People Leaving Churches

A friend of mine posted an article on Facebook. It is called “The #1 Reason for Decline in Church Attendance” by Thom Rainer. It was posted on ChurchLeaders.com. So I decided to read the article, since this topic interests me.

I was not only disappointed, but angry. Instead of encouraging pastors and leaders to get on their faces and PRAY for the sheep God has entrusted to them, and make sure they preaching a fresh word from the heart of God, this article simply gives coercion techniques.

The #1 Reason for Decline in Church Attendance

Few people will argue that church attendance in many churches in America is declining. Our own research indicates that the majority of churches in our country are not growing.

Most of us have ideas about this development. Many suggest that our nation is shifting away from its Christian roots. Thus, churches are declining as a smaller proportion of our country follows Christ.

I will not argue with that premise. Certainly attendance declines are related to massive cultural shifts in our nation. But I would also suggest that one reason for declines has a greater impact than others.

The frequency issue

Stated simply, the number one reason for the decline in attendance is that members attend with less frequency than they did just a few years ago. This matters—a lot.

If the frequency of attendance changes, then attendance will respond accordingly. For example, if 200 members attend every week, average attendance is 200. But if one-half of those members miss one out of four weeks, the attendance drops to 175.

Did you catch that? No members left the church. Everyone is still relatively active. But attendance declined more than 12 percent because half the members slightly changed their pattern.

This phenomenon can take place rather quickly, leaving leaders scratching their heads because the behavioral change is so slight it is almost imperceptible. We rarely notice when someone who attends four times a month fades to three times. Nor do we typically catch it when the twice-a-month attendee becomes a once-a-month attendee.

Five possible approaches

Of course, the heart of the problem is not declining numbers but waning commitment. As I addressed in my book I Am a Church Member, (http://thomrainer.com/i-am-a-church-member/) membership is becoming less and less meaningful in many churches. When this happens, commitment wanes.

While I don’t want to suggest there is a magic bullet to this problem, I do want to offer some approaches to address it. These five have proven to be the most helpful in hundreds of churches:

1. Raise the expectations of membership. You may be surprised how many church members don’t really think it’s that important to be an active part of the church. No one has ever told them differently.

2. Require an entry class for membership. By doing so, the church makes a statement that membership is meaningful. The class should also be used to state the expectations of what a committed member looks like.

3. Encourage ministry involvement. Many members become less frequent attendees because they have no ministry roles in the church. They do not feel like they are an integral part of the church.

4. Offer more options for worship times. Our culture is now a 24/7 population that works at all hours of the day and all days of the week. Some members have to work during the times of standard worship services. If possible, give them options. One businessman recently told me that he changed churches so he could be part of a congregation that offers a Saturday worship time. Why? Because his job requires him to catch a plane on Sunday morning. We can lament such realities or adapt to them.

5. Monitor the attendance of each member. This approach is often difficult, especially for worship attendance. That is why the traditional Sunday school approach of calling absentees was so effective. Perhaps churches can incorporate that approach through small groups and home groups. Members are less likely to be absent if they know someone misses them.

When membership becomes meaningful

No matter how much you may think people no longer are committed, they still want to be a part of something that makes a difference. They have a desire to be involved in something bigger than themselves.

Unfortunately, in many churches membership has become less meaningful. Until we get our churches back to the committed membership the Apostle Paul mandates in 1 Corinthians 12, we will continue to see declining attendance. However, when membership becomes truly meaningful, our churches will become an unstoppable force for the Kingdom and glory of God.

While these five steps are no guarantee of a turnaround, they are certainly a good place to start for any pastor or church leader concerned about declining attendance.   (Thom S. Rainer)

He didn’t even mention prayer.

These ministers do not deserve churches.

I pray more people leave them.

Posted in Uncategorized | 21 Comments

The Holy Spirit Makes a Movie? I don’t think so . . .

Well, there is this new movie out.

The trailer opens with Bill Johnson talking.

It premiered at Bethel, Redding.

I am overwhelmed with a burden over this.

I am grieved.

I can hardly write about how horrible this is.

Blah

Speechless

This movie turns legitimate Christianity into some David Blaine/Chris Angel street magick show.

The director,  Darren Wilson says, “This movie is about risk. I want to take the greatest risk possible, and make a movie that is completely led by the Holy Spirit. No plan. No safety. Just show up wherever He leads me, and make God famous” (music crescendos).

