silent. And I am grieved to carry to your itching ears the somber news that the voice that we need to hear now more than ever, may never be heard from again.

The American preacher, that icon of modern religion, the last of a long and noble line, has been on an unpublished endangered species list for decades. And here at the turning of the tide, at that moment when it would seem that we need him the most, his absence leaves a hole that can be felt only by the discerning heart that longs after God.

For in these days of the soft Prophet, the buddy, the encourager and the snake-oil salesman, the voice that calls you to awaken from your hyper-grace induced slumber is not welcome. Who wants to hear someone yell in a service anyway? Who in their right mind wants a return to the days of fire and brimstone when men spoke for God and called the comfortable to repentance and the lukewarm to task? Why should I repent, change, convert, awaken, give, love, serve?

Why should I give anything back in exchange for the grace that I lavish on myself, like the murderer who desperately tries to cleanse his hands under an open tap from the blood that he has just shed?

Who would want a return to those days when the church sought those who were lost, called the prodigal home and the truth searched the hearts of the un-consecrated in the sheepfold? Many eagerly await the news, it seems, that the voice of the preacher has fallen silent for good. That the one who troubled us is gone and his like shall not be seen again anymore.

But the annals of history shall reveal the terrible truth: that should we choose to let the preacher die- we choose to let the hopes of revival and indeed, the salvation of our nation die as well.

And choose it is, have no doubt about that. We choose when we do not pray for those standing between the living and the dead, calling for reinforcements in the battle of the ages. We choose when we withhold support, we choose when we do not attend meetings and we choose when we do not invite them to our churches and communities.

We choose, all of us. And that choice is to leave this nation in the spiritual hands of the mealy-mouthed purveyors of the humanistic Gospel. It is to abandon the morals of our nation to the oversight of those who will not offend the masses- so long as they continue to give. We will give over the helm to those that would abandon absolutes for post-modern questions with no answers, leadership with no authority, eternity with no certainty and doctrine with no foundation, other than the bi-polar whims of the Adonijah that stands before you.

God help us but the church has been all but usurped by businessmen who equate spiritual success with physical numbers and money. And in order to achieve that, they say nothing that may offend. When the goal is numbers and money, why stand for truth?

Who speaks for God today, the High and Holy One that does not look at crowds but individual hearts? Do we remember that He is still the One that overturned the tables of the moneychangers in the temple as they merchandized worship? The one who desires obedience and not sacrifice? The one who rejected the mammon of this world for true riches and told us that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his goods? Will we give over the reins of the Church to those who would attempt to crown Him with those very things that He rejected, as Tozer said?

The American Preacher is not extinct, not just yet. But he is rare enough that even spotting one deserves observance. Like the nature photographer who sees a Siberian Tiger feeding in the wild; it is not impossible but neither is it expected. And how we need him today.

God, raise up prophets once again, those who cry loud and spare not. Give us those who come to the pulpits and the streets fresh from an encounter with your Spirit in prayer. Send us those who carry in their hearts and upon their lips, hot coals from the altar of God. Give us those who are beautifully broken, who do not abuse in anger, but plead in earnestness. Give us those whose passion for you far outstrips their fear of man. Send us the Reformers, the Revivalists, the Repentant who cry for repentance, the Radicals who see no value in mere money but desire justice above all else. Send us our Whitefield and Wesley, our Edwards and Luther.

Deliver us from Adonijah and Absolom, God. And glorify yourself once again in us, in our churches, in our cities and in this land.

Doctrinal Distinctives: Communion

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I want to write a bit here about Communion. When you deconstruct everything and look at it from a new perspective, everything must be prayerfully considered that you put back into place. We have been working on several other elements of the service and giving the folks a chance to acclimatize to the changes week by week. These are big changes, not just in the structure of services but in our Christian worldview as well. It is a lot to digest.

So this last week we began a new Communion service.

We dimmed the lights as everyone sat on beanbags and slowly began to raise the volume of the soundtrack to the evening, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2. We called it the U2charist, you know, we’ve just dressed up the Lord’s Table with a little funky flair, just to keep things relevant…

Sorry, I couldn’t help it. We didn’t do that, put down the pitchforks and torches.

