THE VOICE OF THE FIVEFOLD ROUNDTABLE | VOLUME 81 ISSUE 10 OCTOBER 2013
IN THIS ISSUE: YOU ARE A HYPOCRITE FOUNDATIONS OF FOLLOWING JESUS ARE PENTECOSTALS LOSING THEIR RELIGION? MILEY CYRUS
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Are We Pentecostals Losing Our Religion by Holding Our TongueTalking?
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for doing well. Being called a hypocrite was a compliment given to an actor. The use of the word as related to other applications especially those of religion is not meant as a compliment. When one is called a hypocrite is a reference to the fact that they are NOT what they are claiming. Like the Greek root of the word, those called a hypocrite are being referenced as acting the part as opposed to being genuine. Hypocrites are generally easy to spot. As a general rule hypocrites are steeped in self-righteousness and go around condemning others.
YOU ARE A HYPOCRITE! (And that is not a compliment)
JESUS VS THE HYPOCRITES
Matthew 21:12-17 Christ found some of the courts of the temple turned into a market for cattle and things used in the sacrifices, and partly occupied by the money-changers. Our Lord drove them from the place, as he had done at his entering upon his ministry.
Adam Clarke commented this way about hypocrites, “properly a stage-player, who acts under a mask, personating a character different from his own; a counterfeit, a dissembler; one who would be thought to be different from what he really is. A person who wishes to be taken for a follower of God, but who has nothing of religion except the outside.”2
John 2:13-17. His works testified of him more than the hosannas; and his healing in the temple was the fulfilling the promise, that the glory of the latter house should be greater than the glory of the former. If Christ came now into many parts of his visible church, how many secret evils he would discover and cleanse! And how many things daily practiced under the cloak of religion, would he show to be more suitable to a den of thieves than to a house of prayer!1
It is evident that the hypocrite differed little from the way that Jesus saw the Pharisees, "You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.”Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are
The concept of the word hypocrite comes from the Greeks. This was a word used to give actors a compliment 1
Matthew Henry Concise Commentary. Matthew. Chapter 21.
Adam Clarke. Commentary on Matthew. Chapter 6. Verse 5. Pg. 131.
like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.…”
concerning their hypocrisy. Jesus gives them a laundry list of their offenses: “1. Their unwillingness to let the common people enjoy the pure word of God, or its right explanation: Ye shut up the kingdom, etc., Matthew 23:13. [Today this is no less reflected in the pursuit of religious systems, denominations, and a plethora of other works of men that have replaced the pure unadulterated Word of God. The modern hypocrite uses their religious systems to keep others ‘shut out’ of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ by insisting that men (and women) must first join their religious order, church or organization].
“Our Lord plainly foresaw that, in process of time, a spiritual domination would arise in his Church; and, to prevent its evil influence, he leaves the strong warnings against it which are contained in the former part of this chapter. As the religion of Christ is completely spiritual, and the influence by which it is produced and maintained must come from heaven; therefore, there could be no master or head but himself: for as the Church (the assemblage of true believers) is his body, all its intelligence, light, and life, must proceed from him alone.”3
2. Their rapacity, and pretended sanctity in order to secure their secular ends: Ye devour widows houses, etc., Matthew 23:14. [Today those who claim to be ‘men of God’ use their position, pulpit, titles and more to gain every conceivable advantage over the people of God turning the people of God into possessions, bartering chips and merchandise. This prompted one gifted writer to compare modern day pastors to pimps prostituting the Gospel of Jesus Christ for personal gain.]
I have to admit, I have had enough of those who are FULL OF RELIGION. Jesus found a collection of such people when he visited the temple. He responded to the long list of abuses that were the common practice of the religious people of His day, by giving His last address to the Pharisees
3. Their pretended zeal to spread the kingdom of God by making proselytes, when they had no other end in view than forming instruments for the purposes of their oppression
Adam Clarke. Commentary on Matthew. Pg. 437.
and cruelty: Ye compass sea and land, etc., Matthew 23:15. [Today’s hypocrite is focused on building their personal kingdoms whether or not the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is advanced. They will use any and nearly all means to bring people to their religious empires, religious country clubs or other fronts while pretending to be the continuation of the New Testament Church.]
by Scripture to refute their hypocrisy they use a legalistic tactic by claiming that these religious dogma’s they hold are “personal convictions”. First, they are lying. They teach these dogmas in their churches and tell their people that those who do not adhere to their opinions are “going to hell”. Second, personal convictions are NOT in the Bible.
PERSONAL CONVICTIONS “Personal convictions are beliefs held by a person for some reason or another. In our parts in the early 1900 it was said to be a sin to drink coffee. This was preached from pulpits. Was it a sin? If a person works hard enough on it they could make a case for it being a sin and that is what they did. But we could do that with a lot of things in life. As late as 1979 the boys were made to swim in pants and a shirt at the pool (and it was NOT co-ed) lest someone look upon their nakedness. It may seem funny, but I was swimming in a pool at a youth camp fully dressed as if that pleased the Lord. I could just have easily made a case for it tempting God to nearly drown some boys.”4
4. Their bad doctrine and false interpretations of the Scriptures, and their dispensing with the most solemn oaths and vows at pleasure: Ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing, etc., Matthew 23:16-22. [The hypocrite loves to ‘pick and choose their religious dogma’. They will tell women that they are ‘going to hell’ for wearing pants which they claim is men’s apparel (a gross misuse and misapplication of Deuteronomy 22:5 which is condemning the worship of other gods) and then ignore the rest of the book of Deuteronomy or dismiss it as “Old Testament”. When confronted
A. Paul said, "I will eat no flesh while the world standeth." (vs. 13) "I will not do anything that will cause my weaker brethren to stumble." I will not offend my 4
brother. The growth and attitude of his brother was important to him. 1. Paul had a conviction here against causing a weaker brother problems. He was willing to give up something for that conviction. 2. True convictions are not just worth fighting for; they are also worth sacrificing for. Yet, we go too far when we condemn those who do not hold these personal convictions... 3. Our convictions must be personal as opposed to corporate. Many people have convictions about what others should do and be. These are improper convictions.”5
The real deal is that personal convictions are code words for religious Pharisees who see you as inferior to them because they hold to these personal convictions that you don’t see as necessary. Thus, they are being saved through their works and you are inferior. They totally ignore the Word of God. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.6
5. Their superstition in scrupulously attending to little things, and things not commanded, and omitting matters of great importance, the practice of which God had especially enjoined: “How terrible it will be for you legal experts and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You give to God a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, but you forget about the more important matters of the Law: justice, peace, and faith. You ought to give a tenth but without forgetting about those more important matters. Matthew 23:23, 24. [Pharisees (hypocrites) are far more concerned about their ‘personal convictions’ and other religious dogma (offered by religious country club) than they are the Word of God. They ignore justice in pursuit of personal gain, trade peace for
No one needs to be concerned with someone else’s personal convictions. If you really have a personal conviction keep it that way – PERSONAL. If God really convicted you then by all means DON”T DO IT! If you vowed a vow, then you are bound to your vow! But other than that, BE QUIET! Others don’t need to be subjected to crude attempt to enslave them to your personal convictions! Apostle Paul addressed this problem in the Galatian Church: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 5
Ephesians 2:8-9. NIV.
religious inclusion and trade faith for religion.]
claiming to be working for God. Jesus mentioned these people specifically: “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 2On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’]
6. Their hypocrisy, pretended saint ship, and endeavoring to maintain decency in their outward conduct, while they had no other object in view than to deceive the people, and make them acquiesce in their oppressive measures: Ye make clean the outside of the cup, Matthew 23:25, 26. [The religious systems contrived by these modern hypocrites are oppressive. Like the Galatian Church, those born in the Spirit are now convinced they will perfect themselves in the flesh. Many religious hypocrites adhere to a strict dress code (not found in the bible but written in the manual of their religious organization) which they prefer to the Word of God.]
