2012: It Is Time!


For those that have seen the mess in the church and have unsuccessfully tried to clean things up from within, the Lord is saying, “It is time!” For those that have been hurt and wounded by demonic leaderships of manipulation and control in local churches, the Lord is saying, “It is time!” For the divorced, the widows, the fatherless, the nameless, the ignored, and the poor, the Lord is saying, “It is time!” For the Mary Magdalene’s the Lord is calling you out of your detestable condition, “It is time!” For the Samaritan woman tired of the trips to the well, the rejection, the failed relationships, and the search for love the Lord is saying, “It is time!” For those hiding in the shame of the Adulam cave, for those hunted by a terrible past, for those that have messed up terribly, for those that have never been restored, for those who walk with their heads down, for those that have been disqualified, looked over, and not even considered the Lord is saying, “It is time!”

In 2012 the Lord is saying:

“It is time and I will not accept any excuses. It is time to stop talking and start doing according to my instructions; it is time to stop looking for the approval of the status quo, a title or a degree and listen to what my Spirit is saying. For I hold against you that you have delegated what can’t be delegated; you have become lazy and stagnated. You idolize men and go to them for answers before coming to Me. You have allowed your Christianity to be determined by what happens on Sunday morning, but you do not seek Me on your own. I want to spend time with you, I want to speak with you, I have instructions for you, but you have closed your ears and have found comfort in complaining, but I am telling you today… It is time! Would you come out of your dead religion? Are you serious about My call for your life? Are you a pleaser of men? Do you obey them above ME? I am pulverizing the excuses; you are no longer a critic, but I am calling you today to be a participant, not of what men have made of My church, but of what I want for My church. Feel the urgency of My heart, wash your face with my tears for the condition of the lost souls, for My sons and daughters that are hurting, confuse and frustrated. Wash your face with My tears for I am the hope for the hopeless, the way and the life and I have a great plan for you. Come out says the Lord! It is now time! For I call you for a purpose; follow the example of Peter and his brother Andrew:

 

18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.”Matthew 4:18-22New King James Version (NKJV)

Can you see that I call you for a purpose? I will make you fishers of men! Can you see how they left their father to follow me? Many of you are talking, but you are not willing to leave. InMatthew 9:57-62 you see that when I call I accept no excuses; when I call I demand an instant answer:

“57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”
58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”
But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”
62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57-62 New King James Version (NKJV)

Beloved, it is time!

Miserable Ministers


“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Matthew 25:21

 

            Beloved, if your ministry is not causing you joy, if you don’t look forward to serve in the capacity that you are currently placed in, something is terribly wrong! Either you stepped into a ministry that you had no business being involved with or you are serving in the wrong church. If you are in a church where the gifts that God gave you are not celebrated; where the friendly fire is rampant, where your leaders are constantly keeping you down and the jealousy of Saul is after your life, you need to get out of there! It is that simple!

 

Ministry is tough at times; no doubt about it! However, if you are constantly complaining about ministry something is wrong. Why? Biblically speaking, serving the Lord is a joy not a burden. In Matthew 25:21we can see clearly that when people use their talents for the glory of God and for the service of His people there is a joy that comes attached to it – Enter into the joy of your lord– It is not just any joy or a superficial happiness; when we serve the Lord we enter the joy of the Master.Romans 14:17 tells us:

 

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit…”

 

            We waste too much time in the do’s and don’ts; we have the tendency to make ministry a matter of what we do (Matters of eating and drinking) When we are talking about the ways of the Lord; it is not necessarily about what we do, for we are just vessels of clay; ministry is first about righteousness. Our focus should never be on what we do; what we do should not define our identity. It is all about the Lord and His ways. We should be in constant pursue of being like Christ. The righteousness of God placed us face to face with our character; that is what gives us credibility. It is not about being perfect, but about being honest and transparent, allowing the Lord to change us. The end-result of doing things according to the ways of God’s Kingdom is enjoying true peace and true joy.

 

Beloved, are you experiencing peace and joy in your ministry or are you a miserable minister? It is time to take a good look at yourself, at your God-given talents, at where you are serving and where God wants you to go. Once you know where God wants you to go… GO and do not wait!

