Category Archives: Church

IT’S NOT ABOUT US

A few decades ago, Christianity found itself at a fork in the road that offered two optional paths – one option was down the path called DIscipleship Way and the other down the path called Self Avenue. Self Avenue was a broad road with an easy, flat grade, and it looked wonderful – health, wealth, fulfillment, good times, and being the center of attention. Discipleship Way, on the other hand was a narrow road with steep mountains to climb, and it didn’t look very appealing – dying to self, surrender, holiness, and brokenness.

So, because the majority of the church was marinated in secular culture, it chose Self Avenue. However, the years have proven that, even though this path looked fabulous to the eyes, it brought spiritual sickness and decay to the church. For those few, however, who refused to be duped by the empty promises of Self Avenue and instead chose Discipleship Way, they found that, even though the going was tough at times, this road led to everything they had ever dreamed of – deep intimacy with God, real purpose in life, and living in the holy, awesome presence of the King.

Unfortunately, the majority who chose Self Avenue were blinded to its harmful effects and kept on barreling down its path. The result? Self has replaced Jesus as the center of the Christian life, which is evidenced in many ways: sermons with “self” as the main theme; Christian book stores filled with books about “self”(how to be a good leader, how to fulfill your dreams, how to be successful, how to unleash your full potential, how to live your best life now, etc); worship services centered around “self” and our senses (major productions with the latest in multi media gadgets, music that entertain instead of bringing us with a sense of awe to the throne of God, etc); and shallow Christians who are literally clueless about the Bible and theology.

The result? We’ve become “self” centered, “self” reliant, “self” sufficient, “self” righteous, and “self” pleasing.

We’ve forgotten that life has never been, is not now, and will never be, about us. It is about Jesus. He is the center of all life. He is why we go to church. He is the one who deserves our worship. He is to be at the top of our priority list.

We’ve lost sight of the fact that it is in dying to  “self” that we truly find life. The apostle Paul said in Colossians 3:3: “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God”. And in Romans 6, Paul gives the very clear truth that, positionally, we died with Jesus to our old self and now we have to consider “self” dead.

Many people ask: “what is ‘self’ “?  Self is that part of me that wants to be God. It is that part of me that wants to be in charge of my life, that seeks fulfillment and meaning in life apart from God. It is the worldly part of me that desires pleasure, ease, and having everything go just the way I want it. It is me without God’s presence.

Far too many Christians have taken Self Avenue and replaced Jesus with “self”, and the results are frightening. The church has become powerless and insignificant in our culture.  The most powerful entity on the planet, the church of Jesus Christ, has lost its way because we have bowed the knee to “self”.

Is the church in a hopeless situation? No! There is hope. But our hope, our only hope, is in an authentic move of God in His church, a move of God in revival. Only when we fall on our faces before Him and repent of our idolatry of worshiping “self” and turn back to the One who really is to be Lord of our lives will the church again be filled with His presence and power, and be used by Him to transform our society. The church must exit Self Avenue and merge onto on Discipleship Way.

My friends, it’s not about us! It’s about Jesus. A life lived for “self” is, at best, shallow, empty, and void of meaning. A life lived for Jesus, however, is a life lived to the utmost, and the pinnacle of human experience because nothing, absolutely nothing, can compare to living in a deep intimacy with Him. Die to self, gives the reigns of your life to Him, and find real life!!

IF JESUS WERE TO WRITE A LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN AMERICA

In Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, Jesus wrote letters to seven churches in the province of Asia. Two of the churches received encouraging letters, but in each of the letters to the other five churches Jesus issued a severe reprimand for their spiritual condition and a pointed warning to either repent or reap the consequences for their actions. I wonder, if Jesus were to write a letter similar to those found in Revelation 2 and 3 to the church in America in 2011 what would He say? Would it be something like this… 

“To the angel of the church in America write. . .


The holy almighty sovereign One, the King of kings and Lord of lords says this: ‘I know your deeds. ‘You have built impressive buildings that include the latest technology. You have programs for every conceivable type of person, and you are culturally relevant in every way possible. But I have this against you — you have forgotten that church is really about Me.


You have replaced spirit-led worship with well-staged entertainment so the congregation simply sits back and watches the ‘show’ instead of actively worshiping Me.


You have replaced uncompromised, biblically-based sermons with non-threatening, theologically light, feel-good motivational speeches that are focused on yourselves rather than on Me.


You have traded deep, probing Bible studies for the latest fad on the best-seller list.

In order not to offend anyone, you have neglected to teach theology and doctrine, and have failed to teach that discipleship includes absolute surrender, spiritual brokenness, dying to self, holiness, and unquestioned allegiance to Me.


You have forgotten that prayer is the key to my heart, and instead of seeking My face for guidance and direction you have become self-reliant and self-sufficient.