8. Their pretend concern for the holiness of the people, which proceeds no farther than to keep them free from such pollutions as they might accidentally and innocently contract, by casually stepping on the place where a person had been buried: and for their affected regret that their fathers had killed the prophets, while themselves possessed and cultivated the same murderous inclinations: Ye-garnish the sepulchers of the righteous, and say, If we had been, etc., Matthew 23:29, 30. [As previously noted the religious hypocrites are VERY organized and have written their own books (manuals) where they list the many things that they claim one must do to be 'saved’. Notable among those hypocrites (who are focused on the long list of things they say is important) is the blatant worldliness, open sin, to an
7. The depth of their inward depravity and abomination, having nothing good, fair, or supportable, but the mere outside. Most hypocrites and wicked men have some good: but these were radically and totally evil: Ye are like unto whited sepulchers within full of all uncleanness, Matthew 23:27, 28. [The modern version of these Pharisees and hypocrites is NO different. These hypocrites have converted vast amounts of people to their heresies all the while 7
extent worse than those who do not even claim to know Christ.]
For the past 40 years I have often seen religious hypocrites use the Bible as a striker on those who don’t conform to their religious system. While they rail against women wearing pants their ministers are seeking the services of prostitutes, extorting others for profit, and sleeping with other men’s wives!
IT IS MY TURN If Jesus Christ had come into the world as a mighty and opulent man, clothed with earthly glories and honors, he would have had a multitude of partisans, and most of them hypocrites – Adam Clarke
I read recently where one modern day Pharisees (hypocrite) wrote a whole article concerned about women showing their knees. I say to him, sir, you should concern yourself with the rampant sexual sin in your audience. Tell your friends to REPENT, and find a prayer closet for yourself. Like the fruitless tree of Matthew Chapter 11:
First of all, I am NOT Jesus! However, I have to say that I share His frustration with the hypocrites who are using His Church for their own purposes. I was taught by some of the best hypocrites in the world. They taught me to be a hypocrite. I am not proud of it, but I admit the transgression. Like the Pharisees, these hypocrites taught me to be worried about external things while they ignored the sin in their ranks. They taught me that how one dressed or looked was more important than what was in their heart! They would rail about subjects that they claimed were Scriptural (but are NOT) like women wearing pants, the length of a woman’s dress, hair or sleeves (they love to preach against women) etc. These things they taught me and I am ashamed to say that I naively repeated.
1. They make a profession of the true religion. 2. They consider themselves the peculiar people of God, and despise and call all others reprobate. 3. They are only hypocrites, having nothing of religion but the profession (leaves or outward look) and no fruit. I am sure when this article is posted to my Facebook account some of my ‘friends’ there will un-friend me, but I am ok with that. They may feel like I am using a cat–of-nine-tails on them (like Jesus did in the Temple). I confess, that is my intent. Like Jesus, I have grown 8
weary of those who make merchandise of the house of God and use the people of God for their own means. I am not concerned about the feelings, sensitivities or the like, of hypocrites who continue to prey on the unsuspecting, the unconverted, the weak and the poor in a continued effort to ingratiate themselves. It is WAY past time for the people of God to stand up to this effort to bully and intimidate those who are part of the body of Christ.
do towards producing such an inward conviction. A man might as reasonably expect to bind an immaterial spirit with a cord, or to beat down a wall with an argument, as to convince the understanding by threats and tortures. Persecution is much more likely to make men hypocrites than sincere converts. They may perhaps, if they have not a firm and heroic courage, change their profession while they retain their sentiments; and, supposing them before to be unwarily in the wrong, they may learn to add falsehood and villainy to error. â€“ Adam Clarke
To all of these hypocrites I say, REPENT of your error. Go to the 15th Chapter of Acts and read it, apply it to your life and letâ€™s get on with the business of making disciples for JESUS CHRIST (not disciples for men) You may have heard the story of a slave whose name was SPARTICUS. Spartacus was a slave to his Roman masters. One day Spartacus became part of an effort to throw off the tyranny of his captors. His first goal was his own freedom. However, after getting himself free, he was not satisfied with just getting his freedom but he set out to set free all the slaves in the Roman Empire. Those who joined the effort
IT IS YOUR TURN True religion imports an entire change of the heart, and it must be founded in the inward conviction of the mind, or it is impossible it should be, what yet it must be, a reasonable service. Let it only be considered what violence and persecution can 9
The International Circle of Faith traces its beginning to the Azusa Street movement or revival (circa 1906) through the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ. Other aspects of his ministry include the ICOF Colleges and Seminaries - a network of Christian bible colleges, Next Wave magazine and the Fivefold Roundtable.
thought of themselves as part of the vision of Spartacus to set all of the slaves of the Roman Empire free. In the end, those who had joined his effort would say, “I AM SPARTICUS”. It is time for you to take a stand. Be heroic! Quit being bullied by religious hypocrites who drive away those who would come to Jesus. No doubt some of your friends and family have been driven away from Jesus Christ by hypocrites who offer only the dead works of religion in place of a living and resurrected Christ who came to set the captives free. Don’t let religious phonies hurt you or your friends and family anymore! Get away from them! Don’t listen to them; they only seek to enslave you! Stand fast in LIBERTY, Jesus Christ has set you free. Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1
Apostle Bernie L. Wade is the President of the International Circle of Faith (ICOF), a group of ministers, churches, and parachurch ministries. They were first organized in Cleveland, Ohio (1932) and are currently headquartered in Washington, D.C.
blocks of your experience. Nothing is more important to your future growth and service than knowing what and why you believe.
Foundations Of Following Jesus
First, Let's Have a Talk Have you ever had questions about what Christians believe? Have your friends asked you why you believe the way you do and you haven't been able to answer them? If so, this course is especially for you. Even after you have studied it, you will want to keep it on hand for a quick reference any time a question arises. This course is about the main teachings of the Bible. We call them the fundamental doctrines. You should study them not only to have answers to questions but because knowing what God says about different things can be a matter of life or death to you and the people you influence. The Bible verses that you study and memorize will help you grow spiritually. You will find them valuable in your own times of private devotion, as well as in personal evangelism and teaching the Bible to others. And, as the Bible itself says, knowledge of the Word builds faith.
Part 1: The Bible A Study by Apostle Robert Straube
My Gift to You Have you ever been challenged with the task of explaining your Christian faith to someone else? Perhaps you have been confused about what Christians believe. What are the "basics" of Christianity, the essentials that God's Word declares are important to true faith? If you have asked any of these questions, then this study will give you a foundation upon which to build your relationship to Jesus. In this series you will learn about the fundamentals of the Christian faith. When finished, you will be able to clearly and simply explain the building
The Bible The sailors were frightened. There had been a terrible storm and some of their friends had drowned. They were lost and many unanswered questions troubled them. Where were they going? How long would this trip last? Would they ever find their way home? 11
It was 1492 and the captain of these men, Christopher Columbus, could not answer their questions. He had taken them on an uncharted course across the Atlantic Ocean. They were looking for India. Instead, he found an island in the Americas. There he and his sailors found fresh water and their lives were saved. A similar story would not likely be repeated today. With accurate charts and maps to direct their course, ship captains need not lose their way.
In this lesson you will study... The Origin and Structure of the Bible The Purpose of the Bible This lesson will help you ... Describe the origin and structure of the Bible. Understand how and why the Bible was given.
Though still on land, many people feel as if they are lost on a storm-tossed ocean. They are asking themselves questions. Where am I going? Am I lost? Will I ever find the right way? God has heard our questions and He has already given us a Book to guide our lives. Before searching for the answers, let's look together at the great Book. We will see how it was written and how it was given to us.
The Origin and Structure of the Bible Objective 1. Describe the origin and basic structure of the Bible. The Holy Bible, made up of 66 books, is like a small library that God has given us. The first part of the Bible-the Old Testament-contains 39 books. The second part-the New Testamentcontains 27 books. Over a period of 1600 years approximately 40 men were involved in writing these books. The Bible tells us that these men were holy men of God. They were kings and peasants, poets and merchants, military and religious leaders. They were from different back 12
grounds, different cities, and of different interests. The books of the Bible cover many different subjects, like history, prophecy, and poetry. It has songs and wise sayings called proverbs. It contains stories to interest the young and the old. Yet it all fits together because it has one central theme-the relationship between God and man.
