Thursday, September 30, 2010


Andrew Strom.

I have met and fellowshipped with many wonderful Christian people over the years - from all kinds of backgrounds. But I just need to comment on this "In-church/ Out-of-church" thing - because it keeps cropping up.

Let me be clear about this. I meet wonderful "In-church" people all the time that I absolutely love - and I meet lovely "Out-of-church" people too that I absolutely love. One of the biggest problems is that often these two groups do not understand each other at all.

And neither do they necessarily see the need for a "future church" that is beyond anything that any of us are seeing - a church that is literally just like the Book of Acts. That is supposed to be our goal - but too often we are satisfied basically where we are.


Many of the Christians who are totally "in" the church system truly see the need for "change". They are not wanting to sit still. They see there has been a great "decline" in Christianity away from the old paths - and they are praying that God will move to restore and purify His Bride. I have met many godly, warm-hearted people like this who care passionately about God's kingdom and His true gospel. I usually get on very well with such ones because we share a common desire to see things "righted" - especially the gospel message that has become so diluted and lost.

I guess the biggest challenge that I see in these settings is that I believe God is about to move "outside the box" in such a drastic way that if we allow ourselves to be too attached to the current "system" or "way of church" - then we can easily get left behind. To get us back to true "Book of Acts" Christianity will take such a leap - and such change - that I wonder if we truly have it in us to go with Him  where He wants to go. How "loosely" do we hold all these things - our buildings, our "meeting formats", our labels, titles and ways of doing things? When these things are shaken or challenged, it is sometimes surprising to discover what a hold
they have on us - even if we think they don't. This is the biggest challenge that the "system"-type people face, I believe.

But our love of the true gospel and true "Bible" Christianity will take us a long way.


I have moved amongst many 'House-church' and "Out-of-church" type Christians (which are not the same thing) over the years. In fact I have been part of these circles myself at times. One of the biggest problems I have seen is that some of us really thought we had the major "answer" to the church's problems. Those of us in the 'House church' movement would think, "If only the church would get out of buildings and into houses and become more 'relational' - most of our problems would be solved!" We truly thought that simply by "changing boxes" we could get back the Book of Acts church! What we ended up with, of course, was simply the same people in a different "shell" - slightly more 'relational' - but hardly anything like the power and purity of the early Christians. We had changed the outward "form" but the POWER of Jesus Christ was still mostly lacking.

I can remember having arguments over "plurality of eldership", the precise "correct" way of taking the Lord's Supper, and all kinds of things. None of it seemed to make the slightest bit of difference. That is because the "outward" things and the 'form' of things are all "secondary". This is not where the power is. But it took such a long time to learn this lesson.

The "Out-of-church" people are even more radical. They often fellowship with almost no-one - and many of them will tell you that the organized church is the "whore of babylon", etc. A lot of them are lovely people with a real heart for people and for TRUTH. But some can be very judgmental and harsh. They will often "write off" church people as being totally bound by "religion". But I found  many of us in that circle had our own "anti-religion" religion going on! We despised having "leaders" or "organized" things of any kind. We said we believed in the "5 fold" ministries but we couldn't stand to have any actual "leaders" - even godly ones. And we were secretly filled with PRIDE - because we could see everything that was wrong with the "system". Man - did I have a "humbling" coming when I got into this mindset! I was so "religiously" anti-religious. I was so filled with arrogance and looked down my nose at so many "system" people! I "judged" them just because they went to a "building" on Sunday! God forgive me.

Of course, none of this is the answer either. I had to repent. I had to RENOUNCE very deeply this harsh "anti-religion" religion that made me so proud and arrogant towards people. I found that many of them loved Jesus just as much as I did. And many of them prayed more and were kinder, more loving and more godly than I'd ever been. I had been kidding myself. When it boiled right down, we "out-of-church" types were no closer to the Book of Acts than many of the "system" people that we judged so harshly. We just knew more "stuff" (supposedly). But clearly it wasn't the stuff that mattered.

It was only when I deeply repented and RENOUNCED this whole prideful mindset that God gradually began to show me what was really important. And it was not the "outward" stuff - though of course there is some importance to structure, etc.

Each of these things (below) I believe will be a crucial part of the FUTURE CHURCH that God wants to bring about. You could literally write a book about each one - they are so important. It was these very things that meant the early church SHONE FORTH the GLORY OF JESUS every day. Here they are-

We must have-
(1) An APOSTOLIC gospel being preached with Apostolic-type anointing and authority. (Whenever this has happened down through history there has been real Revival). -SO CRUCIAL.
(2) The powerful moving of the HOLY SPIRIT - filling people, healing people, convicting people, transforming people.
(3) REAL LOVE and an emphasis on ministering to the POOR.
(-Just like the early church).
(4) REAL DISCIPLES who actually "forsake all" to follow Jesus.
(5) REAL PRAYER - in the Holy Spirit. -And lots of it!!
(6) THE WHOLE BODY MINISTERING - Starting with the "5-fold" ministries - whose goal is to release the whole body into ministry.
(7) MIRACLES and HEALINGS. -These are a must!

Of course, we could go on and on. But let me just conclude by saying this:-

It doesn't matter if we are "In-church", Out-of-church, Over-churched or under-churched. If we don't have the above things (which the early church had in abundance) then we really don't have ANYTHING. It doesn't matter what we "know" or whether we meet in houses, barns, on the streets or in sun-porches. If we don't have these crucial things that the early church majored on, then we really
have NOTHING that matters.

So I don't really care if you are "out" churched, "over" churched, "thru" churched or "half" churched. We need to pursue and pursue until we GET REAL CHRISTIANITY BACK!! And none of us have got it - so we had all better repent of our pride and start seeking that which is lost! A glorious Bride beckons. What price are we willing to pay to see her glory restored?


David Wilkerson

God does not accept grudging service from anyone. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23). Heartily means, “with all your heart—all your strength, all that is within you.”

Paul writes, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity [unwillingly]…” (2 Corinthians 9:7). The apostle makes a dual application of this matter of giving: it has to do with our financial offerings—and the giving of our very lives to God’s work!

Paul wrote that the church in Macedonia literally begged him to let them take up a collection for the poor, suffering saints in Jerusalem. These Macedonians were so wholly given to the Lord, they gave out of their poverty!

“…But first [they] gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God” (2 Corinthians 8:5). Paul says the Macedonians gave much more than money. They told him, “Here is our offering. Now what do you want us to do? We volunteer our services to the work of God!” They spared nothing in serving the Lord and their brethren! “… beyond their power they were willing of themselves” (8:3). They gave beyond their human ability with much prayer!

If you give only because you believe it is commanded—or if you’re always wondering, “Is tithing a New Testament concept, or just Old Testament?” - your heart-attitude is all wrong! If you give ten percent because the pastor asks it of you, that is wrong also. None of this gets to the issue to the heart of what it means to give!

If you’re going to give yourself wholly to the Lord and his service, you must do it cheerfully! “… for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

I am sorely convicted by this verse—because so often I go about my life and ministry without the joy of the Lord. I hear so many Christians say, “I’m so weary, I don’t know how I’m going to make it. Oh, God, you’ve got to come and give me strength!” That is a human cry, common to us all. But to give oneself to pleasing God, it must spring from a cheerful spirit—available to us all by simple, childlike faith.

The word for cheerful in Greek means “hilarious, merry, glad”—having a light heart, willingness, gladness; being full of hilarity. God is saying, “Whatever you do in your labors for me—whether it’s interceding, worshipping me in my house, or seeking me in your secret closet—do it cheerfully! Be joyful and generous with everything—your money, your service, your time, and your life!”

