John Wesley’s Prophecy

FUMCLogoWrittenWithout a doubt, John Wesley was one of the greatest influences within the history of Christianity. His passion, vision and organization was second to none in expanding the kingdom of God through missionary efforts and church planting. Wesley’s writings and pattern of church planting have had a huge impact on many leaders for over two hundred years, including myself. The stories of circuit riders blazing the trail of early American history are legendary. And yet within his vision of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, Wesley was well aware of the dangers that would attack his work if natural minded men slipped into the church and turned it into a dead society.

Five years before his death Wesley wrote,

“I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.” (‘Thoughts Upon Methodism,’ 1786.)

These words seem to be prophetic. United Methodism is on the verge of becoming a spiritually dead form of religion. Its present leaders have moved so far away from God’s Word and historic Christianity, that the general conference will consider changing the moral code of Scriptures to embrace homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle, and opening up the practice of performing and blessing homosexual marriages in United Methodist Churches. You can read about it on the UMC official website Here and see the prominence of it Here. Continue reading “John Wesley’s Prophecy”

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit–Discernment or Rejection?

Holy Spirit, Not by mightEveryone seems to have an opinion about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Christian publications, television, conferences and denominations are filled with thoughts, discussions and positions about them. There are usually two sides to this issue. On one side we have wild-eyed false prophets claiming to exercise the gifts while they manipulate and control gullible and ignorant believers. Then on the other side we have spiritually dry intellectuals holding conferences to proclaim that the Holy Spirit doesn’t operate like He did in the New Testament and teaching that all who claim to operate in gifts are under the power of Satan and are not genuine Christians. Wow…are those our only options?

It is easy to get into some dramatic and wild arguments about whether some of the gifts have “ceased” or whether all remain. Discussions about neuter nouns and modifiers in the Greek are all fascinating as men perform linguistic backflips in order to deny God’s gifts for today. (No one would read through the New Testament and arrive at the position that gifts have ceased. It only comes about with linguistic gymnastics by those scared of or predisposed against them.) Equally ridiculous are the silly presentations of the so-called ‘Word of Faith’ cronies making the gifts up under their own carnal desires rather than submitting to God’s Word. (No one would read through the Scriptures and conclude that the charlatans we see on religious TV are under the influence of the Holy Spirit. To do so only comes about through lack of discernment.)

LifeWay research did a survey a couple of years back asking Southern Baptist pastors, “Do you believe that the Holy Spirit gives some people the gift of a special language to pray to God privately?” 50 percent of SBC pastors said “Yes” and 43 percent said “No” while the Continue reading “The Gifts of the Holy Spirit–Discernment or Rejection?”

Snake Oil Salesmen and Their Strange Gospel

SnakeOilSalesman_zps28c5676fTurn on religious T.V. and it is easy to hear gospel messages about how to “be a better you,” learn to “think positive,” or get “healthy and wealthy.” These messages soothe the egos of the ignorant and carnal, helping them to continue down their egotistical path of selfishness and materialism. These messages are preached every week by false teachers who are nothing more than modern day snake oil salesmen. Millions are thinking they are hearing the gospel, and worse than this, most of them will not find out they have bitten into a lie until they stand before the Lord and realize that are headed to hell—but it will be too late!

The airwaves are filled with these “strange gospel” messages. The Christian message has been reduced to psychological self-help by many of the speakers on television. This should not surprise us, for both Paul and Peter warned us that these days would come about. (2Tim. 3:1-9 ; 2Pet. 3:1-19) We have modern day snake oil salesmen who use a few words from the gospel as a means to make gullible people feel better about themselves without true faith and repentance. It is a strange gospel.