Check your answers with those at the end of this lesson.
The Purpose of the Bible Objective 2. Recognize aspects of divine inspiration. Perhaps you noticed what may seem to be a contradiction in the first part of this lesson. It says that God gave us the Bible, but it also says that men wrote it. How can this be? The forty men who wrote the Bible were divinely inspired. This means that the Holy Spirit put in the authors' minds the thoughts that God wanted them to write. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is inspired by God.â€? This verse also tells why the Bible was given for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and giving instruction.
For You to Do In each one of these For You to Do sections, the questions or exercises will help you review or apply what you have studied. 1 Fill in the missing terms in the following sentences. a The Bible consists of __________ books written by _________ men of different backgrounds. b The Bible was written over a period of ________________years. c There are ___________ books in the first part called the ______ Testament and _________ books in the second part called the __________Testament.
God has given us instructions for right living because He desires our highest good. He knows that when we do not live according to His principles we hurt ourselves. Our minds, our bodies, and especially our spirits suffer. The best way to avoid hurting ourselves is to follow His Word closely. Through it we get to know Him personally; we understand that His ways are best for
us. Check Your Answers Like a chart or a guide book, His Word was written for us to turn to for help and strength. How wonderful that we can have His personal instructions to us always at our side!
The answers to your study exercises are not given in the usual order. They have been mixed up so that you will not see the answer to your next question ahead of time. Try not to look ahead. 1 a 66; 40 b 1600 c 39 Old 27 New 2 a) God was the real author and they wrote the thoughts He gave them. 3 God gave the authors the thoughts they should write. 4 a) He wants our highest good. b) He wanted to give instructions for right living. d) He wants to establish His relationship with us and tell us what He is like.
For You to Do 1.
In the next two exercises, circle the letter in front of the words that best complete the sentence. 2. When we say that the Bible is divinely inspired we emphasize that a) it tells us about God. b) God gave the authors the thoughts they should write. c) it contains valuable religious history. 3. The authors wrote on the same theme and did not contradict each other because a) God was the real author and they wrote the thoughts He gave them. b) each one left instructions for the following writers. 4. Circle the letter in front of the TRUE reasons why God has given us the Bible. a He wants our highest good. b He wanted to give instructions for right living. c He wanted us to realize that He is too great for us to know Him. d He wants to establish His relationship with us
Your Servant, Apostle Robert Straube To request the complete teaching email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Robert Straube serves as President of ICOF CSU. He is a member of the US National Fivefold Roundtable and President of Rock of Zion Ministries
I was shocked by the AP report about a small Assemblies of God congregation that looks just like every other Pentecostal church service—except nobody is speaking in tongues. The wire service positions Three Crosses Church as an example of a downward trend in tongue-talking—for the sake of moving into the mainstream.
Are We Pentecostals Losing Our Religion by Holding Our TongueTalking?
Wait, what? Squashing a gift of the Spirit to cater to the mainstream? Suppressing spiritual gifts to find acceptance in the mainstream? God forbid Pentecostals and charismatics stop speaking in tongues at church for the sake of the mainstream! I mean, since when has true Christianity ever been mainstream anyway? We’re supposed to have a reputation for turning the world upside down (Acts 17:6), not putting God in a seeker-friendly box so churchgoers— wearing foam earplugs in case the music is too loud and duly caffeinated with lattes from the cafe—have a more comfortable experience.
Praying in tongues is getting a lot of attention in secular media these days. The New York Times recently published an article called “Why We Talk in Tongues,” and the Associated Press is reporting “Messages in Tongues Down Among Pentecostals.”
"It's different now," Pastor Ken Walters of Three Crosses Church told the AP. "People don't like to stand out if they don't have to."
Wait, what? Can you even be Pentecostal—or charismatic—without praying in tongues? Isn’t it somewhat of an oxymoron to stumble upon a born-again, blood-bought, Spirit-filled believer who doesn’t speak in tongues? After all, the evidence of being filled with the Spirit is speaking in other tongues and prophesying (Acts 19:6).
Wait, what? Many churches have already conformed to the world, tapping into a spirit of entertainment to make the church more seeker friendly. Do we now have to conform to the world in our prayer life also (Rom. 12:2)? I mean, what’s next? Do we stop praying in church altogether and turn a worship service into a 16
weekly Sunday morning motivational seminar with no mention of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, lest we make visitors uncomfortable and they don’t give an offering? God forbid! The Bible says, “Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thess. 5:19).
Spirit gives them utterance (Acts 2:4). Again, decently and in order. Speaking in tongues is one of the defining marks of Pentecostals and charismatics. So, are we losing our religion? And if we lose this aspect of our faith, what else are we ultimately giving up with it? Are we moving into an age of “don’t ask, don’t tell” if you are filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in a supernatural prayer language? God forbid!
I’ve shared in the past how the first time I saw people praying in tongues it completely freaked me out. Of course, that wasn’t in a church setting. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting that church folks should bust out in tongues in the middle of a service or get so carried away during worship that they distract the congregation, claiming, “The Holy Ghost made me do it!” Nor am I suggesting that the preacher should replace his Bible teaching with a message in tongues that no one understands (1 Cor. 14:1-12). Everything in church should be done decently and in order (v. 40).
"This is our power," Nick Farone, a pastor who runs a Christian center in Louisiana and a member of the Pentecostal Church of God, told the AP. "We shouldn't be ashamed." Can somebody say, “Amen”? Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Spiritual Warrior's Guide to Defeating Jezebel.
But during prayer meetings, during worship or during an altar call, quietly speaking in tongues is a natural part of the Pentecostal/charismatic service. Putting a lid on tongues at church not only risks quenching the Spirit, but it may also grieve Him.
You can email Jennifer at email@example.com
If the Spirit gives us utterance and we don’t release what He’s saying—even if that’s intercession in an unknown tongue—we could be hindering God’s purposes: “For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26). If we expect to see more miracles, we need to give the Holy Spirit free reign—and that means allowing people to speak in tongues when the
characteristics Millennials are looking for in a church home:
5 Characteristics Millennials Are Looking For In Church
By: Bob Sutton
Church leaders who are honest and forthcoming about their flaws are much more attractive to this generation. Millennials grew up hearing about church leaders caught in scandalous affairs and watching thieves posing as pastors. Many have not lost their faith in Jesus but have lost their trust in church at large. Leaders who are honest about struggles do more to point to Jesus as the leader of their church. Rather than making a name for themselves, these pastors will attract people who also want to be authentic and seek Jesus’ as the leader of their lives. 2. Engagement For many who grew up going to church, hearing the “facts” of the gospels preached on Sunday is not enough to keep them coming back. Millennials want you as a church leader to engage with the text because it is living and breathing. It isn’t about providing a captivating sermon, though that is important, it is about bringing the text of the Gospel into your culture and community. It is important to teach with a genuine passion for those who hear, but also those who might be affected if the hearers take action. Which leads to…
There has been much chatter recently about why Millennials are leaving the church. Several theories have been presented from leaders across the country. One of the most fundamental flaws of writing blog post about a topic like that is that there cannot be a single answer. The group of people who are referred to as Millennials is too big to be characterized as a cohesive unit, and they didn’t all decide to leave the church for the same reason. Full disclosure…I’m not a millennial. I belong to that fun group known as GenX by a whopping 14 days. Had I been born 2 weeks later, I would be a Millennial, but as it is, I’m lumped in with a completely different group, who I’m sure left the church for an even different reason than the Millennials about which I’m writing.
3. Mission The world is so much smaller now that people are so easily connected and few are more connected than Millennials. For the most part, this group is aware of what is going on globally and locally, but often they are not sure how they can directly engage with those in need.
Rather than exploring why they leave, let’s look into why they stay or join in. Here are five 19
As church leaders, it is crucial to provide opportunities for these people to affect change. If you are unsure where to start, have an organization who shares your churchâ€™s vision set up a booth in the lobby and speak from the stage. Millennials want to be empowered to do meaningful work on a local and global scale. Your church can be a great avenue for that missional connection.