I ask you: Has serving the Lord become a bore, a drag to you? Is it just a burden, leaving you mostly sad and weary?

God doesn’t want you complaining about your burden—he wants you to chase those things out of your life by laying hold of his Word!

Your checkbook to his resources is faith! He is saying, “I have already made
provision for you. What need in your life is so great that I cannot supply more than is required?”

Friday, September 24, 2010


David Wilkerson.

With all the talk going on in the church about spiritual warfare, Christians still have not learned how to stand up to the enemy. We are pushovers for the devil!

I don’t believe every misfortune that befalls a Christian comes from the devil. We wrongly blame him for a lot of our own carelessness, disobedience and laziness.

It’s easy to blame the devil for our foolishness. That way, we don’t have to deal with it. But there is a real devil present in the world today—and he is busy at work!

Let me tell you something of Satan’s strategy. If he cannot pull the Almighty out of his throne, he will try to tear God’s image out of you! He wants to turn worshippers into murmurers and blasphemers.

Satan cannot attack you at will. God has put a wall of fire around each of his children, and Satan cannot go beyond that wall without God’s permission.

Satan cannot read a Christian’s mind. Some people are afraid to pray because they think the devil eavesdrops on them! Others think the devil can read their every thought. Not so! Only God is omnipresent and omniscient.

Scripture commands us to stand up, be strong and do battle against the flesh and the devil: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). “Brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10).

You have to become fed up with being held down by the devil—living low, depressed, joyless, empty, harassed!

The book of Judges tells us, “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel” (Judges 6:1–2).

The Israelites were at their lowest point ever. They were driven to living in dark caves and damp dens, starving, scared and helpless. Then something happened. It started with Gideon, and it spread throughout the whole camp: Israel got sick and tired of hiding in those dark caves!

Gideon said to himself, “How long should we put up with this? They go through our land with no opposition. Nobody stands up and does anything about it! We’re told we have a God who moved for our fathers. But look at us now—we are stripped, helpless.

We live in constant fear!”

Something rose up within Gideon. And he said just what God was waiting to hear: “This has gone far enough! We serve a mighty, victorious God. Why do we go on, day after day, taking this abuse?”

God will not do anything until you are thoroughly disgusted—until you are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

You have to do as Gideon did—cry out to the Lord! We serve the same God that Israel did. If he heard Israel’s cry in their idolatry, he will hear you—in your sincerity.


by 'Doorkeeper'

The Lord gave me a vision of His sheep fold (the church) over 25 years ago. Jesus and I were standing on a hill looking out over a multitude of sheep, as far my eyes could see were sheep. The sheep at first looked so white and sparkling clean and strong and healthy.

I looked back at Jesus and He was bidding me to look again on the sheep. This time the sheep were dirty, skinny, weak with insects in their eyes, ears, and nose. The Lord said, “the first is how many of my ministers see My sheep, the second is how I see My sheep”.

In 1993 once again the Lord showed me the sheep fold (the church); this time they were even worse and some were lying on their side and I was bent over one that was down. (a sheep will die once they go down like that unless someone comes along and helps them get back up) I was overwhelmed with the great need within the church and the Lord said to me that I was not responsible to help all the sheep just the ones He would bring close enough for me to touch.

Since the Lord called me over 50 years ago, the burden and cry of the Holy Spirit in intercession has been for a consuming passion for Jesus and His Righteousness to return to the Lords’ church. So many are just playing games and they don’t realize how much danger they are in.

I should have finished what the Lord said after the last vision of the sheep bleeding, so wounded, some in process of dying…… Jesus said, ”Many of the shepherds had used the rod and staff given to guide and help the sheep... to beat and wound the sheep." I believe the Bride is being healed and strengthened by the Truth that the Lord has sent through the true prophetic voice among His people.

There are so many in these religions that are being wounded and abused. The Lord is sending in warriors both physically and by intercession to rescue and bring healing. He hears the cry of his precious sheep, which have been victimized by religion and their hirelings... not all are hirelings, some really do want to serve Jesus but they have been so indoctrinated by man made religion - that is all they know.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Must I “work” at Love?!

“Neither natural love nor Divine love will remain unless it is cultivated.”

Oswald Chamber’s words sank deep into my heart, how true they rang!

When our youngest son was about 15, he announced to me that when he got married, it would be to someone whom he did not have to “work” at staying in love, it would “just happen” because they were so much in love! Ah, the wisdom of those teen years! I’m sure he’s discovered the truth of Oswald Chamber’s writings and the reality that “Love IS spontaneous, but it has be maintained by discipline.”

“Love” really is “the sovereign preference of one person for another.” Spiritually, Jesus demands that that preference be for Himself. When God’s love is in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ is first, THEN we must put into practice the working out of the “discipline” of “adding” to our faith that Peter spoke of in 2 Peter, chapter 1.

The Holy Spirit helps us understand that God loved me not because I was lovable, but because love is God’s nature. And He says to you and me, “Love others as I have loved you.” THEN he brings into our lives any number of people whom we find it hard to like, much less love or respect and yet, we are to love them as He has shown His love to us! Oh for those who are EASY to love to be in my life, but alas, it is not to be! No, I am “stuck” with someone so incompatible!

Chambers goes on to say: “You won’t reach it (loving them) on tiptoe. Some of us have tried to but we were soon tired.” So HOW can I love as He loves? How can I “add love”? Evidently there is something I must do! When I understand that the Lord God loved me to the uttermost, to the end of all my sin and meanness and selfishness and wrong, it propels me, it compels me, to love in the same way. Just as God’s love to me is without end, I must love others from that solid rock of God’s love to me. Sound daunting?!

“Growth in grace stops” when the focus turns back on me and the wrongs I suffer from someone in my life. Should I not pause and remember how disagreeable, unlovable, I have been and am to God, yet He continues to love me?

“Am I prepared to be so identified with the Lord Jesus that His life and His sweetness are being poured out all the time?”

Yes, love IS spontaneous, and yes, it DOES have to be maintained by discipline! Love is not easy, it is not something you can “add” or “attain” or even “maintain” in the flesh alone. The Holy Spirit filling and over-flowing in our hearts is the answer. There is no substitute for spending time with the Master, sitting at His feet, reading His Word, listening for His Voice, writing thoughts and prayers that come to you as He fills you with His Spirit.

I’m so thankful that the Lord continues to help us search for His ways and then follow them through the power of the Holy Spirit. How I thank the Lord for His Word, for the great writings of Oswald Chambers and others that stimulate my mind and my heart to God and His ways! As my friend Vida, says, “Make today a great day!” And I’m adding, “In the Lord!”

Be blessed as you “add love” to your faith!

You Won’t Reach It On Tiptoe

By Oswald Chambers

‘Add to your brotherliness … love.’ 2 Peter 1:7

Love is indefinite to most of us, we do not know what we mean when we talk about love. Love is the sovereign preference of one person for another, and spiritually Jesus demands that that preference be for Himself (cf. Luke 14:26). When the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ is easily first; then we must practise the working out of these things mentioned by Peter.

The first thing God does is to knock pretence and the pious pose right out of me. The Holy Spirit reveals that God loved me not because I was lovable, but because it was His nature to do so. Now, He says to me, show the same love to others – “Love as I have loved you.” “I will bring any number of people about you whom you can not respect, and you must exhibit My love to them as I have exhibited it to you.” You won’t reach it on tiptoe. Some of us have tried to, but we were soon tired.