Though I must admit that I had never had all that much use for Communion myself.

Most of those in my circles never had a Communion service either. It was considered to be “religion”. And religion is bad because Pharisees were religious and so if you were religious then you were a Pharisee and not really saved. So, I never had all that much use for Communion because I wanted to be saved and not a religious Pharisee. Get it?

It was just a tradition and as we all knew, Jesus told the Pharisees that “by your tradition you make the Word of God of no effect”.

And so I inhabited a world with no traditions, no ties to the past, no observances and the religion of no religion. I knew more than everyone else and I felt superior that I was so spiritual that I didn’t actually need to be obedient to the commands because in some magical mystery tour way, I appropriated by faith the truth and didn’t need the outward forms.

I mean, I got it and all. I understood the body and the blood and the covenant and whatnot. I just truly felt that so long as you understood the principle, you didn’t need to actually do it. And I am not alone, not by a long shot.

The shift in mindsets can be amazing, can’t it? In the 1600’s, Communion was a four-day event. They all fasted on Thursday, the Pastor would preach a sermon about repentance on Friday, everyone confessed their sins and was questioned on Saturday and then they took Communion on Sunday. What a change from today!

We are all the product of the teaching that Communion is an ordinance to obey, to one degree or another. For most, it is something that you should do once a month or once every six months. For me, it was also one of the driest, most tortuous events in the Church, right up there with board meetings.

To be fair, there were usually those people in the service that really seemed to love Communion and basked in the glow of His love as they went through the forms. And I am not knocking you if you are one of those. I just want you to know that secretly I thought that either you were faking it or that you were a Pharisee, just so you know.

Down to business here, we all know the drill. We get our oyster cracker and teeny little cup of grape juice. The Pastor reads the same Last Supper text that he always has;

“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me”.

This is the part where you eat your oyster cracker after the Pastor says, “Let us partake”. My wife always hated that part when he said that, she always asked who talks like that except the preacher during Communion? I guess they feel like it adds depth to the event. It needs it.

Then the Pastor continues,

“After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.”

Then we are invited to “partake” of the teeny-tiny grape juice cup.

And then they collect the cups and you have done your bit; you have obeyed the ordinance!

Now, I am not going to wax deep on the mystery of Communion, I will leave that to better men than I to do if they feel so led. Books can, have and should be written on the subject and I can do it no justice here. I will say however that I think that we have cheapened the whole event and by our relegation of it to an ordinance and a tradition that we simply obey, we have made it of no effect.

The key for me in the changeover to the Communion that we practice now lay in the verse; “this do in remembrance of me”. I never fully understood that verse, I mean, I know His story and I am quite sure that I won’t forget it. You know, virgin birth, sinless life, loaves and fishes…?

But I don’t think that this is what Jesus meant.

I think that we do forget Him every single day. I also think that the preparation for Communion is there to help us remember that we have forgotten Him and have followed after our own lusts, our pet sins and the omission of Him from who we are all week long.

We forget Him; we completely forget that He is there; the “resident Boss” that Watchman Nee talks about is neither resident in our thoughts nor boss of what we do.

How else could you explain the fact that the majority of Christian men view online pornography, other than they have forgotten Him? Because if they remembered that Jesus was present in them, do you think that they would subject Him to viewing that? Would they allow their eyes to be used that way, knowing that Jesus was in them at that moment?

How about the liar, who swindles people by small white lies? Has he forgotten?

What about the housewife that has not had an affair yet but peeks out the window at the neighbor and wishes? Has she forgotten? Or the church member engaged in gossip, malice or strife, what about them? How about those who split churches, lie on taxes, betray a friend? What of those who are just self-involved, self-important, self-absorbed? Have those who are so narcissistic as to believe that due to the importance of the call of God on their life that they can sow discord, church hop, destroy relationships, and never submit to any authority but their own as climb to the top, have they forgotten who they are and whom they serve?

You bet they have.

Have we all forgotten that we are supposed to be living in identification with Him, crucified with Him? That we died and the life we live, we live by the faith of Him who died for us?