In fact, none of these things are new to the modern church. All of these elements are seen in Acts 2 as the New Testament believers began to grow together. How each of these look today may look a little different, but Millennials today still want a church that is authentic, missional, approachable, encourages fellowship, and provides opportunities for engagement.
4. Fellowship This is a fun-loving generation. Because they are so connected, people may think Millennials withdraw from face to face relationships in favor less direct communication. The opposite is true. They crave connection on a personal level with people who genuinely care about them. Help them bond by having a small group ministry that allows groups to form organically and intentionally. The object here is not to create â€˜cliquesâ€™ but to provide a consistent and safe place for them to open up about life and faith. 5. Approachability For Millennials who grew up in the church, this is not as big a deal, but for those exploring faith for the first time, having an environment that is approachable and welcoming is essential to having a positive experience. The aesthetics of the worship space, the comfort of the seating, and the familiarity of the music all play a roll in creating an environment that is approachable. If there are liturgical or ritual elements to your Sunday services, make sure they are explained well from the stage. Millennials want all of these elements when looking for a place to call their church home, and if I may speak for my GenX friends, they want these same things too. 20
intends to convert a man. If God omnipotently says, "Thou shalt," man shall not say, "I will not." We must observe that the power which raised Christ from the dead was glorious. It reflected honor upon God and brought dismay to the hosts of evil. So there is a wonderful and great glory to God in the conversion of every sinner. It was and is everlasting power. "Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death hath no more dominion over Him." Romans 6:9. So we too, being raised from the dead in Christ Jesus, do not go back to our dead works nor to our old selfish corruptions, but we live unto God.
An Open Letter to A New Believer
Ephesians 1:19, 20: “and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms...” To Nick, My Dear New Brother in Christ Jesus, In the resurrection of Christ, as in our salvation, there was put forth to you nothing short of divine power. What would we say of those who think that conversion is formed and crafted by the free will of man’s choosing, and is due to his own goodness or readiness? If that were the case, we would see the dead rise from the grave by their own power, then we would also expect to see ungodly sinners, by their own free will, turning to Christ. It is not about the word preached, nor the reading of the word in itself; all quickening power proceeds from the Holy Spirit. This power was and is irresistible. All the temple guards and Roman soldiers, as well as the high priests could not keep the body of Christ in the tomb; Death himself could not hold Jesus in his bonds: also irresistible is the power put forth and into in the new believer when he is raised to a newness of life. No sin, no corruption, no devils in hell, not even the sinners upon earth, can hold back the hand of God's grace when it
2 Timothy 2:11, "Because He lives we live also." Colossians 3:3, "For we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God." Romans 6:4, "Like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Lastly, in the Scriptures we see the union of our new life to Jesus. The same power which raised our Head, Jesus, also works life in us, His members. What a blessing it is to be quickened together with Christ! We are now one with Jesus, our Lord and Savior!
In His Love and Grace, Your Brother and Servant, Apostle Robert Straube
ICOF members have united over 50,000 ministers representing more than 25 Million constituents, several hundred colleges, universities and other Christian schools, orphanages & feeding programs, humanitarian aid organizations, chaplains and other charities.
belief – your belief liberty interest, as I hope to explain below – is necessarily curtailed by the existence of a law that prohibits you from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or marital status.”4 This, however, raises a question. What if the law is unconstitutional. Doesn’t the First Amendment of the Constitution restrict the government from encroaching on religious liberty. Feldblum wants to do away with the first amendment by imposing a new interpretive paradigm in constitutional law.
The Coming Death of the Bill of Rights By Dallas Carter
There are emerging trends in the law that will result in the Bill of Rights, or the first ten amendments of The United States Constitution ceasing to have legal force in American Courts. While this article is not about “gay rights” issues, more accurately called homofascism1, the Homofascist movement is becoming the vehicle through which this loss of liberty is affected. Chai R. Feldblum, who is a law professor at Georgetown who selfidentifies as a lesbian2, is promoting a new paradigm for adjudicating liberty claims in an article in the Brooklyn law Review called Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Religion3. This article will explain her paradigm, critique her paradigm, and then show why it is relevant to the debate over freedom. A new, subjective paradigm for interpreting rights is emerging
“ Second, I want to suggest that the best framework for dealing with the conflict between some people’s religious beliefs and LGBT people’s identity liberty is to analyze religious people’s claims as belief liberty interests under the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, rather than as free exercise claims under the First Amendment. “5 She wants the Due Process clause to trump the First Amendment. She suggests that the First Amendment is not the only source of protection for religious people. What she fails to disclose is that the First Amendment is the strongest legal protection for religious people because it clearly and explicitly defines religious liberty. Her
Feldblum right out of the gate makes her point when she says” Your religious 23
pricked out in terms of the taking of property; the freedom of speech, press, and religion; the right to keep and bear arms; the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures; and so on. It is a rational continuum which, broadly speaking, includes a freedom from all substantial arbitrary impositions and purposeless restraints, and which also recognizes, what a reasonable and sensitive judgment must, that certain interests require particularly careful scrutiny of the state needs asserted to justify their abridgment. 8
new paradigm seeks to game the Due Process Clause to change the rules. She suggests that Supreme Court Justice David Souter, in his concurring opinion in Washington v Glucksberg6, hints at this new paradigm7. This paradigm, as we shall see, replaces objective criteria for judging the constitutionality of a law with subjective criteria.
According to Feldman, ” Justice Souter finds guidance for this approach in
What this means is that if a judge “finds” a right that is not explicitly disclosed but is deemed present in the due process that is contrary to an explicitly stated right, the explicitly stated right does not limit the rights that are allegedly hidden in the “rational continuum.” This principle, if consistently applied, takes the explicit guarantees of religious freedom, freedom of speech, and other freedoms guaranteed in the bill of rights completely out of the equation as one could no longer appeal to the plain meaning of the text as an argument in court.
Justice Harlan’s dissent from dismissal on jurisdictional grounds in Poe v. Ullman:
Souter, in Washington vs. Glucksberg, is clearly pushing towards a subjective standard of review. He writes.
[T]he full scope of the liberty guaranteed by the Due Process Clause cannot be found in or limited by the precise terms of the specific guarantees elsewhere provided in the Constitution. This “liberty” is not a series of isolated points
“It is only when the legislation’s justifying principle, critically valued, is so far from being commensurate with the individual interest as to be arbitrarily or pointlessly applied that the statute must give way. Only if this standard 24
points against the statute can the individual claimant be said to have a constitutional right. 9“
Feldblum is using but representative of the direction that the judicial system is moving. This approach clearly dovetails with the so-called living document theory of constitutional law13 that many judges now uphold.
While Souter does directly not do away with the strict standard10, this standard clearly stands contrary to it. Souter is saying that a statue only gives way if it is “arbitrarily or pointlessly applied. ” There is no need to demand that state conform to a strict standard or even have a burden of proof. Historically, encroachments on rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights were subjected to strict scrutiny11, which means that the state must show that they have a compelling interest and that the statute is necessary to fulfilling the requirements of this compelling interest.
Not only is Souter hinting that a statue only need not be arbitrary, but removes original intent of the legislative body from the equation. It is not “legislation’s justifying principle” as set forth by the legislative body, but as “critically valued,” that is counted. It is the judges take that all freedom rest in this paradigm.
While Feldblum is obviously motivated by her desire to provide a legal environment friendlier to the interest of the “lesbian gay bisexual transgendered LGBT” community, but this paradigm has implications that go way beyond homofascism. Subjectivizing constitutional law will have devastating effect on liberty across the board.
Feldblum clearly supports this paradigm shift, and proceeds to cite numerous references to make her case that Justice Kennedy used this paradigm in deciding Lawrence v Texas12. This is especially noteworthy as Kennedy is a swing vote on the Court and could very well be the vehicle through which the strict scrutiny that protects our fundamental rights is abolished. I do not believe these are isolated quotes
The Founding Fathers, when they set up the Constitution, clearly envisioned the Bill of rights as providing some contours for liberty. The Founders clearly saw liberty in terms of “certain inalienable rights. 14” The Founders also clearly made several provisions for the Constitution to adapt to the changing times. There was instituted The Commerce Clause to allow the Federal 25
some gauzy ideas that appeal to the judges who happen to be in power at a particular time and that they impose on the rest of us.“15
wide scope in regulating state commerce, the Ninth Amendment, that allowed wide sweep to protecting both states rights and enforcing a host of unremunerated rights, and a process for adding amendments to the Constitution or convening a convention to replace it with a new Constitution. All of these imply that the founders saw the Constitution as an objective standard for law.
