Wednesday, August 30, 2006

To Believe

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved".

To believe. What is it to believe? Imagine a man living in a certain neighborhood and he says there is a trillion dollars buried in his backyard. That is an outrageous claim, and all his neighbors do not believe it. They watch him, but he does not dig. There are two possibilities concerning his level of belief in his outrageous claim. One, he does not believe it himself. Two, he is either lazy or eccentric and his lack of outward commitment (digging) to his claim perpetuates his neighbor's unbelief. There is a third possibility. Suppose this man starts digging. One day - two days - three, four, and on and on. Even if his neighbors still refuse to believe his claim, they now believe HE believes it.

Let us cull out one fact that we say we believe as followers of Jesus and His teachings. We say we believe that there is a place called "hell". This is an incredibly hard teaching to believe. Hell - a place where people go to spend eternity, FOREVER. Tormented in the "lake of fire", FOREVER. Think about it. If the Word of God had taught that hell was for ten billion years, and then you got another chance, that would be HORRIBLE. But God tells us that this unspeakable place of indescribable suffering is FOREVER. This is almost impossible to believe. Oh, we believe the Word teaches it, but do WE believe it? Like the man who doesn't dig in his yard, what does our behavior say about our outrageous claim? Stop and pause. Right this moment there are people spending their first moment in hell. They are not only experiencing complete and excruciating pain, they are realizing they are there FOREVER. They have lost everything, and they are now irretrievably separated from God Himself. It is over and there is nothing they can do. This teaching is IMPOSSIBLE to believe in the natural. Yes, we believe the Bible teaches it, and we wrap ourselves with our self-righteous orthodoxy, but do we believe it?

I have been convicted and exposed by God's precious Holy Spirit. I believe God's Word teaches it, but I do not fully and completely embrace that truth in my own life, as well as other teachings (prayer, the filling of the Holy Spirit, the power of His Word, total surrender,...). I am repenting of this sin, but how do I commit myself fully to not only this teaching, but all the teachings of God's Word? I can hear my flesh saying, "Calm down, you are going to lose your mind. You are so negative".

But God is my Shepherd, and I know His voice. This may not be for anyone but me, and I am far from special. But I cannot help but follow the Spirit's leading to step through the gate, into the courtyard, into the Holy Place, and finally into the Holy of Holies, God's Presence. You see, I am losing MY mind and seeking His! This journey will cost dearly, but like the merchant man who sold everything to buy one pearl of great price it is worth it. Press, press, press toward the mark. We live in a time in which there are enemies all around us. Liberal theology, emergent thinking, seeker approaches, and so many others that if we are not careful we will end up spending our precious God given gift of time searching out the surrounding hills while leaving the only One to whom we should be completely devoted to. He is infinite; He is unsearchable; He is our life; He is beyond words; He is high and lifted up; and He is Lord. Can you not hear His voice, of many waters, calling us right now? "Come and dine". Would you give the rest of your earthly life to spend ten minutes in His visible presence? After ten minutes praising and worshipping his actual visible presence we would discover that this present life is but a vapor while, in fact, He is our life.

Oh halleluiah, to know HIM, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings. He has offered His presence to us, let "diligently seek Him", and receive the reward He has promised - HIM!!! If you hear His voice, let's start digging, for there is treasure beyond our wildest dreams waiting to be discovered. Jesus Himself is at the end of the tunnel. Halleluiah!!!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

His Preeminence

Col.1:18 - And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.

The First. The Last. The Beginning. The End. The Alpha. The Omega. The King of Kings. The Lord of Lords. How much clearer can the Father make it to show us that not only is His Son supposed to be center and head of everything, He is. It is impossible to overemphasize the Lord Jesus Christ as it pertains to anything, but we are prone to de-emphasize Him at every turn. With the passing of all the centuries history books have taken notice of many people and events that we as men have labeled as "important", but in the secular books of history Jesus of Nazareth has been given a limited place of recognition, usually just acknowledging His sayings. But His human masquerade has hidden the recognition of who He was, is, and always will be. Elohim. Theos. God. And when the Holy Spirit unveils who Jesus is and supernaturally leads us by faith to recognize and acknowledge our Creator and Savior, we say with Isaiah "Woe is me, for I am undone!". To say that that is the greatest moment of our lives is to use a comparative term about which there is no comparison. This empty earthly journey is swallowed up in Him. Jesus, Yeshua, Joshua. Look no further, He is everything for evermore.
That there is a God is somewhat obvious against the backdrop of creation. If the Creator of the universe somehow communicated to mankind that every January 1st He would appear for one hour in the night sky for everyone to see Him, it would be the event around which the entire year would revolve. What sporting events would be scheduled to conflict with that even? Hair cuts? Lawn mowed? Documentaries throughout the year would rerun the footage over and over while analyzing its meaning. This one hour appearance would have the preeminence over all the other events of the year.
Well God did reveal Himself to the entire world for 3 1/2 years as a man. And then He inhabited every follower with Himself so that the world can see the Creator every day through the lives of His children. And oh what a treasure for those of us who have seen, and heard, and have handled by faith His very person and in so doing we have been changed forever. The majesty and glory of His presence is immeasurable. He, and He alone, must have the preeminence in ALL things. Shortly there comes a time when He claims His throne in the very city of Jerusalem, to rule and reign over that which has always been His.
Today, men like ants run to and fro about their own business and "grabbing all the gusto" as if this life was all there is and the coming eternity a hoped for wish. And to spend a little time with Jesus is considered part of a well rounded lifestyle which provides Spiritual energy to help promote us as a contributing and prospering member of this fallen culture. When I became a follower of Jesus of Nazareth in 1975 I entered a Christian community that had already been poisoned by a series of layered deceptions that are today not only not recognized, they are celebrated. I was told that a good Christian tries to have "devotions" during the week. Devotions are defined as a few minutes reading the Bible and some prayer. Even with the embarrassment of that paltry offering exposed, most Christians don't even do that! But why wasn't I told that when I bowed before Jesus as Lord He was to be my only searching desire for the rest of eternity? I should have been told that the "Christian community" was completely consumed with entertainment, TV, movies, possessions, music, politics, and most of all money. I do remember a comical figure named "Rev. Ike" in New York telling every one that God wanted to bless them with money, but back then he was dismissed as an aberration. Today he must be considered a forerunner!
Jesus no longer has the preeminence in the midst of His own church and to openly preach Christ and Him crucified is considered unsophisticated, non-intellectual, and only applicable when directly connected with some earthly relevance. Only God can sort out the awful mess about who really is a Christian. Around the world believers are being persecuted and martyred by the millions while here we blend. With the end coming closer every day there still is no urgency; there still is no sacrifice; there still are no all night prayer meetings; there still is no utter brokenness before our Holy Father God. This is no search of the holy grail nonsense, this is the revelation of the Laodecian mixed multitude that we were born into, and you and I are part and parcel of it. I have come to realize that the only hope we have is personal revival that changes us and glorifies Him before He comes. There is a glory of grace that will crown the King of Kings drawn from any life, no matter how insignificant here, who repents and becomes consumed with following Him exclusively and completely outside the dictates of this culture. And without a self righteous attitude, but with a consecrated humility that acknowledges that "in me no good thing dwells". You and I may not be able to convince any one about seeking Christ, but our eternal inventory before Him will only be "what did we do personally". We must never become immersed with changing the backslidden church, we can only be immersed in Him. As I take stock of my own situation it is daunting. But the reward of seeking His face far outweighs the sacrifice. He will always be worthy!
If all the scientists gathered in a world wide news conference and unveiled a discovery that a huge asteroid would collide with and destroy the earth in three years what would be our response? Would we join with the world to try and send up a rocket to divert its course or would we fall on our faces and in repentance rise to urgently spread the gospel of Jesus Christ? But what if after the news conference the networks returned to their regular programming, and as much as you searched you could never find any other information about this coming asteroid? Nothing on nightly news shows, no documentaries, no periodicals, and nothing on the internet. And when one lone newsman caught up with one of the scientist and inquired about his discovery he replied that, yes, he still believed it. When the reporter pressed him about the lack of change in his behavior the scientist replied that he had told people about it and now its up to them. You and I would not believe him or his discovery. The Lord Jesus is returning to earth in divine wrath (unimaginable) and although we do not know the day and we say that we are convinced of the event, but our lifestyle completely belies such an incredible proclamation. Preachers are invited on TV talk shows and have polite and innocuous religious discussions that are appropriate for the television audience, but where is the passionate warning that indeed at least indicates that the preacher really believes it? As we one day stand before the Great Whit Throne and watch lost sinners pass by, will we not feel then that we have mishandled the truth and maybe, just maybe, had we discarded our sophistication and relevance and preached the whole truth in love and passion and stripped of our cultural hedonism, many could have been saved. I know one thing, those who will be cast into the lake of fire will wish we had.
But there comes a day, with no siblings heretofore, when we will be given the privilege to openly, not just in the midst of a church congregation, but before the entire world bow before Him and joyously, lovingly, loudly, reverently, and eternally proclaim "He is Lord". Those would be the musings of a madman if it were not to be so gloriously true! I have been in congregations of many thousands singing praises together to Jesus in our midst, and there were times it seemed as if I was carried away in the Spirit. But that will be but a taste of the coming pageantry when in the midst of millions of saints and angels we will sing together with the full power of the Spirit Himself "Crown Him with many Crowns"! And He will actually be before us, allowing us to worship Him, and filling eternity with His unspeakable glory! Who can know it!?
Do not short change heaven, His dwelling place. As we now anticipate entering that city whose builder and maker is God, on that day we will rejoice seeing Him, high and lifted up, having ALL THE PREEMINENCE THE HE DESERVES FOREVER!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What I Have Learned