Wow.

Well, the director failed.

God would never lead anyone to interview Bill Johnson.

This movie promotes false teachers and dangerous ministries.

And people who may not have even been associated with false teaching are now lumped together, validating error and demonic manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm86 exposes Bill Johnson’s false “Holy Spirit”

You can find many more videos on the internet of people at Bethel, Redding laying on the floor screaming, laughing, drunk in the “spirit.” It is disgusting.

This video below is amazing. It shows clips of Bill Johnson’s absurd claims and counters it with the truth of Scripture.

Now, I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe in the gifts of the Spirit. I am filled with the Holy Spirit. I minister in the gifts of the Spirit. BUT, I do not believe God wants me to get drunk “in the spirit,” or go around the streets giving people some spiritual experience. It isn’t a magic show. That is demonic. I don’t want to touch someone with my hand and make them fall down and shake uncontrollably and walk out of church /unrepentant/. I want to touch people with the Word of God coming out of my mouth /theBible/ and have them fall onto their knees (maybe), sobbing (maybe), broken and repentant (definitely).

The Holy Spirit moves through the Bible. The Holy Spirit leads us TO the Bible. The Bible leads us to Truth. Truth leads us to Repentance. It is all connected. But without TRUTH, there is NOTHING.

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.” John 16:13

Hit the street and preach the GOSPEL.

People will encounter the Holy Spirit when they by faith receive the Gospel.

They don’t need some fake mystical “prophet/healer” to draw attention to humans.

They need SALVATION first.

The Bible says that the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth.

Why would the Holy Spirit move through people teaching error.

It is a false spirit.

A false gospel.

A false movement.

Brian Head Welch formerly from Korn, current “Whosoever,” Love and Death member, currently again in Korn, spiritual guru is also in this movie.

He compares the Holy Spirit experience to a spiritual high.

He is not saying that God’s love is better than drugs. He is saying that his experience with God, feels like using drugs.

On his alternate Facebook page, Love Drunk Headly, he wrote, “Jesus is revealing deep hidden mysteries to me right now after my trials and I am getting so high on his love.” (Love Drunk Headly, June 5).

He doesn’t mean that metaphorically, either.

As you can see him here “toking baby Jesus” with false teacher John Crowder.

They even served demonic communion together.

Brian is very mystical as well.

“In order to open up the heavenly dimension to make you sensitive to the spiritual/angelic realm ruled by Christ, I recommend that you take in God all day, every day, in any way that you can. Make yourself “attractive” to God. The word says if you “draw near to God,” He will “draw near to you.” Drawing near doesn’t mean for 5, 15 or 30 minutes. Drawing near is a lifestyle. It’s eating, drinking, reading, seeing, listening and breathing in God… All day, every day (as much as your schedule permits of course) . . . ” (Love Drunk Headly, March 26).

Wow.

He goes to Bethel, Redding whenever he gets a chance. He promotes them on his Facebook. So you don’t need to wonder where he comes up with the attitude he shared on his Facebook just a few months ago.

I mentioned that I don’t go to church a lot, but I don’t dislike going. I do dislike boring, traditional churches but I respect everybody for what they believe and how they want to live their lives. I usually go to gatherings at nighttime rather than early Sunday mornings. Feels more like a party at night! I was at a spot last night and I had a smile glued on my face most of the night. I even found myself belly laughing hard with friends by the end of the night. Was a blast! I could feel God or angels or something. I don’t see them yet, but I can sense or feel “things” a lot. I know when the atmosphere shifts spiritually. There are some people, who are very normal I should add, with the gift of seeing things in the spirit world. A very young girl last night told me she saw some angels of joy twirling around my head. I believe it, because I could feel stuff going on. I know to some of you that this sounds nuts when you read about it, LOL, but I swear, the more you open yourself up, you actually figure out that it is very real. It’s cool because I totally function normal and I mostly hang out with people who don’t believe in this stuff the majority of the time, but I’m always connected to my spiritual life, especially when I find time to get alone and when I have time off from regular life. When Jesus walked the earth, he was attached to two realms – The earth realm and the heavenly realms. My goal is the same. I can be banging my head at KoRn concerts all over the world, and be connected with God in Spirit at the same time. I used to detach from this world all the time and party with drugs, now I just detach myself from this world and I party with God, & all my peeps (no matter what they believe)! Drugs take you into the spiritual world illegally (spiritually speaking). Jesus Christ takes you into the spiritual world legally.” (Love Drunk Headly, March 18)

So just PRETEND it IS God . . . Sounds like Peter Pan nonsense to me.