Strauss goes on to assert that we can escape this predicament by grounding Constitutional jurisprudence is precedent root in centuries of common law. Strauss’ method would only work in an environment where are certain objective limiting parameters. The Founders intended for the Constitution to provide just such a framework. This framework would make it harder for government officials and judges to game the system. One of the things that Professor Feldblum lamented about current jurisprudence in cases involving conflict between rights connected with sexual identity and rights connected with religious freedom was that in many of these cases, judges twisted and creatively parsed facts in such a way to come to a conclusion that that laws putting a burden on religious freedom did not really put a burden on religious freedom. She would rather that the courts acknowledge that these laws do burden religious freedom and then justify that encroachment16. What Feldblum fails to say is that her paradigm would not stop judges from continuing to game the system. Without an objective standard to judges rights claims, the judge will simply game the critical evaluation as a means to impose his or her opinion on people.
The great danger of making the Constitution relative to a subjective standard is that it then becomes manipulable. David Strauss writes, ”Even worse, a living Constitution is, surely, a manipulable Constitution. If the Constitution is not constant-if it changes from time to time-then someone is changing it, and doing so according to his or her own ideas about what the Constitution should look like. The “someone,” it’s usually thought, is some group of judges. So a living Constitution becomes not the Constitution at all; in fact it is not even law any more. It is just
If our freedoms hinge on the whim of a judge, what if those women in Texas 26
Dough” to be molded and fashioned according to the whims of those with power.
who were sexually molested by the police in the side of the interstate17 appeared before a lesbian judge who thought it was no big deal that these women were subjected to having their vaginas fingered by the police. Would the lesbian judge be sympathetic if the women referred to this as a “homosexual attack” given that they were sexually assaulted by a female cop? Because there is still a vague semblance of an objective standard, the cops will be prosecuted, but under Feldblum’s paradigm, it would be permissible for a judge to dismiss the case. There is currently a case in Montana where a judge gave out a superlight sentence for rape that was actually illegal under Montana law18. Do we really want to give judges wide open discretion to do whatever they want? Feldblum's paradigm would do just that.
Conclusion This paradigm is what Francis Schaeffer called “sociological law.19” Sociological law is simply whatever those in power want it to be at the moment. Once the requirement to adhere to the plain meaning of the Bill of Rights is done away with, there is no objective legal basis for restraint of arbitrary government power. Without an objective standard to provide meaning to legal texts, there can be no rational basis for law, the law is nothing more than the subjective whim of those in power, and the only restraint on the exercise of power is the limit on what the power agent can get away with.
Lest we think that only the words of legislators are robbed of their original intent, this slippery slope also undermines the words of the judges themselves. If interpretation of law look at only the “critical evaluation” of a legal text and not its intended meaning, then what’s to stop cops from playing the same games with a judge’s ruling that the judges play concerning the text of legislation or the Constitution. This abolition of an objective standard that Feldblum and others advocate means the end of the rule of law in any meaningful fashion. It is also the end of democracy in any meaningful fashion as the product of legislative activity, texts of laws, are nothing more than legal “Play27
MILEY CYRUS, FOAM
was a foregone conclusion that the Germans would take Great Britain and deny America, the last bastion of freedom in the Western world, any sort of base from which to launch a counteroffensive. Yet hold the Britons did, spurred on by the inspirational urgings of Winston Churchill and some VERY supernatural events. Badly rattled Luftwaffe pilots who survived the battle described with unnerved certainty the fact that one RAF plane after another continued to fly and return their fire long after the pilot of the plane had been killed and could plainly be seen lying dead in his cockpit. Some ONE was flying those planes, but the secondary pilots certainly weren't human!
FINGERS AND THE GREAT WHORE OF BABYLON --orâ€” "How to Become Your Own Worst Enemy" By Dr. Ray Young
Modest, decency and appropriate behavior at the MTV Awards? Truthfully, that has NEVER happened since MTV hit the airways many years ago. Their forte has always been to cater to youthful rebellion and flaunt, through their music videos, the worst of American morality and the obscene extents to which so-called "music artists" will prostitute themselves in pursuit of the Almighty Dollar. Beginning after the end of World War II, America began its descent into rebellion against God after He had graciously given America and its Allies a near-miraculous victory of Nazi Germany. Given that the Germans had the rocket, the jet plane, the computer and nearly had the A-bomb before the Allies, it is difficult to imagine an Allied victory. All things considered, we should all being speaking German and spelling our country's name "Amerika". In the famous Battle of Great Britain, the Nazi Luftwaffe ("luft" -- air, "waffe" force) outnumbered the British RAF (Royal Air Force) by a huge margin. It
But after World War II, America was quick to claim credit for its victory instead of giving credit to the Lord. After World War I, we had done the same thing, quickly forgetting the God who had fought by our side and on our behalf 29
to give us victory over another Germanled coalition. With equal rapidity, we plunged into one of the most shameful periods of our history, the so-called "Roaring Twenties". Morality was cast to the wind. Bathtub gin, flappers and booze-running gangsters became the heroes of the nation. In our arrogance, we had forgotten one simple Biblical fact: we reap whatever we sow.
America had been taken off the gold standard for its money and the value of a dollar was now based solely on the CONFIDENCE which the people had in their economic institutions. That produced what is called FIAT CURRENCY, money which is, simply put, FAKE! And because America wasn’t living right, the people were living in a delusional but uneasy arrogance. Unfortunately, underneath that surface arrogance was the clear awareness that America was in rebellion to the Lord. Men, even though they will often not admit it, know in their heart of hearts when they aren’t living right. As a result, underneath all the bluster and strutting is a deep, gut-wrenching fear that something is about to go wrong. When a single bank failed, it drove that underlying fear to the surface of the American psyche and triggered an irrational but equally predictable panic across the country.
Any scientist can tell you the same thing: for every ACTION there is an equal but opposite REACTION. By flaunting our arrogance in the face of God, we set ourselves up for the most awful of things: we were allowed to reap the CONSEQUENCES OF OUR ACTIONS. Spurred on by the dangerous and irrational investment policies of our banking industry (sound familiar???), a single bank collapsed, unable to cover their losses when highly speculative investments failed to materialize. A run on the bank ensued as panic gripped the hearts of American investors. One bank after another collapsed because
The failure of a single bank should have in no way influenced all the other banks in the nation. Think God wasn’t letting 30
us judge ourselves? Deuteronomy Chapter 28 speaks of this kind of fear when people knowingly reject the Lord and rebel against His Commandments.
He knows that if He allows us to do what WE want, it inevitably results in disaster, desolation and defeat. Only when we SUBMIT OURSELVES TO HIM, HIS WORD AND HIS WILL do we enjoy the blessings of prosperity, peace and personal integrity. The Bible, in the Book of Proverbs, says that righteousness exalts a nation. The opposite is equally true. Iniquity destroys a nation just as surely as righteousness builds it up.
The banking collapse of 1929 was followed, inexplicably, by a similar collapse of the farming industry in the 1930's. How could bankers and farmers be connected? Because both were suffering the results of foolishness in their business practices. Bankers had over-invested. Farmers had overplowed. Both practices brought swift judgment, as God allowed America to JUDGE ITSELF BY ITS ACTIONS. Logical consequences followed as America plunged into one of the greatest period of desolation in recorded history.