We have forgotten and do forget Him every single day. And the reason that we do not know that we have forgotten him is because we live in a state of anarchy, apart from the rule of law and the heart of God, with no conviction of sin or desire to conform to His death.

And of course the Communion is stale, it is stale because we have, all of us, forgotten Him and we have become stale ourselves.

And this is what I hated, this idea that though we were so full of sin and selfishness, we still partake as if it is nothing because it IS nothing to us. The whole thing meant nothing to almost all involved. You got quiet, sure. You appeared to be reflecting, yes. But nothing happened, not in you and not in the service either. It was a function that you had to do because you were a “christian” and that is all. But that is a lie and not at all what Jesus intended. I was tired of the shallowness and deeply hungry for something meaningful and so I began to study.

So, of course, for our Communion, we again went back to the faith of our fathers.

We have the Ushers hand out small index cards and pens to everyone present. After everyone gets theirs, we ask everyone present to please take some time and write down every sin that they have committed since their last Communion. If they need to get up and walk around, so that people do not see what they are writing, that is fine. But be honest before God and confess your sins.

We then collect the cards from everyone in a single basket and hand them off to one of the Ministers. He then takes them to the front and using the microphone, begins to read off what is written down. He has been instructed that if the sin is obviously attributable to someone, he can skip it.

Everyone is uncomfortable. And you are bowled over by the sheer volume of sin that is present in the church. No different from the world, not a lick different.

We tell everyone to please bow their heads and close their eyes and then ask a few direct questions of them:

1. Do you understand that what you have committed is sin?
2. Do you understand that sin is not to have power over you as your master?
3. Do you know whom it is that you have sinned against?
4. Have you asked forgiveness from the person you wronged?
5. Have you made restitution for what you’ve done?
6. Do you repent for your sins and resolve to pursue holiness in the fear of God?

After this, we pray the prayer of confession:

Let us humbly confess our sins unto Almighty God.

Almighty and most merciful Father, like lost sheep we have strayed from your holy ways, we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts as we have disregarded your holy laws, we have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done. But you, O Lord, have mercy upon us, as we know that you forgive those who humbly confess their faults, and that you restore those who are penitent, according to your promises declared to humankind in Christ Jesus our Lord; Grant to us, O most merciful God, for his sake, that from this day forward we live a godly and righteous life, to the glory of your holy Name. Amen.

The Pastor then asks everyone to stand and he reads over the congregation the Absolution:

The Almighty and merciful Lord grant us absolution and remission of all our sins, true repentance, amendment of life, and the grace and consolation of his Holy Spirit. If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation; the old has passed away, behold the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. Amen.

Our Communion bread is one loaf of bread, which the Pastor breaks, as Jesus’ body was broken. The people are invited to come forward, beginning with the elderly, after them, whole rows of people, starting with the very back. The Pastor holds out the broken loaf on his right and left for the people to take their piece from. A Minister distributes the Communion cups at the sides, after they have taken their piece of the bread.

As the people return to their seats, a brief word is given about what the Body and Blood is for and an admonishment that Communion is the renewal of covenant and the fresh decision to identify in His death, it is submission to the process of God which crucifies our flesh and conforms us to His life. It is the fresh stamp of the Imago Dei on our hearts.

After this, we begin our Lovefeast.

Battlelines: The Preamble

Revolution is about the overthrow of one system for another. In the course of time, two ideas that once co-existed have finally become diametrically opposed to one another. At the outset of revolution, one side remains entrenched in power while the other side actively seeks to supplant it. This is revolution, friends, and never mind what the commercials tell you or what the trendy youth group says that it is. Revolution is messy, divisive, chaotic and uncomfortable. Real revolution is never pleasant; the two different sides will dig in and defend their positions, violently if necessary. This was just as true for David and Saul as it is in our day. When God begins to do a new thing, the old thing starts chucking javelins.

Today we find ourselves in a pre-revolutionary period in the church. All of the pieces are in place if you look for them. They are sitting there, simmering just under the surface, waiting for a spark, a move, a shot across the bow that will send the mighty wheel of revolution turning. This is the calm before the storm, that moment when détente is being practiced by diplomats and people are seeking ways to build a compromise that will leave everyone happy.

