THE SIDE-EFFECTS OF CORRUPTION…


Psalm 12:8 – “The wicked prowl on every side, when vileness is exalted among the sons of men.” NKJV

I had a person tell me that they didn’t like “hellfire and brimstone” preaching and was so glad that the modern church is now presenting a much more sanitized version of the gospel.  This individual stated they did not like hearing things called sin for sin was an ambiguous term and drove people away from the church rather than drawing them to it. 

That conversation caused me to meditate and contemplate on the state of my own life, my nation, and the church.  It sent me back to the Bible to examine that view and caused me to ask other ministers their views. I proceeded to question churchgoers as well as non-churchgoers what they thought about this matter.  After that, the Holy Spirit whispered in my spirit and heart, “What do you think God thinks about it?”  Whoa, Nellie!  That arrested me like nothing I had heard from those I spoke to.  That was the heart of the matter and where the rubber truly meets the road.  WHAT DOES GOD THINK?

I would suggest that is the question regarding every question of life. Once we determine what God’s Word says and through prayer determine the heart and mind of God, we have a clear path or direction, or we should. 

Let’s take the text and examine the thought presented that the wicked, not just wickedness or sin is present and prevalent WHEN vileness is exalted among men.  We are living in a time when evil is called good and good is called evil. Many in our society from politics to pulpits have abandoned some of the central teachings of God’s Word. They have adopted a view of reinterpreting the clear declarations of God on various matters and no longer identify them as sin.  Some have sought to sanitize the Gospel to make it less bloody and less constraining.  Please understand, I do not like to hear someone preach ‘hellfire and brimstone’ without a broken heart and without the clear view and objective of redemption. 

It has been said, “What we allow in moderation or children will do in excess.”  The Psalmist warned that if we exalt or give place to vileness among men and justify, excuse, or ignore sin and evil the wicked gain prominence and power. In that place of power they plunge our world deeper and deeper into a depraved state opening the door for wickedness of all kinds.

Those evils and wickedness not only become prominent but acceptable or non-troubling to our sense of rightness and godliness.  We have become so desensitized by the incessant barrage of language, violence, corruption, and lasciviousness through Hollywood and television many are no longer troubled and grieved in their hearts by what is happening in our world. 

I cannot imagine that God is so desensitized, and I truly believe that His heart is grieved when “vileness is exalted”.  Why would we be told to “shun and flee the very appearance of evil” if evil was not like leaven with corruptive power?  Why would we be told to “come out from among them and be separate” if there was not a corruptive influence in the ways of the world?  Why would we be instructed to “be holy for I am holy” if there was no redemptive value in holiness and godliness? 

If we fail to paint sin as it truly is with its corruptive and destructive influence we do great harm to the church and the world. When we fail to identify the reality and eternality of hell, as well as the beauty and wonder of heaven, people tend to diminish, justify, and excuse behavior that violates God’s person, character, and word.  Conviction will fail to grip the heart because they have been or are being told that it’s just part of human nature to be, think, and do those things. 

I am not suggesting legalism, but I am promoting preaching the Cross with its gruesomeness for “without the shedding of blood there is no remission.”  Without the Cross, there will be no Crown.  Without the Cross, there is no satisfaction of Divine Justice and the open door to pardoning for whosoever will that comes and calls on the Lord. 

We wonder why our world from Wall Street to Main Street, from the White House to the Tenement House, and from the President to the Average Joe on the Street is in the state it is in where evil is prevalent and the Wicked seems to be ever gaining power, influence, and strength.  It is we have allowed “vileness to be exalted among men.”  Therefore, it is high time that we awaken from our slumber and return to the Cross and God.

God bless you as you make a reaffirmation of your faith and receive a rekindling of His Grace in your heart and life!  

WHAT ARE WE PROFESSING?


John 18:33-38 – “Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”  35 Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”  37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this, I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”  38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”  NASB

The question of Pilate and the response of Jesus is intriguing.  Pilate asked Him a political question, “Are you the King of the Jews?”  Jesus answered with a question that should resonate with each of us, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”   

It would seem that Pilate was asking a question that would facilitate his justification for consenting to the request of the Jewish leaders to crucify Jesus.  If Jesus responded in the affirmative Pilate could label him an insurrectionist and accuse Him of treason, a justification for crucifixion. 