In retrospect, the Great Depression was the best thing that could have happened to our nation. Restored to a rightful relationship to the Lord of All Creation, America was emotionally and morally equipped to deal effectively with the monstrosity that crawled out of the pits of Hell and called itself Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Movement. Had we been saddled with sin and weakened by wickedness, we too would have fallen to the German/Italian/Japanese alliance, just as a healthy percentage of the rest of the world did. Had America not been there as a force of relative righteousness in the world, the enemies of freedom and righteousness would certainly have triumphed. But just as in the Book of Judges, neither we nor Israel seemed capable of learning from history. Caught up with the flush of victory, America quickly plunged into a period of rapid moral decay after the end of World War II which continues unabated to this day. David commented that he had been young and was now
Just as in the Book of Judges, a period of adversity accomplished exactly what God knew it would: a return to God, a period of national repentance, a significant spiritual revival that swept the nation and a subsequent restoration of America's moral relationship with the Almighty. 31
old, and I share his comments and observations.
pleasure above principle. From the Beatles it was a quick trip to Jimmy Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Styx, Ozzie Osbourne, Kiss and a whole line of “performers” who, in order to titillate and tease, stripped off more and more clothing, displayed more and more body parts and pushed the boundaries of decency further and further into the openly perverse and wicked. This external disobedience of God’s Holy Word was accompanied by a corresponding decay in public decency, legislative integrity, political conduct, sexual responsibility and every other component of American life. The “performers” didn’t just LEAD the way into increasing permissiveness, they were also indicative of a COMPLETE COLLAPSE of morality in America.
I can clearly remember that NO ONE in our rural Pennsylvania community ever locked our doors. There was no need. Everyone knew everyone and, within reasonable boundaries, everyone trusted everyone. Almost everyone went to church and, although those were the days of Norman Vincent Peale and the doctrine of Positive Thinking rather than placing your absolute faith in God, not positive thinking, yet the Gospel of Jesus Christ was firmly established as the assumed standard of conduct and morality.
The church in America, instead of firmly drawing a line in the sand and standing against this wave of compromise, instead gleefully followed the mooing herd of spiritual cows into the slaughterhouse of sin until today what we jokingly call “Church” is a shame and disgrace, fueled and funded by an “All Grace” message that tells its followers that because God is such a loving Father that He can and will forgive anything and that, as a result, we are not only allowed but ENCOURAGED to go out and sin so that His wonderful grace can be displayed.
Beginning with the swiveling hips of Elvin Presley and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by the Beatles (I dearly hope you can decipher what the title of that Beatle song actually stood for!), America began to throw away one standard after another in its relentless pursuit of
Paul had the same problem in the early church when he preached that we are justified by Faith and not by Works. His response? “Shall we therefore continue 32
to sin that grace may abound? GOD FORBID!!!” (Romans 6:1, paraphrased) That answer is still the CORRECT answer to the question today, although very few churches have the moral courage to preach holiness, sanctification and personal purity from their pulpits. Why, imagine what would happen to offerings and attendance if we, as pastors, actually told our flocks that God EXPECTS and DEMANDS that we live, holy, sanctified lives? (“This is the will of God, even your SANCTIFICATION” – I Thessalonians 4:3)
man can lead another where he himself is not first willing to go.
Now we need to go back to little Miley and her Foam Finger. Miley, once the squeaky clean heroine of Disney’s Hanna Montana series is now a Junior Whorette of Babylon based on her repeatedly and increasingly sexual and perverse performances, both on the stage and, in all probability, in her own private life as well. Miley’s conduct was best captured by a photo of Will Smith and his wife, Jada and their two children as they watched Miley’s little live sexual instruction video. Will’s expression was strained, but the look on Jada and the children’s faces was clearly an “OMG!” moment, seeing something that they had neither expected nor desired to see. And this at the MTV Awards ceremony, of all places, an event NEVER known for moral integrity or public self-control.
Why, attendance and offerings would plummet! Our “seeker-friendly” Gospel wouldn’t be nearly as attractive to sinners who want something SPIRITUAL but not something HOLY. May I remind you that the Spirit of God is also referred to as the HOLY Spirit??? His first act, once entering into you, is to begin to make you HOLY, something you are not, even under the best of circumstances prior to your conversion. Sadly, He is grieved and quenched in most believers because pastors lack the moral integrity to preach the message because they also lack that characteristic in their own lives, and no
What will God do about all this? What He has always done, all through the history of mankind. NOTHING AT ALL! Why on earth would you say that, Pastor Ray??? Doesn’t the Bible say that God will judge the wicked? Yes, it does, 33
repeatedly. But He usually does it in the most remarkable way. HE LETS US JUDGE OURSELVES BY ALLOWING THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR ACTIONS TO OVERTAKE US.
church marquees across the nation. Did our parents spend more than they had available to them in order to try and attain the American dream of a home in suburbia with a two car garage and a swimming pool? Then government and consumer debt will outpace our Gross National Product to such an extent that our country will plunge ONE TRILLION DOLLARS INTO ADDITIONAL DEBT EACH AND EVERY YEAR, all because we stubbornly refuse to live within our means. Unfortunately, there is no limit to the madness which will follow. Each successive generation will push the boundaries further and further until there are no more boundaries left and we have arrived at the same moral degradation as ancient Israel and Sodom and Gomorrah.
Instead of operating with Romans 8:28 Preventative Grace, in which ALL THINGS, including all the dumb, sinful, stupid things we do, work together for our good if we love and God AND are willing to be called and directed according to HIS purposes, not ours, He simply allows us to REAP WHAT WE HAVE SOWN. Did we take drugs when we were in college? Having sown the wind, our children will reap the whirlwind with drugs that are 100 times more deadly and addictive. Were the pulpits of our childhood more concerned with “Bill and Ted” Theology (“Be Thou Excellent unto One Another, Dude!”) instead of purity and power in Christ?
I almost laugh when Christians come up to me and ask, “Brother Ray, do you think God will judge America for her sins?” Friends, can’t you see the obvious? GOD IS LETTING US JUDGE OURSELVES EVEN AS WE SPEAK. That judgment begins approximately one generation after the slide begins, and is proportionate to the degree of the compromise involved. The Old Testament says, “The fathers ate sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge” (Jeremiah 31:29-30, Ezekiel 18:2). The Bible also says that the sins of the fathers are visited on the children (Exodus 34:7). How are they visited on
Then “All Things Are Permissible” will be the banner displayed implicitly on 34
the children? Because when the children see their parents disobey their Heavenly Father, they know implicitly that they are then free to disobey their EARTHLY fathers.
In a very real sense, OUR CHILDREN JUDGE OUR IMMORALITY AND THAT JUDGMENT IS ALWAYS MORE SEVERE THAN THE SIN ITSELF. As Miley was twisting, “twerking” and “perverking” herself on the stage, her mother was standing proudly in the aisle, moving in unison with her little Salome. The only difference between the two young girls was that the Biblical Salome only tempted a single man, Herod, where Miley did it in front of a whole nation of little girls and boys who now feel empowered and emboldened to do the same in their own lives. Illegitimate children abound.
Disobedience in the parent automatically renders the adult powerless to discipline the child because of guilt over their own sins. David’s failure to discipline Amnon for raping his half-sister Tamar triggered Absalom’s lethal reprisal two years later. And when Absalom was not put to death for the murder of his brother, as Mosaic Law demanded, it set in motion his later attempt to overthrow his father and the subsequent attempt by Adonijah to do the same.
Responsible fathers are nonexistent. Hard working, godly young men are as scarce as hen’s teeth, as the old farmer’s saying goes. Each generation careens closer and closer to total destruction. And that is a good thing. Good??? How on earth can you say that, Pastor Ray?
All of this happened because of David’s sin with Bathsheba and the prophecy he was tricked into by Nathan the Prophet when he prophesied his own punishment, that of paying FOUR TIMES OVER for the sin of sleeping with another man’s wife and then having that man, a close personal friend, murdered in the field of battle.
Because UNLESS GOD ALLOWS MAN’S ACTIONS TO FULLY JUDGE HIMSELF AND PUT HIM INTO A
PREDICAMENT SO ONEROUS, SO HORRIBLE AND SO DEGRADING THAT HE MUST CALL OUT TO GOD TO SAVE HIM, THERE WILL BE NO REPENTANCE AND THERE WILL BE NO REVIVAL.
that we come to Him in total submission and brokenness and ask Him to restore us just as surely as He restored Him Who Knew No Sin, yet was made sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God. Ah, the great and wonderful mysteries of God! All of this horrible mess that we are mindlessly plunging ourselves into will eventually, in the most paradoxically manner possible, turn out for our good, not because WE are good, but because HE is good, merciful, gracious, loving and kind! Take heart, sons and daughters of God, whose hearts break over the sinfulness of this nation and of the church. God is working for our good and enacting His will precisely by letting us exercise OUR wills, to both our eternal destruction and, at least for some of us, our eternal salvation! Until next time, may God richly bless you as you walk in faith AND OBEDIENCE to Him! Amen and Amen!!!
