Friday, March 25, 2011

Doctrine & Experience


2 Corinthians 3:6
Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

The Letter & the Spirit

Paul speaks of both the Letter and the Spirit.  We know from a careful study of this and other passages that he is speaking about the Law and the Spirit.  The letter is the written word or law.

To have the word written on paper is not enough.  The Word must come alive in you by the Spirit.  Paul said that he was not a minister of the Letter but of the Spirit.  Paul was not discounting the written Word here but was making it clear that it is the power of the Holy Ghost that brings inspiration to what is written.    In another place the Apostle Paul said these words:

1 Corinthians 2:4-7
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 

Once again the Apostle makes it clear that the Letter is breathed upon by the Holy Ghost.  All preaching that lacks the anointing of the Holy Ghost is dead and will produce death.  Only the anointing can destroy the yoke.

The Purpose of Doctrine

Doctrine is very important for the health of the Church, but it alone is not enough.  If all you had was Doctrine but you did not have a genuine move of God’s Spirit then the Church would be dead.  There are many “Churches of the Letter” in our world today.  They have good sound Doctrine but their services are lifeless and powerless.  They preach out of the same scriptures, sing out of the same songbooks, and function is many ways that are similar to Churches with Life, but there is no life in them.  Why?  All they have is the letter.

We must have Spirit-filled services!  Without Spirit-filled services churches fall into the Rut of Religion.  They become formal and dry.  Our services become boring and predictable.  They become lifeless and stagnant.

Doctrine holds us firmly centered in truth.  We need doctrine.  But any doctrine that will not allow the Spirit of God to move will ultimately lead to spiritual dryness.  Many churches today either tilt to one side or the other on this issue.  Once the balance between doctrine and the Spirit is achieved the Church can go forward.

Doctrine and the Spirit

Doctrine & Experience: One alone is not enough.  It takes both to have a healthy church.  If you go all the way towards Doctrine then you risk dry, dead, formal, boring, predictable, and stagnant churches, and services.

If you go all the way towards Experience then you risk becoming heretical and false.  We see this today in the Charismatic Churches.  They are barking like dogs, collecting gold dust and angel feathers, treating celebrity preachers like gods, preaching unfounded and false teachings on Health & Wealth, and many more errors.  There must be a balance! 

One man told me about a Revival in Louisiana.  He said, “They had a four week Revival and did not have preaching one single night!”  Beloved, this is dangerous!  We need preaching.

Doctrine & Experience

In order to validate Doctrine in your life you must experience it.  Doctrine that is not lived has done you no good at all.  It not enough to believe in the doctrine of salvation you must personally experience it to benefit from it.  I remember B. H. Clendennen saying once years ago, “You can learn everything there is to know about food and still starve to death.”  Knowledge alone will not fill an empty belly – you must eat of the food in order for it to do you any good.  The same is true of our doctrine.  In order for doctrine to benefit you it must be experienced.

It is not enough to believe the Baptism of the Holy Ghost evidenced by speaking with other tongues, but you must experience it to benefit from this experience.  These are both great Doctrines, but they are also great Experiences!

Unapplied Doctrine is only Theory.  Applied Doctrine is Experience.  A man that only has Doctrinal Theory, and not Doctrinal Experience, is only Religious.  A man that only has Experience but cannot back up his experience with Sound Doctrine is a Heretic.

Every Experience that I have must be examined in light of the Bible.  Any Experience that cannot withstand the scrutiny of the Word of God is false.  Any Doctrine that cannot be experienced by the adherent is not worth the paper it is printed on.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Re-Think Church????????

Lately I have been seeing billboards advertising churches with the words “Re-Think Church”.  I visited the website on one such Church and found that their idea of re-thinking the Church is to give the people another helping of compromise, worldliness, self-help, and prosperity.  No one is really re-thinking anything!  As a matter of fact, The Church, does not need to be re-thought, for the original Church is the thought of God.  What man calls the Church needs to be brought back to the pages of the Word of God.  We do not need a new kind of Church – what we need is for the Church to function in its original purity and power as it did in the Book of Acts.

The “Re-Think Church” movement is just another attempt by charlatans to re-package the Church into something more appealing to the masses.  The re-thinking may include: Coffee Shops, Hip-Hop Music, Less Preaching and More Drama, Psychological Counseling, Contemporary Christian Music, and a no-commitment membership.  Everything has been modified so that nothing is ever negative, no one asks anything of you, you are not stressed in any way, and you can choose your own way to serve God.  The “Re-Think” Church is a “User-Friendly” Church.  It is not a “God-Friendly” Church.