The gospel of the New Testament is a message of reconciliation, faith and repentance. Until we surrender our life to Christ by faith, we are wicked, lost and headed for destruction, regardless of all the positive thoughts and self-help gimmicks we embrace. (Rom. 3:9-18) Jesus said a man “must be born-again” in order to enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:3-7), and unless a man repents, he will perish. (Luke 13:3,5) Paul said we Continue reading “Snake Oil Salesmen and Their Strange Gospel”

There’s an Elephant in the Room…and it is not a Republican

For the first time in history a political party in the United States has adopted a platform which shakes its fist in the face of God. The term ‘God’ has been officially left out of the National Democratic Platform.* However, there is an Elephant in the room…and it is not a Republican. As the DNC turns its back on God and the Judea-Christian base for our democracy, the democrats find themselves not just at odds with Republicans, but at odds with God.

The DNC stands arrogantly in support of the murder of the unborn and the immoral marriage of homosexuals. It is impossible to think of a convention moving any further away from Christianity than this. Yes, there is an elephant in the room who is being ignored and insulted at the DNC. It is God and His Word.

So, when you meet someone who ‘claims to be a Christian’ while supporting the Obama administration and the DNC, ask them this simple question: Continue reading “There’s an Elephant in the Room…and it is not a Republican”

The Death of the Prophet

God has always spoken to men through prophets…He still does! Recent generations have seen prophetic men such as J. Gresham Machen, A.W. Tozer, Vance Havner, Leonard Ravenhill and David Wilkerson. However, today’s landscape of evangelicalism is creating another type of speaker–politically correct and side stepping weak males who desire popularity over truth. In our generation we are witnessing the death of the prophet.

This is not to justify the crude, the rude or the arrogant presentation of truth we have seen in some circles by those recognized as prophets and from previous generations. Intimidation and coercion are not elements of a Spirit-filled and anointed message. However, one extreme never justifies the opposite extreme. For every road there are two ditches, therefore let us avoid both errors. The life and health of the local church depends upon the ministry of all the five-fold ministry gifts the Lord has given to the church. (Eph. 4:11-14) Let us not sit by in silence and compromise, and watch the death of the prophet.

We greatly need men who will:

Speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15)

Remain faithful to the Biblical text (2Tim. 2:15)

Unapologetically declare God’s absolute truth (Rom.3:4) Continue reading “The Death of the Prophet”

Famine in the Land

There are more religious networks and programs on television than ever before. Likewise, there are more churches than ever. However, upon closer examination there is another observation which saddens the heart of every genuine believer–there has never been as much false teaching, false doctrine and perverse representations of Christianity as we see today. There is a famine in the Land!

“…not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:” (Amos 8:11)

In the midst of an explosion of technology, we see a lot of lateral movements with showmanship and youth culture idolatry, but few genuine conversions. This famine is from the loss of the clear and biblical presentation of God’s Word and it produces several problems which now confront us.

Prosperity Pimps – We see the ‘get rich’ false prophets rob the widows and gullible so they can maintain their lavish lifestyles. They are worse than the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. These charlatans twist the meaning of passages in an attempt to manipulate the ignorant into believing they are giving to God, when in fact, they are financially supporting the fleshly lusts of the preachers. These are modern day ‘money changers.’ Continue reading “Famine in the Land”

What If?…Paul on the Road to Damascus.

Nearly 2,000 years ago, Saul Paulus of Tarsus was traveling to Damascus to arrest and bring back to Jerusalem those whom the Sanhedrin had labeled as Jewish heretics. These Christians were turning the religious community upside down with their claims of a resurrection and Saul was determined to  stop them. However, his plan was interrupted by the appearance of the risen Christ. What a shock. The one Paul despised because of the teachings of the apostles in Jerusalem, had now stepped across time and smitten him with blindness and a call to ministry. This man of giant intellectual power and strict obedience to religious regulations would never be the same.

Much like Paul, until we are blinded by the love and light of Jesus and stop chasing our self-serving ambitions, we will never hear the Lord’s instructions and purpose for our life. As long as our anger and rage ignites our passions and consumes our actions, we are deaf to the voice of the Lord. Regardless how our actions are ‘approved’ by the modern church or ‘casual believers,’ the Lord alone knows our hearts. He sees us even when no one is around and knows our every thought. He constantly appeals to our conscience to consider the road we are on, and the claims he makes upon our life.