Jesus did not fall for the bait but turned the tables on Pilate and asked a question of heart, not hearsay.  The question for us should be and is, “Is what we are professing something we have heard from others or what we have determined in our hearts as truth through study and experience?”  Mama and Papa’s religion would get us into heaven.

Jesus did not totally refuse to answer the question and in a very real sense did answer it clearly saying, “My kingdom is not of this world.”  Simply, “Pilate, I am not a political threat to your rule, authority, or Rome although I may be a threat to your ideology and philosophy because my Kingdom will transform the heart.”  

I gave the Roy Beaird translation there but I believe you can grasp the meaning and message of Jesus.  Jesus, even acknowledged that He was truly a king but not an earthly one.  His response confused and conflicted the non-believing Pilate and the question of Pilate is one that still rings through the ages, “What Is Truth?”  In other places and other ways, Jesus answered that question as well for He is “THE TRUTH” and He is “THE WAY” and “THE LIFE.”

I have never been one that wanted to base my life or hope on what someone else thought but have always sought to know for myself or experience personally. That has brought me both joy and pain through the years and placed me in situations where I had to learn hard lessons. Lessons that could have been avoided had I not been driven to know personally and experientially. 

I do not want to simply Hear About Jesus I want to Know Jesus personally, and I do.  I do not what to Hear About God’s Truth, I want to Experience God’s Truth in my own heart, life, and mind.  I want what comes out of my mount in my Profession of Faith to be something I know from my personal experience and study rather than simply reciting a Church Creed.

God bless you as you embark on this day’s leg of your life journey.

THE POWER OF PREACHING…


John 17:20-23 – “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;  21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”  NKJV

Jesus’ pray for the disciples was powerful and it is most encouraging that He intentionally stressed that His prayer was not for those hearing and following Him at that time but for future believers as well.  He identified that this prayer was for them but also for all WHO WILL BELIEVE and then emphasized the importance and power of preaching. 

My lament to the church is that we too often relegate the idea of ‘preaching’ to that activity in the pulpit on Sundays and at other times.  Preaching is simply the ‘proclamation’ of the gospel and that can transpire anywhere, at any time, and under any conditions.  The opportunity to ‘proclaim’ the gospel should be exhilarating to every believer regardless of their oratorical ability or lack thereof.  We are instructed to “go” and “proclaim” to anyone and everyone the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Some of the greatest preaching I have ever heard has come from believers who would cringe at the thought of standing in a pulpit and preaching.  Yet, on the street corner, offices, homes, and restaurants some of them give a powerful presentation of the Gospel in the most simplistic terms and the anointing is powerful and the message gripping.  Their lives so authenticate their words it reaches deep into the soul and arrests the hearer leaving them no choice but to receive or reject the conviction that floods their hearts and minds.

Please do not think that I am discounting our devaluing pulpit preaching for I have heard some incredibly powerful, enlightening, and arresting proclamations from that sacred desk as well and treasure those memories and experiences.  The Word of God coupled with a life of Righteousness has a power to which nothing can compare. 

The Word of God is, according to Hebrews 4:12, Alive, active, sharper than any man-made sword, and capable of penetrating to the very depths of the soul, judging and inspiring the heart.  When God’s Word is verbalized and delivered orally it has a unique power and one that is sometimes missed or misunderstood.  God’s Word in the mouth of God’s children is a mighty weapon of spiritual warfare.  It provides spiritual nourishment and sustenance that can be received in no other place.

Therefore, let me encourage you to be unafraid to ‘proclaim’ the Word of God and know that when you speak His Word you are speaking Spiritual Power into the atmosphere, and when it is spoken in faith and confidence it pulls down strongholds, encourages hearts, breaks chains, and sets captives free.  So, let’s do more and more PREACHING daily through our living!

God bless you as you continue your journey in Christ!

SOUR AND DOUR…


Psalm 126:2-3 – “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” 3 The LORD has done great things for us, and we are glad.”  NKJV

I had a very serious saint in a particular church I was leading who said to me, “You cannot be a real man of God because you laugh and tell jokes.”  She was dead serious!  I laughed and had to apologize for any seeming disrespectfulness but I found her assertion laughable and almost beyond belief. 