But there will be none of that. The gulf between mindsets is too far apart now. The ideas and ideals of the two parties can’t be brought together. Saul knows that David is the next thing, his kingdom is coming to an end and his only legacy will be a cautionary tale of humanism, corporatism, gimmicks and the substitution of the real for the gimmick.

It is my experience that people generally do not want to hear this truth. That is especially true in our world today. What we want instead is a series of affirmations that what we think, feel or do is right. We seek churches that will do this, ministries that will do this and read books that do this. When we hear that something that we have been believing is wrong, we immediately get defensive, it is just our humanist nature, I guess.

The history of the Christian church is one of progressive revelation. At times the church has forgotten this and tried to introduce something that had no basis in what God was previously doing. The result of this is always the same- error, heresy and shame. The Protestant church of the 20th century bears no similarities to the church of the 19th century. The Pentecostals have lost Azusa and the Methodist church only resembles Asbury and Wesley in name only. The Salvation Army has become thrift stores without salvation, an army of retailers and not revivalists. The reformed churches have forgotten Calvin and Knox while the Presbyterians have forgotten Red River.

We have forgotten who we are and have simply started just making things up that felt good to our flesh. But God instructs us his people line upon line, precept upon precept. The revelation of the previous generation becomes your foundation and God then adds to his grand story with the lines of your age.

Like all true revolutions, this one will occur when we make a decision that no matter what, we must get free or die. The disease of the church is systemic and the only ones that support what it has become are the fat cats that profit from it. For the rest of us, we cannot live in the system as it is set up and we can tolerate no compromise with it. And so we, like Moses, must leave the camp and seek God where he is.

The fault of where we find ourselves today can be laid at the feet of a few trends that have become the norm in the last 40 years or so and an older worldview that has infected us to our core. Let me be clear, these methods and worldviews have nothing to do with the progressive revelation of God but are rather compromises with the spirit of the age. And we must begin to see them as exactly that- a hindrance to revival and in enmity with God.

  1. The church growth movement with its emphasis on numbers and money as a gauge of success.
  2. The pragmatic mindset that excuses any gimmick, fad or phase as being from God if it works to appeal to the flesh of men.
  3. The corporate mindset that tells us that we should grow real big and offer everything to everyone, like Wal-Mart, then franchise our product all over. This mindset has caused the exact same “big-box store versus boutique” phenomenon in the church as it has in the world marketplace.
  4. The individualistic mindset that constantly focuses all attention and energy on the all-powerful ME.
  5. Finally, the humanistic mindset that places the highest priority on man and his existence rather than on God and his eternal glory.

This is American Churchianity. And like seeing an embattled and aged Ali sitting ringside at a boxing match, everyone knows what you used to be and pities what you have become.

God willing, this is the start of a new series that will begin to look at each of these things in detail and offer the alternative. What you do with this is up to you. I would encourage you to read what is written, prayerfully consider the implications and then commit yourself to the revolution with wild abandon.

Adonijah: The Substitute

“1 Kings 1:1 Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat. 1:2 Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and cherish him; and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat. 1:3 So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the borders of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 1:4And the damsel was very fair; and she cherished the king, and ministered to him; but the king knew her not.1:5 Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. 1:6 And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he was also a very goodly man; and he was born after Absalom. 1:7 And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest: and they following Adonijah helped him. 1:8 But Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet, and Shimei, and Rei, and the mighty men that belonged to David, were not with Adonijah. 1:9 And Adonijah slew sheep and oxen and fatlings by the stone of Zoheleth, which is beside En-rogel; and he called all his brethren, the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah, the king’s servants: 1:10 but Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not.”

I have clear memories of growing up Pentecostal. From the time I was born my parents carted me off to church services, camp meetings, church fellowships and revivals. The church that they attended was a throwback church; they still practiced “holiness” in their dress and lifestyles.