What happened that stopped Paul in his tracks? What changed this Pharisee of religion into an Apostle of the Lamb? He did not meet a salesman, a lifeless religious leader, a wild eyed fanatic or a silver tongued orator… He met Christ! The only one who could change his heart from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness. The only one who could Continue reading “What If?…Paul on the Road to Damascus.”

Faith Is Not A Ride In A Cadillac

The Lord has called us to take up our cross and follow Him. Our Father offers a part, a ministry, to each of His children…we just need to pray and seek His leading and step into our place. The Americanized version of Christianity is foreign to the Scriptures and to the heart of every genuinely born again believer. Faith does not involve trusting Christ to give us a cadillac or plush house to live in ease. It calls us to come and die to our ways, and to embrace with joy a willingness to suffer for a greater good.

When God calls us into the place He has prepared for us, initially our hearts will be fearful and the task will seem impossible. That is why it is a call to faith. It requires a supply and a power outside of ourselves to accomplish. It calls us afresh to Christ crucified and resurrected. He wants to reveal His glory through these earthen vessels. (2Cor. 4:7)

Let us embrace the Cross of Jesus…the one with nails! Our version usually is overlaid with gold and has no sharp points…it doesn’t hurt. His cross bids us to surrender our will, die to our ways, suffer for His sake and love the unlovable. Continue reading “Faith Is Not A Ride In A Cadillac”

Leaven of the Pharisees

In a previous post, we looked at the legalism which comes from much of what is called ‘Messianic Christianity.’ You can read that here. Now let’s look at another aspect of the damaging work of legalism through other so-called branches of Christianity. You get the emails and comments from time to time from these self appointed protectors of the faith who have a thimble full of truth with ocean sized mouths. Jesus faced them, you face them and I face them. Let us not let our focus get off on them, as they feed off of being the center of attention.

Jesus addressed these types of legalists in His day. They hounded Him every where He went. The book of Acts reveals that these same legalists followed and persecuted the Apostle Paul as he took the gospel of grace to the Gentiles. Let’s look at what Jesus had to say about them and then discuss the earmarks of this type of legalism.

“Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees…'” (Matt. 16:6)

One of the truths which ‘leaven’ symbolized was sin. Jesus used this image to describe the dynamics of how sin works. Like leaven, sin works secretly, silently, certainly and from within. The leaven/sin of the Pharisees works the same way. It is a scourge upon the body of Christ and, many times, it comes from surprising quarters. Let’s take a brief look at this. Continue reading “Leaven of the Pharisees”

Restored Legalism – The Danger of Messianic Christianity

There is a legalistic wind blowing among many circles within the Christian faith. That wind is the attempt by natural minded men to restore or mix the Christian faith with Old Testament Law — usually called Messianic Christianity. It produces bondage to carnal ordinances and perverts the grace of God. It demotes Jesus Christ from Lord to a Rabbi and keeper of the law, and ultimately attacks the liberating message He announced during His earthly ministry. Those whose embrace and attempt to bring the Torah (Mosaic Law) into the Gospel of Jesus, are actually abandoning the message of Jesus and the Apostles in order to make disciples of men instead of disciples of Christ.

Here are some ‘catch words’ and ‘actions’ which should alert us. If you are around a friend or person who frequently adopts these words/phrases or actions, be careful…they are Continue reading “Restored Legalism – The Danger of Messianic Christianity”

Wimp, Pimp or Pastor?

No, you are correct. Only one of the three words can be found in Scripture. However, all three are described in the the Bible in various ways. It is encouraging and exciting to see this young generation begin moving away from the religious wimps and pimps while responding to godly Pastors who have a genuine burden for their soul! Never being one to mince words, I’ll briefly describe all three.

Wimp – This is the shepherd who is unwilling to stand for absolute truth. They are hirelings of comfort who do not have a heart of concern for the sheep they are supposed to look after. They are too busy trying to please religious men in order to have favor with all. Continue reading “Wimp, Pimp or Pastor?”