“The Lord suffereth long. . . .” Let me look within and see His dealings with me. The knowledge that God has loved me to the uttermost, to the end of all my sin and meanness and selfishness and wrong, will send me forth into the world to love in the same way. God’s love to me is inexhaustible, and I must love others from the bedrock of God’s love to me. Growth in grace stops the moment I get huffed. I get huffed because I have a peculiar person to live with. Just think how disagreeable I have been to God! Am I prepared to be so identified with the Lord Jesus that His life and His sweetness are being poured out all the time? Neither natural love nor Divine love will remain unless it is cultivated. Love is spontaneous, but it has to be maintained by discipline.

An Undivided Heart

Samuel Logan Brengle

Unite my heart. — David.

He who thinks to succeed in this infinite business of saving souls with a heart that is divided as yet knows nothing as he ought to know concerning the matter.

That a man may by personal magnetism, grace of manners, power or persuasiveness of speech, and a certain skill in playing upon the emotions and self-interest of the people, create an excitement that fairly simulates a revival; and yet have a divided heart, I admit; but that he can bring men to a thorough repentance and renunciation of sin, a hearty embrace of the Cross, an affectionate surrender to Jesus as a personal Saviour and Master who requires deep humility and meekness and tender love as the marks of His disciples is hard to be proved.

As certainly as like begets like, so certainly will the soul-winner put the mark of his own spirit and consecration upon the people he influences; if he is himself not more than half won to the cause of his lowly Master, he will not more than half win others. His task is the mightiest to which men were ever set.

The physical scientist manipulates and changes dead matter, the newspaper man seeks principally to amuse or interest people for the passing hour; the lawyer and politician simply seek to change and mold the opinions of men; but the soul-winner is dealing with fundamentals. His object is not merely to change the opinions and conduct, but to change character; to work a moral revolution in the affections, the dispositions, the wills of men; to turn them from temporal things which they see, to eternal things, which they do not see, from all vices to virtues, from utter selfishness to utter self-sacrifice, and often in spite of all present self-interest, and in the face of the combined opposition of the world, the flesh and the devil. His object is not alone to save them from the guilt and penalty of sin, but from the pollution and the power and the love of sin. Nor is it merely to save men from sin, which is rather a negative work, but to save them into all goodness and love and holiness through a vital and eternal union with Jesus — a union that gives perpetual vigor and energy and fruitfulness in righteousness to all the powers of the soul, filling it with grace and truth.

This is no little work, and can never be the work of a man with a divided heart. It is like turning Niagara Falls back upon its source, or causing the sun and the moon to stand still on Ajalon; it can only be done by God’s power, and that power is only fully bestowed upon, and only works freely in and through those whose hearts are perfect toward Him.

The soul-winner, then, must once and for all, abandon himself to the Lord and to the Lord’s work, and, having put his hand to the plow, must not look back, if he would succeed in this mighty business.

He must love his Lord and love his work, and stick to it through all difficulties, perplexities and discouragements, and not be given to change, for there is no discharge in this war.

Here it is that many fail; they have not a single eye. They make provisions for retreat. They are double-minded, like an officer I knew, who dabbled in photography till it divided his life and heart, and got him out of the work; like a minister of whom I heard the other day, who reads another man’s sermons to his people, while he studies law, saying that when he gets a poor appointment he will fall back on the law and leave the ministry, forgetting Paul’s words to Timothy: “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him that hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Tim. 2:4.)

By and by such men leave the work God sets them to do, because, as they say, they have not been treated well, when the fact is, their minds being divided, they cease to work well; they no longer give themselves wholly to it, and the people feel a lack of interest and power, hungering souls that look for bread receive a stone, poor sinners, on the road to hell, and possibly on the brink of ruin, go from their cold and heartless services unawakened and unsaved. They lost their grip first on God and then on the crowd, and their superiors, perplexed to know what to do with them, and where to place them, since the people no longer want them, are blamed. But blame others as they will, the blame still lies with themselves.

No great work has ever been accomplished without abandonment to it.

Michael Angelo said his work was his wife and the statues he made were his children.

Edison is so wedded to his work that all other things are forgotten and set aside in the pursuit of his marvelous inventions.

Demosthenes, the greatest of ancient orators, if not the greatest of all time, was hissed off the platform at his first appearance. His figure was unprepossessing, and his voice weak and harsh, but he determined to be heard. He devoted himself to his studies, shaved one side of his head lest he should be led into society, and practiced elocution by day and by night. To perfect his enunciation he filled his mouth half-full of pebbles and practiced while climbing a hill; and that he might successfully contend against the thunders of the Athenian mob, he went to the seashore and strengthened his voice by practicing it against the thunder of the waves.

Lord Beaconsfield stood for parliament five times, and at last won his seat. When he first attempted to speak he was laughed from the floor but he sat down saying, “You will listen to me yet;” and they did, when, as prime minister of England, he arbitrated the destinies of Europe and crowned Victoria Empress of India.

“How long did it take you to prepare that address?” was asked of a great speaker. “All my lifetime in general, and fifteen minutes in particular,” he replied.

When Benjamin Franklin, as a poor boy, opened a printing-shop, a prosperous competitor said he would drive him out of town. Franklin showed him a piece of black bread from which he dined, and a pail of water from which he drank, and asked if he thought a man who could live on fare like that and work sixteen hours a day could be driven out of town!

Who knows the name of that competitor? and who has not heard of Franklin?

If men engaged in secular pursuits are thus given up to their work and consumed with their purpose, how much more should the soul-winner be, he who is fighting for righteousness and holiness, for the kingdom of love upon earth, rescuing souls from the power of sin and the danger of eternal burnings?

If God has set you to win souls, O my brother, make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. Cut the bridge down behind you. Remember Paul’s words to Timothy: “Give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all.”

Let your eye be single, make no plan for retreat, allow no thought of it. Remember Paul’s “Woe is me, if I preach not the Gospel.”

Like Jesus, set your face steadfastly toward your Jerusalem, your cross, your kingdom, your glory, when, having turned many to righteousness, you “shall shine as the stars for ever and ever.” (Dan. 12:3.)

You may be ignorant and illiterate, your abilities may be very limited, you may have a stammering tongue, and be utterly lacking in culture, but you can have an undivided a perfect heart toward God and the work He has set you to do, and this is more than all culture and all education, all gifts and graces of person and brain. If God has bestowed any of these upon you, see to it that they are sanctified, and that your trust is not in them. But if He has denied them to you, He yet hath called you to the fellowship of His Son, and to His service. Be not dismayed; it is not the perfect head, but the perfect heart which God blesses. For has He not said, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him”?

At this point none need fail, and yet, what an awful thing! — some will fail, and after having, as they say, prophesied in His name, and in His name cast out devils, and in His name done many wondrous works, shall hear Him profess, “I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.”

“Let nothing now my heart divide, Since with Thee I am crucified, And live to God in Thee. Dead to the world and all its toys, Its idle pomps and fading joys. Jesus, my glory be.”

And I will give thee the treasures of darkness

William MacDonald

“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness.” (Isa. 45:3)

When God made this promise to Cyrus, He was speaking of material treasures from lands of darkness that Cyrus would conquer. But we are not doing violence to the verse when we take it and apply it in a spiritual sense.

There are treasures that are discovered in the dark nights of life that are never found in days of unrelieved sunshine.

For instance, God can give songs in the darkest night (Job 35:10) that would never have been sung if life were completely devoid of trials. That is why the poet wrote:

And many a rapturous minstrel among those sons of light
Will say of his sweetest music, “I learned it in the night;”
And many a rolling anthem that fills the Father’s home
Sobbed out its first rehearsal in the shade of a darkened room.