‘You have allowed the culture to influence your way of thinking so that you look, think, and act no different than the world. Divorce, viewing pornography, and sex outside of marriage are as prevalent within the walls of the church as outside of it. 

You are My beloved bride, but you have gone after other lovers — popularity, numbers and ‘success’. In your quest to be culturally relevant, you have become spiritually irreverent. You have become so politically correct that you have the world’s approval but not Mine. You have played a harlot with the world and have broken your covenant of love and loyalty to me.


The results are disastrous. America is falling apart morally, and you, My church, are powerless to change its course. Instead of falling on your faces before Me in humble repentance and crying out for revival, you are too occupied with being ’emergent’, ‘seeker sensitive’, ‘relevant’, and ‘thinking outside the box’.


Repent! I say it again, repent!


Humble yourselves before Me, and return to Me. Make Me the object of your devotion. Seek My approval. Surrender totally to Me. Cleanse yourself of the sins of compromise, half-heartedness and self-sufficiency.


Die to self so that I may live in you and use you to turn your society away from destruction and toward the truth and the peace that is found only in Me. Oh, My bride, come back to Me. I love you.


He who has ears to hear, let him hear what I say to the church in America.'”

OUR MOST URGENT NEED IN 2010

In looking at the condition of our country as we enter 2010 we see lots of needs. The terrorist threat looms ominously over us which threatens our national security. The economy is still limping along on very weak legs. The health insurance reform bills that were passed in the Senate and the House have some very suspect provisions in them. The illegal immigration issue still needs to be addressed. And the “politically correct” philosophy that dominates our culture is threatening the religious freedom that is woven strongly into the fabric of our rights as Americans.

All of these are critical issues that must be addressed. However, there is another need that far outdistances these, and which is absolutely critical to the survival of our country.  What is it? The desperate need of a revival in our land. As we see the deteriorating morality that is so prevalent around us, it is clear that nothing short of a powerful move of God in our midst will save us.

We have asked God to leave almost every facet of society, and He has left. Make no mistake about it, God will leave where He is not wanted, and the results of not having His presence are devastating. All we have to do is look around . We desperately need God’s presence now more than ever.

As I wrote in a previous blog, this revival must start in the church. The church of Jesus Christ, which is the most powerful entity on planet earth, has become fat with the world’s ways. We have saturated ourselves in the “cult of self” and have become so “self” sufficient, so “self” reliant, so “self” righteous, and so “self” centered that we have become powerless to impact our culture for Jesus. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to blaze in our hearts again so that we live uncompromised, emboldened, fearless, and passionate lives for our awesome Savior. We need a return to authentic biblical holiness and unashamed loyalty to our King. We must desire above all things an intimate relationship with our Jesus. Revival, in short, is God’s people falling in love with him all over again.

Is it still possible for God to send revival our way, or have we gone too far and crossed the line of hopelessness? I believe that we can still see a powerful, transformational move of God in our midst. But what will it take? We, God’s church, the bride of Christ, must humbly fall on our faces in deep repentance for our own sins and the sins of our nation. We must be willing to forsake everything that goes against biblical holiness and seek His face in every aspect of life. We must be hungry for Him and His glory. We must earnestly and fervently pray for Him to move in our midst. We must come to the point in our lives where we see the condition of our hearts in the light of His holiness and be willing to do anything, and give up anything, in order to leave our superficial, mediocre spirituality for a deep, passionate intimacy with Him. In short, we must become serious about revival.

America needs revival, which must start in the church. But, and this is crucial in understanding and desiring revival, it must start with me. I need revival big time. As I pray for God to come down and move in our midst, I need to draw a circle around myself and ask God to start the revival within this circle. Are you willing to join me with a sense of urgency in fervently praying for God to send revival, beginning with you and me? Will you be willing to do whatever it takes to see God move in our midst? Will you humbly fall on your face before Him in deep repentance and die to self in total surrender to Him? Oh, that the Lord would sweep across this land in 2010.

“Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at Your presence”  Isaiah 64:1
“Will You not Yourself revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”   Psalm 85:6

THE CHURCH NEEDS REVIVAL


Most Christians in America would agree that we need a revival in our country. We are free falling into the abyss of immorality at break neck speed. Abortion, homosexuality, premarital and extra martial sex, broken homes, cheating, lying, and a general lack of ethics are rampant. And, to top it off, we are ousting God from many facets of our society.  Nothing short of a powerful move of the Holy Spirit
across this nation can save us from seeming destruction.

Yes, most Christians would agree that we need a revival “out there” (i.e. outside the walls of the church).  However, if we are to experience an authentic move of God in revival it will, and must, start within the walls of the church.  To revive means to bring back to life, to bring back to a healthy, vital state, thus assuming that there was life to begin with. The church of Jesus Christ has life – the indwelling Holy Spirit – thus, revival must bring the church back to life. Revival starts within the walls of the church.