Col.2:8 - Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

For the last year I have been called by God to hear and speak out against the avalanche of apostasy that now passes for evangelical thought. These are a few of the things I have learned.

In the language of the new religious order, NRO, the Scriptures are a launching place and not the final, substantive authority. The Word has become an interesting literary piece that now encourages new and fresh looks, not as to deepen obedience and worship, but to find culturally inclusive ways to secretly spread whatever truth they might represent. Wow, that sounds like them doesn't it? I cannot fully convey how surprised, angry, and brokenhearted I am when I read some of the things that are now accepted in "Christian" circles. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who should have the pre-eminence in all things, has been relegated to an afterthought and has been portrayed as someone who came as an example of how to live, with the cross simply a Spiritual post mortem. Oh how the precious Holy Spirit must grieve when He sees the worthless wisdom of man taking the glory that belongs to the Risen Lamb of God. The Apostle Paul preached Christ and Him crucified, and in today's "Mar's Hill" genre the crucified Christ is barely mentioned except to insist that they still believe in Him.

Can you imagine having to protest about your faith in Jesus the Christ, but in former generations they were persecuted for their open and committed discipleship of the Savior. You hear them on interviews, you read their articles, and you see them quoted by quasi-intellectuals who act like they are playing a Christian Dungeons and Dragons that only some can fully understand and interpret. When all the while they are the ones who have been pulled into the snare of the evil one by appealing to their fleshly mind and filling their hearts with false pride. Their is nothing new under the sun, and the Scriptures, written and preserved by the Holy Spirit, are the literal Word of the Living God. Simple, profound, gentle, powerful, guiding, life changing, and in the end it will be the same Word that will judge the universe. God honors His Word above His name and by this falling away we know it is the last time. Oh I know many have said that before and even today some claim the events of Revelation have passed already, but God will laugh and have them in derision. The Lord God Almighty gave His only begotten Son and He will not compromise His Son's glory.

The Father watched in agony as His Son, the mystery of the Trinitarian family, suffered an eternal death for all mankind while the Father himself turned His face from Jesus' face. We don't speak much of the Father's suffering, come to think about it we don't speak much of the Son's suffering either. It is an incredible and hostile slight to intellectualize the sacrifice of God - Father, Son, Spirit - and to purposely wander into an evil abyss called the mind and sit around a comfortable table of philosophy and muse about the coming contortions that the church must go through in order to appear relevant to this depraved and Christ hating world. Oh these Spiritual pirates have boarded the old ship of Zion and have pillaged and raped the truth and have drawn away disciples unto themselves and have become the last day profiteers selling their own falsehoods instead of God's Truth. No talk of all night prayer, no talk of heart felt contrition, no talk of delving into the revealed Word of God, no, these religious pimps offer the Hebrew before they even attempt to obey the English. And the lowly Son of God masquerading as the Son of man is maligned and misrepresented as some kind of new age wanderer who invites Spiritual uncertainty.

But this, my friends, is not the Jesus I met and fell completely in love with 31 years ago, and if any of them are truly saved this was not the Jesus they met either. This new Jesus must be learned and the attributes that He reveals to a new follower must be reprogrammed by wicked and evil men. Culture, the poor, church, music, and on and on go the subjects that men make verbal obeisance before without falling before the infinitely more valuable subject of the King of Kings. And I have learned that these men of a thousand faces cannot be changed or even affected by argument or Scripture, they have entrenched themselves in the dunghill of their own religious refuse and in fact they relish the endorphin rush of meaningless verbal combat, it feeds their flesh.

So let us continue to present the truth in power and love, and yes lifting up the written revelation of God's Word - unashamedly.

"The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds". "...they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise..." "For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth". "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord". "Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof, from such turn away". "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine". "For the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword...". "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God". "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost". "...even as there shall be false teachers among you who privily shall bring in damnable heresies...".

"And I saw heaven opened and behold a white horse, and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He doth judge and make war; His eyes were as a flame of fire and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written that no man knew but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; and His name is called...


If you have seen and heard what I have shared then you understand. If not, I ask you to open your heart to the Holy Spirit. And you are right, I am a nobody.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Mystery of Iniquity

II Thess.2:7 - For the mystery of iniquity doth already work...