Jesus said these great words concerning discipleship in Matthew 16:24: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. These words make it clear that following Jesus is not about our comfort but about our willingness to serve Him at any cost.  

Instead of Churches “Re-Thinking” maybe they would be better off doing a little “Re-Penting”!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

War Against Preaching

There is a war against preaching taking place right now! And it may shock some but this war is being fought not just out in the world but in our churches. Most churches today think more highly of music and singing than preaching. Drama is the little darling of the "seeker friendly" churches of today. The old-fashioned Hell-Fire & Brimstone preaching that I grew up on has been replaced in most churches by soft-spoken teaching. The Gifts of the Spirit have more respect than the five-fold ministry of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers. Many of todays evangelists could not preach their way out of a wet paper bag so then they resort to calling people out and "prophesying" over them. What a mess! I am so glad there is a remnant that stands for the truth! I still love good Gospel preaching

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cottage Mentality or Tent Mentality?


Genesis 13:12-13
12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
Genesis 19:1-3
1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.
3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.

The Division Between Abraham & Lot
God had greatly blessed Abraham and we know as far as herds and servants are concerned he was very wealthy.  As God blessed Abraham the blessings overflowed on his nephew Lot.  Everything was going well for a time and then a conflict arose between the herdsmen of Abraham and Lot.

Abraham came up with a solution to this problem.  He proposed that they split ways and that Lot could have the first pick of the land.  Lot chose the watered plains in the north, the plains of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Genesis 13:8-11
8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.
9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

God blessed Abraham for his unselfish attitude towards Lot.  God promised Abraham that he would give him whatever his foot walked upon towards the South, West, and East.

Lot Pitched His Tent Towards Sodom
The Bible makes it clear in our text that Lot dwelt in a tent.  Lot started out in a tent.  He pitched his tent towards Sodom.  This means that he did not arrive at Sodom in a day.  It took him weeks, maybe even months to make it there but every day he moved his tent closer and closer to the sin-cursed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Over time Lot was gradually assimilated into Sodom.

This is what is happening in the Church today.  People are pitching their tents towards this world!  They are not getting there in a day but they are slowly moving in that direction until they wake up one day and realize that they are now more a part of the worldly system than they are of the Kingdom of God.

People in our Churches do not become worldly overnight.  It takes years!  Sometimes it takes several generations for the Church to change!  What one generation achieves in God can be lost in the next generation.  All religious movements are one generation removed from extinction!

The process that saw Lot and his family assimilated into Sodom & Gomorrah took years.  But day-by-day they became more and more comfortable with all of the sin around them until one day it did not bother them any more.

The Bible tells us that lot was vexed by the sin in these cities.

2 Peter 2:7-8
7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
8(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 

It is good to be vexed by sin, but if you remain around sin long enough you will lose even that.  Lot may have been bothered by the sin, but his family easily adapted, and soon they saw nothing wrong with it.  Today there are elders in our churches that are greatly vexed by contemporary Christian music (CCM) but they remain silent.  They youth coming up are not bothered at all by it.  It is time that our elders took a stand on issues such as music, holiness, modesty, the authority of Scripture, doctrine, worship, the prosperity movement, and worldliness in our churches. 

From the Tent to the Cottage
Lot started out in tent.  The tent implies a temporary condition.  A tent is a temporary residence.  It lacks the permanence of a home.  The fact that Lot, and Abraham, lived in a tent made it clear that they were only pilgrims and strangers in this world.

Hebrews 11:9-10
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Lot started out in a tent but by the time we find him in the nineteenth chapter of Genesis he had moved into a house.  I am not saying that having a house is a sin.  God forbid!  But what I am saying is that this reveals that Lot had taken up residence in the most wicked city on earth at that time, Sodom.  Lot had settled down, he had put down some roots, he was now a permanent part of Sodom.

The Sin of Sodom & Gomorrah
The twin cities of Sodom & Gomorrah were the most wicked of all the cities of that day.  Even the names, Sodom & Gomorrah, have come to be words that represent evil of all kinds, especially the sin of homosexuality.

The list of sins that were present in those cities sound like a recounting of today’s newspaper headlines: Homosexuality, lesbianism, fornication, adultery, rape, child-molestation, murder, theft, and every evil thought of mankind were a part of those cities.