However, after years of Christian service I have discovered there are a significant number of believers who believe that we must be “sour and dour” or we are not exhibiting righteousness and godliness.  They are “sour and dour” while the world is “crying and dying.”  I know that the passage in Hebrews 1:9 speaking of Jesus being anointed with the “oil of gladness” is not speaking about humor but anointing but the message through scripture is that laughter is like medicine and a good thing not an example of a worldly or evil heart.  It could be but cannot be a blanket description. 

In Luke 6:21, Jesus said, “…Blessed are you that weep now: for you shall laugh.”  Job, a man who endured incredible difficulty in life spoke in Job 8:21 of God filling our mouths with laughter and our lips shouting joy. 

The wisdom of Ecclesiastes is revealed in 3:2-4 where we are informed there is “A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.  A time to kill and a time to heal.  A time to tear down and a time to build up.  A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.”  

Even the Proverbs 31 woman is described as being a person that “laughs without fear of the future.”  Then in Proverbs 17:22, we find that a “cheerful or merry heart” is like medicine but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.  So I ask which is better, “being able to laugh” or being “sour and dour” and presenting an image that no one outside the faith would want.

In Proverbs 15 we find in v.13 the declaration that “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but with a heartache comes depression.” Then in v.15, we are told, “For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.”  

So, again, which is better “Sour and Dour” or demonstrating the ability to “Laugh and Smile”?  I truly believe that God has a sense of humor, after all, we are made in His image and likeness are we not?  If we have that woven in our nature and have that ability do you think God does not? 

The lady that came to me with her accusation of my condition was not amused when I asked if she thought God had a sense of humor.  She said, “He is serious because life is serious.”  Therefore, I could only conclude that her answer was no, so I said, “I am reminded of His sense of humor every morning when I look in the mirror.”  She said, “Are you saying I’m funny looking?” then stormed off in a huff.  No, I said, “When I looked in the mirror I was reminded of God’s sense of humor.” 

Let me state emphatically that a person laughing and making light of everything may well be hiding behind that mask of frivolity not wanting to face and address real problems in life.  But, if we remember the words of the writer of Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for everything…” 

There are times that laughter brings healing to a heart and can restore relationships as well as enable a person to move past a difficult moment.  There are times when laughter and lightheartedness are inappropriate and thus the warning of Ephesians 5:3-4, “But among you, there must not be either sexual immorality, impurity of any kind, or greed, as these are not fitting for the saints.  Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting – all of which are out of character – but rather thanksgiving.”  Ecclesiastes 7:6 also tells us, “For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.”  

What kind of person has zero sense of humor?  In my view, that would be a robot not a human being with feelings and emotions.  As I read the encounters of our Lord with the Pharisees I cannot miss His wit and humor. 

If you read the parables and his zippy asides to Roman authorities, His tart replies to the Scribes and Pharisees, and even His off-the-cuff remarks how do you not see His humor?  God in me brings JOY and I want to be so overflowing with JOY that people who meet me are not threatened by me or turned off by my “Sour and Dour” outlook they want what I have and open their hearts to hear about Jesus. 

Yes, you can joke too much and at the wrong times but if you never see the humor in anything my heart breaks for you.  I want to embrace life and live it abundantly rather than simply endure life and live in day to day drudgery thinking I am making God proud in being “Sour and Dour.” 

God bless you as you go through this wonderful day and “Live, Love, and Laugh” it will make the day go better and even extend your lifespan according to many reports I have read. 

ONE MORE LOOK AT WHAT I BELIEVE IS “God’s Message to the Church Today.”


Matthew 16:13-19 – “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”  14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.  19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  NKJV

I realize that some might disagree that there is a need for Restoration today but I believe that is biblically verifiable and applicable for today’s Church.  But, what is Restoration?  To “restore” is to bring back to the original condition. 

I fully believe that God is moving on hearts today to bring us back to and into the condition and function He purposed in the beginning and is required for the Last Days Harvest.  I believe God is moving to bring us back to our “biblical roots”.  He is not bringing us back to some point or place in man’s tradition, structure, or governmental form but is bringing us back to HIM and Fullness in Him. 

I fear that we have, at times, attempted to take the New Wine of God and put it in Old Wineskins of tradition.  There comes a time when an overhaul is no longer acceptable and replacement is required.  Sadly, we keep trying to remodel the church rather than returning to His order, structure, function, and purpose.