In 1973 a small water valve at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant became stuck and the water that was supposed to keep the nuclear core from overheating drained out. As the technicians watched the instruments show the increasing temperature, they became convinced it was a sensor malfunction. They had wrongly assumed that the core was still immersed in cooling water when in fact it was completely exposed. Only hours before a complete catastrophic core meltdown occurred was the problem fixed.
This world is rapidly reaching a Spiritual meltdown. The Bible clearly identifies many signs as we reach the end, but we seem to be ignoring the warnings and trusting the worldly instrument panels. The frog in the pot is boiling and the devil is telling him that the heat is God's blessing. Over thousands of years iniquity has morphed into a many pronged, organized assault that is now, according to the Scriptures, accelerating its attack being well aware of the coming end. Evil is conducting a demonic "Aurora Borealis" that has the entire world cluelessly transfixed. Spiritual deception isn't coming, it is here world wide. There is an amazing spread of Islam, Europe is engulfed with humanism, South America is steeped in Roman Catholicism, Asia is caught in oriental mysticism, Africa is mostly unreached, and the western church continues to push the snooze button with every alarm.
The man of sin, the antichrist, probably works behind the scenes already. Think about it, what does the entire world long for? Money. You can kill 6 million Jews and normal people will look the other way as long as the economy flourishes. You can kill 25 million unborn babies and once a year in January we'll have a "lifeday", but if we all lost our jobs we would storm Washington. With the western church now believing that God wants to shower everyone with material "blessings", we have entered into a deception that is an incubator for the final, global delusion that will deceive the entire world, save a small remnant. And the voices of correction measure their volume with whispers while the falling church world is deafening. Iniquity is a violent Spiritual weapon that finds it's way through every country, every culture, every home, every church, and ultimately into every heart. If those of us who have been delivered by God's blood only knew the extent of "so great salvation" as provided by the Son of God we would be immobilized to worship constantly.
This is not some board game. Those of us who believe that Jesus will take His church out of this world before the Great Tribulation period begins have preached it so exclusively that we no longer feel any danger approaching all around us. What if we are wrong? When will we start a prayer life, when the antichrist rules the world? When he confiscates all our possessions and money, will we then wish we had used them for the furtherance of God's Kingdom? Today's prophets will not warn us, they are telling us "uplifting" things, and we like to have it so. We don't like bad news, even if it is truth. Remember, we're Americans and nobody tells us what to do!

But with time running short, there is good news that should propel us to dwell under the shadow of the Almighty!

Like a spiral staircase cascading downward, time is carrying us constantly closer to the end, and yet the brilliant beginning of an unfolding glory that cannot even be imagined. A shadow here and a silhouette there, the things that our Savior has prepared for us go far beyond the realm of human intellect. If all the pleasures, and all the miracles, and all the blessings, of all God's people here on earth were recreated in a single moment, not only would it not compare, it will not even be worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. The Creator of the universe is going to glorify us with His glory and make us like Him. We can't even describe what His glory really is because no man has seen God and lived. Our wildest imagination is a poor looking glass into the supernatural reality which will unveil the Risen Christ in all His resurrected Majesty - right before us all. To bow, to weep, to praise, to sing, to gasp, to gaze, to thank, to prostrate, and to wholly, without any distraction, worship the King.
When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai he had to wear a veil over his face because of the residual glory of God. The Word declares that when God released Israel from captivity they "were like them that dreamed". When Solomon dedicated the Temple the priests could not stand up because of the glory of God. Paul proclaims that the glory of God is in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we who struggle to have our own way; we who spend most of our day seeking our will; we who look for and plan ahead for our pleasures; we who have sinned against the God who saved us; we who "set aside" a little time with Him and hope He appreciates it; we who pass people daily for whom Jesus died and say not a word;

Yes we, by the unsearchable depth of God's grace -

Eternal praise to Jesus, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ashamed of Jesus

Matt.10:32-33 - Whosever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.

What is it to deny Jesus before men? It not only means a total denial as did Peter, but there is now a raging but ever so subtle denial that much of the church has bought into, no matter how well intentioned. Jesus said, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me". But somehow the evangelical world has thought better of that command and they have replaced lifting up Jesus with "enticing words of men's wisdom"(men's wisdom - an oxi-moron). But with all the sales strategies, the drawing cards, the deceitful promises, the feel good messages, and the verbal messaging designed to make the narrow road wide, the church world has made Jesus an appendage and a sidelight. He is neither. Can a person be saved because they've been promised Jesus would help their finances, or heal their marriage, or heal their body, or any other spurious promise? It is an incredibly dangerous gospel that entices sinners with what Jesus can do for their earthly life and obscures His only offer of eternal life. You see the true gospel calls us to FORSAKE OUR EARTHLY LIVES AND FOLLOW JESUS!!

Jesus didn't promise to make Peter a better fisherman, or make Matthew a better tax collector, and indeed He called them to leave their earthly attachments. God didn't help Paul with his oratory, or his health, or certainly not his finances. All those things were "dung" because these men had seen Jesus. That's the problem today, even preachers haven't seen Jesus with the eyes of their heart and they preach another Jesus, an American, capitalist Jesus. The average evangelical church used to preach a steady diet of the cross, but today try and find an entire message on the cross. They are so ashamed of the Suffering Savior they gave Him an "extreme makeover" so people would like Him. They are ashamed to be spit upon with Him; they are ashamed to be mocked with Him; they are ashamed to be rejected with Him; they are ashamed to be born in a cattle stall with Him; they are ashamed to be scourged with Him; they are ashamed to be called "Beelzebub" with Him; they're ashamed of everything about Him so they lie about Him! Our Wonderful and Glorious Savior infinitely humbled Himself for our sake but carnal men parade their fallen intellects for deceived listeners to applaud and follow, and yet they claim to represent Jesus.

In the midst of a putrefying, blasphemous, perverted, greedy, adulterous, and wretched culture these men are honored by this same culture, but Jesus whom they claim to represent wasn't honored but murdered. If these men had been the preachers in the book of Acts there never would have been any "Foxe's Book of Martyrs". King Agrippa would have been a Sunday School teacher; Cornelius wouldn't have needed conversion; Herod would have been welcomed to say a few words in the church every election year; Alexander would have been commissioned to help decorate the church, and Rick Warren would have spoken at the annual convention of the Judaizers to help them grow. They have massacred our Blessed Lord and in so doing they have stripped Him of who He is and removed true worship for millions who have never known the living and true Christ. Preachers line their pockets, homosexual churches by the thousands, rock stars speak at Christian conventions, salvation without Jesus, and clowns lead worship. Churchgoers by the millions who read as much Bible during the week as Hugh Hefner attend the service and feel good. That's right, many have cursed, drank, watched cable, didn't pick up the Bible, and filled their lives throughout the week with selfish pleasures and yet they leave the service happy? The apostle John, who had so often reclined on Jesus' chest, fell down as though dead in the presence of the exalted, Risen Christ! Where is that Jesus today?