Stop wasting your time; stop believing the lie that tells you this is the way it’s supposed to be; it’s a lie that demonizes you if you even question the way things are being done in your local church.  It is time to stop being miserable ministers and step into the joy of your Master; even as you face challenges, even as you engage in great battles, even as it gets bloody and nasty at times, the joy of the Lord is your strength to continue this fight of faith and to finish the race that God has for you.

 

Don’t be bound by the lies of a Saul-like leadership. Saul wanted to kill David because of jealousy. Saul did not celebrate David’s gifts and obvious call to be the next king, Saul was consumed by such a spirit of control that he wanted to literally kill David. What then, did David do? Did he stay? No, David did what many of you need to do right now; he got out of there quickly! Many of you are being manipulating into false faithfulness! Beloved, faithfulness is not attached to being in one place for years and years; faithfulness is connected to obeying God! We have a responsibility to use our talents and we will give an account to Jesus for what we did and did not do with what the Lord gave us.

 

 

 

Who We Are As People, Who We Are as Churches! Part 7


7. The Laodicea Church

 

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:14-22)

 

This is a church in great trouble. Perhaps, out of all the seven churches, this is the one that looks from the outside as if they have everything in place. This is, in my opinion, the prosperity Gospel church! They surely look good, but it is filled with hypocrisy. This church represents many of the American Churches; especially Mega Churches.  Even as there are, like others, a few people who are walking in the light, the church as a group is dead.

This is a church that focuses on the size of the building and numbers. They have become experts in putting up a Sunday Show with great singers, great worship teams and a good, seemingly deep message. Nevertheless, it is all a show; there is no true presence of God and no anointing. They have become experts in manipulating people’s emotions. This is the kind of church that is run like a secular business corporation. Without noticing, they have placed their own name above the name of the Lord. Money is flowing, people continue to come and physical growth is happening, so they see themselves as rich and as enjoying great favor from the Lord, but the Bible tells us that they are in the vomit zone.

This church is in such bad condition spiritually that it causes the Lord to vomit. Have you ever seen anything so disgusting that it causes you to vomit? That, my friend, is the Laodicea Christian!

 

Who We Are As People, Who We Are as Churches! Part 6


6. The Philadelphia Church

7 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” (Revelation 3:7-11)

 

The Church of Philadelphia is another church that received positive reviews from the Lord. The message for this church is directed to those Christians that are currently tired; they have done all they know to do, but the battle has been so intense that they find themselves wore out. The amazing thing about this group is that they have endured patiently. The word “patiently” in this verse means: “Bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint.” The glory of this church is that throughout the disorder, they always keep a positive approach in life’s troubles.

This is not a popular church either; very insignificant indeed, however this is the kind of Christian that finds favor with God and men. The Bible tells us in these verses: “…I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” The favor of God is so strong on behalf of the Philadelphia Christian that no man is able to close the doors opened by the Lord.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Who We Are As People, Who We Are as Churches! Part 5


 5. The Sardis Church

“To the angelof the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:1-6)

This is a representation of many denominations that act as if their gift to speak tongues places them above others. They can’t just tell you something, they must add all of the homiletic techniques they learned in their dead seminaries. This church is filled with what many identify as spiritual arrogance. They place a great deal of emphasis in the gifts of the Spirit, or at least that is what they think; so they strive to move with such gifts during their Sunday services. The concerns with this church are that:

1)    God has nothing good to say about them.

2)    The door is open for people to speak in tongues, but interpretation, at times, is manipulated. When it comes down to prophesying, the doors of opportunity and expression seem to be closed. For them, it is all about the baptism of the Holy Spirit; but such baptism is only limited to speaking in tongues.

This is a church that has a very sneaky way of coming against the Prophetic voice as they are blinded by one thing and one ting only: “Speaking in tongues.” They are the kind of folk that spiritualize everything; they claim to constantly hear from God, always having a word from the Lord, but they are truly filled with stupidity. They claim to leave everything in the hands of the Lord, but in the process they are very selective in what to surrender and at the same time are very irresponsible. In terms of leadership skills, this church is perhaps the worst; in finances they are terrible stewards as they never consider counting the cost for anything. This is the named and claimed group; the problem is that they don’t have much to show for. They have a million bills, always behind in payments, but they place all in the name of suffering for the Gospel. However, they are unable to see that they are stepping into things that the Lord never told them to step into.