Challenging traditions is a difficult and often dangerous endeavor.  We can and sometimes do the same as the Pharisees and make commandments of God out of doctrines of men and that is not what God desires.  One question I have asked and been asked is, “How far are you willing to go to follow the cloud spiritually?”  If we are going to be what God has intended us to be as the Church ACTION IS REQUIRED!  Throughout history, we can understand that much was lost and is being restored.  Let’s back up and walk forward a bit and see if we can see this as reality.

The church lost the truth of Justification by Faith and God used Martin Luther to restore it to the Church.  The truth of Sanctification was lost and God used Wesley to bring it back.  The infilling of the Holy Spirit was lost and God used the men like W.J. Seymour to bring it back.  Davidic Worship and Praise was lost and God used the Charismatic movement to bring it back.  Those are only a few examples of some things that God has and is bringing back to the Church.  But the bottom line is we must return to being a people who “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”  God is moving to bring to fullness the ministry and purpose of Jesus to the Church of today.  [Note:  Isaiah 61; Mark 16; John 14:12; Ephesians 4].

At some point, each of us has to determine which is more important, our traditions, place, rights, or perceived rights or God being manifested in fullness.  When we have truly and fully died to self the only thing that matters is God, His will, and purpose in our lives and world.  I am convinced as we see the Church become more aligned to the biblical pattern and purpose we will see a greater and greater release of ministries and functions than we have in the past.  God is moving in today’s world and His purpose is that each of us is available and involved in His Harvest.

God bless you as you take another step in your journey! 

LET ME GIVE YOU WHAT I BELIEVE IS “God’s Message to the Church Today.”


Matthew 16:13-19 – “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”  14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.  19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  NKJV

I would also suggest reading Matthew 24:14 along with Acts 3:17-26 for a foundation. My conviction as to what God is saying to today’s church is embodied in those passages.  Looking back over my life I realize that over two-thirds of my life has been spent in Christian ministry.  That is significant only in light of the fact that I have served long enough to have seen some major changes and shifts in the overall Christian community.  It is also long enough to come to the conclusion that the Work and Purpose of the Church are so large that none of us see it fully.  It is truly multi-sided and multi-dimensional and unfortunately, we see in part.

I have long been concerned about the divisions and sects within the Christian world dividing up into “camps” and making those particular truths embraced as the whole truth.  I believe that has been a significant detriment to the progress and development of the Church Jesus spoke of as His Church.  I believe it has caused us (the Christian family) to miss much of what God is doing and wants to do in today’s world. 

Let me give a word of caution and comfort – that this is not altogether our fault.  We have had some help in developing that type of thinking.  The devil promotes separation, fragmentation, and division, and in nudging people that direction he has, at times, weakened the thrust and effort of the Church both local and universal.

Obviously, that is not God’s desire and God did not inspire the fragmentation.  Jesus made it clear in John 17 that the desire of God is Unity!  By no means would I want anyone to assume that I mean wholesale acceptance of everything taught and done in the name of Christ. 

Unity of Spirit is not only desirable but a requirement for the Church to be that which Jesus purposed.  I believe there is a unity being developed, almost unseen, across the land.  Many are beginning to realize that although we may not agree on all points, this thing is much larger than any of our individual visions or understanding and there might be something we have not yet seen.  Grace is becoming a dominant force and that is awesome!

Let me illustrate it this way:  No two members of any local congregation express themselves in the same way.  In the human body, the right-hand and left-hand look alike and have the same basic function, but they fulfill their main function from opposite directions.  If your big toe could see it would have an entirely different perspective of the entire body than would the nose because of its unique position in and on the body.  We are not the same, do not think the same, and our experiences and understanding are different on many things.  That does not mean we are not of the same body only different parts of that body.

You may remember the story of the five blind men who were allowed to examine an elephant and then asked to describe the animal.  The first man felt the leg and said, “It is like a round pillar.”  The next man felt the tail and described the elephant as a “rope.”  The third felt the elephant’s massive side and described it as a “Great Wall.”  The fourth felt the tusks and said, “It is like a Spear.”  The fifth felt the ear and said, “He is like a Giant Leaf.”  They were all right but their descriptions and perceptions were limited and therefore incomplete.  We see in part and if you add my part to your part we have a much larger part to work with. 