So what is our calling? We must not only "contend earnestly for the faith" but we must also press on, press in, and press toward Jesus Himself. I have personally found it easier to see the error in these false teachers than to pray for an hour. Come on, be honest. While we expose this "falling away" let us lay ourselves prostrate on God's Holy Altar and let the Sword of the Spirit rend our hearts and fill it to overflowing in obedience and worship to the Lord who opened our eyes as He changed our lives. We must never lose sight of the fact that there is a multitude of lost people who know nothing of these ecclesiastical battles, and they desperately need to know our wonderful Lord and Savior before it is too late. And finally our eternal enemy is not flesh and blood by any name, it is Lucifer himself. And though the entire world forsake the Lord Jesus we must be vigilant and faithful to love Him, follow Him, and preach His Word to the uttermost parts of the world!

Jesus, we are not ashamed of you. We are sometimes ashamed of people, sometimes the church, and sometimes we are ashamed of ourselves.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Spiritual Pedophiles

I Cor.3:1-3 - And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat, for hitherto you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able. For you are yet carnal.

The vast majority of evangelical church goers must be classified as babes in Christ. With little if any meat being taught in the average activity laden local assembly, topped off by a Sunday morning thespian extravaganza complete with entertaining special effects, the average Christian has no real opportunity to grow. Now only God knows who has been born again and belong to Him, but suffice to say most of those who are saved are babies in Christ. Like a giant Spiritual daycare center the "leadership" plans many activities to keep the attention of these little ones because, as in the natural, their attention span is very short and they demand constant attention and entertainment. Like jingling keys in front of infants these baby believers are carnal and need a constant diet of special singers, special speakers, special days, special videos, special programs, special themes, special offerings, and all sorts of attention grabbers. So as the high priced chaperones sit in the ecclesiastical park and watch the babies play on the various swings, jungle gyms, and see saws as provided by these hirelings and paid for by the babies' own money, along comes some familiar strangers to the "park".

Now these strangers are very friendly and sociable and they readily make friends with the overseers. With promises to the daycare heads of unlimited growth and with that increased income, the trained workers have made a treacherous alliance with these strangers. These strangers embrace an attractive policy that has been around since Eden's sanctuary and they express an outward love and affection for these babies. They don't have to secretly climb an unguarded section of the playground fence, no, they walk right through the main gate held open by the ones that have been entrusted to care for the Spiritual well being of these little ones. Oh these strangers are particularly subtle and creative, they can't be recognized as Mormons, Jehovah's Witness, or other well known strangers that would have never been allowed into the playground. No, they wear a bright badge of "evangelical" and without any screening they pass right through as invited guests.

Now once inside these "guests" unfurl a vast array of bright trinkets that quickly draw enormous crowds of unsuspecting babies. With spiritual candy they entice the carnal youngsters, and soon they have made friends and followers that throw away their milk in favor of this new and effervescent, spiritual elixir that seems to satisfy what their flesh has been craving. Oh how wonderful are these new "evangelicals"! But as everyone seems to be having a great time they keep hearing cries from outside their playground.

"after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock"

"even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies"

"And they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables"

"Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness"

"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ"

"and through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you"

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith..."

But as they heard these warnings the strangers assured them that these words came from men of old and outdated minds so pay no attention. They just want to spoil our party the men told them and of course they believed them. As they gained a deeper trust from these babies these men began to be embolden in their approach. The babies had been taught that Jesus had built this playground alone, but these new "evangelicals" informed them that Jesus is known by many names. Allah, Moses, Buddha, Mary, and really any other name can be used as a synonym for Jesus, it's all the same person. They changed the curriculum, redefined terms, made the Bible an elective, and rearranged the entire approach to everything. And most disturbing of all these new teachers removed what little Biblical clothing these babies had, and then behind closed doors of deception they spiritually raped these carnal youngsters with such skill and adeptness that it was pleasurable. Yes, these monsters were spiritual pedophiles whose mission was Spiritual rape all along and that even now have impregnated new generations with deeper and more profound deceptions that promise to draw larger and more captivating crowds.

One day we will stand before the Great White Throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. On that day we will witness throngs that once played in these new evangelical playgrounds who responded to all the various messages that had departed from the only message that saves as taught clearly in the Word of God. Millions upon millions of unsuspecting earth dwellers that had been assured of their eternal destiny, are now discovering they were spiritually molested and raped by the father of lies and his emissaries. They are lost forever in the second death. Please don't let the shocking metaphor obscure the central truth I am humbly but forcefully trying to present. All the new purpose, seeker, and emergent movements and all their tributaries, no matter how genuine their authors are, are part of the end time destruction of the Truth. Spiritual pedophiles that prey on baby Christians whose Spiritual overseers themselves have been deceived into being joyfully complicit and reimbursed with fame, success, numbers, accolades, and most of all money.

A colossal tragedy of immeasurable proportions.

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived, But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Friday, August 11, 2006

God's Heart

In Acts chapter 13 God says through the apostle Paul that David was ,"a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all My will". The heart of God. What does that really mean? Does it mean a dry and perfunctory obedience to God's Word? The patriarch David surely could not fulfill that definition. Did David have faults? Did David commit sin? Did David sometimes go against God's will? Did David sometimes submit to his own lusts? Yes, David was as infinitely sinful as you and I are, but David was filled with a PASSION to see, hear, and know God's heart.

Now, before we can pursue God's heart we must know what it is. Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of David more than any other person in the Bible. The first sentence in the New Testament says..."Jesus Christ, the son of David". The last reference in Revelation 22:16 says, "I am the root and offspring of David". Why is the New Testament filled with references to David in reference to our Lord? Because David was a man after God's heart. Now most Christians are not really interested in full time discipleship. Notice I didn't say full time ministry, I said full time discipleship. A disciple seeks God's heart.

What is God's heart. Well, let's look at it this way, what is in your heart is who you REALLY are. We have heard people say things they say they don't mean. We have seen people exposed as murderers who led seemingly normal lives. As they are arrested, their neighbors exclaim, "We never really knew him". Why? Because they only knew him outwardly, they did not know what was inside him. They did not know his heart. Well God's heart is who He really is. It shares with us who He is, what He feels, how He loves, the depths of His Word, and other attributes that cannot be fully described in words. But our wonderful Lord holds His heart as precious and He will not just share the intimacy of His incredible heart to just anyone. Do you share your heart with anyone? What if you shared fully your heart with the convenience store attendant? The grocery clerk? The vet? Why not? Because there are parts of who you really are and think and feel that are only for certain people. It is precious to you.

That it how it is with God. If you just want to punch your heaven ticket and be satisfied with knowing God in a saving way but never seek His heart, you can do that(I think). Millions do that. But there is a Spiritual life of incredible depth that you are missing. While you, like Martha, are in this world's kitchen, Mary sits at the feet of Jesus as He shares His heart with Her. Anything of any value takes passion, and God's heart is at the top of that list. Watch the medical student stay up nights, work part time, sacrifice a social life, and other hardships that his passion for his career overcomes. Watch the salesman make a thousand phone calls, endure unpleasant people, work through dry spells, and many other hardships that his passion for sales overcomes. Watch as the pregnant mother gets sick for months, carries a lot of extra weight, goes to the doctor, endures a painful delivery, and a thousand other hardships that her passion for having a child overcomes.