Today it is no different.  Catholic priests molest tens of thousands of children and the issue, though reported on briefly, is quickly swept under the rug and forgotten while the Pope is dotted on and admired by Kings and Presidents.

Homosexuality has completely taken over movies, television, and all other forms of the media.  Today it is almost a crime to take a stand against this perversion.

Promiscuity, fornication, adultery, pornography, and thousands of other sexual perversions continue to grow and multiply.  Nothing is sacred anymore. 

Yet with all of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah the Old Testament Prophet Ezekiel gives us the greatest insight into their sin:

Ezekiel 16:49-50
49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

Ezekiel sounds like he is describing America!  Pride?  Prosperity?  Idleness in which to be entertained?  America has more than any other nation on earth.  This wealth has led men to seek more ways to indulge the flesh!  More free time to pursue their sins!  Like Sodom & Gomorrah we stand in danger of fiery judgment!

The Tent Mentality
We in the Church need to have a “Tent Mentality”.  Abraham had this mentality.  He never became comfortable in this world.  Abraham always knew that he was a stranger and a pilgrim.  Abraham always looked for another world.

The Tent Mentality is:

1.      A Mentality that is fixed on a better world- This world is not my home!  I am just passing through!  Our minds must be fixed on the Kingdom of God.  Most in the Church are “To earthly minded to be any heavenly good!”
2.      A Mentality that is established in the Word of God- One cannot be spiritually minded if their mind is not on the Word of God.  If we expect to have the “Tent Mentality” then we must focus on the Word of God.  Like Brother B. H. Clendennen used to say so frequently, “God is not going to speak to you during the halftime of the football game”.
3.      A Mentality that looks to Jesus as the all-in-all- Jesus is the Alpha & Omega, the First & the Last, and the Author & the Finisher of our faith.  We press towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  Jesus is the answer to everything!  There was a time that the Church fully understood this.  We did not look to man to rescue us from our problems, but we looked to God.  We did not need a half-way house or the drug-addict.  No!  We knew that Christ is the answer to everything!

The Cottage Mentality
Lot ended up with a “Cottage Mentality”.  He became a citizen of Sodom!   He went even further!  He got entangled in the politics of Sodom!  He became a leader in this wicked city.

Genesis 19:1
And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom:

Lot sat in the gate of the city of Sodom.  This is the place where the city officials presided over the leadership of ancient cities.  Lot became a part of that evil worldly system.

Today we see so-called Christians getting wrapped up in politics and the affairs of this world.  They campaign for political candidates, picket & boycott, write letters to congressmen, volunteer for political parties, and pass out petitions.  Political activism has become the “New Religion” of the American Church.  Instead of praying through in an altar of prayer they kneel before candidates and laws.  My friend, we are part of much greater Kingdom!  In the Kingdom of God everything is pure and holy!

They have the “Cottage Mentality”!  They have taken up residence in Sodom!  They are no longer looking for a heavenly city!  They like the cities here!  Instead of looking for a Heavenly city they are trying to reform Sodom!  The “Cottage Mentality” is worldliness.  The Church is so worldly today.

Taking Up Residence in Sodom
Many of the Church today have taken up the mentality of this world.   They have pulled up the tent and packed it away.  Now they have built themselves a foundation in this world. 

This world is more important to them than the Kingdom of God.  Their job is more important to them than the Church of the Living God.  Their career is more important than the Kingdom of God.  Their promotion is more important than obeying the voice of God.  Their mortgage is more important than the Mission Field.  A new bass boat is more important to them than a new soul in the altar.  A new four-wheeler is more exciting than the Gifts of the Spirit.  Another shotgun, another rifle, a $2000.00 deer lease?  No problem!  But try to get them to give another $100.00 to the building fund.  No way!

Citizens of Sodom!  Denizens of Gomorrah!  They don’t belong in that city that John saw coming down! 

This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through, my treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue, the angels beckon me to heaven’s crystal shore, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

“Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you.  My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.  I hear the sweetest praise from Heaven’s open door, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore!” 

“Just a few more weary days and then I’ll fly away to a land where joys shall never end, I’ll fly away.”

“To prepare a mansion Jesus said I’ll go.  If it were not true I would have told you so.  Just a little while to linger here below.  I’m gettin' ready to leave this world.” 