I believe that God is focused on The Church today and is in the process of “restoring that which has been lost.”  There are some things the Church has allowed to become dormant or has lost and God is bringing those to light. 

In many ways, the Church has lost its direction, abdicated its position, misunderstood its potential, and been stripped of its power.  That is changing or will change!  Tragically, some in the Body of Christ have lost consciousness of Who We Are and What the Church is supposed to be. 

Some are still in the wilderness and God has been engineering our walk to bring us to the Jordan but rather than cross over we have been waiting for a bridge or a boat to get us to the other side.  God wants to bring us to that place where we are truly The Body of Christ in this present world and living the words of 1 John 4:17, “…as He is, so are we in this world.”  Not someday but today!

I have more I wish to present but will pause here until next time and pray that God will guard and guide you as you proceed through this day walking in victory! 

Blessings abundant is my desire for each of you!

AN ARMY VICTORIOUS IN BATTLE – The Church…


Ephesians 6:14-20 – “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints —  19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”  NKJV

I am convinced that God is raising up a New Breed of Spiritual Warrior in our times.  They will be filled with compassion but they will be warriors extremely sensitive to the voice and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Spiritual Warfare is a reality that cannot be divorced from the Church or our Christian walk in today’s world.  The apostle Paul understood that the battle rages in that unseen world but he also knew and taught that it is vital that the Church and Christians learn how to use the weapons of warfare and understand the devices of the devil and God’s divine strategy on Earth!

Have you ever wondered why the Church local often seems so vulnerable to the attacks of the devil?  Let me capsulize it this way:  “You don’t put armor on wounded soldiers, infants or children.”  Remember the caution or objective Paul addressed in Ephesians 4:13, “…’til we all come into the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God to a PERFECT MAN…”  An army that is strong and effective only entrusts armor to the most healthy and well-trained not the weak and wounded. 

Spiritually, the Church needs the “Man or Woman of Armor” to step forward.  Who is this?  This is the person who is consistently led by the Spirit of God.  The simple reality is that people who are led by God’s Spirit manifest God’s power! 

The Church is sometimes weak because we have been willing to send children and the wounded into battle rather than those of full stature who are adorned with Spiritual Armor.  If you study the Bible and history you realize that, in a very real sense, God’s Kingdom rests in the hands of Fragile People!  No, God is not fragile but we are flawed vessels and dare not fail to remember that.  Additionally, if we do not know what is required how will we ever be what has been declared and do what is required?

There are characteristics of the Triumphant or Victorious Army I would like to consider:

  • The Victorious Warrior waits for a Certain Sound.

In Paul’s statement of 1 Corinthians 14:18, I believe the implication is DO NOT go into battle UNTIL you hear a SURE SOUND.

  • The Victorious Warrior depends on Definable Leadership.

Look around and ask, “Where are and who are the generals in the Church today?”  It is important that the troops know why they are dying in battle and maintaining total confidence that their leaders are getting their marching orders from God.  It is imperative that the vision is presented clearly so that everyone knows what is at stake.

  • The Victorious Warrior depends on the Strategy of the Holy Spirit.
  • The Victorious Warrior requires Adequate Resources.
  • The Victorious Warrior must exhibit Proper Discipline.
  • The Victorious Warrior or Army MUST provide a place of healing for the Wounded Warriors.
  • The Victorious Warrior or Army is built on Trust.

Unfortunately, we have factions in the world of Christendom that are warring against each other rather than warring against principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness.  Your Brother in Christ is not your enemy.  There is no Spiritual Armor to fight brothers in Christ who hold a different understanding of some things spiritual.  When we fight among ourselves we become weak and defeated.  We have to learn to Trust.  The flesh will make mistakes and human beings will come to wrong conclusions but if we trust CHRIST IN US we can trust the Holy Spirit to LEAD US INTO ALL TRUTH!

What is at stake?  Eternity!  When I visit a church or am invited to speak I always look for “Who is truly in Charge.”  Why?  Because I want to know if a man is in charge or if God is?  What is at stake?  Abundant Life! 

Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came to give us Life and that Life would be Abundant.  Much of the church world is devoid of government and order and our independence sometimes relegates us to a weakness that results in unnecessary defeats. 