But watch the disciple who seeks God's heart pray at inconvenient times, read the Word as if he is starving, call on Christ to reveal his heart, worship Him openly in public and private times, seeks God in seasons of fasting, and other avenues in which he hears the Lord's voice beckon him. He or she is not satisfied with mulling around the outer court sharing about the brazen altar and even the brazen laver. He or she is not even satisfied with quietly entering the Holy Place and experience the bread, the light, and even the altar of incense. But the disciple sees the smoke from the incense cascade upward and over the veil and he asks, "This is wonderful, but where does that incense go?". And with that God responds, "Do you want to see?". He cautiously answers, "Yes". The Spirit now asks, "Are you willing to forsake all?". He hesitates as he contemplates the meaning and the implications of that question. He thinks about who He was before Calvary. He remembers the indescribable joy of first meeting the Savior and he remembers growing in the knowledge of Him and the wonder of it all. But now God is asking him to forsake all. Is he willing to, by faith, agree to that and trust his Savior with any implications? He looks around and he sees many of his friends have left and gone back to the safety of the outer court.

Empowered by the same Spirit that asked the question he replies, "Yes, I forsake all". He feels an immediate and irresistible need to pray. He falls on his face in worship and as he looks up he finds the opening in the veil, ripped from top to bottom since that sacred Passover two thousand years ago. As he continues in prayer he is, by no power of his own, moving through the veil. What did he see in the Holy of Holies? Those who, by His grace, have been inside the veil cannot describe it, it is precious, personal, and far beyond human words. The disciple who has followed Jesus' footsteps into the glory of God comes out changed and with a lifelong desire to return as often as possible. This world has no attraction for him anymore, it is dung. Does this disciple enjoy food? Entertainment? Fellowship? Sports? Yes, he enjoys some of that, but it has lost its luster. There is in him or her a sound that comes in a frequency that is high above the hearing of earthly ears and he faintly hears the throngs in heaven praising the King, and the heavenly choirs, and he desires to be there, "which is far better".

O yes, the heart of God. It "beats" for us. God wants you to "come and dine" and let Him share, course by course, His eternal heart that is a "pearl of great price". Do you feel a desire? A hunger? Well, something must change or you will be the same at this time next year. Seek His heart with all YOUR heart. It is a journey that, on many levels, the destination permeates the pursuit. If you don't fully understand, you will, as soon as you take the first step. It will be, "One small step for the outer man, but one giant leap for the Spirit man!!! If you can live without it, you will. But if you become desperate, desperate enough that others will see something in you that they may not fully understand the Lord will reward you with Himself. He is a rewarder of them that DILIGENTLY seek Him.

Like the Levites of old, our inheritance is far greater than gates of pearls or streets of gold. Our inheritance is Jesus Himself for we shall see Him as he is. Let this world pass us by. Jesus we seek You and Your heart, for You and You alone are worthy of our pursuit. Amen and Amen.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


I Cor.I:18 - For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

There was a day that Spirit-filled men of God preached, not just believed, the message of the cross. Not many would have been invited to appear on TV talk shows, their message would have been considered foolishness. Can you imagine John the Baptist on Larry King? Peter? John? Luther? Calvin? Jonathan Edwards? Finney? Wesley? Moody? Any of the martyrs? Stephen? Jeremiah? In the midst of the worst abortion filled, homosexual condoning, pornography producing, pleasure seeking, divorce laden, money hungry, humanistic society in history, God's prophets are respected by the culture. Why?
How come Paul was martyred but we're respected? We love to read John Bunyan's writings but we wouldn't change places with him. How come Herod sought the "young Child's life" while today Herod feels comfortable in our church services seeking votes, not Jesus? Why did the pilgrims uproot their whole way of life to follow Christ while we have embraced the exact lifestyle they sought to escape? We have been assimilated
In the TV show Star Trek - The Next Generation, an alien species called "The Borg" was introduced. They go throughout the universe searching out all other life forms which they defeat by assimilation. Usually the first several waves of The Borg are destroyed as they attempt to gain information about the life forms they have encountered. As they are destroyed they relay the information they have detected about the strengths and weaknesses of the enemy to "The Collective", which is the central intelligence of The Borg. This information is continually analyzed and each successive wave of Borg attackers adapts according to the information given by The Collective. The goal of The Borg is not annihilation, it is assimilation. They have at their disposal all the information collected from all the species they have already assimilated. Once the species is assimilated they forget their former lives and they are given new names. They behave as The Collective directs them. Their mantra is simple but powerful - RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.
Imagine sitting on a dock watching the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. You look to your left and see a giant ship sailing from your left to your right. At the back of the ship is a 200' mariner's rope that is connected to a little dinghy being pulled by this massive ship. Now as this large ship passes in front of the setting sun you notice thousands of people in the ship having a great party. One minute later the little dinghy passes across the sun with just a handful of people. The large ship represents the world, partying its way to hell. But the dinghy is the church, always following the world at the same distance, and sailing always in a place the world just left. Which means the church was at the same place the world was a few years ago, and in today's world the church is hoping to catch up to the world's ship and board her - oh, to win them to Christ, of course.
Yes, we are being assimilated. The devil realized that even though he had essentially removed the gospel from the earth during the dark ages, God could still rebirth it with just a few men seeking God. So, like the Borg, he adapted his strategy to let the gospel remain in the theology of the church while removing the efficacious power, so now we spend most of our time and effort tinkering with this earthly life and infrequently referring to the eternal. And like Samson, we don't even realize it. What would have happened if the early apostles had done what we do? What if they had concentrated on marriage, dating, teens, finances, and all the things we do? What if they prayed like we do? What if they borrowed from Caesar like we do? What if they had searched the Scriptures(the OT no less) like we do? What in the world would Paul have preached to remain fresh and relevant as he went from culture to culture? What would he have preached without the ability to purchase his sermon material over the internet? The further into the world the devil assimilates us, the more outrageous, outdated, and critical it now seems for anyone to observe our wayward course. Let me, a certifiable and ecclesiastical nobody, observe just a few waterways we now sail that contain the world's wake.

Most evangelical churches have no worship gathering on Sunday nights that churches had several decades ago. Why? People don't come and because it is now too inconvenient and there must be a numerical threshold that legitimizes such an "activity". One church gathering a week to worship our Savior is plenty! The church has become a convenience store.

Most evangelical churches had at least one prayer service weekly. We are now too busy with activities and we now believe in activities rather than prayer. There are more aerobics than prayer!

I remember twenty years ago when I sat in a finance committee meeting as they decided the salaries of the staff(of which I was a part). The chairman said they should be paid according to what they could make in the world. That was the first time I had heard that reasoning. It is today the gold(!) standard.

A pastor can divorce his wife, marry his mistress, and start a new church, and people will come!
Because of the industrial revolution, 80% of believers have no devotional time and 80% of the 20% that do is minimal. Maybe Ted Kuzcinski was partially right!

The virginity rate of Christian marriages is only slightly higher than that of unbelievers. More seminars, that's the ticket!