The church,which is the bride of Christ, has played the harlot with the world and gone after lovers – popularity, relevance, acceptance by the world, self gratification, and entertainment.  We have adopted the ways of the world, and the results are obvious: we have become powerless to impact our culture with the gospel, being basically ignored by our culture as insignificant, and appearing just like the world. When divorce, premarital sex, lying, addiction to pornography, and materialism are as prevalent within the church as outside of it, there is a problem!

How has this happened?  In our desire to be “culturally relevant” we have become spiritually irreverent.  We have replaced Spirit led worship with a well oiled “show” that the congregation sits back and watches instead of becoming engaged in worship of our incredible God. Instead of biblically based, theologically sound sermons we tickle the ears of the people with stories that are centered on “self”.  We have, in essence, entertained ourselves and storied ourselves to death.  One of the current buzz word today is for churches to think “outside the box”.  Instead of thinking “outside the box”, why don’t we go back to thinking “inside the Book“?  The Bible, when it is preached and taught with the anointing of the Holy Spirit still has, and will always have, the power to transform lives.

The result of this worldly influence that has crept into the church is an abundance of shallow Christians. Most Christians today have no idea what they believe or why they believe it. They are an inch deep and a mile wide.  The church doesn’t  need more educated scholars, talented singers and musicians, charismatic leaders, or entertaining authors. What the church needs today is deeper Christians – those who leave the shallows of superficiality and plunge deep into our marvelous God.  Those who are not satisfied with a mediocre relationship with Jesus, but who hunger and thirst for more. Those who desire holiness above all else, and live for God’s glory.

The cult of “self’ has invaded the church which has made our awesome God seem insignificant to the world.  People are looking for answers, and when they see the church they ignore it because it looks no different then themselves. We are called to be sanctified, set apart unto God.  We have never been called to blend in with the world. We are to be different, we are to be counter-culture, we are called to be holy. 

It’s time for the bride of Christ to repent and turn back to her first love. When revival comes to the church our society will be transformed. We often think revival means people getting saved. This is a byproduct of revival. Revival is God’s people turning from their sin and falling in love with Him all over again. When this happens, we will be bold and have the anointing to witness to others, and the Holy Spirit will harvest a wealth of souls. But it starts with you and me.

Will you fall on your face before our holy God and repent of your own sin, and then the sin of the church?  Most have a mental picture of revival as being good times, abundant blessings, and exhilarating joy.  Again, these are byproducts of revival. Revival is painful…we must come to grips with our own sin and humbly repent. Painful, yes. But we must. It is our only hope.

WHAT IF…

As we see the moral decay of our country worsen, it’s easy to just shake our heads , point our fingers at the “world”, complain how evil “they” are, and then retreat into our smug little “Christian hamlets” . However, we, the church, must look at ourselves to see if we are part of the problem.

The church, in the power of the Holy Spirit, must impact our culture with the truth of Jesus. Yet, the church has become powerless and has become like a chameleon, taking on the ways of the world. The world has impacted the church instead of vice versa, and the results are disastrous.


But, what if the church caught fire for Jesus. What if …



  • Every born again believer in Jesus desired holiness instead of happiness?
  • The Bible was held as the true Word of God, and was read and obeyed daily?
  • Attendance at prayer meetings was larger than the attendance at performances by Christian music artists and comedians?
  • Sin was still called by its biblical name:  sin?
  • Christians would weep over their sin because it grieves their holy loving God, not because they got caught or because of the consequences they will have to live with?
  • The uncompromised Word of God was passionately preached from the pulpits across America instead of the wishy-washy feel good stories that are whimpered from so many pulpits today?
  • Preachers spent most of their sermon preparation time down on their knees before the Lord instead of downloading information before their computer?
  • Sermons were preached for God’s approval instead of man’s?
  • Instead of watching the clock during the sermon, people in the congregation would be earnestly listening to see what the Lord was telling them through it?
  • Bible studies were filled with people who were hungry for the Word of God?
  • The purpose of our worship services was  to focus all are attention on God rather then ourselves?
  • Christians came to church to worship instead of to be entertained?
  • We were led in worship by the Holy Spirit instead of modern technology?
  • Christians couldn’t wait to go  to church?
  • Instead of going on retreats to “get away” from the busyness of our worldly pursuits, Christians would go on advances for the kingdom of God?
  • Christians actually fell in love with Jesus?       
  • Christians were as passionate about Jesus as they were about sports, hobbies, and the stock market?
  • Christians would surrender their lives in brokenness to Jesus Christ?
What would happen? Revival in our land? Mind boggling isn’t it?  What if?