There is the darkness of what J. Stuart Holden calls “life’s inexplicable mysteries—the calamities, the catastrophes, the sudden and unexpected experiences which have come into life, and which all our forethought has not been sufficient to ward off; and life is dark because of them—sorrow, loss, disappointment, injustice, misconception of motive, slander.” These are often the things that make life dark.

Humanly speaking, none of us would choose this darkness, and yet its benefits are incalculable. Leslie Weatherhead wrote, “Like all men, I love and prefer the sunny uplands of experience, when health, happiness and success abound, but I have learned far more about God and life and myself in the darkness of fear and failure than I have ever learned in the sunshine. There are such things as the treasures of darkness. The darkness, thank God, passes. But what one learns in the darkness, one possesses for ever.”

God’s Jealousy for Principles

by T. Austin-Sparks

Reading: 1 Sam. 7:1-2; 1 Chron. 13:1-14.

Though God has no favourites among men, and is not prejudiced against people as such, yet He is very jealous for principles, and perhaps in the Old Testament there is no incident which more emphatically demonstrates that truth than the one contained in 1 Chron. 13. Again and again, in what looked like real severity, the Lord dealt with His greatest servants on the point of principle. His severity with Moses over the second smiting of the rock, in not allowing him to go over into the land, is so marked that often our hearts have failed as we have thought about it. And here again we are almost shocked to note His severity with David, when all the intentions were so good and it did seem that there was a movement in accordance with the purpose of God. There is no question as to real, whole-hearted devotion to the Lord, and yet we have this severe reaction of God to something which, though not at the moment clearly recognised as such by those concerned, was a violation of principle.

God Cannot Overlook Principles

Of course, the explanation must lie in the direction that where precedents are concerned, that is, the laying down of foundations for all time, God shows in particularly obvious ways what His attitude is toward principles. These things were to be written in the Bible, and God knew it. The Bible was to be the book which contained the revelation of God’s mind for all the coming generations of human history, and it would not do for God to overlook violations of vital principles and let them pass, lest at any time His people should begin to build something upon a wrong foundation. So, of necessity, correction had to be very severe when provision was being made for the guidance of His people in all generations. That is the explanation of the seeming severity of God in such instances as we have cited.

God’s End Must Be Reached in God’s Way

But when we look into it to see what is the nature of it all, we find this, that disaster can only overtake if there is the holding of a testimony in substance – the truth, the ideas, the doctrine, the form – without the principles of that testimony being observed. It is easily possible for this to happen, with the result that there is a fundamental contradiction to the very position which is taken. David was quite right in his conclusion that the ark was in the wrong place and that it should be moved, because God’s purpose for it was not being realised. So he acted upon a broad conclusion as to God’s will and purpose, but without the underlying principles of that purpose being discerned. Thus, while he moved toward the right end, he moved in a wrong way, and he involved something that was of most sacred concern to God in the matter of Divine principle. This is a very solemn lesson to our hearts – that we may be in the terms, the substance, the doctrine, of the testimony of Jesus, with the best intentions and in undoubted devotion to the Lord, and yet there may be real arrest and delay because there is something hidden from our view which the Lord cannot recognise and accept; and disaster may come upon all our efforts and undertakings, and upon the whole movement, for that very reason. God does not desire simply that certain decrees and truths shall be executed. His desire is that there shall be spiritual discernment and faithfulness in relation to spiritual principles. The two things must go together. Ways and means to God’s end are just as important as the ends themselves.

That is clearly what comes out here. Uzza and Ahio were the wrong people. They had no right whatever to have been put in that position. That is the first thing that is wrong in principle. It is made perfectly clear by the sequel. The cart was an altogether wrong idea. It was originally suggested by Philistine diviners who were in league with demons that had subtly, secretly, crept into this whole movement. Oh, how subtly and deeply laid are the intrigues of Satan, that even a man like David can be blind to them and caught! The ark had been in the house of Abinadab for years, and these two sons of Abinadab, Uzza and Ahio, had grown up with it and apparently had never studied its history and God’s clearly prescribed word about the manner in which it should be moved. They had never gone to what they had of Scripture to see the meaning and nature of the thing that was in their home. Familiarity had bred contempt, and the ark had become like some personal possession of theirs and they took it in charge. It was all wrong. The Lord Jesus, Who is here typified by the ark, though calling men into fellowship with Himself in a Divinely ordained way, never has committed Himself into the hands of men, to be taken charge of by them. His testimony in that sense will look after itself: God Almighty is in it. He does not need the custodianship of familiar men who have themselves taken possession of His things. Everything was in a superficial state, and because of that the deep principles were not discerned – hence disaster.

The Enmity of Satan Against Christ Involved

What does it mean? What does it all amount to when you put it in its full setting? Here the throne has come fully into view. This is all a part of a movement for bringing the throne into its full place. In the Bible, David is God’s supreme type of His Son in kingship, so that it is not so much the throne of David that is in view as the throne of God or of Christ. It is Christ on the throne of supreme authority that is being typified here.

Now, from a long way back and a long way down, there creeps up something sinister, coming hiddenly up through this device of the Philistine diviners – an insinuation of Satan which, in the light of all that we know now with all the Bible in our hands, works out in this way. Satan is in some way going to interfere, if he can, with Christ’s coming to absolute authority, and to do it he must insinuate something of himself that will of necessity bring the judgment of God upon the whole thing. It is subtle, clever, far-sighted; for what you have here is the ark in relation to David and full kingship, and then disaster arresting that whole movement simply because God’s eye saw in it the insinuation of something of the devil that had come in to corrupt this whole testimony; and God could not accept it. If we were to take things like this as things in themselves we might think that such severe dealings are hardly justified, that God might let pass such faults and failures; but God sees the whole and how it affects the ultimate question of the place which He has appointed for His Son, and He says, ‘No! That relates to the greatest issue in this universe and it cannot therefore be allowed to pass.’ God is not establishing the throne of His Son upon anything of Satan. That is what it amounts to. It is tremendous.

So we have to get a sufficient reason for such severe action of God; we have to justify Him. We must not simply say, ‘Here is a man whose heart is all out for the Lord, who is sincerely seeking to serve Him, and then the Lord smites it all. It does not seem fair; it seems cruel and unkind.’ We must justify God. He is only justified when you can see that something which touches the ultimate issues of His eternal purpose is involved, and that He could not let that pass in the light of the greatness of the issues. And that is just what was happening here.

Natural Man’s Hand the Hand of Satan

So we turn to ourselves and ask, how does this apply to us? It means this, that we must always seek that our devotion to the Lord is instructed devotion, that it is zeal which is according to knowledge. It was otherwise with David. Not that he could not know; he could have known. The exercise which followed this incident shows that he had the knowledge at his disposal, but he was carried away at the time by all that was happening, he became in some measure superficial and emotional, and overlooked a vital principle. How easy that is! We can see a good deal of this in history. This was what you might call a revival movement in Israel. There were all the marks of revival, in a way. The ark had been in the house of Abinadab all those years. The people “lamented after the Lord”; and here is movement, and their mourning is turned into joy. All seems to be going well – and then the whole thing is arrested. That has happened again and again in Christian history. A revival; yes, undoubtedly a movement from the dead state, from the state of utter arrest; people began to think things were going at last; and then arrest. The Reformation was arrested. There came a point at which those great reformers were held up. They did not go right through to God’s full end, they stopped somewhere. When you look to see why, you find at a certain point that the hand of natural man came upon the work, and that hand is the hand of the enemy. There is something behind the natural man’s taking hold of the things of God which is the insinuation of Satan; and God stands back, removes His hand of blessing, the whole thing comes to an untimely end and does not go through. There must be not only apprehension of the truth but deep-rooted consistency with Divine principles if the movement is to go through to fullness, if the end which God has in view is to be reached without interruption and tragedy. It is a big lesson for some of us who have responsibility, but it is a lesson for all who are related to the Lord’s interests. We must see that, while the Lord wants zeal and utterness and wholeheartedness and desires His ends to be reached, it is very necessary for us to have spiritual discernment, that we do not overlook some principle which is essential to God in the reaching of His ends. A close walk with the Lord and prayerful attention to His Word under the illumination of the Holy Spirit can alone bring us that discernment.