Most Christians fifty years ago would never have thought about stepping foot into a movie theatre. Today we have Christian reviews of the latest offering of Hollywood flesh. Would you buy a children's book from Hugh Hefner? That's what we do when we support Hollywood. By the way, the two hours a Christian will spend mesmerized in a movie house will be more time he will spend mesmerized in prayer for a month.

We stand in protest over certain sexual establishments without even realizing that the interest that churches pay on their loans help to finance adult book stores, strip clubs, bars, clubs, bikini bars, and all other kinds of sinful establishments. The answer? Never borrow from the world. This is a recent phenomenon that our predecessors would have never dreamed of doing. Good stewards? Remember, we just preach "all things are possible with God" we don't really believe it.

We have to beg, cajole, encourage, and try and shame people into spending quality time with Jesus praying and reading His Word. You don't have to beg people to spend quality time in front of the TV, and yet most Christians will meander through their lives with little or no serious devotional life. And it's not addressed as THE crisis in the body of Christ!

One man's opinion without tears. These are just a few of the astounding assimilations of God's bride. Why do we continue to be assimilated? It is because most of the church doesn't even realize we need a assimilation-breaking revival. One glimpse of the Savior would free us from this world, but so little seek Him today and in such unexplainable neglect they continue to be carried culturally downstream until hearing anything about separation from the world seems like some teaching that has long since passed. Today's brand of Christian can gamble, watch cable, go to wicked movies, curse from time to time, drink, be a fashion plate, read gossip magazines, and hardly ever pray or study the Word, never fast, never witness, never weep for the lost, and never sacrificially seek the heart of the Savior just to please Him. No...the church continues to be assimilated and lovin' every minute of it.

It is so sad too, because, resistance is not futile!!

Monday, August 07, 2006


Jer.2:13 - For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and have hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
Jn.15:5 - ...for without Me you can do nothing.
I Thess.5:17 - Pray without ceasing

The body of Christ is consumed with humanism, which can be defined as the worship and confidence of man and what he can do. Come on, it isn't even close. To say we've pushed prayer to the back burner would be giving us too much credit. Singing, announcements, mailouts, preaching, eating, politics, sports, trips, blogs, e-mails, instruments, fellowships, counseling, year end giving statements, exercise, diet, nutrition, Bible study, books, giving, building, phone tree, business meetings, new members, concerts, pageants, etc., etc., ..................................prayer.
Let's not try and lie to the Holy Spirit which is dangerous business, we need a revival that breaks up the fallow ground of prayerlessness in our lives individually and corporately (called the "church", now an accepted colloquialism for a building). We can sing, preach, sports, build, and all the other above mentioned things with God's perfunctory blessing on the work of our hands (Cain), but the CENTRAL heart of the body should be prayer. How can we possibly deny with a straight face that we've left it and we now don't practice it because we don't believe it. Now, just to give us a little wiggle room, the decline was in full swing by the time you and I were born again. In 1975 when I came to Christ we would have a nice, little prayer time on Wednesday nights, nothing deep or searching, but at least we had it, but now even that is mostly lost.
Now in Acts 12 there is the story of Herod placing Peter in jail with the intention of killing him. Verse five tells us that as Peter was sleeping in the jail at night, the church was praying for him, continually. If one of our famous preachers were put in jail we would call our congressman, go on Larry King, petition the senator, preach outrage, sign up more republicans for the next election, and, oh yes, pray a little. You think that's a little strong? Right now, RIGHT NOW, there are brothers and sisters and preachers and missionaries in prison, RIGHT NOW - how many prayer meetings through the night are there for them and others, RIGHT NOW? TODAY, there will be some men and women of God who will give their lives for Christ, TODAY. Don't worry, they're not Americans. It would be hard for us to test to see how much power we have with God during times of unceasing prayer because like traces of DNA there's not enough to test. And would it not be severely indicting if some people were practicing contemplative prayer more than we were practicing true prayer. Search our blogs and see how many posts there are about prayer.
We will have to do some deep repenting and seeking personally about prayer because it's obvious the church leaders are at the maximum going teach you "You should pray". The American church (whatever that is?), would rather have 100 tithers and five prayers than the reverse. Without a revival we continue to sink into a debt ridden, cultural, well meaning, and powerless religious/social/moral organization that many times couldn't be picked out of a lineup of neighborhood "good" people, Christian or not. 8 out of 10 young people leave the church after the age of 19 and the amazing thing is there's no CRISIS among believers. When the East Berliners started to leave for West Berlin the Soviets were concerned enough to build a wall. As the steady stream of people come through, get baptized, play a little, and then leave we don't even care enough to build a prayer wall. The divorce rate among evangelicals is close to the same as unbelievers and where are the many weekly church wide prayer meetings begging God to help us, EVERY NIGHT IF NECESSARY? No, we conduct more seminars and more "celebrate recovery" meetings and think that will bring God's power when it is all about man's intellect, creativity, and organization. More 75$/hour counseling that is what we need. Preachers having affairs, teenagers on drugs, pregnancy, divorce, homosexuality, and a gigantic shift in the evangelical world toward a earthly, seeker sensitive mode and the most we can do is correctly rail against it, but where is the Spiritual desperation on our part that God can use to ignite a Spiritual fire that changes all of us!? We wait for Rick Warren's next humanistic move because in large part we've built our own idol that is reactive instead of fasting and praying with a sacrificial determination to "lay hold of Almighty God" and let Him fill us with the power of His Spirit.
Martin luther once said, "I have so much to do tomorrow I must get up early to pray five hours before I go". David Brainard would so feel the spirit of prayer fall on him that he would stop his horse, fall to his knees in the snow, and pray for an hour. George Mueller once gathered all his orphans around the breakfast table and they prayed to God and thanked Him for His provision which at the time was an empty table. At that moment a horse drawn milk wagon broke down in front of the orphanage and the man donated his entire inventory to Mueller rather than see it spoil. Finney had two old prayer warriors rent a cellar outside the town he was going to preach in and they would fast and pray continually for God's Spirit to move.
The Chinese Christian was asked after a visit to the American church what impressed him the most about American Christians. He replied, "How much American Christians are able to accomplish without God". If we are ever going to see a move of God's Spirit that results in widespread repentance and brokenness it must come through prayer. And not just "bless Aunt Suzy" type prayers but deep, elongated seasons of breaking through to the Holy of Holies and seeing God's presence empower us to take His name to His people and watch Him transform His own body, after He's changed us. In Luke 11 Jesus tells the story of a man going to his neighbor's house at midnight and banging on the door to ask the friend to lend him some bread for his visiting friend. That is boldness, that is desperation, that is like Jacob refusing to let go until he gets an answer. And Jesus says that the sleeping man doesn't even get up because it's his friend, no, he gets up because he recognizes that if this man is willing to bother him at midnight he must be desperate! Our Lord then uses that story to exhort us to follow that example. If there is one thing that our churches need it is not more buildings; it's not better music; it's not more staff; it's not better fellowship; etc., etc.. It is a dynamic rebirth of desperate, sacrificial prayer.
"If my people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves and PRAY...(II Chron.7:14). That's not speaking to America, no, that's talking to believers. Let's continue to "earnestly contend for the faith" (Jude 3) but God help us to see ourselves in the mirror of God's correction. Truth without power is theology, the study of God. If the unsaved world really knew what we believe, that the Creator of the universe lives in us, they would call us liars. Without a massive revival what is transpiring today both in the evangelical and the unsaved realms will continue their courses mostly unimpeded. You and I have no power in ourselves, let us start to pray like we really believe it can change things/us. Be careful, prayer momentum is difficult and Satan hates it most of all. Look what he's accomplished so far.