Tragically, God must, through the mechanism called Free Will, allow men to destroy themselves so thoroughly that they have nothing left and must return to their Divine Fatherâ€™s house, broke, broken and beaten, asking only the privilege of being allowed to be a slave.
And THEN, in all His gracious and wonderful mercy, the Father takes the filthy, pig-manure stained rags off of his prodigal son, cleanses him through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, puts new garments of righteousness on him and proclaims a feast to celebrate the return of the Son who was dead but Who is Alive Again and Alive Forevermore.
Dr. Ray Young is the former President of International Circle of Faith Bible College USA. He is currently CEO at Final Great Awakening Ministries.
You see, Christâ€™s return from death and the grave foreshadowed what the Father wants to do for all mankind, provided
CHRISTIAN LEADERS TOLD IT IS TIME TO COOL THE HYPE:
Ye Which Are Spiritual Apostle Bobby Sutton This text is found in Paul's writings to the church at Galatia. Paul admonishes the church to restore a fellow Christian that has sinned. In doing so he sets a parameter for those assisting in the restoration. Paul wants the church to know that only the spiritual are suppose to be involved in the process of restoration. This gives rise to the assumption that we Christians should know if we are spiritual or not. This article is not dealing with the topic of restoration. I want to focus on the idea of spirituality of the believer.
Phil Cooke, a Christian media consultant, says that at different times in history, and for various reasons, Christian leaders have fallen victims to hype. The dictionary defines "hype" as "extravagant promotion." In other words - it's usually a lie, even if our purpose is noble. Today, we're in another massive "hype cycle."
When I first was converted I would often hear the warning "Be careful that you do not become so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good." That warning of course was coming from folks that were always talking about other Christians as being too spiritual or too holy. I have since come to the conclusion that the only way Christians can be of any earthly good is for us to become heavenly minded or spiritual. We have to stop and ask ourselves this question. "Am I spiritual?" "Could I be effective in the restoration process of a fallen brother or sister in the Lord?" "Can I convey to this lost world the manifestation of God's Spirit? Maybe we should find out what being spiritual is and is not.
How many times have you heard about some Christian book, teaching series, conference, or media program that it would" impact this generation," "change the world," or "shake nations?" I believe one of the single biggest reasons the secular culture marginalizes Christianity is the hype factor. Remember that this generation is the most marketed to, pitched, branded, and advertised generation in history. They can smell a con a mile away. Do you really believe they're buying into the fact that your latest sermon is going to "change a generation" or "shake the nations?" Doubtful. How about this idea: What if we start re-building our credibility with a little realism? What if the world starts to realize that what we say is true? That how we describe our lives, ministries, churches, and impact is honest? Who knows? They might even start believing what we're teaching.
The word used in the scripture for spiritual is according to Strong's New Testament Greek Lexicon is pneumatikos the word gives the idea of one who is filled with and governed by the Spirit of the Lord. The key idea here is being governed by the Holy Spirit. In order for the church to be effective to one another and an unregenerated world we must be a spiritual people and know that we are spiritual. How do we know? I'm glad you ask.
Holy Spirit into our dead spirit bringing it to life.
Second: Are we governed by the Holy Spirit? Paul said to the Corinthians "For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envyings, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? The question is do we walk as men (unregenerated) or do we walk in the spirit? Paul said in Galatians 5:16 "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." What a powerful word. If we are governed by the Spirit we will manifest the unadulterated power of God not only to our brothers and sisters, but also to this lost world and we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. The only guard against or fleshly lust is to walk in the Spirit. We are spirits, we have a soul, and we live in a body. When we are regenerated God's Spirit mingles with our spirit to bring us life. The battle is in the soul
First: Are we born again? The new birth experience is through repentance, baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus and the infilling of the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking with tongues. The new birth propels us into the spiritual realm. Paul puts it this way "And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins." Ephesians 2:1. Jesus quickened (make alive, give life or vitality) us with the infusion of the
(mind, will, and emotions) and what is the greater influence will determine what I will allow to be manifested. The five senses touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight are constantly sending carnal signals through the body to the soul to be manifested in carnal ways. The Holy Spirit is giving illumination to the soul through our human spirit to manifest the things of God. The source of carnal power is the world communicating through our five senses to our soul.
spiritually discerned." Carnal man is stumped by the things of the Spirit and is of no good to the things of God because his understanding is totally influenced by the world. These people were caught up in the trappings of celebrity in which apostle was the best, more anointed, or greatest and causing division in the church. Paul goes on to say in verse 15 " But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man." The spiritual man discerns the things of God and renders decisions based on spiritual knowledge that removes him from the courtroom of human opinion. The spiritual man is not worried about his standing in the spotlight but his only concern is in pleasing the Lord. In teaching the Corinthian church about spiritual gifts Paul said â€œIf any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two or at the most three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God." This leads me to believe that we should know who is used in the gift of interpretation of tongues and whether or not that person or those people are present before a message in tongues is given to the church body. I believe it also infers that we should be familiar with the people that are used in the other gifts also. That being said we should also know who among us is a spiritual person. In Matthew 13:24-30 Jesus tells the parable of the wheat and the tares. In agriculture a tare cannot become wheat but in the church a tare
The source of spiritual power is God's word communicating through the spirit to the soul. Jesus said "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." What I feed on will be manifested. I choose what will be manifested and if I want to be spiritual or carnal. If we are truthful with ourselves we know if we are carnal and walk as men or if we are spiritual and walk in the Spirit. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:14 " But the natural (soulish, carnal) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them for they are 39
In Ephesians He is the Christ on Unreachable Riches. In Philippians He is the God Who Supplies All Our Needs. In Colossians He is the Godhead Bodily. In I and II Thessalonians He is our Soon-coming King. In I and II Timothy He is our Mediator between God and Man. In Titus He is our Faithful Pastor. In Philemon He is a Friend that sticketh closer that a Brother. In Hebrews He is the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant. In James He is the Great Physician. In I and II Peter He is the Chief Shepherd who soon shall appear with a crown of unfading glory. In I, II, and III John He is Everlasting Love. In Jude He is the Lord Coming with Ten Thousands of his Saints. And in Revelation He is the King
can become wheat if it will consecrate to God. There are wheat and tares in the congregation. The wheat know who they are and the tares also. The more consecrated to God we are and the less of the world's influence we have the more spiritual we become. The more spiritual or Spirit lead we are the more impact we have on this world for the Lord. Imagine the impact we can have on the lost if we come with no hidden agenda, no ulterior motives, no desire for fame or fortune, no idea of self promotion just to be a vessel for the Master's use. To use this flesh as a vehicle for the manifestation of the Spirit of God to a lost and dying world. This chorus may convey the idea "I've a yearning in my heart that cannot be denied, it’s a longing that has never yet been satisfied. I want the world to know the One who loves them so, like a flame it's burning deep inside. To be used of God, to sing, to speak, to pray; to be used of God to show someone the way. I long so much to feel the touch of His consuming fire; to be used of God is my desire."
of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
This is the song of ye which are spiritual. Apostle Bobby Sutton is a member of the International Circle of Faith. He is the author of the book, “I Slept with Potiphar’s wife.