First published in “A Witness and A Testimony” magazine, Sep-Oct 1949, Vol 27-5

Perilous Times by John Owen

Warning Of Imminent Dangers

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” II Timothy 3:1

THE WORDS CONTAIN A warning of imminent dangers. And there are four things in them: First, the manner of the warning: “This know also,” Secondly, the evil itself that they are warned of: “Perilous times.” Thirdly, the way of their introduction: “They shall come.” Fourthly, the time and season of it: “They shall come in the last days.”

The Manner Of The Warning

First. The manner of the warning: “This know also” – “Thou Timothy, unto the other instructions which I have given thee how to behave thyself in the house of God, whereby thou mayest be set forth as a pattern unto all gospel ministers in future ages, I must also add this, ‘This know also.’ It belongs to thy duty and office to know and consider the impending judgments that are coming upon churches.” And so, as a justification of my present design, if God enable me unto it, I shall here premise that it is the duty of the ministers of the gospel to foresee and take notice of the dangers which the churches are falling into. And the Lord help us, and all other ministers, to be awakened unto this part of our duty!

You know how God sets it forth (Ezekiel 33) in the parable of the watchman, to warn men of approaching dangers. And truly God hath given us this law: If we warn the churches of their approaching dangers, we discharge our duty; if we do not, their blood will be required at our hands. The Spirit of God forsaw negligence apt to grow upon us in this matter; and therefore the Scripture only proposeth duty on the one hand and on the other requires the people’s blood at the hands of the watchmen, if they perform not their duty. So speaks the prophet Isaiah, chap. 21, vs. 8, “He cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watch-tower.” A lion is an emblem of approaching judgment. “The lion hath roared; who can but tremble?” saith the prophet Amos. It is the duty of ministers of the gospel to give warning of impending dangers.

Again: the apostle, in speaking unto Timothy, speaks unto us also, to us all, “This know ye also.” It is the great concern of all Christian professors and believers, of all churches, to have their hearts very much fixed upon present and approaching dangers. We have inquired so long about signs, tokens, and evidences of deliverance, and I know not what, that we have almost lost the benefit of all our trials, afflictions, and persecutions. The duty of all believers is, to be intent upon present and imminent dangers. “O Lord,” say the disciples, Matt. 24, “what shall be the sign of thy coming?” They were fixed upon His coming. Our Savior answers, “I will tell you:

Abounding Errors and False Teachers

There shall be an abounding of errors and false teachers: many shall say, ‘Lo here is Christ,’ and, ‘Lo, there is Christ.’ There shall be an apostasy from holiness: ‘iniquity shall abound, and the love of many shall wax cold. There shall be great distress of nations: ‘Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom There shall be great persecutions: ‘And they shall persecute you, and bring you before rulers; and you shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.’ 5. There shall be great tokens of God’s wrath from heaven: ‘Signs in the heavens, the sun, moon, and stars.”

Look For His Coming

The Lord Christ would acquaint believers how they should look for His coming; He tells them of all the dangers. Be intent upon these things. I know you are apt to overlook them; but these are the things that you are to be intent upon. It is that frame of heart which, of all others, God doth most detest and abhor. Nothing is more hateful to God than a secure frame in perilous days. I will not fear to say this, and go with it, as to my sense, to the day of judgment: A secure person, in perilous seasons, is assuredly under the power of some predominant lust, whether it appears or not. This secure, senseless frame is the certain pressage of approaching ruin. This know, brethren, pray know this, I beg of you, for yours and my own soul, that you will be sensible of, and affected with, the perils of the season whereinto we are cast. What they are, if God help me, and give me a little strength, I shall show you by-and-by.

Times Of Great Difficulty

There is the evil and danger itself thus forewarned of, and that is hard times, perilous times, times of great difficulty, like those of public plagues, when death lies at every door; times that I am sure we shall not all escape, let it fall where it will. I will say no more of it now, because it is that which I shall principally speak to afterward.

The manner of their introduction, “shall come.” We have no word in our language that will express the force of the original. The Latins express it by “immineno, incido,” – the coming down of a fowl unto his prey. Now, our translators have given it the greatest force they could. They do not say, “Perilous times will come,” as though they prognosticated future events; but, “Perilous times shall come.” Here is a hand of God in this business; they shall so come, be so instant in their coming, that nothing shall keep them out; they shall instantly press themselves in, and prevail. Our great wisdom, then, will be to eye the displeasure of God in perilous seasons; since there is a judicial hand of God in them, and we see in ourselves reason enough why they should come. But when shall they come?

They “shall come in the last days.” The words “latter” or “last days” are taken three ways in Scripture: sometimes for the times of the gospel, in opposition to the Judaical church-state; as in Heb. 1:2, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son”; and elsewhere it may be taken (though I remember not the place) for days towards the consummation of all things and the end of the world; and it is taken often for the latter days of churches; I Tim. 4:1, “The Spirit of vile lusts, and the practice of horrible sins.” This rendered the seasons perilous. Whether this be such a season or not, do you judge. And I must say, by the way, we may and ought to witness against it, and mourn for the public sins of the days wherein we live. It is as glorious a thing to be a martyr for bearing testimony against the public sins of an age, as in bearing testimony unto any truth of the gospel whatsoever.

Churches And Professors Are Infected

Now, where these things are, a season is perilous: Because of the infection. Churches and professors are apt to be infected with it. The historians tell us of a plague at Athens, in the second and third years of the Peloponnesian war, whereof multitudes died; and of those that lived, few escaped but they lost a limb, or part of a limb – some an eye, others an arm, and others a finger – the infection was so great and terrible. And truly, brethren, where this plague comes – of the visible practice of unclean lusts under an outward profession – though men do not die, yet one loses an arm, another an eye, another a leg by it: the infection diffuses itself to the best of professors, more or less. This makes it a dangerous and perilous time.

It is dangerous, because of the effects; for when predominant lusts have broken all bounds of divine light and rule, how long do you think that human rules will keep them in order? They break through all in such a season as the apostle describes. And if they come to break through all human restraints as they have broken through divine, they will fill all things with ruin and confusion.

They are perilous in the consequence: which is, the judgments of God. When men do not receive the truth in the love of it, but have pleasure in unrighteousness, God will send them strong delusion, to believe a lie. So II Thess. 2:10-11 is a description how the Papacy came upon the world. Men professed the truth of religion, but did not love it they loved unrighteousness and ungodliness; and God sent them Popery. That is the interpretation of the place, according to the best divines. Will you profess the truth, and at the same time love unrighteousness? The consequence is, security under superstition and ungodliness. This is the end of such a perilous season; and the like may be said as to temporal judgments, which I need not mention.