“I’m gettin’ ready to leave this world (of sorrow), I’m gettin’ ready for the gates of pearl.  I’m keeping my record bright, watching both day and night.  I’m gettin’ ready to leave this world.”

“I’ve a home prepared where the saints abide, just over in the Glory-Land.  And I long to be by my Savior’s side, just over in the Glory-Land.”

“I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory, and I heard about the streets of Gold beyond the crystal sea.  About the angels singing, and the old redemption story and some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory”

“Victory in Jesus, My Savior forever.  He sought me and he bought me with His redeeming blood.  He loved me ere I knew him and all my love is due him.  He plunged me to victory beneath His cleansing flood.”

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun.  We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Green Pastures

If I were a carnal man I might have titled this message “Green acres”.

Psalms 50:10
For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
Psalms 23:1-2
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

The Cattle Upon a Thousand Hills
The Bible tells us that God owns the cattle upon a thousand hills.  Look at all of the green pastureland that God has provided for his cows.  God leads them into green pastures and what do they do?  They stick their head through the fence after the grass on the other side!  God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and half of them have their head through the fence trying to get the grass on the other side!  Those cows have 10,000 acres of green pastureland behind them and what do they want?  They want the grass in the ditch!

I have lived in Texas all of my life and it is a common sight to drive down the highways and see acre after acre of green pastureland.  The amazing thing to me is that it is also common to see cows at the fence with their head stuck between the stands of barbwire chewing on grass in the ditch.  Behind the cows are acres of fresh green grass that has been provided by the rancher but do they want that?  No!  They want the grass on the other side of the fence.

Looking for Greener Pastures

Why is it that we cannot be content with what God has given us?  God has blessed us!  God has blessed the Church!  But people continue to look over the fence at the “Other Pasture”.  People are always looking for “Greener Pastures”.

Why can they not enjoy the Green Pastures that God has set them down in?  Why is it that people cannot appreciate the blessings that God has provided to them?  Why do they always want what is forbidden?

God’s Green Pasture

When I got saved God put me in a Green Pasture.  The Bible says, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures”.  And boy is it ever green!  There is nothing greener than God’s pasture.  Take a look with me at what is in our green pasture:

The New Birth!
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost.
The Fruit of the Spirit.
The Gifts of the Spirit.
Our Brothers and Sisters in the Lord.
The Word of God.
My Church.
The Ministry.
The Love of God.
The Grace of God.
Peace that passes all understanding.

All of this is a part of the Green Pastures that God has given us.  God has provided very well for the Church.

The Other Side of the Fence

But there is something in human nature, if it is not fully under the control of the Holy Ghost that will cause it to look to what is forbidden.

I want to make this very clear to everyone: God has a fence!  There is a fence around God’s green pasture.  God has encircled his pasture and his flock with a fence.  Today, the emphasis in most churches is on tearing down the walls (fence).  Is that Biblical?  Well, it all depends on what they mean by a wall or a fence.  There is one whole book in the Bible written about “building” walls (Nehemiah) but there are no books in the Bible about tearing walls down.  The only wall that I see in the Bible that God wanted down was the Wall of Jericho and God took it down Himself. 

One of the first things that the ancient people did when establishing a home was to erect a perimeter, a barrier, a fence, a wall.  At first the fence may have been made of brush, thorns, and vines.  Later this was replaced by stones.  This fence/wall was not constructed to hinder the people but rather to protect them.  The wall clearly defined what was theirs and what was not, what was home and what was not home, and a place of safety and place where safety ended.

Why is that fence there anyway?  The fence is there to protect us.  The fence is there to keep the wolves away!  The fence is there to keep us away from danger!  As long as we remain in the fence then we are under the jurisdiction of the Shepherd.

Why would we ever want what is over the fence?  The Word of God lays out the fence for us.  There are things that we can and cannot do when we become Christians.  Those limits are our fence!  When we cross the fence we put ourselves in danger.

The fence is not there because God is mean, or because he does not want us to have a good time, but rather it is there for our own good!

There are some Christians in the Church that get as close to that fence as they can.  They are always looking across the way with a longing.  If they are not careful it will not be long and they will be back over there!