Elder victor Odongo
KENYA Crusade in Mwanza, Kenya
Dear Beloved one in Jesus Name. Greetings to you in the Name of our Lord Jesus. Brother, How are you? How is your family and the ministry are doing. Here we are not well we are passing under the difficult situation, as I informed you here in Kenya in our Capital City there was a Terra gunmen attack the Business house it was noon time by the time we had finish the church comity and some of our Beloved one whom travel from Nairobi to our place to inquire me and other Elder we to give them a branch they were short Dead with the gun men when they where pass near this Business Building. "So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one." Ezekiel 22:30 "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin..." Exodus 34:6
KENYA Pastor Okumu We are praying for our brothers and sisters that are affected, by terrorist attack It is our moment of sadness, we need strength and more hope Our country has been passing through many challenges and we need prayers, I believe God is doing something powerful and new for our country, though the enemy is not aware God is raising a standard above our enemies God will be one of the powerful nations in the world people will never imagine Yes I believe Jesus is preparing this nation, and what has been happening is bringing us together, also makes people come together.
UGANDA Bishop George Kasharu We had a good womenâ€™s seminar for four days and this was great because 42
the last day the church which sits four hundred people had nowhere to sit. Women came from many churches from Mafubira where we have 20 different denominations. This was the first women's seminar with good attendance our theme was' you see how bad the situation is the walls are burned down by fire come and let us rebuild the walls of Jerusalem so that we may not reproach;. I preached last on the Saturday, surely we saw the hand of God
NIGERIA Dear Dr. Wade Sir, Greetings We have just concluded the ICOF Women for Christ Ministries Conference and it was successful. Included here is the copy of the filer. Thanks Bishop Daniel GHANA FIVEFOLD ROUNDTABLE MEETING
Dear I send you my greetings in the lord we are fine in the lord and I want to appreciate you for the prayers you have been offering me we have been to Uganda in a Mission then we moved to Webuye for two days and today our pastors team are travelling to Tanzania in the same mission and it will take us 13 hours to reach so pray with our team that the lord will supply all our needs and he strengthens his servants. We believe that God will open to reign in his people and those in trouble to be relieved. The region of Tanzania is covered with Muslims but we are praying that the lord may take control over that. God bless you Yours Pastor Alex
It might be a hot story for some journalist, another opportunity for fundraisers, a point to talk for politicians or just a story of persecution in a third world country….That’s it? You are free… you may or may not ignore it; nobody will question you about it.
EUROPE GERMANY ICOF FIVEFOLD ROUNDTABLE COMING OCTOBER 25-27TH.
ASIA PAKISTAN But I want to tell you that this is not just another other incident… this is a conspiracy, You might say that I am in state of emotional brokenness or I am in a coma…But I want to tell you that this is not just a story. This is another stage of the world, a world where persecution has been moved to a level that folks are injured and some people are dead. Meanwhile the world may just say, we condemn it, it is bad, we are praying. It is not the time just to pray but to stand for the right. For me to ask you to stand up against this is difficult because your family has not persecuted yet.
My heart is deeply saddened today when I saw the news post about my people in Pakistan. About 600-700 people were worshiping the Lord in Sunday service on September 22, 2013 in a church in northwest Pakistan. It was one of the most inhuman and brutal attacks that has ever happened to Christians in Pakistan. More than 78 were killed and many children, women and men were injured. What is it???
Terrorists are killing Christian everywhere in World; I want you to understand that there is a rise in persecution among the Christians around the world. Not only in Pakistan but in Syria, Iran, and Egypt and in every Islamic country 44
Christians are being killed… and it has been increasing day by day. It has reached an alarming situation. It reminds me of the early Church persecution and I think this is worse because I did not see that one I just believed but I see this one where husbands are beheaded and their wives are being asked “Jesus did not came to help him”. What else do you need to see? God is in Control, I heard this statement on every incident of persecution. I am not against it and I believe, God is in Control but He gave wisdom too. What would you do if a terrorist breaks the door of your home and try to rape your daughter, what would you say, you would not say take my daughter and do want you want to do it, My God is in control. Of course you will defend your family until you are alive. Then why should we allow Islamic extremists to continue kill God’s children…our brothers and sister? You may ask then what should we do.
want you to raise your voice. This brutality, insanity and cruelty has got to stop. Do what you can, write letter to your congressmen, to the White House, call the President if you know how. Do what you can, but this has got to stop. I wish we had the Crusaders again today. America has helped in every bad incident of the world. They helped flood victims in the world, they helped the earthquakes in the world, they reformed Iraq, they reformed Afghanistan even every incident in the world except for the persecution of the Christians. Why not help those persecuted Christians? I want to send message to higher authorities of Pakistan through this media, “If you continue to fail to protect Christians in Pakistan, let them go out from your country or give them separate land to live freely”. This is my request for you to please pray hard, mourn and stand to protect the Christian in the world. Write you with my tears, Khuram Bashir NORTH AMERICA USA We are excited to announce that a new web site is coming for ICOF Global. The IT Dept has removed the old site and a new one will be up soon! Keep watching! http://www.icof.net
I want you to scream loudly and as much as you can. I want you to raise your voice. I want you to come out from your comfort zones and demand justice for these innocent people. I 45
governments, we are in a much greater sense under the authority of God’s government as citizens of a heavenly kingdom.
The Kingdom of God or American Civil Liberties By J. Samuel Willoughby
The thing about kingdoms is, there are only two kinds of kingdom dwellers. The King, and His subjects/servants. Everything in the kingdom is subject to the will and behest of the king; or as it is in our case, the King of kings. EVERYTHING in the Kingdom is subject to the will and good pleasure of our Sovereign Lord. WE HAVE NO RIGHTS but what our King grants unto us. And as Americans with all of our “civil rights” indoctrination that chafes us; not just a little, but A LOT! But if we are ever going to get out of this world alive and to that “home country” we sing, preach, and pray about we’re going to have to adjust ourselves to Kingdom understandings and concepts. To have the kind of victorious living and spiritual conquests that we say we are seeking, WE MUST RELINQUISH some of the rights that we seem to hold quite dear!
It seems that, as American Christians, we struggle to attain the kind of results in prayer and evangelism that are seen in many other parts of the world. I know that modern convenience and ease play a large part in stymieing our spiritual efforts. However, I believe that as Americans, a HUGE factor in our blunted spiritual urges are found in our understanding of what we consider “our inalienable rights”.
I found this list below some time ago. I don’t know who the original author was. But this gives us an idea of some of the rights that we MUST give up to live successfully within Kingdom structures…
What we seem to fail to realize is that as bornagain, Spirit-filled believers we no longer “belong” to the kingdoms of this world. We with our Christian rebirth become citizens of a heavenly kingdom. Our time in this world is spent merely as strangers and sojourners, seekers after and citizens of, a spiritual kingdom. And the Kingdom of God is not a democracy, nor is it a federal state, or constitutional republic. So that while in this life we may dwell under the authority of earthly 47
6. The right to self-pity…not everyone is going to like me (SHOCK!)… He may ask us to go somewhere we don’t want to go…and do something we don’t want to do…JUST DO IT! 7. The right to self-justification…we have ONE justifier and vindicator 8. The right to be understood…that doesn’t mean that we should be intentionally unreasonable or hard to get along with…just give up the demand to the right to have everyone understand you all the time and approve you…because that’s what it really is, a clinging to the need for approval from men… 9. The right to criticize…who do we think we are to judge another man’s servant…
1. The right to be offended…Psalms 119:165 “great peace have they which love thy law, and NOTHING shall offend them. 2. The right to our time…He may wake us up in the middle of the night to pray— He may tell us, he wants us to go somewhere and witness to someone…and it may not be convenient. 3.
Just some ideas as we strive to find and follow Kingdom paths in our daily living and praying. May our attitude mirror that of Christ our King, in the Garden…. “…Nevertheless, not my will, but Your will be done….”
4. The right to do what we want with our possessions…e.g. I’ve sold some really nice hunting rifles and put the money into various bldg. programs, 5. The right to possess and own our family members…they are not ours, not really…they belong to Him! 48
Top five regrets of the dying
their wisdom. "When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently," she says, "common themes surfaced again and again."
A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and among the top ones is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?
Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware: 1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. "This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it."
There was no mention of more sex or bungee jumps. A palliative nurse who has counseled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives. And among the top, from men in particular, is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard. "This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."
Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from
"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre 49
existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."
pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again." What's your greatest regret so far and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. "Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying." 5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. "This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The socalled 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them 50