Greatly Mourn For Public Abominations

We ought greatly to mourn for the public abominations of the world, and of the land of our nativity wherein we live. I would only observe that place in Ezekiel 9, God sends out His judgments, and destroys the city; but before, He sets a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh for all the abominations that are done in the midst thereof. You will find this passage referred in your books to Revelation 7:3, “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” I would only observe this, that such only are the servants of God, let men profess what they will, “who mourn for the abominations that are done in the land.” The mourners in the one place are the servants of God in the other. And truly, brethren, we are certainly to blame in this matter.

We have been almost well contented that men should be as wicked as they would themselves, and we sit still and see what would come of it. Christ hath been dishonored, the Spirit of God blasphemed, and God provoked against the land of our nativity; and yet we have not been affected with these things. I can truly say in sincerity, I bless God, I have sometimes labored with my own heart about it. But I am afraid we, all of us, come exceedingly short of our duty in this matter. “Rivers of waters,” saith the Psalmist, “run down mine eyes, because men keep not thy law.” Horrible profanation of the name of God, horrible abominations, which our eyes have seen, and our ears heard, and yet our hearts been unaffected with them! Do you think this is a frame of heart God requireth of us in such a season – to be regardless of all, and not to mourn for the public abominations of the land? The servants of God will mourn.


David Wilkerson

You’ve heard of the prayer of faith. I believe there is a mirror image of this prayer, a prayer that is based on flesh. I call it the prayer of unbelief.

I want to pose a question to you. Have you ever heard the Lord tell you, “Quit praying—get up off your knees”? Has his Spirit ever commanded you, “Stop crying, and wipe your eyes. Why are you on your face before me?”

The Lord spoke these very words to Moses: “The Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me?” (Exodus 14:15). The literal Hebrew meaning of the verse is, “Why are you shrieking at me? Why all the loud pleading in my ears?”

Why would God say this to Moses? Here was a godly, praying man, in the crisis of his life. The Israelites were being chased by Pharaoh, with no escape. Most Christians would probably react as Moses did. He set out for an isolated hillside and got alone with the Lord. Then he poured out his heart in prayer.

When God heard Moses shrieking, he told him, “Enough.” Scripture is not explicit about what follows. But at that point God might have said, “You have no right to agonize before me, Moses. Your cries are an affront to my faithfulness. I’ve already given you my solemn promise of deliverance. And I’ve instructed you specifically on what to do. Now, stop crying.”

As we face our own crises, we may convince ourselves, “Prayer is the most important thing I can do right now.” But a time comes when God calls us to act, to obey his Word in faith. At such a time, he won’t allow us to retreat to a wilderness to pray. That would be disobedience and any prayers would be
offered in unbelief.

The prayer of unbelief takes into account only God’s goodness. It ignores the severity of his holy judgments. Paul writes, “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22). The apostle purposely mentions God’s goodness and severity in the same breath here. He’s saying one can’t be separated from the other.

In the Old Testament, Isaiah stated it this way: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood” (Isaiah 59:1–3).

Beloved, God didn’t change between the Old Testament and the New. He’s a God of love and mercy, as Isaiah points out. But he still hates sin because he’s holy and just. That’s why he told Israel, “I can’t hear you because of your sin.”

Consider the words of the psalmist David: “I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: but verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away [ignored] my prayer”
(Psalm 66:17–20).

The psalmist is saying, “I saw there was iniquity in my heart and I refused to live with it. So I went to the Lord to get cleansed. Then he heard my prayer. But if I had held on to my sin, God wouldn’t have listened to my cry.”

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pastors Question Francis Chan's Decision to Leave Megachurch

Popular author and preacher Francis Chan was recently questioned by fellow pastors who tried to wrap their heads around Chan's decision to leave his megachurch.

Francis Chan, former senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, Calif., addresses questions about his decision to let go of his church and follow a stirring in his heart. The discussion included Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle and Pastor Joshua Harris of Gaithersburg, Md. Related

Francis Chan Takes Step of Faith, Lets Go of Megachurch Calif. Pastor Frustrated with 'Comfortable' Christianity

'Professional Pastor' Wants to Love Jesus Again

"I'll be honest. Everybody thinks you're cuckoo for cocoa puffs. You got a good church going on and you hit the eject button and now you're the international man of fu Manchu mystery," said Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.

"What is going on? What are you thinking?"

Chan announced in April that he would be letting go of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, Calif. – a church he founded 16 years ago – to follow a stirring in his heart. He preached his last sermon there in May and has since been speaking to Christians and pastors alike about his restlessness with comfortable Christianity and his desire to surrender himself fully to God.

Responding to Driscoll during a frank yet lighthearted discussion – that also included Pastor Joshua Harris of Gaithersburg, Md. – about his decision, Chan said, "A lot of it is personal. A lot of it is when I look at the Scriptures I see this commitment, this devotion, this hardcore 'we will follow, we'll do anything, we're all about going out and making disciples.'"

He said he wanted to start over and get a core group of disciples who just try 100 percent to follow the life he felt was clearly spelled out in Scripture.

"While I feel like I'm getting closer and closer to what the spirit is leading me to do based on my convictions of Scripture, I don't think I can totally get there by constantly tweaking," he explained.

"I've read the book (Bible). I got this theology in my head. I have all these thoughts and convictions. Let me just start something fresh with all of those convictions rather than constantly tweaking something that I may have possibly taken in the wrong direction for a little while."

Driscoll and Harris, who are council members of The Gospel Coalition, expressed some concern over starting something and leaving and wondered if he would repeat that pattern in the future.

"How long do you think you'll be at the new work before discontentment or frustration sets in because if I was in the core group I would ask that question. Is this a discontentedness in your soul that won't ever be satisfied?" the Mars Hill pastor asked.

Harris also offered, "If everybody out there just said 'hey, let me go start something new' ... that's an important thing to realize. We do need guys who are in an established church and go 'you know what, maybe it's not alright but here's how I can slowly over time build and redirect in certain ways and so on.'"

While Chan can't predict what will happen in the future, he said he doubts that he will go through what some see as a "crisis" again because he has felt this stirring since high school. He just never had the courage to say it out loud and to follow it.

"I don't know how to explain it other than there's always been this core conviction of 'something's not right and I think I know what it is but I'll just keep quiet,'" he explained. "Now, I want to express it and live it and just go 'now, I believe I'm living in congruence with the whole New Testament.'"

"Maybe I'm dreaming but I got to go for it."

He also stressed that his leaving Cornerstone was for the church's own good. "It's kind of diverting some of this 'I must hear from Francis.' By staying there, I was causing, not causing the whole problem but I wasn't helping the issue."

Driscoll questioned Chan on the theology behind some of his thinking to give everything up.

"It seems to me that if the primary view of sanctification comes through simplicity, poverty, suffering, if you don't get those things it's almost like when God blesses, it's hard to be sanctified because you don't know what to do with it," Driscoll said. "And so you almost have to get rid of that which is complicated, make life hurt a little more, go to a third world country, and/or adopt poverty and give it all away because you're only allowing God to sanctify in the preconceived ways.

"What if God wants to sanctify you through not poverty but generosity, not suffering but blessing, and what if it's not through simplicity but complexity?"

Driscoll cautioned that Chan could be following a "poverty theology," which he said is "the same error as prosperity theology – that holiness comes from have or have not, not who is."

Chan has experienced tremendous success with his books, including Crazy Love, and as a pastor and sought-after speaker. Cornerstone Church grew to be one of the largest churches in California.

He indicated that he could easily write a check for a new hospital.

While he agreed that what he's doing could become a pursuit of poverty, he said he doesn't believe it's that.