So he dislikes boring churches. I guess by that he means normal churches, where you go and worship and study your Bible and pray.

He prefers to get drunk or high on the “Holy Spirit.”

So he has no hunger for the Word of God, but craves some spiritual fix. Truth doesn’t matter. Just encounter something, and tell yourself it is from God.

No wonder he cannot discern truth from error.

And yet, he is a Whosoever.

He is associated with and promoted by Calvary Chapels.

Why?

They are not into this garbage!

They do not have Bill Johnson books in their Chapel Store.

Why is this okay with them?

The Whosoevers don’t care.

They just hashtag Korn all day long.

#whosoevers #movement #korn

Where is the hashtag for standards?

At what point are we just compromising truth for the sake of fame.

Just like the director of this movie said, “to make God famous.”

Wow. So He needed your help?

God is looking for fans?

#God?

God is looking for disciples, not fame.

Satan offered him fame in the wilderness and he chose the cross instead. He is famous already. He has a kingdom already. Who is trying to get famous here? Him, or you?

New Age Philosophy with a Christian mask.

It is one thing for the New Apostolic Reformation folks to be a part of a movie like this, but when members of conservative groups get on board; it is insanity.

And there are other people in this movie that I am sure are also false teachers, but come on Veggie Tales?! Did you have to disappoint me too??? When are we going to see Larry the Cucumber get “pickled in the spirit?”

We are in the last days.

May we seek the Holy Spirit.

One of His gifts is discernment.

We desperately need it.

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

The Lonely Whistleblower

Maybe there is a Lonely Whistle-blower walking out of the church tonight.

He might have seen some terrible injustice, and thinking it would be important to bring it to light, he bravely spoke some truth.

You would think a pastor would want to know, right?

So that he could protect the sheep from evil, from wolves.

And yet, that Lonely Whistle-blower was met with tense facial expressions. His pastor may have crossed his legs, and clasped his hands, and taken a deep breath. He may be doubtful. He may be defensive. Maybe his face even turned red a little. He may have been deeply agitated that you are bringing this up to him. After all, he knows more than you. You are wrong. What you are saying is not true. Who do you think you are?

Well, this is a surprise.

The Lonely Whistle-blower stands speechless outside the quiet, empty church in the shadows that fall from the trees lit in the parking lot. A new wind is blowing in, and he just stands there, feeling it for the first time.

Confused.

Did this just happen?

That wasn’t how he expected it to go.

And soon, as he continues to stand for justice and truth he finds himself encircled by the elders and deacons who have taken up stones and told him to drop the matter, or else.

In order to “protect” the rest of the church, the Lonely Whistle-blower is maligned and ostracized. In love.

As lonely as he feels, he is not alone at all.

I wonder what the pastor would have said if Jesus Himself had sat in that same chair across from the pastor and shared the same details? Would the pastor still be doubtful? Defensive? Agitated? Would he say it wasn’t true. Would the elders and deacons surround the Lord with stones?

Well, it happened.

It happened before.

Let us remember Matthew 23,

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:  “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.

Jesus was a Whistle-blower too. Jesus told the CROWDS of people the truth. He said, that these religious leaders sat in the seat of Moses. They fancied themselves the mediators between God and men. They fancied the authority. They loved to rule over the people, to lord it over them.

So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.

They are hypocrites. But don’t you dare to ever say that. They may teach the Word of God, but do they obey it? In their own lives are they lenient? When you call them on their sin, do they humbly repent? Or do they get furious?

They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

Heavy Burdens–You must serve [God]. You must put ministry above your family. What are you teaching your kids if you are not serving God throughout the week, and helping on weekends, and sacrificing for the kingdom. You need to be here early to set up tables, stay late to vacuum, and be a part of every study and special event. You need to be faithful to God (cough, cough, your pastors vision). Don’t let your pastor down, I mean don’t let *God down.

Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long;  they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

Oh they must be called “Pastor so and so” or “Reverend this or that.” Call them by their first name and see the look on their face. Their churches are cults of personality. They love to headline large conferences, get interviewed on TV or radio. They love their celebrity pastor status. Their books they write. Their teaching series. When they preach, their illustrations are long repetitive stories of how “they” built the church and how God uses “them” to do so much for the kingdom of God. “Can you believe God did this in MY life?!” They may even have large TV screens in the sanctuaries so that people in the way way back of the chapel can see the tear drop down their cheek when they recall the great tragedies of their life. Don’t expect them to show up at your BBQ, or your deathbed. They are too important. They will send someone else.