There was some legalism to be sure but that did not affect me much as a young child. I was kind of good at it actually. One time one of my brothers brought home the Kiss album “Love Gun” on an 8 track and tried to hide it from my parents. I of course found it and did my duty by promptly turning the backslider in to the parental authorities. All in all it was a good life, I was pretty ashamed of their religion at school, but that is par for the course for almost any kid, religion is not a big discussion topic at recess. The services never touched me in any real way; I went along because that is what you did. Even though I never answered an altar call or ‘asked Jesus into my heart’, I was impacted and did not know it. I saw the moving of the Holy Ghost from under the seats with my pillow or slouched down in my chair- the tongues and interpretation, the prophecy given at any time during the service by congregation members, the healings.

Recently while back in Pennsylvania I went back to that church where I grew up. I don’t know what I was expecting but what I got was angry and disappointed. 30 years removed from the scenes burned into my mind and it is only a shell of what it once was. There is no fire, no moving of the Holy Ghost, no tongues or interpretation, no healings. The congregation has dwindled from being a full house to a scant handful that never move, never amen, never clap. And the majority of them were suffering from some kind of illness that is easily, easily healed but no one has the gift of healing anymore. Sunday school is in the morning with the main service at 11 am, everything is all done by noon and everyone heads home.

To someone like me that has an almost allergic reaction to dead religion, it was like being tossed into a ditch full of rag weed and that’s the truth. There is nothing more dead than a dead Pentecostal, nothing more pathetic than someone who has seen God move and no longer does. A dead Methodist or Presbyterian can get excited about the things of the Spirit once they see them first hand. A dead Pentecostal is almost without hope, all that is left is the zombified glaze in their eyes that says “you should have seen God move in 1960.”

For some people my ministry is a bit hard to come to terms with. But if you take a second and juxtapose the dead Trinitarian Pentecostals with the Adonijah-like ministries of today that are parading themselves about as the heirs of revival and the power of God, and then throw an ex-skinhead into the mix with memories of A.A. Allen and the Pentecost of old, you start to get the picture I think. I know what the move of God looks like and what I see isn’t it. Some may think that I am stuck in the past, I just don’t like the ‘new thing’ that God is doing. But I am all for non-conventional ministry, friend. I have two full tattoo sleeves on my arms, I have a shaved head and wear Doc Martins when I preach, and I teach MMA to men’s groups- I have no issue with not being conventional. In fact, the holiness circles take issue with me most times; I am not allowed to preach because of how I look or because of my past.

No, I do not take issue with any ‘new thing’ God is doing, I take issue with lying snakes who try to pass themselves off as servants of God when the only God they know is their own belly. I hate religion (the worship of God in His absence) more than anything and what I see demonstrated on a daily scale in the American church is nothing more than a counterfeit moving of the Holy Ghost in many, many places.

I am afraid that we live in an age of substitution. We have exchanged the truth of God for a lie and have watered down the power of God until the only place where anything is happening spiritually are the gatherings of the gold dust chasers and bird feather idolizers. And we dare ask where the power of God has gone! It left about the time you substituted the moving of the Holy Ghost for “left-leg anointings” and threw the word of God out the window so that you could base everything on your subjective experiences alone. Hear me; This generation is the generation of substitutes, the generation of Adonijah.

Take a look around you, there are egg substitutes for your health, meat substitutes, and health substitutes, drugs to calm you, balance you, and placate you into a sense of normalcy. We watch reality shows so we do not have to deal with our own reality or maybe it is because theirs is so much more exciting than our own. And the desire for truth and reality beats inside of us, driving us to run from one substitute to the next in order to placate our own feral desires.

Adonijah lived in just such a time. David the King was still alive, bedridden in the palace, his glorious youth and conquests behind him now. The legend lay dying in his bed. The people had heard of course of this mighty man. But they lived in an age where the recent memory of events was near enough to insure them not being discounted as rumor or fabrication and yet far enough away to cause a desire to move out of the limbo and possess something real.

Adonijah determines that since David is old now and advanced in years and had never really come against him for what he did that David’s silence was really his approval of Adonijah as his heir. And so he gathers men to himself that knew David in his prime and who hold respect among the tribes of Israel and declares himself King.

Now watch this.

The people, in the absence of a “David” quickly became dazzled by the substitute. They saw the parade and the hoopla and assumed that it must be true. For wouldn’t the king strike him down if he were not? Surely if it were not something the king condoned he would take action against this grandstanding, right? And so the people chose the parade as proof of position. Two things we can discern this far into the story. Firstly, substitutionary bait is always presented during the winter of transition. Secondly, people will always judge the internal workings of the spirit by the external evidence most easily grasped by them.