May the blood of Jesus Christ be the standard that comes against the forces of evil, in Jesus Name.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

False Promises

Jn.3:16 - For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

This world is in desperate trouble but they do not realize it. We, the followers of Jesus, have a solemn obligation to warn them as well as point them to Christ. But we must "preach the Word", holy and pure, and without our slant. It has become obvious that in an effort to make the Gospel more attractive we have made promises on the behalf of God that He has not made Himself.
Imagine a man called William. He is lost, and like all others like him if he does not become a follower of Jesus Christ he will eternally perish. Now let's say I have become aware of William and I desire to see him come to salvation and an opportunity to witness to William presents itself to me.
Now assume that if William becomes a believer in Jesus Christ he will lose his job as a bartender, his wife will leave him, his teenage children will disown him, he is so much in debt he will go bankrupt, he will lose his health insurance, his health deteriorates over the next five years, and after a year long painful illness he dies at the age of 53, without his family and penniless. In a nutshell, by receiving eternal life he has lost everything here.
Conversely, if William does not become a follower of Christ he will continue to live a reasonably pleasant family life, he will have a good relationship with his children, he will pay off his house in fifteen years, his health insurance will pay for an operation that saves his life, he saves enough money to purchase the bar he works in, and he lives a rewarding life and finally dies at age 84 with his loving family at his side.
Now that we have mapped out two scenarios that are linked to whether William becomes a believer or not, I now have an opportunity to witness to William about Jesus. Which of the following statements can I truthfully share with William:

William, Jesus will help you attain a better life here.
William, Jesus will pull your family together.
William, Jesus will help you with your finances.
William, Jesus will heal you.
William, Jesus will give you creative ideas for business.
William, Jesus will make you a success here.

Are any of those statements going to be true in William's case if becomes born again? How about these:

William, Jesus wants you to surrender your life to Him.
William, count the cost of following Christ.
William, Jesus will give you inward peace you've never known.
William, you may have to suffer for Jesus but it will be worth it.
William, Jesus guarantees you one thing - eternal life.

Let us present the truth and revive an emphasis to the world that Jesus is the Son of God and He alone gives eternal life! In many ways eternal life has been so relegated to the back burner, that many people, including some Christians, would read both of William's futures and almost begrudgingly choose the one where he gets saved. Why? Because the things of this world have been so much a part of our lives that we believe God has promised them to us and we will feel misused if we didn't get them.
One final question. What if William was informed that if he becomes a follower of Jesus he would have to suffer the things we discussed and on the basis of that information he rejected Jesus. Then he was informed that God relented, and now if he trusted Christ he could still live the good life we discussed and on the basis of this new information he trusted Jesus. Did he really get saved? I have just outlined the process on which millions have been converted. Many have embraced a Jesus that they have been told will help their earthly lives in the way they desire and in so doing have they become followers of Jesus based on a bait and switch sales pitch?

Welcome to the new oxcart of today's Christianity!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

I Will Have Mercy

Right outside Brandon, Florida, a suburb of Tampa, there are a number of "strip clubs" that use young girls and provide a forum for the lusts of men. In 2006 a permit to open a club in Brandon called "Showgirls" was applied for and it raised the ire of the community, especially the Christian community. There was a meeting held in one of the Brandon churches in which people were invited to air their concerns in front of the County Commission. There were no collective prayer meetings, no call for fasting, and no call for widespread repentance among the believers. Several months after this meeting the club opened and is now doing a brisk business, the "great crowd" of objectors has moved on to other things. Here are some thoughts along with a fictional story about a girl name Kim whose story probably loosely mirrors many such girls.

Matt.9:10-13 - And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that He said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go and learn what that means, I will have mercy and not sacrifice:

As I continue to drive past the new Showgirls strip club in Valrico I am struck by several thoughts. I'm really not sure how to pray so I ask the Holy Spirit to pray for me according to God's will. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Plummeting real estate values should never be a Christian consideration, it just shows our worldliness and love of money. It would be a major concern for your atheist neighbor also.
  • We need to pray for revival! It is obvious that we don't even have legislative power, much less Spiritual power. We seem to be blind to our own Spiritual plight before God while we attempt to influence the zoning of a piece of dirt.
  • If we as the community of believers were so concerned about a club moving into that building, why didn't the churches together buy it and sell it to a respectable business, or buy it and turn it into a ministry that reaches thousands of girls that are caught in that lifestyle? (We have our own real estate to worry about)
  • Since there was a packed meeting to "air out" our disapproval of such an establishment, why don't we now hold a meeting to "air out" our disapproval of the sins in the lives of church members? We love meetings about sins we don't commit, how about drugs, affairs, pornography, alcohol, cable movies, divorce, sexually explicit theatre movies, gambling, complaining, anemic Bible reading, and prayerlessness? We don't seem to schedule meetings to express our disapproval of these sins.

Kim's Story

Her name was Kim. She was born to a single mom who was an "off and on" drug addict. Little Kim never knew who her daddy was, but she realized at an early age her mother had many stay over boyfriends. By age three Kim mostly fed herself, and by age eight her mother was in and out of prison and she was left with her mother's boyfriend. Now after years of physical abuse and rape by the boyfriends, Kim left home at age sixteen and went to live with the first boy who would have her. He, of course, beat her up regularly and Kim was deeply scarred in every way from a nightmare that everyone else called "childhood". Kim felt worthless and rejected, and without any work skills she went to work at a strip club.

It was just another chapter in her life of abuse, and the money she made at the hands of lustful men just added to her deep pain. Drugs, alcohol, and thoughts of suicide were her constant companions. She had never known what true love was. One day Kim heard that a new club would be opening in Valrico and she made up her mind to get an apartment in Brandon and start working there, after all, the owner of the club she worked at now made her commit sexual acts for him personally in order to keep her job. The money was great but the sense of shame was overwhelming.

Now Kim, at age 19, had never been to church, but the new club owner told her that they were having a meeting at a church in Brandon to discuss this new club. So Kim and a friend slipped into the church and sat in the back pew to see what this was all about. As Kim listened she realized they were trying to stop this club from opening. She heard them talk about immorality, sinful activity, real estate values, and that "the religious community wasn't going to stand for this". As Kim left the church depression again filled her heart. Let's see, she was rejected by her mother, she was rejected by her unknown father, she was rejected and abused by her mother's boyfriends, she was rejected and abused by her violent boyfriend, she's been abused and rejected by the men at the club, and now she feels rejected by God.