When my wife and I went to Bible College we made friends with another couple. Often we ate dinner together at one another’s apartments.  On one of those occasions the husband began to tell me about his old life in sin.  He said, “I wish it was not wrong to drink beer.  I love the taste of beer!  If it was not wrong then I would go out and get me a cold one right now.”  You know what?  It was not a year after those words that he was out in the world drinking that beer, divorced from his wife, and living in sin with another woman.  Why?  Because he wanted what was on the other side of the fence!

When I was young my Dad took my brother and I hunting with him at a deer lease in Buffalo, Texas.  The lease was on a large ranch.  As we would drive into the lease my brother and I always looked for the wolf carcasses hanging on the fence.  We were fascinated by this practice of the ranchers.  I asked my Dad, “Why do they hang those wolves on the fence?”  He said, “It is telling the other wolves they are not welcome in the pasture with the cows”.  I have thought about that many times since that day.  I thank God for the fence.  At Calvary, the Body of our Sins was crucified with Christ, and it is telling the Devil you are not welcome here!

My message to all of you next to fence eyeballing the world is this: Get away from the fence!  The wolves patrol outside the fence.  They are afraid to cross the boundaries of God, but if you stay close to the fence you may find yourself crossing over one day and then you will be in great danger.

It Looks Pretty Green Over There

I have to admit it, but sometimes it does look green on the other side of the fence.  Those preachers and churches that preach “another gospel” have thousands in their congregations.  Their buildings are plush and packed with large crowds.  They drive nice cars and live in fancy homes.  It seems they never want for anything (on the surface). 

I have driven past their parking lots and viewed the hundreds of cars parked outside of their buildings.  I remember visiting a mall in Baytown, Texas with my family years ago and on the way home we passed a large charismatic church.  Our church was small and in a storefront building that was not much to look at.  There were hundreds of cars parked everywhere, the police were out directing traffic as thousands flocked into the building.  I looked and on the Church marquis it said, “Power Team”.  The devil spoke in my ear and said, “If you were not so hung up on holiness you could have all of this”.  I shouted out to the Devil, “I don’t want any of this!  Get out of my car!”  

 It may have looked pretty green, but you know what?  The grass is always greener over the septic tank!  Erma Bombeck wrote a book by that name years ago.  How true!    It may look green but it is probably covering a cesspool.  It is probably just weeds!  The Bible tells us that Lot chose the “well watered” plains of Sodom”– it was green!  But look at the awful toll it took on his family.

Genesis 13:10
And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.

Instead of being content with what God had blessed him with, Lot chose a path that eventually led to his destruction.

The Prodigal Son looked for something greener in a “Far Country” but all he ended up finding was a septic Hog Pen.

Paul said that “Demas has forsaken me having loved this present world” – he was looking for greener pastures and forfeited eternal life.

Enjoy the Green You Have

If you are a Christian, then God has blessed you with some Green Pastures.  Why not enjoy the green that you have?

D you have a good Church?  Then why not enjoy the Green Pasture that God has placed you in?  You do not need to look for another Church!  You just need to learn to appreciate the one that you have!

Do you have a good Pastor?  They why not enjoy the Green Pasture (Pastor) that God has given you?

Has God blessed you with a loving mate?  You don’t need to look over the fence for another!  Enjoy the mate that God has given you!  Enjoy your Green Pasture!  Husband, that other woman may look pretty green to you but remember she is a septic tank!

David got in trouble by looking over the fence at the other “green pasture” – he took Bathsheba from her husband.  Why could he not enjoy the green pastures that God had already given him?

2 Samuel 11:1-5 (KJV)
1 And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.
2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
3 And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.
5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.

David could not be content with the wives that he already had.  He took another man’s wife.  He should have been content with the green pasture that God had given him but he was not.  This sin led to the murder of Bath-Sheba’s husband Uriah, the death of the child, and rebellion in David’s Kingdom.  The Bible tells us, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”  We need to be content with our Green Pasture.

Greener Pastures

If your Pasture is not as green as you would like for it to be then I have one word for you: FERTILIZE!

Quit complaining about your Church!
Quit complaining about your Pastor!
Quit complaining about your Brothers & Sisters!
Quit complaining about your Marriage!
Quit complaining about your Husband!
Quit complaining about your Wife!
Quit complaining about your Family!

Why not try a little fertilizer?  If you want things to be better in your Pasture then why don’t you do something about it?  Try a little fertilizer! 

Go to your Church and put your all into the service.  Say “Amen” when your Pastor is preaching.  Shout “Hallelujah” every now and then.  Clap your hands.  Stand up and back the service.  This will fertilize the service.