This kind of church is usually hurting financially because they are constantly attributing things as “the Lord said,” that God did not. Much control and manipulation is seen in this kind of church as they are constantly explaining what the Lord said and did not say and why; especially when it is obvious that it was not the Lord. Because of their arrogance, they always come up with some seemingly spiritual reason why what they said that the Lord said did not come to pass.

This church will eventually endure great suffering as the Lord will allow them to reap what they are sowing to humble them and to get them to a point where they can truly hear His voice. The message for this church is “be humble, for the Lord is seriously resisting your arrogance.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

Who We Are As People, Who We Are as Churches! Part 4


4. The Thyatira Church

18 To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:

These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.

20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. 24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): 25 Only hold on to what you have until I come. 26 To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—

27     ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter;

he will dash them to pieces like pottery’

just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

(Revelation 1:18-29)

 

The Thyatira Christian is indeed, an extraordinary Christian. This church could be compared to the Ephesus church in terms of how hard they work; I would say that this is an even better church in a sense because of their qualities of love and faith. The following four qualities are named in these verses:

1)    Good deeds

2)    Filled with love

3)    Filled with faith

4)    Hard working

However, even with all these wonderful qualities, they tolerate a very dangerous spirit, which is the spirit of Jezebel. This is very significant because the spirit of Jezebel comes against the prophets; in this case, the prophetic gift in the Body of Christ.First Corinthians 14:3tells us:  “But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.” When one removes the true prophetic gift out of the church they are deeply hurting the Body of Christ because the Prophetic voice is needed for the strengthening, encouragement and comfort of the saints. Without the prophetic gift freely flowing in our congregations, what we have left is a tired, hopeless and very troubled Christian. This is a church that is terribly lacking the gift of discernment; therefore, they stand on very dangerous grounds; not preparing for battle because they have an almost naïve view of the enemy. Even though this Christian is nice and loving, the warning against them is very severe. The Bible tell us the following:

“I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead.”

 

            Strong words, but the one that really gets me is that God will strike her children dead. This is a church where perhaps the children and youth ministry is extremely weak. If that is so, this is a church with very little to look forward to. They have older folks; people of character and truth, but their approach to Christianity are more in the traditional way and not appealing to the youth at all. I see this church as a church filled with loving and faithful old people, but a church with not much future. This is perhaps a church with control over its people. Perhaps not much movement of the Spirit is allowed as the church is bombarded with the spirit of Jezebel who comes very aggressively against the prophetic voice. The message for the Thyatira Church is a cry for the freedom of the prophetic voice.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

Who We Are As People, Who We Are as Churches! Part 3


3. The Pergamum Church

 

12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. 14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. 15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”  (Revelation 1:12-17)

This church is in the midst of perhaps, very demonic geographic places. This is a church that is in the center of places where Satan is truly manifesting in a very strong and powerful way. It is a church that it is constantly being challenged by the secular culture over the culture of God’s Word. This is a church that is faithful in confessing the name of Christ; they are surely not going after other gods. However, for the sake of politically correctness, they tolerate false teachings. This is a church with no backbone. They probably do it all in the name of love, but they are a bunch of “cheese-balls.”

In my short life as a Christian I have seen plenty of these Christians; they have a false sense of what love, mercy and grace are. The message for this church is to repent and take care of business by confronting and taking these false prophets out from among them. The message for this church is to do what they are called to do; not to wait for the Lord to do it directly. God is telling this church to repent, but also with a promise that He himself will deal with these false doctrines; He will deal with what the Pergamum Christian refuse to deal with. The Lord already gave us the authority to come against these false Prophets and Teachers. One thing is to have sinners coming to our churches with questionable life styles, the other is to allow people to actually be a part of the church and allow them to spread their venom and teach their lies as true.

Jesus ate among sinners, reached out to them, but He had no tolerance when it came down to the false teachers that were presenting a wrong doctrine of who the Father Is.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Who We Are As People, Who We Are as Churches! Part 2


 2. The Smyrna Church

 

8 To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.” (Revelation 2:8-11) 

            This is basically an afflicted and poor church. This is a Church that does not look like much; perhaps a small congregation with not many resources. This kind of Christian will be placed in prison because of his/her faith. The world will attempt to terrorize them and test them. Nevertheless, in the midst of all, they are called to be faithful even at the point of death. Many of us probably will never experience such level of hatred against us because of our faith.