According to the Bible we, God’s People are HEIRS OF THE EARTH.  (Romans 4:13, 18; Galatians 3:29).  No, I do not mean a takeover by Christians but that we, as believers, are to LIVE A BOLD WITNESS in our generation.  We must recognize the real enemy and attack any force that withstands or seeks to delay the purposes of God on this earth.  We must wage war against anything that seeks to disqualify Jesus as the Chief Cornerstone.  We must wage war against anything that seeks to disjoint or prostitute the Church Jesus is building.  We must make the Voice of the Church heard again in the world!

If you are a Wounded Warrior call the medics do not attempt to conceal your wounds and wear masks.  If you are still a child or a teenager spiritually, run to those who can mentor and equip you for service.  If you are healthy, whole, and equipped spiritually refuse to complain and become engaged in the WAR.  The Medics should focus on the Wounded. The Fathers are to teach the children.  The Warriors are to Prepare for Battle.

God has and is developing a Mighty Victorious Spiritual Army!  God bless you richly is my prayer and desire!

WHAT DO YOU SEE WHEN YOU SAY CHURCH?


1 Peter 2:9-10 – “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”  NKJV

Without getting too detailed, the Greek word for out is “ek” and the word translated called is “kalesantos”.  The Greeks put them together to form another word “ekklesia” which means, CALLED OUT! It refers to an assembly or gathering of people that have been called together.  That is the Church. 

Jesus spoke to Peter in Matthew 16:18 and said, “…on this rock I will build My church…”  We, believers, are the “called out” or CHURCH of Jesus Christ.  But what do we see or think when we say the word Church?  When we hear the word Church what is the mental imagery or descriptive term that comes to mind.  I believe that is important.

When we talk about the FUNCTION of the Church we refer to it as a Body. When we talk about responding to God in praise and worship we call it a Temple.  When we focus on fellowship and relationships within the Church local we call ourselves a Family.  If we speak of the Church as it relates to God’s Government and Kingdom we call it a Nation or a Holy Nation.  When we focus on our tenets or beliefs we call it the Household of Faith.  When we speak of the spiritual battles we encounter we call ourselves an Army.  Therefore, what we see or think when we say Church is important.  It identifies Focus, Function, Ministry, and Purpose.

The Old Testament Prophets spoke boldly regarding the conditions of our generation.  Their prophetic utterances often addressed the circumstances or conditions of our lives at this particular moment in time.  There is an incredible declaration found in Amos 3:7 which tells us that God will do nothing that He does not first reveal to His prophets.  That would indicate it is important for us to grasp what the prophets have declared and follow the directions given by the Holy Spirit through them.

  • Micah’s cry was for Justice and Mercy and continually urged God’s people to pay careful attention to the Will of God.
  • Zephaniah’s prophetic message was Restoration and a Pure Language [Zephaniah 3:9].  Remember God’s action at the tower of Babel and the confusion of the languages.  This prophet spoke of a time when God’s people would hear a PURE SOUND that they would recognize, know, and understand.
  • Haggai called God’s covenant people His Signet Ring, His Standard, and His Witness to mankind. [Haggai 2:23]
  • Zechariah foretold a time when the nations would come to the Anointed Places of Worship. [Zechariah 1:14-17; 2:11]
  • Habakkuk instructed us to write the vision and publish it.  [Habakkuk 2:2]
  • Malachi gave details on how to finance God’s Plan. [Malachi 3:8-12]. Then he prophesied of Family Restoration both natural and spiritual.  [Malachi 4:6]

Those are just a few of the prophetic directives from the ancient prophets.  The prophets Joel and Ezekiel had a message that was somewhat different.  Joel warned of War [Joel 3:9].  Of all the Old Testament prophets Joel saw most clearly the connection between a spiritual outpouring from God and the power to wage war against evil on the earth.  Joel’s prophecy spoke of the releasing of the Holy Spirit powerfully upon all flesh enabling God’s people to both prophesy and wage spiritual warfare. 

Ezekiel saw a spiritual army [Ezekiel 37].  It is my conviction that God is raising up an army of spiritual warriors in our time and as we near the end it will become more powerful and numerous.  Both Joel and Ezekiel envisioned a time when God’s Church would both HEAR God and wage Warfare with HIS WORD.  They spoke of and foresaw an Army that was Mighty and Victorious in Battle.  If we need anything today it is for the Church to become the Army of God and pull down strongholds.