While at home during the week pray for your Pastor, pray for your Church, and pray for your Brothers and Sisters.

Brag on your Pastor to others.  Tell him how much you love and appreciate him.  You might give him a heart attack!  Spread the fertilizer!  God can turn that which is brown to green again.

Love your Brothers & Sisters.  Encourage and brag on them.  Buy a special card or gift and give it to someone that is struggling.

You may say, “Well, my marriage used to be green but now it is brown.  Everything is dead or dying”.  I say to you if it is not as green as it once was then do something about it.  Fertilize your marriage.  Why don’t you brag on your husband or wife?  Tell them often how much you love them.  Compliment them.  Buy something personal for them.  Take them on a date.

I am reminded of a story I heard years ago of a woman that was unhappy with her marriage.  She went to her Pastor and told him, “I do not love my husband any more.  The love went out of our marriage years ago.  I am going to divorce him.”  The Pastor advised her to wait for two weeks.  He told the woman, “Go home and treat your husband good for two weeks.  Make all of the meals you know he likes best.  Brag on him every day.  Treat him the way you did when you first met him and then come back and meet with me and if you still want a divorce I will help you.”  The woman did just as her Pastor suggested.  In two weeks her Pastor saw her at Church and he asked her, “Are you ready for that divorce now”?  The woman answered, “Divorce?  No way!  I discovered that I still love my husband!”  You see, the fertilizer this woman used made her marriage green again.

If your Pasture is not as green as it used to be, maybe it is partly your fault.  Do something positive to make a difference!  You do not need to look for greener pastures – you need to make the pasture you are in, Greener!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Next Superman


This is a message that the Lord gave me about ten years ago.  I have updated the text and put it into the booklet now, with possible edits and updating in the future.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The Coming of the Anti-Christ

The Bible makes it clear that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will not come until the Antichrist is revealed on earth, “For that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed”.  ?  In verses six and seven Paul reveals that something is withholding the full revelation of the Anti-Christ on this earth and that something must be removed for the Anti-Christ to obtain his full power.  What is that something?  Well, it is not the Holy Ghost as some suggest, but rather it is the Body of Christ on this earth, or if it please you, the presence of that Holy Ghost within the Body of Christ.  In order for the fullness of evil to come to fruition then the Church must make its exit.

The means of the removal of the Body of Christ from this earth is the Rapture.  God will remove us from this planet.  As long as we remain we are a restraint on evil. 

Three things must first happen before the Second Coming of Christ:
1.                 Falling Away- This has already begun and continues even unto today.  People are falling away from the faith.  True churches that preach the uncompromising Gospel are emptier than they have ever been, but it is not just that.  There are many that still claim to know God but have fallen away from the principles of God’s Word.  There are those that sit upon Church pews but they have fallen away in their hearts from God.
2.                 The Rapture of the Church- The Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ are two different events that are separated by a period of time that is referred to as The Wrath of God.  There are two different views as to the exact length of time this is: some suggest the Rapture occurs a full seven years before the Second Coming, while others suggest it is 3 ½ years.  Both of these groups agree that the Church is not appointed unto wrath but disagree on how long this wrath will be.  My view on this is simple: Look for Jesus at any moment (this leads to holy living) but prepare for the worst (or in other words, hope for the best, prepare for the worst).
3.                 The man of sin revealed- There will be a revelation of the Antichrist.  When something is revealed it means that it is made clear, it is presented to everyone and everything.  Something can be present but unrevealed for a long time.  I believe that such is the case.  The man of sin is here, he has just not been revealed yet.  This Man of Sin stands in the wings, in the shadows, waiting to make his debut.  The only thing preventing his full revelation is the Church!

There are two ways that the Antichrist is going to conqueror all religion and it says it plainly in this passage, “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped”:
1.                 Opposeth- The Antichrist will oppose, fight against, and topple any god or religion that does not worship him.  To use opposition is to use force.  The Anti-Christ will use force if necessary to bring about his goals.
2.                 Exalteth- He will be able to convince many that he is the fruition of all of their hope and in doing so, exalt himself above all that they worship until he becomes the object of their worship.  So that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God”.   

The Antichrist is already at work and the only thing preventing the full revelation of the Antichrist at this time is the Holy Ghost Filled Church.

2 Thessalonians 2:7

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.         