The Bible tells us about this church that even as they are poor and afflicted they are rich. This individual is walking in love, is working hard for the Lord, has intimacy with the Lord and has all that the other kinds of Christians are lacking. The sad reality is that this kind of church is not even preached these days. This church is experiencing great anonymity. They are not the majority; not what sells, not what gets on TV, not popular and they do not have many following. However, it is one of only two churches that received no negative reviews from the Lord.

They are going through hell and back on this earth; their faith is constantly challenged, but they are promised the crown of life. I see the Smyrna Christian really shining during the millennium and really shining when we get to the New Jerusalem.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Who We Are As People, Who We Are as Churches! Part 1


  1.     The Ephesus Church

“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” (Revelation 2:2-6) 

            The Ephesus Christian is a hardworking church; however this is also a Church that has lost her intimacy with Christ. This kind of Christian has the following positive characteristics:

1)    Works hard: These are not brothers and sisters that only come to church, but they also participate in ministry and use their talents for the service of the church.

2)    Longevity: they don’t quit: These are people that remain faithful to their ministry; they are not there today and gone tomorrow.

3)    Confrontational: These brothers and sisters have no tolerance for people that bring false doctrines to the church; they truly study the Word. They have particularly gone against the Nicolaitans. Strong Lexicon tells us about the Nicolaitans. They: “…were charged with holding the error of Balaam, casting a stumbling block before the church of God by upholding the liberty of eating things sacrificed to idols as well as committing fornication.”

So far, these are three very powerful positive characteristics. Any pastor will be very happy to have people in their congregation that will work hard, never quit and come against false doctrines and sexual immorality. You would think that these should be enough for a man and women of God, but is it really? With all of that hard work, faithfulness and zeal against sexual immorality, the Bible tells us that the Lord holds the following against them:

1)    This kind of Christian has forgotten his/her first love: They are doing all of these wonderful things (Working hard, being faithful, coming against false doctrine and confronting sexual immorality) without love. They are missing the most important thing; they have lost their passion for Christ and their intimacy with the Lord. They have gotten so focused in the work of the ministry that they have forgotten who they work for.

2)    This church works hard, stays in the word, does great works, but there is not much worship taking place. During the service, it is rare to see tears or brokenness. It is all about winning souls, it is all about works, works and more works. It is all about doing!

3)    This kind of Christian approaches Christianity in a “Martha” manner, who is Lazarus’ sister; it is all about doing. Not doing anything is seen as lazy. Just sitting at Jesus’ feet is a waste of time, because they view the Father’s approval based on works. They believe in the old saying of “staying busy.” They resist those that believe in sitting at the feet of Jesus for hours at a time.

4)    This kind of Christians is not too happy or joyful; they are missing much, but they don’t know it because they are blinded by their great works and knowledge of the Word.

5)    This kind of Christian is not even pursuing the first commandment of loving God above all things because they hide behind the walls of works.

6)    This kind of Christian is a fallen Christian, but doesn’t even know it: Verse five tells us: “Remember the height from which you have fallen!” They are going against false teachers and sexual immorality, and that is good, but they are not realizing that they have actually fallen from grace themselves.

The Warning:

“…Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”

            The warning for the Ephesus Church is severe; it speaks about removal. God is not going to put up with this kind of Church or Christian for too long. Without intimacy we have nothing! I believe that many of us have fallen at one point or another in this category; we are busy in the things of God while ignoring HIM. Ephesus is a call for intimacy!

TO BE CONTINUED…

Who We Are As People, Who We Are as Churches! Introduction


As we end 2011 and at the end of every year, I have been experiencing a special sensitivity that accommodates in my spirit: a reflection of the year that is departing and an excitement and word of direction for the year that is arriving. This time, for me, is a time of taking inventory of where I am, what has happened, where I am going and what I need to do.

I am not a writer that has to write a certain amount of articles a weeks, a month, etc. I write only when I feel in my spirit a prompt requirement to do so. The last couple of days, guided by the Holy Spirit, I have been studying the seven churches given to us in Revelation, chapter two and three.

I have no doubt that the descriptions given to us in Revelation are not only of seven kinds of churches, but also a personality profile of the seven kinds of Christians out there. As we take a closer look at these seven churches I hope that we all can take an inventory of the kind of Christians that we are and the kind of local churches we are a part of. I hope that this series will challenge us to strive to be what the Lord wants us to be and I hope that we will be willing to question what we are a part of and what we so commonly accept as the truth.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…