Church, You Don’t Know Who You Are
Dear Church--Brothers and Sisters, so many of you are hurting because you feel isolated and alone, cut off because church services have been banned in your location, or fearful because of the turmoil we are facing in the world.
But I say to you, Arise! Arise and be who you are really called to be!
I say to you: the Church is not a building. You’ve heard that before, but my brothers and sisters—if you consider yourself part of The Church of Jesus Christ, you are mistaken. You are not the church!
You have heard it said that in Mathew 16:18, Jesus said, “upon this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
My brothers and sisters, Jesus did not say this! He said, “upon this rock, I will build my ekklesia, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
Oh, beloved of God, I am not just splitting...
Today is August 1.
Our church, our local ecclesia, enters into a season of fasting today. We are seeking the Lord and praying about the situation in our country.
Does my talk of fasting scare you? Some of you may be attracted to the idea of fasting but are scared of it at the same time. You may worry that going without any food for a length of time may harm your health. You may be convinced you don’t have the self-discipline to endure for the duration of the fast, and the possibility of failure is difficult to consider. You may think a fast equals going without any food and drinking only a few sips of water each day; you don’t know how you would function with your job or family in such an extreme situation. You may just not want to promise God you will fast when you get hungry twice an hour. Hey, your birthday or that of a family member may occur next week; you don’t want anyone feeling left out of the usual birthday celebration!
Recently a pastor humbly posted about three dreams that he has had. As he began sharing, he admitted he knew little about dreams and prophetic ministry. He felt, however, that the dreams were warnings sent by God and was sharing them in obedience to the Lord's directive.
The reactions to the message of the "three dreams" were immediate and all over the place. Some folks began to talk about getting supplies and being ready to hold up in remote areas; some "poo-pooed" the message, some reflected on what the message "really meant", and a few even attacked the pastor.
I myself posted a video about this message. Today, however, I want to give honor to someone for their courage in obeying Christ.
Too often the people who call themselves Christians in this country look upon their Christianity as a cultural stance. Many who point critical fingers at the Church in the United States do so calling the Church a "failed culture", a tool to control the weak.
Today is the 4th of July. Happy birthday, USA!
Thinking about the improbable set of circumstances that lead to the creation of the USA, I started thinking: Have you noticed that God loves the broken, the weak, the down-and-outers? He really does seem to like the underdog. Think about it:
God made a great nation out of a bunch of slaves whose ancestors, though they knew God, were guilty of some very questionable behavior. However, God did not forget these folks or their children, even when those folks dishonored and disrespected Him. From an unruly group of slaves, God established the nation of Israel and declared that Jesus, His own son, would be considered one of those often disobedient, stiff-necked people.
God probably laughed.
[And much, much later]--From various nations, some explorers, some exploiters, but mostly desperate people desiring a new life, came together to create the United States. Many of those courageous people came with the hope of...
There is a lot of talk going around about "eating clean" and "Living clean." However, I believe that we must learn how to live spiritually clean.
We must live fear-free. These are easy words to say or write, but a little hard actually to do.
Each day, we must choose faith over fear. Will we live as though we actually believe that God is a loving, all-powerful God? Otherwise, we will act as though He
We must choose each day to believe that what makes us different makes us beautiful. We must receive the truth daily that God delights in our uniqueness.
Why are our attitudes and actions so important? The enemy wants to take the special, the “different” that God put in each of us [in me!] and try and beat us down with those unique qualities. He wants me to be insecure. He wants me...
Remember the old chant,
“Stick and stones may break my bones
But words can never hurt me?”
How I wish that were true! However, the words of others have pierced my heart and deeply wounded me. Yet the words I have spoken over myself have been even more damaging, for I have bled from these wounds and never realized that my soul was hemorrhaging from my self-inflicted hurt.
People have told me that they sense serenity, calmness, and a sense of peace when I minister. I praise God for this, for this peace is a prize given to me by a loving Father after much combat.
Those called of God must be overcomers. They must overcome the temptations of the world. They must overcome the spiritual [and sometimes physical attacks] that come from the demonic realm, but most of all they must overcome themselves.
It is so wonderful to have God speak to us. True, to stand in the presence of the Lord can be terrifying, but it is to...
There is a supernatural component to mankind that the Church must acknowledge. If the Church does not nurture this part of man [known in church talk as "the spirit"] then men and women will seek fulfillment outside of the Church. The high interest in vampires, witchcraft, Eastern religions, and other supernatural entities is a reflection of this. The failure of the Church to address this is reflected in any bookstore. Browse the aisles and look at the type of book that is selling to teens/tweens/ and adults.
The Church must realize that she is more than a political voice, more than a social agency; She is the supernatural Bride, Who has been called to engage in the supernatural realm. If She fails to realize this, She dishonors herself and her Lord. She also places the souls and spirits of millions in jeopardy.
Prayer must be revisited; it is not a "boring, fuddy-duddy" activity; it is the spiritual language for romance, warfare, transformation, ... As the Church, we...
Sometimes, the biggest enemy that we will face on a particular day will not be a sudden tragedy or unexpected upheavals. Sometimes the enemy comes dressed as comfort or routine. For me, I find it so easy to "relax for a moment" watching TV...and find that I have wasted the time during which God wanted me to reach out to someone, or which I had set aside for Him. It seems I am particularly vulnerable to the lure of comfort and routine when I am being tested in ways that bring out my insecurities and fear.
And yet--I have prayed over and over again to be "on the cutting edge", to make a significant difference for God's glory. How the spirit desires to bless the Father, while the flesh just wants quiet and ease! Like Peter, I tend to boast, "Anything, Lord! I will do anything for You!" Yet, too often I won't even get out of the chair for His purpose.
If we want to make a significant impact upon our world, we must be willing...
Surveys reveal that massive numbers of Protestant pastors are leaving their pastorates because of burnout. Many of those that remain behind are struggling with strongholds such as pornography, sexual immorality, or gambling. The pervasive sexual sin among Roman Catholic leadership has threatened the very structure of the Catholic Church. Among the so-called "laypeople", discontent and disillusionment are causing many people to drop out. Many Millenials have dismissed the Christian message as irrelevant. Even among those that still faithfully attend and support their individual church bodies, it is a well-known statistic that 20% of the people are doing 80% of the work.
What is wrong with the Church? Why are we modern believers falling so short of the early Church as reflected by the book of Acts? Yes, the early Church had major problems, but boredom and burnout were not among them!
It is time for believers to take responsibility for the...
Before we can fix what is broken, we must know two things: We must know that what we are dealing with is broken, and we have to understand how it was to look and function.
If we look at the Church--at least in the Western World--the scandals and headlines dealing with sexual and financial improprieties and the on-going controversies about so-called "gay" marriages, Biblical interpretation, and the Christian's role in society all point to a Church who has lost her fundamental identity and has become divided and fractured.
However, we cannot begin to fix the Church--to fix ourselves--unless we know who we, as the people of God, are supposed to be. Over the next series of blogs, I hope to explore who and what the Church is.
Let us begin with casting the vision of the Church Triumphant:
The Triumphant Church is often referred to as "The Bride".The Triumphant Church has made herself ready to stand in the presence of God. She is dressed...