The word let here means, “To Hold Down”, “Withhold”, “Prevent” or “Oppose”.  The Holy Ghost Filled Church is opposing the full revelation of the Antichrist, and we will continue to do so until we are taken out of the way.  We are holding down a full revelation of the Anti-Christ.

The next great event of the future is the Rapture of the Church.  This is the “Taken out of the way” that Paul was writing about!  And I have good news for you!  Satan wants us to be Raptured!  Because we are holding up his plans!  Hallelujah!

Preparation for the Coming of the Anti-Christ
Society is being prepared for the coming of the Antichrist.  It has been happening for years.  Society is unaware of it.  Most in the Church are unaware of it.

New ideas are so alien to us that we have to be softened up before they are presented so that these ideas will not be rejected out right.  The media has been one of the greatest tools of Satan to soften up society to the acceptance of a new Superman, the Antichrist.

Movies, books, magazines, comic books, and music have changed the way people think, and has made them more susceptible to the ideas of the Devil.  Most of us read comic books when we were kids.  The superheroes were super beings with great powers.  We knew that this was all fantasy and could not be true.  But 40 years later evolutionists are now looking for a new superman, an evolutionary leap forward to appear, a mutant with superior intellect, strength, and personality.  A new Superman!  They will get just such a man when the Antichrist appears.

The Anti-Christ Will be All Things to All Men

To the evolutionist the Antichrist will the next evolutionary step forward for mankind.  They will see him as the future for all men.  Right now all that the evolutionist has is the past to look to, but when the Antichrist comes they will look to the future.  All of their hopes for the future will be tied to this new Superman.

To the Buddhist the Antichrist will be the new Buddha, the spiritually enlightened man of the future.  He will be a man that has achieved a superior status due to his inner search.

To the Hindu the Antichrist will the fulfillment of thousands of years of reincarnation.  He will have achieved the ultimate karma and climbed to the top of the ladder.

To the New Age Follower the Antichrist will be the first to step beyond to the next plane of existence into this plane of existence.  He will be the culmination of all of their false hopes.

To the Spiritists & Satanist the Antichrist will be their new Occultic leader.

To the Jew the Antichrist will be their Messiah.  The one they have been looking for all of their generations.

To the Catholic he will be their Pope, their prophet, their great leader.

To the Christian Religionist he will be their Charismatic Leader.  He will appeal to the Fundamentalist, the Evangelical, the Pentecostal, and even to the Orthodox.

To the Governments he will be the President of the World, a man of peace, the ambassador of hope and change (sounds like the political slogans of today), and the greatest legal mind of our times.

To the Philosophers he will be the greatest expounder of truth, their greatest educator, and the supreme master of knowledge.

To the Populace the Antichrist will be their Superman.  He will be there Hero.  He will be their Knight in Shining Armor.

The New Superman

Mutations in nature are never improvements.  There are mutations in nature but every one, without exception, lead to a monster.  Twisted limbs, two heads, extra digits, all are some type of mutation.  Some mutations are so severe that the creature cannot live.

The evolutionist will believe, incorrectly, that the Antichrist is an improvement over the old Homo Sapiens Species.  He will be their Superman.  Stronger, more intelligent, insightful, beautiful, he will have a winning personality, he will even have occult insights. 

Hollywood is churning out the idea that there can be Supermen mutated and made better than the average human.  This is all pure Humanism.  What are the big blockbuster movies coming out of Hollywood today?  BatmanSuperman - Spiderman, X-Men - Iron Man.  What do all of these have in common?  One word: MAN.  It is all about a super-evolved MAN.

People are not looking for Divine help.  They are looking for Evolved help.  They are not looking for help from above but help on their same level.   They believe that man is going to evolve and outgrow his violent tendencies.  They believe that man is going to evolve into gods (the same lie told to Adam in the Garden of Eden) and solve all of his own problems.  This is how people will be so easily duped by the Anti-Christ. 

Hollywood has already primed the masses to accept a Super Hero Man.  The movies continue to lay out this theme and people are hooked on it.  There is a Messiah Complex at work in this generation – they are looking for a man-god to bail them out.  What they do not realize is that the Messiah has already come!  And He is coming again!

Instead of looking inward or downward for answers to the problems of this world, we need to look upward to Christ.  Jesus is the answer.  Jesus is the solution.  If you look anywhere other than the God of this Bible then you will easily be duped by the Man of Sin.

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