But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.  And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.  The greatest among you will be your servant.  For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. 

Well, which one of our mega pastors wants to exemplify this one? Oh they will teach it, and then get into their private jet or leave for their vacation in the tropics. They don’t come to church workday. Why would they? When the body gathers to paint the sanctuary, they may show up, just to watch the progress from the back. They won’t help. They won’t spend time with the servants. They won’t buy them lunch and sit with them, or even thank the men covered in paint, and sweat. Don’t actually expect them to act like your equal, your brother, your friend, or God forbid . . . your servant.

Jesus said the only thing they will have is woe.

No wonder they wanted to kill Jesus.

“But, don’t talk about it you guys.”

Fiscal Mismanagement–“Shh”

Immorality–“You are lying”

Abuse–“They are just disgruntled; don’t listen to them”

Flawed Leadership Model–“You are dividing the body; you are being used by the devil.”

What is the Lonely Whistle-blower to do?

I guess, he should do what his Lord did–tell the truth, and then elude them as long as you can.

Leave.

After all, religious leaders are not often willing to give up their power and control, even for the Messiah. Call a meeting of the board of elders, or the Sanhedrin.

If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. (John 11:48).

They couldn’t risk losing it all.

They needed to stop Him.

But He chose to elude them.

Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples. (John 11:54)

When do you leave an unhealthy church?

Is there a time to leave the fallen religious building, or a beautiful sepulcher?

Can we just flee to a small no-name church or body of believers in the wilderness?

Is anyone out there?

Maybe the Lonely Whistle-blower doesn’t have to be alone.

Maybe, there is hope outside a fancy big building, with whitewashed walls and TV screens with his old pastors face crying over past tragedies.

And really, there is nothing left for us there, even if we stay.

Because judgment is coming.

Either way, God sees injustice.

He sees hurting people.

He sees His sheep leaving His Hospitals with fresh wounds.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.  In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.  And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’  So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.  Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.  Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

And so it seems, the Lord Jesus will continue to send Lonely Whistle-blowers into the congregations.

And they will continue to be ignored and mistreated.

It is what has always happened.

It will continue to happen.

And God sees it.

It doesn’t seem to turn out well, but . . .

It seems like quite an honor.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

What Is Women’s Ministry?

Okay, so my heart is so burdened right now for the women, and daughters of our churches. I am writing this from the experiences that I have seen, and the verse that I feel the Lord put on my heart this morning.

I have grown long into a church that DOES what you call “Women’s Ministry.” I have seen fancy women with wispy voices, take the pulpit to compare the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6 to fashion. I have seen them gather together to discuss finger sandwiches and tea cups and centerpieces for the next brunch or conference. I have seen them skirt over serious issues, and stay shallow and vapid mannequins of ministry.

The leaders are nothing like the lay. There is a huge discrepancy. The women in the pulpits at our women’s events are often times nothing like the women in the pews.

The lay ladies come in tired, and thirsty, and troubled in their t-shirts or discount dresses. To hear sermons on suffering given by some easy living pastor’s wife, in Burberry and Brighton.

I have seen these women preach on sexual intimacy, body image, and household obligations to women who are going through difficult marriages, who are overweight, and working over 40 hours a week. They heap on them more and more burdens. Be sexy, be thin, be perfect. Make more bricks, find more straw, and don’t complain.

I have heard women’s leaders tell groups of young married girls that they need to stay thin, or else it will be their fault if their godly husbands cheat or look at porn. I have seen one of the women whom this was spoken to, blame her extra thirty pounds when 5 years later her husband cheated.

I have heard women’s leaders tell groups of young mother, with rolls on their stomachs and lactating breasts, that breast implants make them look better in their clothes.

More straw. More bricks.

I have seen women’s ministry conferences bring in speakers that tell you the proper way to fold your bathroom towels, and organize your closets.

I have seen women’s ministries bring in exercise classes so that we can reinforce to the women that your body is to look like a temple (based on a misinterpretation of scripture).

What is going on?!

Do these women’s ministry leaders even love women?

Or do they hate women?