In an age where David is gone (or bedridden) the people long for a return to the days of the golden king in his kingdom and the glory of God’s return to the temple. The early years of David’s reign were heady days indeed for Israel. To go without his charisma and prowess and to suddenly find themselves with no king would be a very difficult proposition. Enter Adonijah’s parade. Here a powerful, “good” young man enters the city with attendants and the vestments of royalty flying about him. Some of the king’s men were there as well, flanking him, showing the natural progression from the age of David to the age of Adonijah. The purpose was to woo the people of Israel into accepting a King not chosen but posturing as if he had been. Because if they accepted the pomp as evidence, if they looked to the young man Adonijah as the new king, Solomon would be out.

What a powerful, transitional time. In essence, the people chose their path that day. By buying the substitute they would lose the real thing. These people did not know Adonijah, knew very little about him personally. And so they could not judge him as a man or a king. All they could see was the external evidences that did not line up all the way with how things should be but were more impressive than Tim the blacksmith’s resume that lived down the street. And how easy to overlook the original requirements of position when to do so would mean losing the substitute which is all you have!

“Any port in a storm”, as it were.

I submit that we are living in a time of transition. An age where there is no David riding into the city and God is silent about his opinion. And so the masses look around for some sign from God as to who his choice is and when they get none, they choose based on the size of the crowd, by the slickness of the marketing and by the word of the imposter. And the response of the Adonijah is never to try and fill the shoes of David; they don’t have that in them. They are opportunists who carefully measure risk and gain. No, they would never attempt anything that would mean faith because nothing they do or have ever done is by faith but rather a substitute, depending on their own charisma instead. Let’s look at what Adonijah did.

1 Kings 1:39 So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David’s mule, and brought him to Gihon. 1:39 And Zadok the priest took the horn of oil out of the Tent, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, Long live king Solomon. 1:40 And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.

1:41 And Adonijah and all the guests that were with him heard it as they had made an end of eating. And when Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, Wherefore is this noise of the city being in an uproar? 1:42 While he yet spake, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came: and Adonijah said, Come in; for thou art a worthy man, and bringest good tidings. 1:43 And Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, Verily our lord king David hath made Solomon king: 1:44 and the king hath sent with him Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and they have caused him to ride upon the king’s mule; 1:45 and Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king in Gihon; and they are come up from thence rejoicing, so that the city rang again. This is the noise that ye have heard. 1:46 And also Solomon sitteth on the throne of the kingdom. 1:47 And moreover the king’s servants came to bless our lord king David, saying, Thy God make the name of Solomon better than thy name, and make his throne greater than thy throne: and the king bowed himself upon the bed. 1:48 And also thus said the king, Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, who hath given one to sit on my throne this day, mine eyes even seeing it.

1:49 And all the guests of Adonijah were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way. 1:50 And Adonijah feared because of Solomon; and he arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.

So, after his ascent to a supposed throne, he sat back with his friends and basked in the coup by feasting. You see, it was never about Israel or leading the kingdom. No, Adonijah wanted the position but never had the heart God looks for. He would never have served in silence, suffered for the lost, given his last for the other hungry person beside him. He was a pretender and God knew it. That is why God never backed what he did with anything resembling a show of support – because while the people looked on the outward show, God knew the heart of the matter.

God, that we could see the heart of the matter today. We must see that our desperate substitutions are the replacement of tomorrow’s heroes. How tragic that the more real a leader in today’s church is, the more unpopular he is. A minister in today’s society must play the game as the masses and his contemporaries insist. The ministry is a business, a career that you must navigate with all the savvy of an upstart young businessman of Wall Street or die. You must say what the people want you to say, do as they insist you do. You must never color outside the lines; you must never be angry or rail against the system. You must be all things to all men, yes amen, and that means saying what every group wants to hear. That, they tell you, is Jesus’ way. I beg to differ; I say that is the way of Adonijah. The crowd frenzy, the pomp, the kissing of babies. That is the way of the impostor and supplanter.