"I believe it's motivated by love and a desire to be Christ-like," he responded. "I don't want to suffer needlessly or just to suffer."

"To me, the core issue here has to be love," he said. "I think in times of prosperity, for me, I look at Scripture and go 'Wow, this is awesome. Look at this great selling book, all this money, what do I want to do? I want to give it to the people who need it.' I get excited about that.

"I get excited about becoming a picture of Christ. Of course I have the right to get the stuff that I want and enjoy it but it's again letting go of that, not holding on to that and saying here's an example, let me lay that down, and go and lay down my life for the brothers."

He added that living simply and being able to be generous is a dream come true for him and his wife.

"Gosh, here's all these people who are dying and in need. When I met them, that's when I fell in love with them and it actually was a joy to give. It's not like 'ah, I'm too rich God's going to get mad at me,'" he said.

And, "this is not like 'oh, Francis, such a martyr, he gives everything up,'" he added.

Four months after making the big announcement, Chan is still not certain what God is calling him to, though he has mentioned Los Angeles as the likely destination. He has mentioned that he plans to visit a third world country with his family to care for victims of the slave trade and orphans while spending time seeking the Lord.

"I don't even know when I'm going to end up," he said. "Maybe there's more of a fog that I'm in that I realize."

But what he does know is that there is pride in him that has destroyed him in many ways and he just want to spend the next season of his life purifying that.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Andrew Strom

As many of you know, a major 7.1 Richter earthquake struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch in the early hours of Saturday morning. We had only been in the country for a few days, but we were quite a distance away. Amazingly, nobody was killed - which is seen as a complete miracle. Earthquakes this size have been known to kill hundreds of thousands of people. So we are very thankful to God. Of course, a lot of buildings are quite seriously damaged. And a lot of people are pretty traumatized. (My heart truly goes out to them, because I have ministered to disaster victims before). But at least nobody is dead!

I don't know about you, but I cannot help but see God speaking to the church in the loudest possible terms through this earthquake. The fact that it happened to the only major city called "Christchurch" in the Western world. The fact that it has been prophesied for years that the church will be greatly "shaken". The fact that a whole lot of older "structures" were wrecked or brought down - but the people themselves survived intact.

And I also see that God is speaking to us personally through this disaster. As you know, the "Shaking" of the church is something we have been speaking about for years. In fact, the last article that I wrote before being turned away from the US border two weeks ago was "THE SHAKING is GROWING." It seems to me (and I cannot see it any other way) that God spun us around and forced us back to New Zealand so we would be here in time for this disaster. We were meant to be here when this "great shaking" came to Christ-church. It simply does not seem credible to me that this can be a co-incidence.

Not only that, but Christchurch is the most "prophesied-over" city in New Zealand. Going back decades there are prophecies(some of which we published years ago) that speak about Revival and Reformation coming to that city - or spreading out from there.

Of course, these "Christchurch - Shaking" links have been noticed by many around the world. Sometimes people take things to be a "sign" that can be a little dubious. But you can hardly say that about this one! To me, this has
"Sign From God" written in neon lights all over it!

On our Facebook page, several commented on this. Mary LaRue wrote: "I believe this physical earthquake is an outward showing of what God is about to do spiritually in the House (His Body). A great shaking is coming. It is no accident that the place it hit was Christchurch!" And Maree Crawford wrote: "The earthquake struck when most were asleep and unaware in Christchurch... Next a spiritual earthquake in Christ's Church which will catch many that are asleep, and unaware. I reread the prophecy this afternoon from February about
'Earthquake in the Church' (Phil Buck). I agree..."

This event has already changed our own plans. It is certainly not something we can ignore. We had begun to receive invitations to minister in Australia, but I am going to have to put those back while we see what God would have us do here in New Zealand.

It seems likely that God may want us to do something like what we did after Hurricane Katrina (bringing teams down, etc). Obviously if we head for Christchurch we are going to have to be very sensitive to the trauma that these people have gone through. But the great thing is that everyone recognizes what a miracle it is that nobody was killed. I believe my Katrina experience may stand me in good stead again here. What an opportunity for the Christians to show forth the love of Jesus to a lost and dying world.

Please pray for us, my friends, as God's specific plans start to fall into place.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oprah and Tolle fuel New Age revival

An East/West Blend of A New Earth Spirituality

By Berit Kjos

"This book’s main purpose is ... to bring about a shift in consciousness.... Not everyone is ready yet, but many are, and with each person who awakens, the momentum in the collective consciousness grows."[1,p.6-7] Eckhart Tolle

“Oprah is helping propel the spiritual enlightenment book [New Earth] to dizzying heights, thanks to an unprecedented online promotion that includes a 10-week interactive Webcast discussion.... Oprah: 'I am a Christian who believes that there are certainly many more paths to God other than Christianity.'"[2]

"Jesus said... 'No one comes to the Father except through Me.'" John 14:6

Remember the lasting symbols of the sixties? Beatlemania? "Free love"? The peace sign? Maharishi Yogi (the subject of John Lennon's song, "Sexy Sadie")?[3]

The New Age revolution seemed to fade away, didn't it? But instead it was spreading its hidden roots across America. Now its mysticism and sexual "freedom" are back in full bloom! And countless ex-hippies -- who cut their hair and joined mainstream America -- are reviving Eastern meditation, yogic "breathing" and other pathways to "collective consciousness."

This "awakening" is a natural part of the postmodern rejection of truth. Neither facts, logical thinking, nor Biblical faith are relevant to the new spirituality. So it's not surprising that Eckhart Tolle, celebrated author of A New Earth, dismisses them all as "form" or "ego": distracting "attachments" that block awareness of human Divinity and oneness with "God."

Tolle's teaching is anything but new. One of his sources of inspiration was the 13th century “father of German mysticism,” Meister Eckhart, who wrote, "He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment."[4] It's interesting that Tolle did "let go" of any attachment to his original first name, Ulrich. He changed it to Eckhart.

To validate his message, Eckhart Tolle reinterprets history. Notice how he blends Eastern and Western mysticism -- praising Zen as well as the Kabbalah:

"The greatest achievement of humanity is... the recognition of its own dysfunction, its own madness. In the distant past, this recognition already came to a few individuals. A man called Gautama Siddhartha, who lived 2,600 years ago in India, was perhaps the first who saw it with absolute clarity. Later, the title Buddha was conferred upon him. Buddha means 'the awakened one.'”[1,p.14]

"...religions, to a large extent, became divisive rather than unifying forces. ... They became ideologies, belief systems people could identify with and so use them to enhance their false sense of self. Through them, they could make themselves 'right' and others 'wrong'..."[1,p.15]

"...movements developed within all major religions that represented not only a rediscovery, but in some cases an intensification of the light of the original teaching. This is how Gnosticism and mysticism came into existence in early and medieval Christianity, Sufism in the Islamic religion, Hasidism and Kabbala in Judaism, Advaita Vedanta in Hinduism, Zen... in Buddhism....

"Only a small minority of people had access to them. Their numbers were never large enough to have any significant impact on the deep collective unconsciousness of the majority."[1,p.16-17]

Since the spiritual climate has changed, "enlightened" prophets expect the current awakening to reach a critical mass that will usher all of humanity (except uncompromising resisters) into the New Earth -- a physical manifestation of the New Heaven (which has nothing in common with the Biblical heaven). Detached from "form," all will know their identity as "I AM," or universal "Consciousness."

Of course, if you're more comfortable with God's Word than with occult experiences, you won't share in this awakening. You can't stand with one foot in each camp.