Do they despise fat women in K-mart jeans?

Do they get disgusted at women with stretch marks and saggy breasts, frizzy hair and outdated kitchens?

Do they not understand that some of these women spend all their time and money taking care of their families and working to pay the bills?

These women are doing the best they can.

Do they not get it, that if a woman is going to take the time to come to a Women’s Bible Study, that they need to be built up and encouraged?

Why can’t she be told, “Well done” or at least given the dignity of honesty.

Why is women’s ministry so superficial?

Why don’t we get real with each other?

I do not want to take time away from my family to go hear how to fold towels, or that spiritual armor is like putting on a special outfit.

I don’t want to be told that spiritual warfare is that voice that tells me that I need plastic surgery . . . and I have heard that taught . . . because you know what?

Spiritual warfare is a LOT more than that!

And many of us are losing the battle.

The verse on my heart is from Jeremiah 6:14 (and it is also repeated in Jeremiah 8:11).

God is judging the priests and prophets for giving the people a shallow message. For not warning them of judgment. For not spending time with God to know His Word and His message for His people. God is upset at how the “shepherds” were treating the sheep.

God says, “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14 KJV)

“They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14 NIV).

“They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14 NLT)

If you would indulge me, I would like to define these words. I think they are very important.

The KJV used the word “healed” –other versions have used the phrases “dressed the wounds” and “offer superficial treatments.” In Hebrew the word is rapha, which means to heal or to cure, like a doctor would. The Lord is saying that instead of doing the work to clean out a wound and heal a person, they are just giving them a superficial band-aid.

Isn’t that what you see at many churches?

In the KJV it talks about “the hurt” of these daughters. The Hebrew word for hurt is sheber, which means breaking, fracture, crushing, breach, crash, ruin, shattering. As well as destruction, affliction, and vexation.

The Lord sees our deep pain. He sees our brokenness. And to Him it is a big deal. He is validating our pains. He is saying that what has happened to us is a crushing, a shattering. It is incapacitating, in many ways.

Of course we have hurt in our churches. We have women who are grown, who have been sexually abused as children, but never told anyone. Women who grew up in a day when families didn’t talk about abuse. We have women whose husbands are terrible hypocrites. Or whose children are prodigals. The women in our churches are suffering, many are shattered.

The pain is there, under the smiles and perfume.

The word “daughter” in Hebrew is bath. It is a polite address and it refers to all the women we know–daughter, girl, adopted daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, granddaughters, female child, cousin. It is all of us. We are all in this together.

The word “slightly” in Hebrew is qalal. It means to treat it lightly, to minimize, to act like it isn’t a big deal. It also means to show contempt or dishonor.

I have seen this. I have seen how women “higher up” in leadership form cliques with other fancy “important” women. And they reserve their tables at their brunches and they don’t associate with the woman who had a tooth missing, or talk long and genuinely to everyone else.

I have seen them gossip and make fun of people for how they look. I have seen them play games and act catty as they struggle to claim their positions in ministry. I have seen them smile with their lips and glare at people with their eyes.

And the word in Hebrew for “saying” is ‘amar. It means to speak, to promise, to avow, to speak proudly, to boast, command, to answer.

What is being said, promised, avowed?

Peace.

They promise peace. Shalowm. Completeness, soundness, welfare, peace, safety, health, welfare, quiet, prosperity, contentment, friendship. It is all there in the concordance. Strong’s Number H7999. You can look it up.

They promise peace and prosperity, but they do nothing to actually help you find it. It isn’t found in superficial band-aids.

What are these superficial band-aids? Lies.

Health and wealth. Beauty. Friendship. Luxury.

I have seen it. Unfortunately.

And I wonder what these women must think?

Do they envy, and long for the Barbie life? Or do they see through it and shake their heads?

I wonder what would happen if one day, we showed up for a Bible Study, and the wispy voiced women were told to sit down to listen. And the K-mart coupon clipper was asked to get in the pulpit. What wisdom would spring forth?

Would they listen, to her? Or turn up their noses?

What if she was very plain, unfashionable or overweight. What is her hair was grey and her wrinkles were visible in the back of the chapel?

What if she didn’t tell funny stories or share some of her more innocent failures, trying to relate to us?

What if she was real.

What if she shared Christ.

What if she shared her ugly truth, of fallen mediocrity and Christ’s glory in the midst of it all. How would women’s ministry be different?