We must discover where we went wrong, where we left the faith of our fathers that saw the glory of God shake nations. Whether you are Pentecostal and Charismatic, it does not matter, the heritage is a spiritual one and one that we must seek again with our whole hearts. Or we may just be left with an Adonijah on the throne instead of the Solomon that God wants us to have.

The Revival Manifesto

It is our intention that in reading this manifesto that you will endeavor with us to make a change. You must be the change that will send shockwaves through your home, schools, work and communities. Only when you become the change in yourself that you desire to see spread across this country do we have any hope at all of achieving the goals of this revival in our generation. The manifesto that we declare is not a comfortable one but it is one that we feel is necessary to usher in the move of God within our generation today. This is our Bushido, our code, that sums up what we feel is required of us in this age.

Take it and make it your code as well. Take your place in this army and live as if you meant it. No compromise, no sellout!

1. We determine to let go of all the things that have infected the church and our lives with the lies of our enemy. We will not settle and we will not be bought off by comfort or the acclaim of men.

2. We determine to not view our Christian life as a lifestyle choice any longer; rather, as we have been completely remade in God’s image and likeness we should live as representatives of Christ here on earth.

3. We determine to live as if those lives were not our own anymore; we were bought with a price. Because of this, we will not seek our own comfort until we have first served the Master.

4. We determine that there is no price too great for a move of God in our day. We will pray and fast, seeking God with our whole hearts until the fire falls in our generation.

5. We determine to speak the truth in love to everyone we meet. We will seek God for opportunities for power encounters with the enemy. We will preach and live without compromising God’s message to our world.

6. We determine that we will seek to be reconciled with our brothers and sisters in the church, using their wisdom to balance our zeal. And in so doing, serve God by serving His church.

7. We determine to study to show ourselves approved, never taking pet doctrines and always relying on the whole counsel of the Word to insure we do not fall into deception.

8. We determine to live every day as if Christ will return tomorrow, never missing an opportunity to share the Gospel and never getting so comfortable we do not have our jars full of oil at all times.

9. We determine to shun religious prejudicial thinking. We will not avoid the world for fear of getting unclean; instead we will hold forth the Light in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. We understand that it is not through avoiding the world that conviction falls upon them, rather, it is through standing righteously near them that they can begin to see their fallen state.

10. We determine that we are in a very real battle whose outcome will determine the very course of the world. As this is the case, we will live as enlisted soldiers, taking our orders, following our code and running to whatever battles the Lord is pleased to put in front of us. We will watch our flanks, protect our brothers and care for our wounded, never leaving a man behind.

11. We determine to fight viciously until the very end. Every stronghold will be focused on, every distraction that our enemy calls his, we will not partake of in our lives. Holiness is not a mark of the religious Pharisee, legalism is. Holiness is a mark of maturity in Christ and we determine to take no comfort of the flesh that would make Christ in us uncomfortable.

12. We determine to learn to pray in a way that gets the results that God demands in the earth. His need must come first in all of our prayer time, his will must come first in all of our seeking. We must rediscover how to pray through until we get through and reestablish the importance of intercession in our world.

13. We determine to accept the fact that when you fire at the enemy, he fires back. We accept this as par for the course and will bravely hold the line with those beside us. To do this, we will adopt an outlook of grace and love for our brethren that will counter any divisions the enemy seeks to exploit within our ranks.

14. We determine to crush our enemy and give our lives as sacrifices to God until He visits us with an unprecedented move of His Spirit. The question that must be raised is no longer, “Will you live for Christ?” But rather, “Will you die for Him?” We are therefore living martyrs, looking for a city whose builder and maker is God.

15. We determine to live out the principles of redemptive suffering in our lives. If we can answer a need in someone’s life then we should not ask God to do so. If we must suffer at times then let it be for the relief of others! We are here to serve to world by our hunger, thirst, lack, plenty and prosperity.

This revival is for you. You have come into the Kingdom for a time such as this. But it will wait for no single person. Your spot is not guaranteed in heaven’s honor roll, you must fight hard to win it. If that is your desire above all else—you can start right now by saying,

“Let this revival start in me.”