May the Lord help us to hear and heed the voice of the prophets and make ourselves available to the Holy Spirit as soldiers in the Army of the Lord in this generation!

Blessings as you go through this wonderful day!

GOD’S COVENANT COMMUNITY – The Church – – Is This Us?


Ephesians 4:11-17 – “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ —  16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”  NKJV

We talked about the Great Harvest of the Last Days last time. Today, I must state at the outset that “if” there is going to be a harvest of the magnitude the Bible speaks of there are some critical factors involved. 

What does that mean to the Church local?  What does it mean with regard to Leaders and/or Laborers?  What do we need to know to be prepared for our participation in this Harvest?  One of the obvious factors is if there are going to be multitudes “born again” and brought into the Church local the influx of souls will bring an increase of problems. 

Don’t become alarmed, the problems can be good problems rather than problems of discord, but that will come as well.  If you will recall in Acts 6 when the number of disciples multiplied so did the problems facing the church.  That begs the question, “What is the Church local to do?”  We must become a people “equipped and trained” for the work of ministry because ministry will be the theme of the Church in those days.

Equipping and training cannot be the work of ONE MAN or “The Pastor.” That would guarantee both the smallness of the congregation and the failure of its purpose.  That we do not want!  The congregation will NEVER become EQUIPPED if we have one man standing at the sacred desk for one hour per week teaching and preaching. 

Sadly, too much of the church world is satisfied with “one hour weekly” and as a result, they are “weakly” spiritually.  I find it amazing that one of the only organizations in the world that would accept that approach is the Church local.  Virtually every organization in existence demands more and to be a part of many of them there is the requirement of discipline and even discipleship or training and development of skills. 

Have you ever wondered why organizations or groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons grow and become numerically strong in a community?  They are disciplined and disciple.  They have a vision, which I believe is incorrect, but they have a vision and have joined themselves to that vision with total commitment and the result is outreach and growth.  Someone said to me, “Sincerity with commitment and diligence brings results.”  There is a lot of truth in that statement.

There is a flaw in some of the church world today that has moved the Church local from becoming an institution rather than a community and the results of that are problematic.  Too much of the church world is satisfied or believes that Pulpit Pastoring is the right path rather than Personal Pastoring which would involve and demand small groups or groups in the church where there are captains of 10, 50, and 100.  Do not take those to be numerically specific for that which the Bible speaks of also has captains of thousands. 

We have divided the church between clergy and laity and never the twain shall meet.  We hire a pastor for him to do the spiritual lifting for us and we are content to let “Clerical George” do it for us.  That is not his job, biblically.  Imagine the military functioning that way!  There would be utter chaos and no ability to engage an enemy would be possible. 

Paul addressed the need for the congregation to be EQUIPPED to function according to gifts and callings rather than positions and titles.  We become a Program rather than a Purpose focused on People.  Sadly, some are so desirous of having a “mega-church” they turn the Church local into an Assembly Line rather than seeing to Assembly the living stones in their place and equip them to function in their purpose. 

Someone said to me recently, “The church more nearly resembles an orphanage than a family.”  That is tragic and got my attention.  We will never become what God wants unless we are “put together” or “assembled” and “equipped.”  Our focus should be MINISTRY not PREACHING.  Nothing wrong with preaching, it is wonderful and powerful but our purpose must be to MINISTER.

If we do not SEE the problem we will never take steps to correct the problem.  Moses was guilty of following the ONE MAN culture or spiritual leadership and his father in law chastised him.  Jethro told Moses, “You are going to wear yourself and the people out doing it this way.”  In Exodus 18 the advice was clear and powerful.  In Numbers 11 and Deuteronomy 1 God gave Moses that same directive.  There were to be Two Changes immediately.

  • Moses was to cease being a ONE MAN SHOW utilizing Corporate Teaching.  He was to select individuals and individually train them the principles God had taught him.  Then, he would release them to function in ministry.  He was to train them in God’s Word, the Way of God, and teach them the Work or Assignment God had given.  He was teaching them to take Personal Responsibility and in so doing opened the door for them to find the resources personally to meet their needs.
  • Moses would select men with particular heart characteristics and place them as leaders over 10, 50, 100, and 1000’s.  These men would hear the cases and address the needs of the people and the only cases brought to Moses were those so complex and complicated they could not arrive at a solution.