How would women’s ministry be different if we picked the godliest women, the deepest women, the women who evangelize and witness, and minister to the needy–to speak to us? Despite how they look, or how relevant and trendy they are? Regardless of what the YOUNG PEOPLE thought about it.

What if we didn’t blame women for the sins of men?

What if we didn’t blame the 14 year old girl who was sexually abused by her step-dad? What if we didn’t quietly send her away to distant family, as he passed out bulletins at the door of the chapel?

What if we didn’t tell the woman who was sexually abused so terribly that she has PTSD, that if she doesn’t make her body her husbands sexual property, that she would be responsible for his pornography addiction?

What if we let men be responsible for their own sins?

What if we let women be who they are?

What if we loved them no matter what, and asked men to do the same?

What if we stopped being so shallow, and glossing over the deep chasms of pain in the eyes of our congregations and decided to get our hands dirty?

A physician has to get involved. A physician has to put on some gloves and open up and clean out the wounds. He has to open it up. Clean out the dirt or puss. Wash it with water or antiseptic. He needs to soothe it with oil or salve. He needs to bind up the fractures, sew skin back together, and wrap up the injury to protect it from further pain and infection. This process is difficult and it hurts. This process is personal.

A physician doesn’t just stand up on a stage in a hospital and tell his patients funny stories about when he stubbed his toe and how it got better. He has to take his time on an individual level to minister to each person.

So what can we do?

I think we must begin by humbling ourselves. By identifying with the people instead of thinking we are special. I think it will be when we allow ourselves to get messy and get real. When we stop thinking that we need to be perfect outwardly, instead of holy inwardly.

We need to bring Jesus back into our meetings.

We need to let our women sit once again at His feet.

Because He has so much to say to them.

Things that actually matter.

Encouragement and Healing.

He has true love and acceptance, and realistic advice.

He never told them to be thin. He never told them to be fashionable.

It is not wrong . . . but it is not religion.

I just don’t see this as Biblical. When I read the book of Acts, I don’t see anything that at all resembles what many of us call modern women’s ministry.

People just prayed, studied the word, and evangelized.

Isn’t Christianity that simple?

Set your women free!

Let us just encourage them in prayer, study of the word, and evangelism–the things that really matter–for all eternity.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Pornography, Asherah Poles, and High Places

I have something on my heart to share today, but I am so overwhelmed. The topic is too big. There is too much to say. Too much that has already been said, by those more knowledgeable and eloquent than I.

So I am not going to say it all. I am just going to stick to what is on my heart.

I see Satan has crept like a slithering serpent into many houses, through the technological cords and wires. These wires are like snakes that have brought in poison.

Christians would never pick up pentagrams and skulls, or drink blood, would we? No, we recognize those activities as demonic and occultic. We would not be inclined nor comfortable to perform such bold and idolatrous activities.

And that is good. The Lord warned Israel to not practice the occult activities of the people in the land.

“When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so” (Deuteronomy 18:9-14).

The Lord says to His people to not learn their detestable ways, to not practice the things that are idolatrous, demonic, or occult in nature. And most Christians I know, that go to church would refuse to go to a psychic or have a seance in their home. Most people in the church are not “struggling” with their desire to cast spells. Right?

The Lord tells us not to “learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there” but we forget about some other more tempting practices of the occult. That we have de-spiritualized and accepted as “Every Man’s Battle.”

How about the “Asherah poles” we have erected in our homes? The “high places” we have gone to in our own minds?

Did you know that sexual immorality is a war against your soul?

“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” 1 Peter 2:11

We have not been taught that pornography and sexual sin are also practices of the occult.

From the orgies under the oak trees on the hills surrounding Jerusalem, in days of old. To the sex magick promoted by modern day occultists like Aleister Crowley and later Anton LaVey. This idea of sexual activity coupling with the occult has permeated every culture since the Tower of Babel. In the East you have “tantric” practices. In Europe, you have pagan sex rituals. The Bible talks about the temple prostitutes that permeated the land throughout history–through Babylon, Rome, and Greece. Pagan idolatry always involves this seduction.

Sexual immorality is a KEY ASPECT to the pagan worship of antiquity, as well as modern satanism and witchcraft.

We can see the obvious danger of a Ouija board. But we do not see the demonic roots of a website devoted to pornography.