Into the darkness

But Carla Siegel tried. "I was a Christian," she told me. "But when we moved to New Mexico, I started questioning my beliefs and exploring some of the New Age bookstores. Soon I was seduced by the teachings of Emmet Fox and others. Satan's favorite trick is to twist what God says. I know that now." She continued,

"I joined a meditation group. Some of the new age is being driven by the Alice Bailey type of occultism, but most of the people in my group were fans of "Abraham," the demonic spirit guide behind The Secret -- which is all about getting what you want.

"But I was more attracted to Eckhart Tolle's Buddhist angle. Though I had explored both sides, I wanted more of a personal experience with God. Like other New Agers, I would twist the Bible into something that fit my new thinking. So I believed that the Bible's statement about losing your life to save it meant you must dissolve the ego to gain peace.

"I stayed with it for a couple of years and faced constant emotional torment. The pain supposedly meant I was growing. (Ha!) I was told that my ego was the problem -- and that the meditation (for stilling your mind or detaching from your thoughts) would alleviate the depression. But it kept getting worse. The feelings of dejection and despair were overwhelming."[5]

Carla's story is sadly familiar. The "beautiful side of evil" deceives "even the elect" -- if only for a season. Confusion, depression, anger and nightmares often follow the initial euphoria, since Satan has no mercy for his victims! Read Pat's story, then Valerie's testimony and learn more about his cruel ways. Only by God's loving grace did they escape the darkness of today's false "light."[6]

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who put darkness for light, and light for darkness," warned the prophet Isaiah (5:20). But as "awakenings" spread, fewer will listen.

Tolle's top-selling books may draw more people into the occult than any previous guru the world has known. Yet, it's all part of an ongoing spiritual war! Our eternal sovereign God reigns over all, but His created opponent does all he can to tempt, trick and test humanity during his allotted time.


John Lennon's most famous song outlines the heart of this New Earth deception. Notice how its lines match Tolle's occult teachings.

1. The New Earth: "Imagine there's no heaven; it's easy if you try...."

"...heaven is not a location but refers to the inner realm of consciousness.... Earth, on the other hand, is the outer manifestation in form, which is always a reflection of the inner.... 'A new heaven' is the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness, and 'a new earth' is its reflection in the physical realm."[1,p.23]

"The arising of a new heaven and by implication a new earth are not future events."[1,p.308]

That's not true! In contrast, God's Word points us to "the hope which is laid up for you in heaven..." Colossians 1:4

2. No sin nor hell: "No hell below us. Above us only sky…"
"If evil has any reality... this is also its definition: complete identification with form.... This results in a total unawareness of my connectedness with the whole, my intrinsic oneness with every other as well as with the Source. This forgetfulness is original sin, suffering, delusion."[1,p.22]

"Recognize the ego for what it is: a collective dysfunction, the insanity of the human mind.... Nobody is wrong. It is the ego in someone, that's all."[1,p.76]

Actually, evil is real, and God does judge sin: "The wicked shall be turned into hell..." (Psalm 9:16) But God has provided a way to heaven through the cross. If we repent and trust in Jesus' atoning death for us, we become part of His family.

3. Living in the NOW: "Imagine all the people, Living for today..."

"...only the present moment can make us free. That realization is the awakening.... A new heaven and a new earth are arising within you at this moment...." [1,p.308]

"There exists only the present instant... a Now which always and without end is itself new."[4] Meister Eckhart

"The Now is also central to the teaching of Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam. Sufis have a saying: 'The Sufi is the son of time present.' And Rumi, the great poet and teacher of Sufism, declares: 'Past and future veil God from our sight; burn up both of them with fire.' Meister Eckhart, the thirteenth-century spiritual teacher, summed it all up beautifully: 'Time is what keeps the light from reaching us. There is no greater obstacle to God than time.'"[7]

There is no obstacle to our God, who sets our hope on the future, not the present: "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face." 1 Corinthians 13:12

4. A United World: "Imagine there's no countries, It isn't hard to do."

"The only actions that do not cause opposing reactions are those that are aimed at the good of all.... They are not for 'my' country but for all of humanity, not for 'my' religions but the emergence of consciousness in all human beings..."[1,p.290]

But our God tells His people, "...nation will rise against nation.... Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.... And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.... And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." Matthew 24:7-14

5. No creed, no doctrine: "And no religion too."

"...religions, to a large extent, became divisive rather than unifying forces. ... They became ideologies, belief systems people could identify with."[1,p.15]

But Jesus, who enables us to follow Him, said, "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him...." John 14:21

6. Peace. All is One: "Imagine all the people, Living life in peace..."
" At that deeper level, all things are one. It is the Source, the unmanifested one Life. It is the timeless intelligence that manifests as a universe unfolding in time."[1,p.276]

"You realize your true identity as consciousness.... That's the peace of God. The ultimate truth of who you are is not I am this or I am that, but I Am."[1,p.56-57]

But our God offers His peace to all who trust and follow Him -- not to the world with its false teachings. He says, "I will be their God, and they shall be My people.' Therefore 'Come out from among them and be separate...” 2 Corinthians 6:16-17

God's ultimate victory

Eckhart Tolle is not our enemy in this spiritual war. Like countless other "false teachers," he's merely a useful servant to a far more menacing foe. Since Satan continues to masquerade as "an angel of light," this reminder is worth repeating:

"Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:10-12

Those who truly love God's Truth (the first part of God's armor) will not open their minds to demonic intrusion or oppression. And by God's grace, Carla* has learned that lesson well. After two years of "experiencing a universal "God" -- accompanied by intensifying depressions, misery and confusion -- the true God has set her free:

"The feelings of dejection and despair were overwhelming, but God kept calling me back to Himself in the midst of it. Finally, a few weeks ago, I threw out $400 worth of books. That was a toughie. But I was tired of needless suffering. ... The saving power of my Lord Jesus Christ is incredible -- far beyond understanding!"

Most of the people trapped by the enticing lights of the occult will never find the exit. So don't follow those lights! Test all things through the filter of Truth! Put on God's armor! Then delight in the victory our Lord has won for us through the cross!

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" asks the apostle Paul. "Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution...? The answer is NO! Nothing can sever us from God! For "in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Romans 8:35-37

Changing Worldviews

By Mary Ann Collins

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness.... Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" Isaiah 5:20-21

The worldview of Christians should be based on the Bible and on our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. However, we live in a world that offers a vast diversity of beliefs and values that clash with Christianity. Those views are continually bombarding us through television, newspapers, magazines, movies, books, games, and secular education.

Worldviews have practical consequences. John Dewey, the Father of Modern Education, was an atheist who wanted to replace belief in God with the religion of secular humanism. Therefore, it is not surprising that many children who were raised in Christian homes no longer practice their family's faith when they become adults.

Competing worldviews can influence the beliefs and practices of Christians. Three decades ago, the New Age movement (for example, "the New Spirituality") was already popularizing moral relativism. This is directly opposed to the moral absolutes of Christianity

By now, we are so accustomed to Postmodernism that we hardly even notice its influence on churches from coast to coast. The Emergent Church illustrates it well. Led by a group of influential men "who are incorporating elements of Postmodernism within their theology," it denies the inerrancy of Scripture and undermines foundational Christian doctrines.

Continue here:

A Different Gospel

by Raideragent

This is two audio's from Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, Ca.

Please listen to them yourself and judge his theology for yourself. Remember, the Bible warns us over and over again about false teachers and prophets. Historical, Orthodox Christianity has never ever believed what Bill is teaching. This my friends, is a, "Different gospel" as warned about in Galatians 1. Bill has it backwards.