Interestingly the Disciples fell into the same trap and finally had to appoint deacons to do the everyday things so they could focus on the word and prayer!  When they did and got things in order the Church exploded and there were structure and preparation to take care of that growth.

Church if we are going to be prepared for the Harvest we must follow the prescription of Moses, the Disciples, and make Ephesians 4 a cornerstone in our local fellowship’s purpose and function. 

God bless you as you embark on today’s journey!

GOD’S COVENANT COMMUNITY – The Church…


Ephesians 4:11-17 – “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ —  16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”  NKJV

I suggest that you read the first ten verses of this Chapter before launching very deeply into this consideration.  I’m not sure what many think of when they hear the word “church” or “ministry.”  Additionally, I am concerned after years of discussion with preachers and parishioners about what I perceive as “A” if not “THE” Problem in the Church today. 

The more I study the Bible the more I am convinced that God’s plan and purpose were for us to have and be a “Covenant Community.”  It is not a simple issue but one that I believe is very complex but a complete understanding is not only possible but probably if we open-heartedly study the New Testament Church and allow the Holy Spirit to guide our steps in discovery. 

I am not trying to be prophetic in what I’m going to say, I’ve had some tell me that it is, so you decide.  I have little interest in titles or accolades only truth and reaching the objective God has placed before us.  It is my conviction that these are times for “reevaluation” and “reexamination” of what we believe and why we do what we do as the Body of Christ.  I hope that in so doing we will discover the truth and be able to implement God’s plan for the Church and become His Covenant Community in our communities. 

I am convinced that unless and until the local expression of the Church becomes a “Covenant Family”, it can never become a “Covenant Community” and impact its spiritual environment.  In that light, until and unless we become a Covenant Family that grows into a Covenant Community we will never fulfill the desire of God to become the Church that Jesus came to build. An organism which operates in His power and love transforming entire communities with the Gospel of Christ. 

If you follow what I am advancing you will understand that I believe the Bible teaches that for us to be the Church Triumphant we must become the Church of Covenant and Commitment.  Before someone misunderstand let me emphatically declare, “Jesus WILL have a church in this present world that WILL pull down strongholds.”  The only question is not if it will be but will we be a part of it?

If we are going to become what God has designed and desired us to be in our present world, I am convinced there must be some major changes. Changes in our understanding of what the Church really is. Changes in our individual involvement in that functioning organism, THE BODY OF CHRIST.  It seems that we have misunderstood the role of the “master craftsmen” whose assignment is to place the “living stones” into their particular and proper place according to the architect’s plans. Who is the architect?  The Lord Jesus Christ! 

Most churches, local, do not have a “clear vision” of their purpose and as a result, often have people pulling in different directions pursuing their individual visions rather than inserting their vision into the Vision of the Whole.  If we are to become a “Covenant Family” which grows into a “Covenant Community” there must be COMMITMENT not only to God but to the purpose of the Family and Community spiritual.  It can never be a casual association but one deeply rooted in commitment.  Do we have that in most local congregations?  You tell me.

Much of the church, including me, believe that we are living in the Last Days. Unfortunately many of those focus on the negative of those times rather than seeing the positive.  The Bible does speak of a time when men’s hearts would fail them for fear of what they saw coming on the earth.  We know that the Bible speaks of the love of many growing cold and even falling away.  YET, that same Bible speaks of a Great Harvest and Ingathering of souls into the kingdom!  [Examine Matthew 13:17-20; 29.] 

I have long contended that a successful church is not identified simply numerically but has other definitive signs of success.  We are told in Vv. 13-16 of our text that the Church Jesus is building will come to FULL STATURE in Christ.  In Ephesians 5:25-27, we discover a church that is without SPOT or WRINKLE and in Romans 16:20 we read that the Church is a SHARP THRESHING INSTRUMENT which moves mightily against the forces of darkness.  I don’t know about you but that excites me!

There is so much I wish to say or convey but must use restraint in a daily devotional, so I will pause here and wait until next time to take another step into the discovery of God’s Covenant Community and the Local Church.

God bless you richly is my prayer and desire!