Satan has disguised this sin as if it was not connected to the occult. We don’t see it as demonic. We have called it an “addiction” and looked at it through the eyes of the psychologist or marriage counselor, instead of the eyes of the prophet.

It has been normalized. Our churches have small group studies devoted to this struggle that “all men” have. It is looked at as a carnal and fleshly weakness. The books and flyers for this struggle usually picture a tormented man, in chains.

We counsel them. We tell them to keep trying. To keep repenting. To keep reading books. Keep accountable to others. Keep repenting. We have tried to minimize the shame. And be open about the pain and the struggle. We have support groups for wives of sexual addicts. We have done everything possible to try to help men held captive by various lusts. It is done with a good heart.

But I wonder if titles like “Every Man’s Battle” might make people think, “Hey, it’s not just me. It is everyone. I will do my best, but come on . . . it’s not like we will ever be free of this. I just need to be better.” When we look around and fail to see men stand up and say they DON’T give into porn, how can we have any hope?

This is a HUGE problem.

What do you estimate is the percentage of people (men AND women) in your church that dabbles off and on with pornography?

I think it is at least 50 percent of the people at my church.

It is rampant.

It is secret.

It is a deadly snare.

The youth can hardly escape it.

Even Christian children are finding it on the computers, iPads, and iPhones that we carelessly hand them. They didn’t know better, and now it is too late. They can’t un-see that.

We know it is a problem, but no one sees the pentagram on it.

No one sees the demons behind the scenes.

This has been a concerted effort on the part of the wicked one, and his followers to sneak in and seduce our sheep to practice the abominations of the pagans. We may not drink blood or cast spells, but we are still practicing and celebrating these detestable images. The idols of antiquity were pornographic. I can’t even post a picture of one in the margin.

Pornography is idolatry.

Modern Christianity has taken on certain characteristics. We have become patriotic. We mostly vote republican. We stand against abortion. We are against gay marriage. We try to legislate prayer in schools, etc. But like Josiah–we cannot pull down the high places in our hearts. You cannot legislate a love for God.

We look nice on Sunday morning, with our nice clothes and our after church brunches. Our little girls in dresses, braided hair, and ribbons. Innocence. But what has passed lately before our eyes and electrified our minds?

We have a form of godliness, but we are denying it’s power (to deliver us).

God sees what is in our hearts.

He sees our idolatry.

He sees what we have divided our hearts over.

What we have worshiped, delighted in, and chosen instead of Him.

Detestable images.

Abominations.

His grace is not a gift that was given for our weekly repentance and continued disobedience.

His grace is to set us free, to break the chains.

But if we are honest, these chains are chosen.

Many of us pick them up every week, again and again.

And secretly delight in them, like jewelry.

wanting to continue in these chains.

“I will repent later.”

But this is not what grace is for.

Grace sets us free and makes us NEW.

Grace erases our sins, and helps us hate them.

God doesn’t want to fail us like this.

He will set us free.

But the matter is in the heart.

What do you love more?

How much do you love God?

“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:4

Many of us do not hate our sin enough.

We don’t see it like God sees it–and despise it.

And the moment we do . . . the moment we hate it . . . and it disgusts us entirely . . .

we will cry out to God and be done with it.

Repentance is seeing it, the way God sees it.

Don’t have compassion on the flesh, when it wants to damn you to hell.

Be not deceived– the sexually immoral will NOT inherit the kingdom of God.

“For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”(Ephesians 5:5)

Be delivered.

Exchange your heart of stone for a heart of flesh.

Beg God to change your heart.

Because Satan is laughing at us. He has us worshiping just the way the heathen do, and he laughs at us. You are not alone in your sin. If you are involved with pornography, do not think this is not a spiritual activity. You are sitting in a room with demons, and you are aligning yourself with them.

You are opening a door into your home and your life, where all the forces of evil have a right to come into your home and not just harass you, but destroy your entire family. You must make a choice. You must repent. You must come back into the sheepfold, and under the blood of Christ.

Fight. It is time to fight with everything you’ve got.

What was the curse of Balaam?

It is getting us to curse ourselves.

By choosing pornography you are choosing a curse.

Just as the nation of Judah chose the consequences of her idolatry. Knowing what the Lord said to Moses– we still see great abominations in the temple, in the hearts of the priests even. Was that a lack of faith in the word? “Nothing will happen. God does not see. I will just ask forgiveness.” But we reap what we sow. The Lord sent judgment against them. The Lord exposed the hidden idolatry. How much more will He judge and reveal it when He finds it in our churches, in our leadership, and pastors?