Two months after the meeting, immersed in hopelessness, Kim took her own life at age 19. But at least she didn't contribute to the declining real estate values in Valrico. In 2006 the club opened without Kim, but with a full compliment of other "Kims". Who will love them? Who will show them mercy? Who will reach out to them? Who will care more about their souls than our real estate? Who will be Jesus to them?

The Cursed Neighborhood

There was once an indescribably sinful and horrible neighborhood filled with murder, adultery, child molestation, homosexuality, greed, and every sin imaginable. It was zoned Cursed 1, and the real estate value was nothing. Everyone thought that the land owner would rezone it, remove everyone, clean it up, and rebuild to make a profit. But instead the owner left His pristine, gated neighborhood and moved into this filthy one. He seemed to love these sinners, He spoke words of warning and hope, and although He obviously had never participated in any of the debauchery that permeated their neighborhood, the people seemed inexplicably drawn to Him. Whores, drunks, drug addicts, thieves, and many others had found an escape from their hopeless lives in Him. In the end the neighborhood murdered the owner. But millions in that dirty neighborhood through the years were so moved by the owner's sacrifice that they fell in love with Him, trusted what He said, walked through His sacrifice, and eventually moved into His eternal neighborhood. The owner's offer still stands today, and the gates of His exclusive neighborhood are still wide open for "whosever will". Kim doesn't live there...

To all the Kims for whom Jesus died,
We are sorry, we cared more about your sins than we did about you

"I will have mercy and not sacrifice..." - Jesus 26 A.D

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Lion is Here!

II Ki.18 & 19

Senecherib, King of the Assyrians, came and surrounded God's city, Jerusalem. They were strong and powerful and Judah was no match for their numbers and strength. Hezekiah, King of Judah had compromised and acquiesced unto Senecherib and paid his extortion money, even taking the gold from the Temple doors and handing it over to the wicked King of Assyria. When the Assyrian King saw that Judah was afraid and that they had much earthly treasure his confidence and greed soared and he sent out a warning to King Hezekiah. In this threat he listed the kings and leaders of other nations that had fallen to his army and he mocked the God of Judah. "What confidence is this wherein thou trusteth?", he instructed his servant to ask Hezekiah. Senecherib's servant continues with his blasphemy saying, "Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us...".

The Assyrians continued to threaten and warn Judah not to trust King Hezekiah or the Lord. They even go further, "Let not thy God in whom thou trusteth deceive thee...". Can you imagine the utter depravity of the Assyrians disparaging and slandering the God of the Universe, Jehovah? Now when a people set themselves up against the might of the Lion of Judah they are ready to be consumed in the brightness of just the shadow of His glorious mane. Go ahead, Senecherib, align your warriors against the tribe of Judah and you might prevail against them, but they do not fight alone. Far from it, there is a power that looks down from heaven that will not only take their predicament upon His shoulders, He will guard His glory from every and all enemies no matter how great they seem in their own eyes. So go ahead, Assyria, strut your pride and believe your own words and as you compare the Lord God of Judah with the gods of the heathen you have made a deadly mistake that is ready to pounce on you and all your inhabitants. Dead corpses are your inheritance. The Lion will be here!

Now when Hezekiah gets the news of the seriousness of the situation he finally does what he should have done in the first place, he went before the Lord and put the entire threat before Him. The prophet Isaiah sent word to Hezekiah that the Lord had heard his supplication and He would deal with armies of Assyria saying, "I will defend this city to save, for Mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake". Oh yes, Judah's Lion is slow to wrath but once He sets His anger upon those who attack His people and His honor there is no staying His sentence. The Angel of the Lord enters the enemy's camp in the middle of the night, and when the sun rises the next morning 185,000 corpses littered the camp that had anticipated victory and had reaped a whirlwind. He has come and the so called warriors of Assyria are nothing more than an above ground graveyard that testifies, "The Lion was here!".

Oh, some say, this Loving Lion would never do something like that. He has endured such mischaracterizations for thousands of years but He will throw off man's definitions and He will reveal Himself in an open display, as gracious as He treats His followers so shall He destroy every last enemy. If we could see a five minute glimpse into what is in store for this planet when God unleashes His wrath all of us would repent with sackcloth and ashes. Now King Senecherib escapes to Nineveh, and he goes into a temple to worship a heathen god. And right in the temple of the god he had trusted his own sons murdered him. "The Lion was here".

Look all around us today. The enemies of God have set up their camp on every corner and have blasphemed the Risen Christ to our very faces. They've even infiltrated our own troops disguised as soldiers of Christ when in reality they are Spiritual corpses acting like members of His own pride. We are surrounded and they are many in number. They have mocked our Leader and have challenged His authority. They've claimed He has no power and they are demanding our surrender. They say we have no power against the armies of darkness and they are right, but they have failed to look up and hear the thunderous Word that is growing louder and louder. Our Lion will fight for us and the powerful claws of His Word are distended, He will not wait much longer. Take heart all you that stand in the midst of danger, we have sinned but He is faithful. His honor is at stake and while the enemy's camp continues to burn a blasphemous fire it will be extinguished with one mighty roar from His mighty jaws of wrath. Do not only hear a metaphor, no, the corpses will pile up around the world and their stench will scream out "The Lion was here!".

As we look at the enemy's camp we can remember walking among them and like Goliath mocking the armies of God. We were many in number and powerful in our own eyes while being unconcerned with the Lord's camp. I was not searching for the Lord but one day a search was birthed in my heart. Suddenly I continue to walk and talk like the Philistines, my friends, but secretly I was increasingly feeling empty and then unnerved. What if it is true and what if Jesus was the Son of God, then I have lost everything. Then one night high atop a mountain overlooking New York City I came "face to face" with the revelation of Jesus the Christ, and before I could even reconsider God's Spirit invaded my personal and fortified camp and I was bowing before the Lion of Judah, my Lord and my God. I will never be the same and as I look across at the enemy's camp, my former home, I am compelled to warn them. I know they do not stand a chance against the day of His wrath and by their rejection of Him they have embraced judgment. This is no religious game and this is no "principle teaching" metaphor and one day the last person on earth will be rescued from the enemy's camp and the great and powerful Lion will pounce from heaven and the entire world will be his eternal and terrible prey. Tremble all you inhabitants of this earth, you have waited much too long! The Lion is here!

But we will continue to speak His name; we will continue to beseech His power; we will continue to hear and obey His Words; we will continue to warn; and we will continue to compare the ever changing strategies of man with the never changing Word of God. And drenched in His grace we will ultimately stand fast in Christ Jesus. But never let anyone be misled, the glorious end time victory will not be won by man, no matter how faithful. No, the Lord will not share His glory with another. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah will come at once from the east, the north, the west, and the south and the entire world will suffer the eternal consequences and He alone will receive all the glory. It is set, it is inevitable, and it is at the door and the Lion's glory peeks around it announcing that the door will soon be torn from its hinges and the Lord descends in all His glory taking vengeance on all those who do not belong to Him! Run, don't walk, to Him. The enemy's camp will be forever spoiled, and "the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever".


Amen and Amen.