 He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.

And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall.

Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door.

And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.

10 So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about.

11 And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up.

12 Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, the Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth.

13 He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.

14 Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord‘s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.

15 Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.

16 And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord‘s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east.

17 Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose.

18 Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.

Ezekiel 8

You have hope. Jesus came to rescue us from the grip of the devil, and to destroy the works of the evil one. We can walk in holiness. He who called us to holiness, will equip us for holiness. He will forgive our past, AND give us a clean future. Praise God!

If you are wondering why I am writing this, this issue is very dear to my heart. I have seen too many strong men of God fall. I have seen too many choose the temporary and condemning sins of the flesh and not only be destroyed–but destroy others. How many people are going to loose everything before we stop minimizing and dismissing this as just something that all guys will always struggle with forever?

Josiah loved God, but he never destroyed the high places. He never went up there and took them down. Therefore, idolatry and immorality came back to ruin the lives of those after him. If we want to save those we love, we need to cut this off at the knees and make sure the enemy has NO INLET into our homes. There is no opportunity for him to place his detestable images before our eyes, or the eyes of our children.

Hezekiah tried, he wasn’t perfect, but this had to please God.

“[Hezekiah] removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it.” (2 Kings 18:4).

We don’t have to be perfect, but let us do what we can. Even if someone like Ahaz was our father, let us try to break the cycle. Even if our children choose to go astray, like Manasseh, let us make a choice to obey God–with our whole heart.

I also want to say that if you go to a church that minimizes this sin, or you have an accountability partner that doesn’t seem to take it seriously. You are in danger. You need to find a group that will tell you the truth, seasoned with grace. The Lord Jesus said that there would be churches that fail to deal with sexual sin. That they will minimize and dismiss it–even to the extent of saying that it is okay. He is not happy with them.

To the church of Pergamum He says,

There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam,who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.” (Revelation 2:14)

To the church of Thyatira He says,

“You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.” (Revelation 2:20)

Paul says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)

Let us choose this day whom we will serve. 

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Now after all this, there is much that I wasn’t able to say–I wasn’t able to speak to those who have been abused and become victims of the industry. I haven’t been able to speak to those whose marriages have been destroyed by this industry. I want you to know that I know that you are there, and hurting, and you are important. God sees you. And He loves  you.

For Further (Better) Reading on This Subject, Please Read:

“Porn — the supposedly “harmless” anaconda being allowed to slither silently into homes”

and

“I Hate Porn Because I Hate Child Abuse And Sex Slavery”

You might also find this video interesting. It shows a connection between the demon referred to by pagans as “Lilith” and sometimes “Asherah” and sexual immorality (among other things).

 Lilith–Know Your Enemy

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

The New Age Propensities of Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson, John Lanagan

The Last Hiker:

This article is so important. Even churches that are conservative are singing songs written at Bethel Redding. This leaven will spread, be on guard and be ready to protect your church from this error.
God bless you!

Originally posted on m'kayla's korner:

bkt-jl-bth-lgMy friends, John from My Word Like Fire has published the following tract on the relationship between Bethel teachings and the New Age. I was exposed to, and was taught similar ideas from John Paul Jackson. And in and my dealing in the false prophetic I too, was considered a “seer”.

It is widely believed and taught therein, that the works of the occult, the supernatural and psychic power are truly from the Lord. Those who practice these things outside a relationship with the Lord, only have yet to know Him, and that and the church itself has forgotten its true ways. Nothing can be further from the truth. If you have ever heard of Christian prophetic booths set up at fairs and conventions, this is where it comes from.

Thank you John, for a work well done.

Read, and share -

From the Lighthouse BlogNEW BOOKLET TRACT: The New…

View original 8 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Church and Abuse: What do We Expect?

The Last Hiker:

This was so good! It is so easy to look around and get discouraged. But according to the book of Revelation, God is not surprised with what we see. Grieved, yes. Surprised, no. So what do we do? Let us not lose heart. Press on. Fix our eyes on Christ. God bless.

Originally posted on A Cry For Justice:

And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: “The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.’ “ (Rev 2:8-10)

We do a lot of complaining and criticizing of the church on this blog — and rightly so. The Christian church’s track record in dealing with the evil of abuse is not a shining example of what it should be. You know the drill. Victims…

View original 853 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment